Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for November, 2021

Encanto * Amazing Film Filled With Great Emotions And Lessons That Bring Big Surprises

Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

The Madrigals are an extraordinary family who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia in a charmed place called the Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift — every child except Mirabel. However, she soon may be the Madrigals last hope when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is now in danger.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Anna Clara B. comments, “Encanto is an amazing film full of teachings that brings big surprises and great emotions to the public. You´ll be thrilled with the many beauties and magic in this film.” See her full review below.

Encanto

By Anna Clara B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Encanto is an amazing film full of teachings that brings big surprises and great emotions to the public. You´ll be thrilled with the many beauties and magic in this film.

The film tells the story of Mirabel Madrigal (Stephanie Beatriz), a girl who is part of  the Madrigal family, a family where everyone has super-magic powers. But, is Mirabel of the same alignment as they are? An unexpected event that puts the family in danger, can change everything.

The storyline is well written. I really love the characters. They are funny and nice and the kind of people that everyone likes. My favorite parts are when Antonio Madrigal talks to the animals. I love animals and have always wanted to understand them. Watching this film gave me a greater desire to communicate with animals. This is magical! I also like the part when Mirabel is going to save the family and she says something funny. The special effects are terrific. Everything is super colorful. The background music is extraordinary; the music I like most is the adventure song when Mirabel takes off on her adventure. I love the adventure genre and this music accentuates it. As for costumes, I particularly love the costumes that show their tradition, yet at the same time, are contemporary outfits. They are so beautiful!

The message of the film is that we need to believe in ourselves, Never give up, because in the end you’ll find a light.

I give Encanto 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Encanto releases in theaters and on Disney+ November 25, 2021.<p>By Anna Clara B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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Kids Helping Kids – One Film At A Time

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

Celebrate Giving Week with KIDS FIRST! November 29 – December 3

I’m a big believer in the importance of taking time to be grateful. It’s not surprising that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all – just ask my children about that. As KIDS FIRST! celebrates its 30th anniversary, I want to express my gratitude to all our wonderful donors and supporters that helps get our KIDS FIRST! Film Critic’s reviews out to kids and families everywhere, guiding them to make better media choices.

https://gofund.me/d26e072d

As we approach Giving Tuesday, I want to remind you that contributions from individual donors like you assist us in meeting our annual fundraising goals which provides critical funding that supports all the backend work at our office – coaching our young reporters, editing their written and videotaped reviews, promoting them on our website, social media pages, YouTube channel, weekly podcast and weekly e-zine.

On the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, you have the opportunity to join millions around the world in supporting the causes they care about on #GivingTuesday. I realize that there are many causes that tug at your heartstrings. I am simply asking you to take a moment to do something that benefits youth and families everywhere. A donation to KIDS FIRST! helps kids make thoughtful media choices and sometimes that can be life changing. Support Kids Helping Kids Make Positive Life Choices One Film At A Time: https://gofund.me/d26e072d

I remember the first time I met Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) and he told me, “Keep doing what you are doing Ranny because it truly does make a difference. I know it’s hard sometimes, but you need to stick with it.”

If you are a regular follower of our lively group of youth reporters, you know that KIDS FIRST! Film Critics are a team of 65 youth, ages 9 to 21, who review the latest films, TV shows, Digital Media designed for a youth and family Audience. Our youth reporters come from all across the USA, plus from other countries.

These young people attend press screenings, press junkets, red carpet events and stand side by side with seasoned entertainment reporters. They hold their own and are well respected in the entertainment industry. Their reviews and talent interviews are published on the KIDS FIRST! website, social media, YouTube Channel, weekly podcast and weekly newsletter. Plus, it is shared with a group of 40+ publications – print and online that reach a total of over 7 million subscribers/viewers/readers with every post.

Our youth reporters are real kids giving real opinions about entertainment geared for youth and families.

They share with you their genuine opinions and give warning about any unsavory elements such as graphic violence, profanity, sexual content or racism. They want you – parents and children alike – to have enough information to make intelligent choices about the media you choose to consume or allow your children to consume. KIDS FIRST! Film Critics are unique in examining entertainment from a youth point of view. When the kids win, everyone wins! Smarter kids make smarter consumers.

