Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for December, 2020

Mr. Iglesias, Season 3 * Good Message, Encourages Us To Realize The Importance Of Teachers

Friday, December 18th, 2020

Mr. Iglesias is an American comedy streaming television series that premiered on Netflix on June 21, 2019. The series stars Gabriel Iglesias who executive produces alongside Kevin Hench, Joe Meloche, and Ron DeBlasio. In August 2019, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on June 17, 2020. Season 3 comes out December 8, 2020. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “Mr. Iglesias is a streaming TV series with a great moral message and a lot of potential. The story follows Mr. Iglesias (Gabe Iglesias), a high school teacher who wants nothing more than to help his students thrive.” See her full review below.

Mr. Iglesias, Season 3
By Calista Bess, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

Mr. Iglesias is a streaming TV series with a great moral message and a lot of potential. The story follows Mr. Iglesias (Gabe Iglesias), a high school teacher who wants nothing more than to help his students thrive. He works to help his students through their interpersonal issues while also working on his own anxieties.

This show is a sitcom, so how is the comedy? To be honest, the comedy is very hit or miss for me. And that’s mainly because this show uses a laugh track. I found it a bit annoying and it consistently broke my immersion. I also don’t understand why this show needs a laugh track in the first place. It’s a very outdated tactic and it makes the show feel outdated as a result. Though, the pop culture references definitely don’t help. There are some genuinely funny lines despite this flaw, but it’s still something that really bothered me.

The characters are also hit or miss. I like a lot of the students, especially Grace (Gloria Aung) and Marisol (Cree Cicchino) as I felt they have a lot of development throughout the show. However, Mr. Iglesias’s co-workers are mostly annoying. Paula (Sherri Shepard) especially bothered me the more episodes I watched, which is unfortunate since Sherri Shepard is a great comedy actor. Her very inappropriate humor feels so jarring and it made me feel uncomfortable at points. Weirdly enough, Carlos (Oscar Nunez) actually grew on me. Despite how comically evil he is at first, once he tones down his hatred for children, he becomes a very entertaining straight man. Mr. Iglesias himself is consistently entertaining. He definitely steals the show most of the time. Despite this, I’m not a fan of the way he is presented in the show. The character version of Gabriel Iglesias is presented with very few flaws, and characters regularly comment on how his biggest flaw is how nice he is. It feels unnatural and too perfect.

Mr. Iglesias has a good message and encourages us to realize that teachers are incredibly important to the lives of children— we should celebrate that importance. The upcoming third season is the best season of the show. Despite fewer episodes, the jokes are a lot funnier, and there’s a lot of character development in the third season. So if you are already a fan you will definitely be happy with what’s coming next.

I give Mr. Iglesias 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Season 3 comes out December 8, 2020.

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Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirate’s Cove * Sci-Fi Action With Hilarious Pirates And Adventures

Friday, December 11th, 2020

While searching for lost treasure, time traveling pirates end up in the modern day and do battle with unlikely foes: a group of kids with the latest in techy gadgetry. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirates Cove is a sci-fi action film with hilarious pirates and adventures! And—shiver me timbers!— the special effects used in scenes such as the time travel, storms and flashbacks really help drive the film.” Katie F. adds, “The sets are awesome and very realistic. I especially love the part in the secret cave where Josh accidentally rides a mining cart like a little train through an underground tunnel to end in a surprising location. It looks like so much fun.” See their full reviews below.

Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirates Cove 
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirates Cove is a sci-fi action film with hilarious pirates and adventures! And—shiver me timbers!— the special effects used in scenes such as the time travel, storms and flashbacks really help drive the film.

This film is about a group of treasure-hunting kids led by Josh Dare (Casey Simpson), who find a treasure map that was the key to locating the lost treasure of William Kidd that was buried in their town many years ago. At the same, time-traveling pirates wake up 300 years later and realize their treasure map is missing and that the kids have it. The pirates have to try to blend in with the local residents while they try to recover the map before their cover is blown. Coincidentally, the town is putting on a play about pirates and so the worlds collide, and the adventures begin.

The main characters of this film are Josh Dare and his friends, Brigette (McKinley Blehm), Hedge (Connor Cain), and Chip (Lucas Jaye). Josh’s mom, Victoria Dare (Denise Richards) and Josh’s rival, Byron Beecher (Gavin Magnus) also had important roles in the film. My favorite character was Byron because I enjoyed watching him mature and transform. The pirates’ language and costumes were realistic and spot on, representing what pirates might actually look like, say and wear. The film location was in Mendocino, California because of all the beautiful coves there.

The character Josh Dare summed up the message of this film perfectly when he said, “The greatest treasures the world has to offer are the friends and family who sail on the adventure of life.” There are a lot of treasures in life like gems, gold, money, artifacts, and other valuable things. But the most important treasures are the friends and family that are always by your side.

I rate Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirates Cove 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 and up. Adults will like it too. This film comes out in theaters December 12, 2020.

Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirate’s Cove
By Katie Francis, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirate’s Cove is a fun-filled adventurous movie! The cast is spectacular and the sets are very realistic. 

