Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for June, 2021

F9: The Fast Saga * The Adventurous Fast And Furious Series Continues In The Nail-Biting Thriller

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

Cipher enlists the help of Jakob, Dom’s younger brother to take revenge on Dom and his team.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Allison B. comments, “After waiting for four years, the adventurous Fast and Furious series continues in the nail-biting thriller, F9: The Fast Saga. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this entire film, and held my attention to the end. Full of action, charge and intensity, this is a movie you do not want to miss.”

Ethan P. adds, “This movie has tons of action sequences with racing stunts never before seen. The characters do things with their cars that are out of this world, like for example, flying a car to space. How crazy is that?” Allison also points out, “Even though the action is entertaining, it definitely is not realistic. There are multiple scenes where characters should have died, or at least been seriously injured and aren’t.” See their full reviews below.

F9: The Fast Saga
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

(from left) Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Dom (Vin Diesel) in F9, co-written and directed by Justin Lin.

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

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

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

Vin Diesel as Dom Toretto in F9, co-written and directed by Justin Lin.

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

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

F9: The Fast Saga
By Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

(from left) Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in F9, co-written and directed by Justin Lin.

After waiting for four years, the adventurous Fast and Furious series continues in the nail-biting thriller, F9: The Fast Saga. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this entire film, and held my attention to the end. Full of action, charge and intensity, this is a movie you do not want to miss.

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

Michelle Rodriguez as Letty in F9, co-written and directed by Justin Lin.

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

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

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

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Llama Llama: Family Vacation * Filled With Fun Experiences And Tips For Making Childhood Memories

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu|Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep, and Gilroy Goat as they explore their friendly hometown and make childhood memories. It’s a vacation of many “firsts” for Llama Llama. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Giana N. comments, “Llama Llama: Family Vacation is a DVD filled with fun experiences as you watch Llama Llama and his friends make childhood memories. They do new things that lead to new adventures. If you enjoy the Llama Llama books, then you should definitely check this out.”

Kendall B. adds, “Llama Llama: Family Vacation is a fun new DVD for the little ones. With animated, talking animals and a special new location, these episodes are sure to excite your toddler for hours as they experience the silly and thrilling life of Llama Llama along with his friends and family.” Avalon N. wraps it up with, “There is some fun stuff to talk about in this DVD. First, the show has many positive messages and teaches kids to not fear new things and be inclusive. Second, is about the music; there are some cool ways they use music here. At the beginning of every episode a theme song that summarizes what the show is about is played; it’s a fun and catchy song that kids will be singing afterwards.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer says, “I find this DVD appealing as an adult because vacationing, traveling and spending time with friends or family are activities that people of all ages can enjoy. Children may enjoy Llama Llama: Llama Family Vacation because it can prepare younger viewers for the ins and outs of traveling, if they are slightly nervous.” See their full reviews below.

Llama Llama: Family Vacation
Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Llama Llama: Family Vacation is a DVD filled with fun experiences as you watch Llama Llama and his friends make childhood memories. They do new things that lead to new adventures. If you enjoy the Llama Llama books, then you should definitely check this out.

In each episode of Llama Llama: Family Vacation, the storyline follows Llama Llama, Mama Llama, and their friends as they go on different quests and try new things along the way. For example, Llama Llama goes on his first airplane ride to visit Sandy Island with Mama Llama and Gram. There he meets his extended family and his cousins for the first time. Llama Llama makes new friends and meets new people, which makes the storylines more enjoyable.

I really like how this DVD introduces more characters in each episode and we get to meet more of Llama Llama and Mama Llama’s family. My favorite episode is “Llama Llama Family Vacation” because they add new members of Llama Llama’s to the storyline and it shows Mama Llama helping Llama Llama get on the plane for the first time. “New Neighbors” is another episode I enjoyed because they introduce a new character that becomes Llama Llama’s new friend, which makes the episode’s plot more interesting. The storyline is easy to follow and shows the audience how to handle trying new things and might help them get over their fears. My favorite character is Mama Llama because she teaches Llama Llama and his friends that trying new things helps you learn better and grow. Also, the theme song of the show is fun and upbeat and it helps make this a fun and exciting kids’ show.

The message of Llama Llama: Family Vacation is: if you try new things you might surprise yourself. This DVDis very kid and family-friendly.

I rate Llama Llama: Family Vacation 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 6. This DVD was released June 15, 2021. Be sure to check it out!

