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The End of Blindness * Beautiful Moving Real-Life Story Drawing Attention To An Important Issue

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

There is a crisis in Ethiopia. With over four million cases of visual impairment it has one of the highest rates of blindness on the continent. But one man is fighting to change that. Here, over a million people live without sight. In fact, it has one of the highest rates of blindness in Africa. The End of Blindness tells the incredible true story of Dr. Samuel Bora, the only ophthalmologist for over 3 million people in rural Ethiopia who provides free cataract surgery to the blind poor. Dedicating his life to serving the poor in his country, Dr. Samuel performs up to 60 surgeries a day for those who would otherwise be forgotten. Step inside the operating room and witness the powerful impact a single surgeon can have on the lives of thousands of people- from children with cataracts to a blind mother who has never seen her son.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “The End of Blindness is a beautifully shot, moving real-life story drawing attention to an important current issue. It’s not just a great watch, but a necessary watch in 2021.”

The End of Blindness
By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The End of Blindness is a beautifully shot, moving real-life story drawing attention to an important current issue. It’s not just a great watch, but a necessary watch in 2021.

Ethiopia is facing a crisis. With over four million cases of visual impairment it has one of the highest rates of blindness on the continent, but one man — Mr. Samuel Bora — is fighting to change that. Dr. Bora is the only ophthalmologist for over three million people in rural Ethiopia, providing free cataract surgery to the blind poor. Dr. Samuel performs up to 60 surgeries a day for those who would otherwise be forgotten. The End of Blindness takes you into the operating room and shows you the impact one can have on the lives of thousands of people, from children with cataracts due to trauma to a blind mother who has never seen her son.

Dr. Bora’s passion for helping the poor is evident, as he has been touched by poverty. The film features many emotional scenes where he shares more about his journey from working in his village to being sponsored for a formal education by two Finnish missionaries. The care with which Dr. Bora does his work and the compelling way he speaks about his job and his life make a narrator almost unnecessary. The narrator only interjects once or twice to help move the story along or summarize, which works well.

My favorite scene in the film is when Dr. Bora visits a patient whose eyesight has been restored; seeing the ecstasy on her and her husband’s face really made my day, and I’m sure it made Dr. Bora’s day, too. The cinematography is beautiful and it’s evident that a professional team has taken on this effort. Panoramic shots of Addis Ababa and the Ethiopian countryside open the film and close-up shots of surgery provide a clear view of exactly how cataract surgery is performed (though many may be squeamish at the sight). Overall, it’s an immaculately created film.

The End of Blindness promotes community service, using your talents for good and showing compassion, just like Dr. Samuel Bora does. There are some graphic scenes of surgery that those who are afraid of needles or blood will find difficult to watch.

I give The End of Blindness 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. The End of Blindness releases on demand on November 16, 2021.

The End of Blindness
By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The End Of Blindness is an inspiring and heartfelt documentary. With so many great stories it is sure to inform you about something you didn’t know before and make you want to help.


This documentary is about Samuel Bora who is the only ophthalmologist for three million people in rural Ethiopia. It shares many stories about people who have eye problems or are blind and how Dr. Bora provides free or very cheap cataract surgery for the poor. We learn about Dr. Bora’s incredible life story during this documentary.


One of the most amazing parts is seeing people take off their eye patch after their surgery. When they can see, after being in the dark for so long, you share their joy. There are lots of cool camera angles such as the shot from the ground when a jeep passes by. There are also some shots of African villages that show us how different these cities are from what we are accustomed to in the USA. There are so many remarkable stories that range from a blind 67-year-old to a blind 9-year-old. There is no age limit to blindness. Though most of the people’s blindness is fixable, not all are, and it is sad when they are told nothing can be done. Something else I found out is that blind people sometimes have their children act as guides, which prevents the children from having a normal life. These surgeries not only give a blind person sight but their child gets a chance to be a kid again.

The message is that no matter what the situation, there is always something to be done, so go out and do it. I should warn you that there are scenes of cataract surgery which are very graphic and may be unpleasant to watch.

I give The End Of Blindness 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It comes out On Demand November 16, 2021.