KIDS FIRST! has been a trusted source for parents and families for 30 years! In celebration of our 30th anniversary, we ask for your support so we can reach more people nation- and world-wide. Your support provides coaches, editors, technical personnel and equipment to assist our youth reporters, provide ongoing training, and help us reach an ever increasing audience of youth and families.

KIDS FIRST! is a project of the national 501(c)(3) Coalition for Quality Children’s Media. Your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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A Boy Called Christmas * An Unforgettable Magical Tale Of How Christmas Came To Be

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

An ordinary young boy called Nikolas sets out on an extraordinary adventure into the snowy north in search of his father who is on a quest to discover the fabled village of the elves, Elfhelm. Taking with him a headstrong reindeer called Blitzen and a loyal pet mouse, Nikolas soon meets his destiny in this magical, comic and endearing story that proves nothing is impossible.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Carlee S. comments, “A Boy Called Christmas is an unforgettable magical tale of how Christmas came to be. Nikolas sets out on a difficult journey to the Far North in search of his father and the magical elf village called Elfhelm. What he finds is so much more.” See her full review below.

A Boy Called Christmas
By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

A Boy Called Christmas is an unforgettable magical tale of how Christmas came to be. Nikolas sets out on a difficult journey to the Far North in search of his father and the magical elf village called Elfhelm. What he finds is so much more. He finds new friends, hope, and who he was meant to be.

A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS – HENRY LAWFULL as NIKOLAS. © 2021 Netflix US, LLC – Studiocanal SAS

As the film begins, Aunt Ruth (Maggie Smith), comes to babysit three children during the Christmas season. She tells them a story of a boy named Nikolas (Henry Lawfull), or Christmas as his mother used to call him. His father, Joel, (Michael Huisman) embarks on a quest with others to find a spark of magic in the North for the King (Jim Broadbent) who is looking to bring back hope to the people. Nikolas finds a map and ventures into the great unknown with his pet mouse, Miika, in search of his father and the village of Elfhelm.

My favorite scene is when Nikolas meets The Truth Pixie (Zoe Margaret Colletti) while he’s locked away in a tower. The Truth Pixie is a comical character who doesn’t want to help Nikolas at first, but they soon become friends, which is lucky for him. She decides to help him find his dad and their reactions to events are enjoyable to watch. The settings in the film help add to the mood of the story. The small home has simple things that reflect their simple lives. The creative details in the Elfhelm village add a festive flavor to the story. The decorations are perfect for the holiday season and add to the spirit of Christmas. The animation in the film blends well in the scenes. The animated character Miika ( Stephen Merchant) is a helpful little companion to Nicholas that adds a nice touch to the film.

A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS – (L-R) Henry Lawfull as Nikolas, Miika the Mouse (voiced by Stephen Merchant) and Zoe Margaret Colletti as The Truth Pixie . Cr: NETFLIX © 2021 Netflix US, LLC – Studiocanal SAS

The costumes in the film fit the different characters’ personalities well. The elves’ costumes have nice details that go well with the story. I also like how everything ties in with the kids and Aunt Ruth at the end.

The message in this film is to have hope. Hope is what keeps people going in times that are hard. Nickolas learns that hope is never out of reach and shares this thought with others. The king needed a tangible symbol of hope that would bring happiness and learns from Nikolas that it was inside him all along.

I give A Boy Called Christmas 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this to ages 10 to 17, plus adults. It releases on Netflix November 24, 2021.

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King Richard * A Heart-Warming Bio-Drama About Family And Perseverance That Will Inspire The World!

Saturday, November 20th, 2021

Armed with a clear vision and a brazen 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on Compton, California’s neglected tennis courts–rain or shine–the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them. Based on the true story that will inspire the world, “King Richard” follows the uplifting journey of a family whose unwavering resolve and unconditional belief ultimately delivers two of the world’s greatest sports legends.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “You will experience many emotions while watching this film – pride, inspiration, sadness and happiness. My favorite part was watching the family support each other by making the best decisions for the overall family, whether it was getting mentors for Venus and Serena or just figuring out how to survive and strive in everyday life.” Katherine S. adds,” I have a million reasons why I feel this is an incredible movie. The first amazing thing is the acting, which is so believable and so natural that I felt as if I was watching a high-quality documentary. While all the actors have very notable performances, one of the strongest performances is from Will Smith, who plays King Richard. His struggles are so visible as he gets his girls to the top after being rejected so many times.” Ashleigh C. wraps it with, “

See their full reviews below.