Llama Llama: Family Vacation
By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Llama Llama: Family Vacation is a fun new DVD for the little ones. With animated, talking animals and a special new location, these episodes are sure to excite your toddler for hours as they experience the silly and thrilling life of Llama Llama along with his friends and family.

This DVD is a compilation of episodes from the TV series where Llama Llama is back at having exciting adventures and new friends! He’s exploring new things like babysitting Baby Newman, flying on a plane for the first time, and befriending the new kid in the neighborhood, Audrey. With more whimsical music and shenanigans, Llama Llama and his friends are having tons of fun.

The voice acting in this show is exquisite, particularly Jennifer Garner as the voice of Mama Llama. All the other voice actors are equally terrific, such as Islie Hirvonen as Nelly Gnu and Shayle Simons as the voice of Llama Llama. I love the playful music in all the scenes and how it fits the lively plots of this cheerful show. Parents can take a break while their child watches this DVD. Kids can learn about including other people and helping out their friends. Llama Llama is such an inspiration for kids everywhere as he helps out around town, creates Thanks-For-Giving Day and is kind to others. This show has excellent and original plots which make the show all the more exciting! I love the music because it always seems to fit exactly what the scene is about, using light and upbeat music during an adventure or a slower and lower-pitched music for defeat. My favorite part is when Llama Llama learns about how much people around the town do to make the community a better place because he realizes that he can help out too.

This show demonstrates friendship and teamwork. As Llama Llama makes new friends and explores new places, he learns how important these things age.

I give Llama Llama: Family Vacation 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 6. This DVD is available now so look for it.  

Llama Llama: Llama Family Vacation
Avalon N. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Llama Llama: Llama Family Vacation is an educational and entertaining show with lots of good messages and fun stories. This DVD is about Llama Llama (Shayle Simons), his friends and family who go on fun adventures where they learn and help each other. There are many positive messages in the show. Some of their adventures include going on vacations and helping their mom by being persistent in getting the baby to calm down.

There is some fun stuff to talk about in this DVD. First, the show has many positive messages and teaches kids to not fear new things and be inclusive. Second, is about the music; there are some cool ways they use music here. When it is a calm moment the music is calm; when it’s lively, so is the music.  They set the theme of each vignette with background music used in that scene. Of course, then there is the theme song. At the beginning of every episode a theme song that summarizes what the show is about is played; it’s a fun and catchy song that kids will be singing afterwards. Let’s talk about the characters. There are many fun characters in this series that help make the story what it is. There is lots of inclusion when new characters are introduced that send a positive message about being inclusive. Last, I have to talk about the animation, which is clear, attractive and a highlight of the show.

Each episode has a different message, but the overall messages of the show are to be yourself, be inclusive and be kind to everyone and everything.

I give Llama Llama, Llama Family Vacation 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 10, plus adults will find it fun to watch with younger kids. This DVD is available now so look for it.

Llama Llama: Llama Family Vacation
By Tor Ferrante

I find this DVD appealing as an adult because vacationing, traveling and spending time with friends or family are activities that people of all ages can enjoy. Children may enjoy Llama Llama: Llama Family Vacation because it can prepare younger viewers for the ins and outs of traveling, if they are slightly nervous. Other episodes consist of fun adventures with Llama Llama and his friends in their neighborhood where the children use their problem-solving skills to help with issues that arise, so this can inspire to children to do the same.

The episodes follow Llama Llama and his family taking a vacation to Sandy Island.  Llama Llama creates new memories with his family and experiences a number of  “firsts” such as meeting his cousins, flying on a plane and riding on a boat. Llama Llama learns about life in different towns and how similar or different they are from his life at his home. The remaining episodes in the DVD follow a standard day in the life of Llama Llama and friends.

The episodes follow the same structure beginning with Llama Llama having fun playing with his friends or family and an adult explains the adventure that is going to happen. There is typically an obstacle that Llama Llama needs to conquer, usually with the help of his friends and or family. Llama Llama and the others around him learn a lesson at the end of each episode. Since the DVD is filled with episodes surrounding children and their adventures, the adventures and problems they face are age appropriate and easy concepts to comprehend and utilize suitable vocabulary. For example, some of the episodes include figuring out how to have fun as a child on a family vacation; how to calm down a sibling; or how talk to new neighbors. Nothing detrimental happens in any of the episodes. This is super small, but I want to point out that, if a viewer has an extreme fear of flying, this may make them uncomfortable. Not that the flying scene is shown in a way that is scary or harmful.