The story follows a boy named Josh whose father has been missing for five years when a time machine sends a crew of 18th century pirates flying into the future. Josh and his friends find a map belonging to them which leads them on a secret journey to find the treasure. Join Josh, Chip, Bridget and Hedge on an exciting adventure full of fun, mystery and problem solving with some unusual encounters along the way in their home town of Pirate’s Cove.

The cast is incredible and full of familiar faces and some big names. Casey Simpson plays Josh Dare and his emotional performance as he recovers from the loss of his dad is captivating. Denise Richards plays Victoria Dare, a struggling single and very loving mom to Josh. Her devotion to her missing husband is evident throughout. She also shows a comical side to her character when interacting with the pirates. Other cast members include Gavin Magnus, Lucas Jaye, Malcom McDowell and Eric Balfour. Gavin plays Brian the spoilt and not so nice kid. He plays his role exactly as one would expect, which is in stark contrast to his real life persona. Lucas Jaye plays the young and geeky Chip. His performance is as cheeky and goofy as it should be. Eric Balfour and Malcom McDowell give their performances as pirates well, keeping in character at all times, and making me laugh on many occasions. 

The sets are awesome and very realistic. I especially love the part in the secret cave where Josh accidentally rides a mining cart like a little train through an underground tunnel to end in a surprising location. It looks like so much fun. My favorite part of the film is when Betsy and Victoria think the real pirates that have just come from the time machine are actual actors for their pirate play and they end up playing along, fighting each other on stage in front of the audience, it is hilarious. I also like the pirate ship tree-house in Josh’s back garden. It looks very cute and cozy

There is an underlying story of good things working out for good people and the film has the usual fun story of good guys versus the bad guys, where everyone else that gets caught in the middle and taken along for the ride.

I give Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirate’s Cove 4 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 8 to 14, plus adults. You can find it in select theatres December 12, 2020.

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Wild Mountain Thyme * Picturesque Countryside, Sweet Irish Love Story

Friday, December 11th, 2020

John Patrick Shanley, who created the classic MOONSTRUCK, brings his sweeping romantic vision to Ireland with Wild Mountain Thyme. The headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt) has her heart set on winning her neighbor Anthony Reilly’s love. The problem is Anthony (Jamie Dornan) seems to have inherited a family curse, and remains oblivious to his beautiful admirer. Stung by his father Tony’s (Christopher Walken) plans to sell the family farm to his American nephew (Jon Hamm), Anthony is jolted into pursuing his dreams in this comedic, moving and wildly romantic tale. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “Wild Mountain Thyme is an Irish romantic-comedy. It is set in Ballina, County Mayo, a lush Irish countryside with picturesque farms, impressive coastlines and lovely farm houses.  You will enjoy this sweet Irish love story.” See her full review below.   

Wild Mountain Thyme
By Katherine S. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Wild Mountain Thyme is an Irish romantic-comedy. It is set in Ballina, County Mayo, a lush Irish countryside with picturesque farms, impressive coastlines and lovely farm houses.  You will enjoy this sweet Irish love story.   

This movie follows the story of the farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt). At a young age she is love-struck with her neighbor, Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan). Anthony spends his days ignoring the flirtations of his admirer.  Tony Reilly (Christopher Walken) is not convinced his son Anthony is capable of managing the family farm and threatens to sell it to his American nephew, Adam (Jon Hamm). This motivates Anthony and he becomes determined to keep the farm. Rosemary finds herself in an unexpected love-triangle between Anthony and Adam.

Wild Mountain Thyme is directed by John Patrick Shanley and was adapted from his Broadway play Outside Mullingar. The story is based on John Patrick Shanley’s own Irish family. Though I really appreciated the story, it might not appeal to many kids my age as much as it might appeal to older teens and adults. I really enjoyed the music in the film, which is composed by Amelia Warner, Jamie Dornan’s wife.  One of my favorite songs is “Will Ye Go, Lassie Go,” also known as “Wild Mountain Thyme.” This song plays an important role in this movie.

The movie stars several very accomplished actors; Emily Blunt portrays a fiery and independent farm girl, Rosemary. Jon Hamm nicely portrays Adam, a wealthy American bachelor from New York who is on a mission to find an Irish wife. Jamie Dornan plays Anthony as a insecure and awkward farm boy. Christopher Walken role as Tony Reilly, the bickering father brings out his subtle and clever sense of humor.  The Irish accents are well executed. I might recommend they add English subtitles though, because it can be hard to decipher what they are saying.

The main messages of the movie are be true to yourself, follow your dreams, squabble less and love more. There is some bad language and some drinking.

I give Wild Mountain Thyme 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. This movie is scheduled to come in theaters December 11, 2020.

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Through the Night * An Endearing Love Letter To Essential Workers And Single Mothers

Monday, December 7th, 2020

Through the Night explores the personal cost of our modern economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider – whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Abigail L. comments, “Through the Night provides a heartwarming message about the courage and struggles of single mothers as well as the importance of essential workers. This documentary successfully advocates the importance of raising awareness of the hardships of working families and maintaining a stable life for their children.” See her full review below.