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Finch * A Sole Human Survivor, A Lovable Robot And A Cute Dog Make Finch An Adventure Like No Other

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

In Finch, a man, a robot and a dog form an unlikely family in a powerful and moving adventure of one man’s quest to ensure that his beloved canine companion will be cared for after he’s gone. Tom Hanks stars as Finch, a robotics engineer and one of the few survivors of a cataclysmic solar event that has left the world a wasteland. But Finch, who has been living in an underground bunker for a decade, has built a world of his own that he shares with his dog, Goodyear. He creates a robot, played by Caleb Landry Jones, to watch over Goodyear when he no longer can. As the trio embarks on a perilous journey into a desolate American West, Finch strives to show his creation, who names himself Jeff, the joy and wonder of what it means to be alive. Their road trip is paved with both challenges and humor, as it’s as difficult for Finch to goad Jeff and Goodyear to get along as it is for him to manage the dangers of the new world.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “Cinematography, sound effects mixed with one sole apocalypse human survivor, a lovable, relatable robot, and a cute dog, make Finch an adventure like no other! Not to mention that it has some of the best CGI I have ever seen.” See her full review below.

Finch
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Cinematography, sound effects mixed with one sole apocalypse human survivor, a lovable, relatable robot, and a cute dog, make Finch an adventure like no other! Not to mention that it has some of the best CGI I have ever seen. Finch is considered a sci-fi drama film, but could also be considered a comedy, making this a very interesting film.

Finch tells the story of Finch (Tom Hanks), who survives the apocalypse with just his dog, Goodyear, and a new robot, Jeff (Caleb Landry Jones). Finch builds Jeff from scratch to look after and protect Goodyear in case he dies from the effects of the apocalypse. The three of them travel in an RV to search for a new home that hasn’t been affected by the apocalypse. During their journey, Finch tries to survive in this new world, while also teaching Jeff all about being human and keeping Goodyear safe.

The main characters are Finch, Jeff the Robot and Goodyear. Hanks has a one-man show in this film, but you tend to forget that because of his loving and protective relationship and dialogue with Jeff and Goodyear. He is a genius at carrying the film with no other human actors. My favorite character is Jeff the Robot because he is very relatable and curious. He steals the film with his determination to learn how to be human and his humorous ways. He is very dedicated to learn how to communicate and bond with Goodyear. When Jeff decides to learn how to speak “dog” with Goodyear it is hilarious watching them bark at each other. Part of what makes Jeff so funny is that he takes everything Finch says literally. Finch once tells Jeff that there are holes in the sky like swiss cheese. Jeff then goes off to try to locate the cheese. One of the most beautiful parts of this film is the relationship Finch, Jeff and Goodyear have and the level of trust they have with each other in order to survive. The CGI in this film is spectacular and really keeps you engaged.

The message of this film focuses on learning about life, love, friendship and what it means to be human. Finch spends the entire movie teaching Jeff how to be human so he can properly take care of Goodyear in case anything happens to him, even teaching him about having trust. It is very heartwarming watching their relationship develop throughout the film.

I rate Finch 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Finch is available on AppleTV+ November 5, 2021.

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Clifford the Big Red Dog * Action-Packed, Filled With Fun Adventures Based On The Book

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

When middle-schooler Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) meets a magical animal rescuer (John Cleese) who gifts her a little, red puppy, she never anticipated waking up to find a giant ten-foot hound in her small New York City apartment. While her single mom (Sienna Guillory) is away for business, Emily and her fun but impulsive uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) set out on an adventure that will keep you on the edge-of-your-seat as our heroes take a bite out of the Big Apple. Based on the beloved Scholastic book character, Clifford will teach the world how to love big!

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “Clifford the Big Red Dog is the kind of lightweight, zippy children’s entertainment that keeps kids engaged and parents from eyeing the theater’s exits.” Giana N. adds, “Clifford the Big Red Dog is an action-packed film, filled with fun adventures and non-stop-entertainment. It’s based off the original show from the 2000s, but it’s made more modern. If you are a fan of the original Clifford the Big Red Dog, then you will definitely enjoy this.” Selene W. adds, “The message of this film is that love comes in many shapes and sizes.  Being different doesn’t exclude you from being loved, but rather expands love’s possibilities.  Clifford teaches Darby how love can bring new experiences and confidence when you allow it to grow.” See their full reviews below.

Clifford The Big Red Dog

Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Darby Camp stars in CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Clifford the Big Red Dog is an action-packed film, filled with fun adventures and non-stop-entertainment. It’s based off the original show from the 2000s, but it’s made more modern. If you are a fan of the original Clifford the Big Red Dog, then you will definitely enjoy this.

The storyline follows Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) who is an outcast at her new school and, while her mom is away, she is being taken care of by her Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) who is a bit irresponsible. On her way to school she comes across an animal petting tent and meets Clifford, a little red dog. One morning she wakes up and Clifford is ten feet tall. Emily needs to find a way to get Clifford small again before she gets into a whole lot of trouble.