The animation is clear and the images are vibrant. The music matches the action of each episode. For example, when Llama Llama and his family are riding on the boat, the music has sort of a beach or tiki theme. There is lots of music in each episode, especially when the characters are walking, eating or just hanging out. The DVD cover design is appropriate and appealing to the intended audience. It shows Llama Llama and his family on Sandy Island. The main menu allows the user to choose which episode you want to watch and it remembers where you left off. There are subtitles available, but only in English. The show offers young viewers the opportunity to follow along with him and his friends as they experience problem-solving and working as a team to overcome the obstacles. The show does not touch on looking further into a situation, such as the historical or cultural background, since the episodes show simple day-to-day activities and problems.

There are multiple messages of the program including: Traveling is great because you can create new memories and learn about other places. Capture memories and savor each moment that happens in life. Even if someone is scared about experiencing something for the first time, if they have support given by people that care for them, the experience won’t be as scary. The first try is simply a way to learn better for the second, or multiple other tries. The main theme throughout is – You can learn how to get through obstacles that life places in the way by believing in yourself and allow your loved ones to help you when its needed, plus perseverance.

I give Llama Llama: Llama Family Vacation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 10, plus parents who can enjoy watching it with their youngsters

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The Genius Generation * A Deep Dive Into Young People With a Passion for Activism and Change

Monday, June 28th, 2021

The Genius Generation podcast is a deep-dive into one incredible invention, entrepreneurial pursuit, or discovery per episode and the young person behind it. Did you know that the trampoline was invented by a 16-year-old? That popsicles, snowmobiles, and even the Braille language were also invented by young people? This podcast talks to innovative kids, tweens and teens that run their own businesses, made a new discovery, or invented something new using science. The host, Danni Washington, a science communicator who is dedicated to inspiring and educating youth about all things science, is just as excited to interview these innovators and be inspired by them as the interviewees.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ashleigh C. comments, “Trax has done it again! The Genius Generation is a podcast about young people with a passion for activism and change. Dani Washington is a great host with a lovely voice. Her willingness, as an adult, to listen to these teens innovators makes this podcast worth the listen. Avalon N. adds, “I like the variety of kids and inventions that are featured in this show. There is usually a “big world” problem that the youth inventor has heard about that has motivated them. In each episode similar questions are used in the interview such as, “What kept you motivated? How did you find out about the problem?” Apurva S., wraps it up with, “The Genius Generation has one message throughout – kids can do anything. It is in the title itself. Youth have a voice and we should use it.” See their full reviews below.

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

Trax has done it again! The Genius Generation is a podcast about young people with a passion for activism and change.

Each episode of this podcast shares the story of a tween or teen about their innovative ideas and inventions to change the world. Questions for each episode are very similar; however, different stories are shared with completely different responses.

Dani Washington is a great host with a lovely voice. Her willingness, as an adult, to listen to these teens innovators makes this podcast worth the listen. And I cannot forget the guests themselves. These teens and tweens are such an inspiration; not only with their ideas, but their contagious drive to purse their ideas to the fullest. My favorite episode is “Avi Schiffman,” about an 18-year-old web developer who created a website platform for convenient and up-to-date information about the coronavirus.

The message of The Genius Generation is expressed by almost all of the guests – pursue your passion; don’t be afraid to fail; and most importantly, take initiative for things you care about. Because you never know, maybe you will be the next guest on this show. This podcast is inspirational, educational and promotes positive social behaviors.

I give The Genius Generation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. You can listen to it on www.trax.fm/the-genius-generation.

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

The Genius Generation is a very inventive podcast. It showcases so many different kids and ideas. This is a very inspiring podcast that can help motivate kids to want to make changes in the world.


This podcast is about kids under age 18 that have created something that helps everyone. They usually are asked questions about their barriers, their breakthrough or their creative process. There are six episodes so far, plus a trailer. This podcast talks about so many cool ideas and inventions. The interviewer for the series is Danny Washington.