King Richard
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST Film Critic, age 11

King Richard is a heart-warming bio-drama film about family and perseverance that will inspire the world! Director Reinaldo Marcus Green and Writer Zach Baylin deliver a great film about achieving the impossible when you don’t give up. It’s based on the true story about tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams and how they rose to fame and the role their father played. Tennis fans are sure to love this, but anyone that loves inspirational films will appreciate it.

King Richard follows the journey of Richard Williams (Will Smith), the father and coach of famed tennis players Serena Williams (Demi Singleton) and Venus Williams (Saniyya Sydney). It shows how, even without having a background in the sport, poor equipment, outdated tennis courts, and limited financial resources, he was able to guide his daughters’ careers and turn them into some of the best athletes in the history of tennis. Williams was an undeterred, driven father with a clear vision and plan to turn his girls into talented superstars using his own unusual methods.

The main characters are Richard Williams, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Demi Singleton, Oracene ‘Brandy’ Williams (Aunjanue Ellis), Paul Cohen (Tony Goldwyn) and Rick Macci (Jon Bernthal). While this film is two hours long, you can’t tell due to the amazing writing and the hilarious comedic delivery of two-time Oscar winner, Will Smith. You will experience many emotions while watching this film – pride, inspiration, sadness and happiness. My favorite part was watching the family support each other by making the best decisions for the overall family, whether it was getting mentors for Venus and Serena or just figuring out how to survive and strive in everyday life. The music is amazing and Beyonce’s feature song “Be Alive” really sums up the journey the girls went through on their rise to the top.

The message throughout King Richard is to never give up and believe in yourself and your family, no matter your circumstances or background. The Williams’ sisters came from a rough neighborhood and their family didn’t have the money and resources needed to properly train them, but did not let that stop them from working hard and eventually dominating the world of tennis. Their father, Richard Williams, had a dream and a plan and he stuck to it. He also taught his family to dream big, despite any obstacles. Parents should be aware that there is mild violence.

I rate King Richard 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 8 to 18, plus adults. King Richard serves up in theaters November 19, 2021 and on HBO Max for 30 days after the theatrical release.

King Richard
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

King Richard is one of the best movies of the year! The movie tells the incredible story of the childhood lives of two of the most famous female tennis players ever, Serena and Venus Williams. The acting is stupendous, and the portrayal of the Williams’ story is extremely accurate. I love how there is so much subtle humor that keeps you laughing throughout the movie.

This storyline follows the lives of the Williams’ family, specifically Serena (Demi Singleton), Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and their father, Richard’s (Will Smith) journey to the top of the tennis world. You learn about their home life, their victories and their struggles.

I have a million reasons why I feel this is an incredible movie. The first amazing thing is the acting, which is so believable and so natural that I felt as if I was watching a high-quality documentary. While all the actors have very notable performances, one of the strongest performances is from Will Smith, who plays King Richard. His struggles are so visible as he gets his girls to the top after being rejected so many times. Other strong performances come from Saniyya Sidney (Venus Williams) and Demi Singleton (Serena Williams) because they both portray their character very accurately and you really feel their passion for tennis. Another terrific thing about the movie is its accuracy. Almost every detail stays true to the real lives of the Williams family – from the dialogue, to the outfits, to the sets and locations. One more thing that stands out is the cinematography, which is breathtaking. There are many exceptional camera shots that show varied points of view and add to the film’s uniqueness.

The messages of the movie are that family is everything and you should always follow your passions. This movie will definitely inspire future tennis players, and other future athletes. There is some offensive language, mild violence and mention of drugs.

I give King Richard 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Tennis fans will most certainly love this. This movie releases in theaters and on HBO Max November 19, 2021.

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Ghostbusters: Afterlife * Comedy And Nostalgic Moments Mixed With A Journey Filled With Adventure

Saturday, November 20th, 2021

When a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like Ghostbusters: Afterlife because it includes a great combination of events from the original 1984 movie. This film has comedy and nostalgic moments mixed with a journey filled with adventure. Then the ending gives the audience a hint of a sequel.” Heather S. adds, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a beautiful love letter to a classic film! It’s the Easter Egg Hunt of the year, with wonderful cameos and amazing new characters. Ghostbusters’ fans of any age are set for an incredible ride.” See their full reviews below.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13


I like Ghostbusters: Afterlife because it includes a great combination of events from the original 1984 movie. This film has comedy and nostalgic moments mixed with a journey filled with adventure. Then the ending gives the audience a hint of a sequel.