Izaac Wang, Darby Camp and Jack Whitehall in CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

My favorite aspect of the film is that this one keeps to the same concept as the original show. Although Clifford starts out as a small puppy, he grows bigger and bigger the more he feels loved by Emily Elizabeth. And the bigger he gets, the more noticeable he is to everyone. Clifford is obviously animated and you know he’s not real. However, the animation makes him look pretty realistic and he’s so cute. I also like the relationships Emily had with her family and friends. Even though the officials claim Clifford belongs to someone else, the people that are closest to Emily stick with her until the end.

Izaac Wang in CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: K.C. Bailey

My favorite character is Uncle Casey because he is funny and fun to be around. He is hilarious when the time is right, and he also knows how to be serious, keep focused and get the job done when he needs to. The acting in this film is just really believable. With all the emotional and exciting scenes in this film, you’ll find yourself entertained the whole time. You may even shed a tear while watching.                        

The message of Clifford The Big Red Dog is that it’s okay to be different. Everybody is different and it’s a normal thing. So we should just accept each other the way we are.

I rate Clifford The Big Red Dog 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters and on Paramount+ November 10, 2021. Be sure to check it out!

Clifford the Big Red Dog

By Benjamin P. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Clifford the Big Red Dog is the kind of lightweight, zippy children’s entertainment that keeps kids engaged and parents from eyeing the theater’s exits. It doesn’t stray away from what Clifford stands for, but it fundamentally misunderstands what has made Clifford’s adventures iconic.

Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) is a pre-teen on a scholarship at her private school, picked on by her classmates for her comparative lack of wealth. She trudges home each day, worn down by her classmates’ ridicule, but that changes when her mom has to leave town and her unruly Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) arrives. On the way to school, they come across a tent shrouded in mystery with an eccentric owner named Mr. Bridwell (John Cleese), and there they find a little red dog named Clifford. Casey lets his niece know she can’t take the puppy home and, despite her sunken shoulders and the hanging head, she agrees. But little Clifford gets in her backpack and later she finds him. Emily wishes that she and the dog would grow big and strong so they could be protected from the world’s cruelty. A tear tinged with magic runs down her face and brushes against Clifford’s bright red fur and—just like that!—the next day, he’s grown to his familiar grand size.

Emily and Clifford’s serenity is short-lived, and you can’t keep a 10-foot dog a secret for long; from there, Emily, the dog and her uncle, dash back and forth across New York City in search of a home for Clifford as a genetics company wants to harness Clifford’s traits for their next product and tries to capture him.

Clifford the Big Red Dog gets lost in grounding their characters in the real world. The simplicity of the Clifford stories is part of what make these best-selling books so well-known and loved.  As this story goes deeper into the corporate troubles of the genetics company, the fun of placing Clifford in the real world isn’t developed, with the exception of Clifford chasing a giant inflatable ball across a park.  Also, there is a bit of a message in this film that the minute you are made fun of, that you should put your aggressor through the same humiliation which did not sit right with me.

I give Clifford the Big Red Dog 3 out of 5 starsand recommend it for ages 6 to 13 for some crude and rude humor as well as some cruelty toward a bully. Clifford the Big Red Dogpaws its way into theaters and onto Paramount+ November 10, 2021.

Clifford the Big Red Dog 

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13  

Darby Camp and Jack Whitehall star in CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Adventure has never been bigger than in Clifford the Big Red Dog, based on the beloved Scholastic book series.  This movie really grows on you as quickly as Clifford grows from a small puppy to a big red dog.

Clifford the Big Red Dog is a story about Emily Elizabeth Howard (Darby Camp) who is gifted an adorable red puppy after she and her Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) discover a magical pet rescuer (John Cleese) on their way to school.  The puppy grows overnight into a big red dog and Emily Elizabeth and her uncle have many adventures trying to adjust to Clifford’s new size and the various problems that arise.  An antagonist shows up to seize Clifford for his scientific experiments. Emily Elizabeth and her friends rescue Clifford and, in the end, it is Clifford that rescues Emily.

Jack Whitehall in CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures.

My favorite character is obviously Clifford, but I also enjoyed Jack Whitehall’s (Uncle Casey) performance which is so humorous, especially the interesting situations as he tries to grow into his role as the supervising adult.  Darby Camp (Emily Elizabeth) really shows a great deal of emotional depth as her  special bond with Clifford grows along with his size.  My favorite scene is the one where Clifford is playing fetch with a blow-up ball in New York City’s Central Park.  I really enjoyed all of the New York scenery and characters from the Big Apple which add to the story.

The message of this film is that love comes in many shapes and sizes.  Being different doesn’t exclude you from being loved, but rather expands love’s possibilities.  Clifford teaches Darby how love can bring new experiences and confidence when you allow it to grow.