I like the variety of kids and inventions that are featured in this show. There is usually a “big world” problem that the youth inventor has heard about that has motivated them. In each episode similar questions are used in the interview such as, “What kept you motivated? How did you find out about the problem? What were the barriers and breakthroughs you experiences?” All the inventions are based around science. This is really special, because kids create things to help the world in ways that adults don’t even try. For example, Ananya Sridhar invented a new, affordable way to test for lead contamination in water. Neil Suri invented a completely new, affordable way to detect forest fires. Anisha Musti created a new technique to detect Parkinson’s disease based solely on the sound of a person’s voice.  The show is well produced with cool sound effects. Each episode starts with a quote by the person featured in that episode.

The message of this show is that anyone can change the world and, no matter how young you are, you can make a difference. 

I give The Genius Generation 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18, plus adults. You can find this podcast on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/the-genius-generation

The Genius Generation
Apurva S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

This podcast makes me feel amazing; like I can do anything. That’s just one reason why I love it so much. It is filled with inspiring quotes such as: “I don’t hope for the best, I work for it.” “If I’m not making a connection with the piece, I feel like, ‘what’s the point?’ ”

The series is about kids who make big changes in the world. There are many stories in this podcast – a new one for each episode. In one of the episodes, a girl named Luna Abadia talks about her experience studying abroad in Japan. There, she saw firsthand all the effects of climate change and comments, “I am fighting for all those around the world that are affected by climate change.” Her story continues as her organization, ECAP (Effective Climate Action Project) fights to stop the continuing effects of climate change.

Some of the impressive things about this podcast are the clarity of the voices, the sound effects and, most of all, the stories. Each and every story finds some way to hook you in. There are many components that contribute to making this podcast interesting. Two of the main factors are the background music and the sound effects, which are particularly outstanding. An example is when Luna talks about how she got hooked into science in school and we hear a school bell in the background that takes you there. Another time, we hear the sound of metal clinking when Luna mentions a microscope. Another amazing thing about this podcast is the narrator, Danni Washington. She asks relevant and thoughtful questions and speaks with a clear voice.

The Genius Generation has one message throughout – kids can do anything. It is in the title itself. Youth have a voice and we should use it.

I give The Genius Generation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. This podcast can be found on Trax at https://www.trax.fm/the-genius-generation

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Penguin Town * You Will Laugh And Cry As You Discover Just How Human-Like Penguins Are

Monday, June 21st, 2021

You’ve never met penguins like these before. Forget ice and snow, this rowdy colony of African penguins are hitting the sun-drenched beaches and breaking all the rules. Every summer, these tuxedoed birds vie for prime real estate on the sandy shores of Simon’s Town, south of Cape Town, and stir things up. While humans apply sun block and wax their surfboards, these endangered little guys, who have adapted to heat and can travel long distances, are causing traffic jams in the streets and bringing mayhem to this tropical paradise. Their mission: find a mate, make babies and not go extinct! Filled with boisterous shenanigans and loads of adorable penguins — from the troublemaking “Car Park Gang” to the sweet and cuddly newlyweds Mr. & Mrs. C. — this eight-part series about the real lives of African penguins brings flipper-flapping fun and drama. Join the ride … this town is going to get painted black and white!

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S., comments, “I love Penguin Town! It has great narration, interesting stories and is educational. You will laugh and you will cry in this eight-episode docu-series. The messages here are: 1. protect and conserve wildlife, and 2. with the power of family, you can do anything. Tiana S. adds, “Penguin Town is far beyond just another penguin docu-series! It’s hilarious as well as being educational. After all, it is narrated by comedian Patton Oswalt. This film shows just how human-like penguins’ lives are when it comes to survival, searching for food and protecting their children. The only difference is that they are in a more hazardous environment.” See their full reviews and interview with the producer and director below.

Penguin Town
Katherine S, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

PENGUIN TOWN. Cr. NETFLIX © 2021

I love Penguin Town! It has great narration, interesting stories and is educational. You will laugh and you will cry in this eight-episode docu-series.

This show follows the rowdy colony of endangered South African Penguins in the beautiful beach town, Simon’s Town, who forget the snow and flock to the sun. We follow the lives of newborns as they grow and then raise families of their own.

There are eight episodes in this show, each running about 25 minutes. Penguin Town is narrated by Patton Oswald, an excellent narrator who is goofy at some points and serious at others. The writing is very comedic, relatable and personifies the penguins. There are cliff-hangers at the end of episode, so you can’t wait to watch the next one. All the penguins have very clever names, based on where they live such as Car Park Gang, the Courtyards and the Wheelbarrows. My favorite penguin family is the Bougainvilleas because they would do anything for their kids. 