Through The Night
By Abigail L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Through the Night is an endearing love letter to essential workers and single mothers in the form of a documentary film.   

The story focuses on a New York daycare center, open 24 hours, run by Deloris, or “Nunu,” and her husband Patrick Hogan. The daycare is a safety net for many working families, especially single mothers, who struggle to make ends meet on top of the difficult task of raising children. Especially with Americans working longer hours across multiple jobs, 24-hour daycare centers are beginning to flourish.

The progression of time in the film is very easy to follow. For example, in one scene a mother and her children wear Halloween attire with jack-o-lantern tattoos, and later, there is an event where several people wear turkey hats, which helps to distinguish October from November. Some scenes in the middle of the film that discuss the struggles of being a single mother feel slightly repetitive, even though that’s somewhat understandable. The variety of locations and situations brings more color into this documentary, and emphasizes the message of this story. Each interview is purposeful and ties into the flow of the documentary seamlessly.

My favorite part is the music which helps set the somber, but ultimately hopeful, tone of the film, while not overpowering the voices and sound effects. The camera angles also help convey the intimate, artistic style of the film, and so the audience feels immersed in the film, as if watching the events unfold in front of them. Lastly, the text effect used to show Patrick’s message to the other daycare workers is visually pleasing and effectively communicates the gravity of the situation Patrick describes.

Through the Night provides a heartwarming message about the courage and struggles of single mothers as well as the importance of essential workers. This documentary successfully advocates the importance of raising awareness of the hardships of working families and maintaining a stable life for their children. Furthermore, there is a strong representation of POC, including Mexican and African Americans, a relevant theme in 2020 America. Although this film is not rated, parents should watch out for sensitive content including the use of prescription pills and references to difficult home lives.

I rate Through the Night 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. You can watch this documentary in theaters and in virtual cinemas beginning December 12, 2020.

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Mosul * Whirlwind of a Movie Anchored by Legitimately Visceral Sequences Throughout

Sunday, December 6th, 2020

An Iraqi journalist joins an army of uneasy allies in the battle to liberate the city of Mosul from the Islamic State. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “Mosul is a whirlwind of a movie anchored by legitimately visceral sequences throughout and brisk pacing that the film sustains from beginning to end. In an environment where streaming has become the predominant mode of consuming content, it’s gratifying to get a movie this immersive, one that never truly lets up and one that will certainly keep you invested in the different directions it goes in.” See his full review and interview below.

Mosul
By Benjamin P., Kids First! Film Critic, Age 14

Mosul is a whirlwind of a movie anchored by legitimately visceral sequences throughout and brisk pacing that the film sustains from beginning to end. In an environment where streaming has become the predominant mode of consuming content, it’s gratifying to get a movie this immersive, one that never truly lets up and one that will certainly keep you invested in the different directions it goes in.

Based on a New Yorker article from 2017 and produced by the Russo Brothers and the production company AGBO, Mosul takes place in the titular city and follows the exploits of the Nineveh SWAT team which gained their prestige through their clashes against ISIS forces. We meet the team through the eyes of Kawa, a rookie cop who is ushered into team by the steely commander Jasem, after they save Kawa and his seasoned partner mid-ambush. With ISIS on the retreat from the city and the arrival of a new command, the team has gone rogue and decides to carry out one final mission of their own, the details of which are kept from Kawa, but we come to find it’s rooted in a far more personal place than the ones they’ve gone through prior.

Through the absorbing bend much of the film takes, we are put in the heat of battle at every turn, but it’s rarely energetic and that becomes an effective element of the film’s tone. There is a weariness to each encounter with the enemy as they occur with increasing frequency and over the course of their journey; these soldiers are just trying to survive and here’s where Mosul cements its stakes breathlessly and efficiently. It begins to feel inevitable that the Nineveh will lose one of their own nearly every time they make contact with ISIS’s opposing forces. What sets Mosul apart from similarly tactical minded flicks is the moments of loss it frequently hammers home. In between the intensity of the action and each waypoint on their venture, there are moments of stillness where we get to witness the fighter’s true colors which makes their losses sting with greater severity, sometimes it’s commentating over a soap opera on television and at others, it’s cruising in a Humvee through the ruins of Mosul, as they’re reminded of why they fight and who they’re fighting for. The secret sauce that really makes those points of the film work when the team isn’t being rained down on by gunfire is that they’re still actively pushing the story forward and doing the necessary work to engage us with the characters at the center of the story. Mosul’s structure reminds me of that of a video game, with each conflict or objective so to speak, being separated by points of exposition and development, but it works for a mission-focused narrative in this case.

Mosul’s scenes of battle can get pretty brutal so I recommend this for ages 16 to 18 for some moments of extreme intensity and some graphic violence at times. Mosul is a raw testament to the heroism of the Nineveh SWAT team with an unexpectedly emotional conclusion and I greatly recommend it. I give Mosul 3.5 out of 5 stars. You can see it when it drops on Netflix on November 26, 2020.

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