This magnificent movie starts off with Egon Spengler in his home located in a creepy, old farm in the middle of nowhere. He is a lonely, old man whose life revolves around how to capture ghosts. After his death, his daughter and single mother of two kids, Callie (Carrie Coon), moves to Spengler’s farm. Spengler’s granddaughter Phoebe, (Mckenna Grace), is very skeptical of ghosts’ existence until she starts experimenting with strange events happening in her bedroom. That’s when Phoebe’s grandfather’s spirit takes her to the Ghostbusters’ gun and guides her to assemble it. Her older brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) fixes the old Ghostbuster mobile from 1984 and they start their journey to capture this maleficent ghost with the help of Podcast, Phoebe’s classmate, and Trevor’s girlfriend.

This film has amazing graphics and sound effects like. For example, when Phoebe shoots the gun, the light effect coming out of it is very cool. The props look real. I love the use of the Ghostbusters’ mobile, which is a huge prop that brings back memories of the original film. The landscape and scenery are mostly outside. The audience can appreciate seeing the town, the green areas and the lonely and creepy farm. I like the costumes, such as when the children wear the 1984 Ghostbuster’s uniform, which brings nostalgic memories to older audiences. Bill Murray, Ray Stantz, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts, cast members from 1984, reappear and give this film a sense of excitement and memorabilia. Of course, Slimer, the green friendly ghost, is in this movie. The audience will enjoy some of the 1984 movie puns and also the Ghostbusters original theme song which plays in the credits. My favorite scene is when Phoebe’s teacher, Mr. Groobers (Paul Rudd), is in the store and the marshmallows come to life as little Michelin look alike creatures. They are so cute, but at the same time, they destroy everything and start killing each other inside blenders and with torches.

The moral of this film is for young people to understand the sacrifices that our parents make for us in order to have a better life. Egon Spengler spent his whole life hunting and catching ghosts in order that his daughter will have a better life. Too bad Callie didn’t realize her father’s sacrifices until he passed.

I give Ghostbusters: Afterlife 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters on November 19, 2021. And remember, if you experience paranormal activity, “Who are you gonna call?”

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

By Heather Suarez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a beautiful love letter to a classic film! It’s the Easter Egg Hunt of the year, with wonderful cameos and amazing new characters. Ghostbusters’ fans of any age are set for an incredible ride.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife follows Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) after they move to a secluded town in the middle of nowhere. Their grandfather recently passed away and left them with a house. Unbeknownst to them, their grandfather was Egon Spengler, legendary Ghostbuster. There’s paranormal activity in the town and now Phoebe, Trevor and their friends and family have to bust some ghosts.

This movie is incredible all around. There are so many wonderful references to the original Ghostbusters film – the proton pack, the jumpsuit, the iconic Cadillac. The writers fit in so many amazing tokens that will have fans gasping and tearing up. The best part is how all the new characters look up to the original team, thinking of them as legends, and the ghost phenomenon in the 1980s as extraordinary. The new characters are awesome; they are lovable and funny, making audiences want to see more of them. The way Phoebe loves science reminds fans of Egon, and Trevor’s brashness resembles Venkman. Podcast is a hilarious, supernatural-loving kid who fans are going to adore. It’s so adorable how he looks up to Ray Stantz, and even has a few scenes that mirror Ray’s in the first film of the franchise. The CGI is fantastic, using remarkable de-aging technology. The production team was careful in not overusing CGI, keeping both the Gatekeeper and the Key Master exactly as they were in the 1984 film, instead of modernizing their appearances. The cameos are so amazing; they don’t take over the entire film, but they have significance to the plot, and fit perfectly into the storyline. The two post-credit scenes are a must-watch, including a deleted scene, a cameo and an opening for a sequel.

The moral of the film is to be yourself and follow your heart. Phoebe is an outcast for her love of science and being socially awkward. Her mother mentions on several occasions how she worries for her daughter. Phoebe learns to be herself, makes new friends, and is able to hunt some ghosts using her intelligence.

I give Ghostbusters: Afterlife 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It is available exclusively in theaters November 19, 2021.

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