PENGUIN TOWN. Cr. NETFLIX © 2021

The messages here are: 1. protect and conserve wildlife, and 2. with the power of family, you can do anything. Of course, having kids is a LOT of work. There is some on-screen mating, sad parts and intense fights and deaths, so sensitive people may not like this.

I give Penguin Town 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8-18, plus adults. This show will be available on Netflix beginning June 16, 2021.

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

PENGUIN TOWN. Cr. NETFLIX © 2021

Penguin Town is far beyond just another penguin docu-series! It’s hilarious as well as being educational. After all, it is narrated by comedian Patton Oswalt. This film shows just how human-like penguins’ lives are when it comes to survival, searching for food and protecting their children. The only difference is that they are in a more hazardous environment.

Penguin Town is an 8-part documentary about the African Penguins, which are an endangered species of penguins that live in Africa. Each part of the series shows the experience of one of the penguin families named: The Bougainvilleas, The Courtyards, The Culverts and even Junior the “misfit” penguin. You get a close up view of how the penguins live, love, learn and grow. 

This series is very heart-warming but can also be heartbreaking due to some of the events in the penguins’ lives. My favorite thing about Penguin Town is how the filmmakers named the families based on their homes. For example, the Wheelbarrows live under a wheelbarrow; the Car Park Gang is a group of penguins who are loners, pick on other penguins and actually live in a car park. The camerawork in this film is astonishing. There are mind-blowing close-ups of the penguins, underwater scenes and lots of really cool shots of the penguins in their natural habitats. They truly incorporate plenty of human-like scenes, such as when a group of penguins walk into frame to some hip music as if they are a crew of cool penguins or when a female penguin shakes her head as if she is swinging her hair.

PENGUIN TOWN. Cr. NETFLIX © 2021

The message of Penguin Town is to not to give up; even if you fail the first time or are nervous, it’s okay! In the series, the penguins might fail at trying to swim the first time, but they keep trying and eventually succeed! A hidden message is how climate change and human activities such as fishing endanger the lives of the African Penguins. Parents should be aware of mild profanity and some intense fighting scenes.

I rate Penguin Town 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 10 to 18, plus adults. If you are someone that loves penguins and want to know more about how they live, this is for you! Penguin Town premieres on Netflix, June 16, 2021.

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Fatherhood * Heartwarming, Tear-Jerking Family Film With Kevin Hart Showing A Serious Side

Sunday, June 20th, 2021

Fatherhood is an upcoming American comedy-drama film directed by Paul Weitz from a screenplay by Weitz and Dana Stevens, based on the 2011 memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matthew Logelin. The film stars Kevin Hart, Alfre Woodard, Frankie R. Faison, Lil Rel Howery, DeWanda Wise, Anthony Carrigan, Melody Hurd, and Paul Reiser, and follows a new father who struggles to raise his daughter after the sudden death of his wife.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “Expect the unexpected with Kevin Hart’s new drama film, Fatherhood! The comedian takes his acting to another level and shows us a more serious side, still with a little humor, while delivering a heartwarming, tear-jerking family film.” Apurva S. adds, “Who doesn’t love a good drama film? I know that I definitely do. Fatherhood is such a great one. It has family comedy, portrays a realistic way of life, and the acting is stellar.” See their full reviews below along with Benjamin’s interview with Melody Hurd who plays Maddy.

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

Expect the unexpected with Kevin Hart’s new drama film, Fatherhood! The comedian takes his acting to another level and shows us a more serious side, still with a little humor, while delivering a heartwarming, tear-jerking family film. Fatherhood is based off the 2011 memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matt Logelin and highlights the challenges and triumphs of being a single parent.

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

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

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

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

Fatherhood
Apurva S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

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

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

The best parts of this movie are the acting, the comedy and the drama. Kevin Hart really brings every emotion to life – when his wife dies, his crying shows us his grief. The comedy in this movie is subtle and it is frequent enough to make you laugh.

I really enjoyed the comedy as it reflects funny family moments that we all go through. And the dramatic parts really show how a single parent, especially a father, might act upon losing his wife. Though the story is a bit slow at times, many may be able to relate to it and find it compelling. Fatherhood is based on a true story of a man who was forced to raise his child on his own following his wife’s death.

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

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

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