I rate Clifford the Big Red Dog 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 10, plus adults who will enjoy the humor as well. The film is available in theaters and on Paramount+ November 10, 2021. Don’t miss this classic story as it come to life!

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The Electrical Life of Louis Wain * Intense, Emotional, Reveals A Shocking, Yet Heartwarming Story

Friday, November 5th, 2021

English artist Louis Wain rises to prominence at the end of the 19th century for his surreal cat paintings that seemed to reflect his declining sanity. After his father’s death, Louis Wain tries to look after his five sisters and his mother as a freelance artist. He is fortunate that Sir William Ingram, editor of the Illustrated London News, offers him a job as an illustrator. His life takes another positive turn when Emily Richardson, the new governess of his sisters, steps into it. She becomes the love of his life, and soon they take in a stray kitten they call Peter. It is unusual in the Victorian era to keep a cat as a pet, and the cat pictures that Louis paints from then on are just as unusual.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like The Electrical Life of Louis Wain because I learned facts about electricity that I didn’t know before. I learned to see electricity in a different way. What I like about this movie is that it is based on the life of the painter Louis Wain and it is filled with drama, comedy, romance and tragic events.” Mikella G. adds, “I really like The Electrical life of Louis Wain because it is intense and emotional, but still very attention grabbing. It really locks you in and reveals a shocking, but heartwarming story.” See their full reviews below.

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 13

I like The Electrical Life of Louis Wain because I learned facts about electricity that I didn’t know before. I learned to see electricity in a different way. What I like about this movie is that it is based on the life of the painter Louis Wain and it is filled with drama, comedy, romance and tragic events.

This extraordinary film is about the eccentric, British painter named Louis Wain portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. The film beings in 1880s London when Mr. Wain is a young boy, and his family depends on him economically. He loves painting animal portraits, rather than people and when his younger sisters need a teacher (Claire Foy) he accepts a better job in order to pay for the governess who he falls in love with and marries. Wain has a peculiar way of feeling and seeing electricity; seeing it as a feeling between people and animals, especially cats, which takes him to painting cats and making a huge profit from those paintings. 

The scenes in this film are exquisite, showing Victorian style furniture, houses and beautiful landscapes of 1880s London. The costumes are also from the Victorian era. We see British traditions like drinking tea at midday, visiting the opera house to watch a film and gossiping between nosey neighbors. The instrumental music is very appealing as well. The movie is narrated by Olivia Coleman. I believe this film will be nominated for Best Picture of 2021 and I predict Benedict Cumberbatch will be nominated for Best Actor, because his performance as Louis Wain from each stage of his life is magnificent. Mr. Wain’s world was full of eccentric and colorful imagination. His infatuation with cats made him one of the most acclaimed painters of his era. His last work was about cats wearing Victorian outfits and acting as humans. What if Mr. Wain was smart enough to see beyond what normal people can see?

The moral of this film is to understand that mental health, besides being an illness, can also be a gift, if treated. This film does contain some mature content and strong language.

I give The Electrical Life of Louis Wain 5 out of 5 stars and recommended to ages 12 to 18. plus adults. The movie will be released in theaters and on Amazon Prime November 5, 2021. And remember, if you or your loved ones suffer from mental health, don’t hesitate to look for help. Mental health requires a great deal of attention and it needs to be faced and dealt with.

The Electrical life of Louis Wain

By Mikella G, KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, age 15

I really like The Electrical life of Louis Wain because it is intense and emotional, but still very attention grabbing. It really locks you in and reveals a shocking, but heartwarming story.

This storyline is set in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It follows Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch) as he navigates his way through life. Louis is an aspiring artist, most known for his infamous cat paintings, and always looks at things from a different perspective. He goes through quite a bit of trauma, but learns from it and never gives up his loves and passions in life.

Something that I really enjoy about this film is the acting. Each of the actors brings a raw, genuine feeling to their character and each character has its own storyline. I was really drawn to Marie’s (Hayley Squires) character, which is one of Louis’ younger sisters. She is a very complex character with so many emotions. In addition, Claire Foy, who plays Emily, really intrigued me. Emily is Louis’s wife and is a uniquely emotional character. All her lines have a very specific meaning, and Claire really brings them forward. Another thing I enjoyed is the time period; the film takes place in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a time period I particularly enjoy.

The wardrobe from that time period is something I love, particularly the costumes of all the women wearing these extremely detailed dresses. Each of Louis’ sisters has a personal that matches the times. Even Marie (Anya Mackenna), who is so young, wears outfits suited to the era. Plus, the house interiors show us so much about what life was like back then, including what kind of technology they used.

The message of this film is that, no matter how many obstacles life throws at you, if you strive for better days then they will come. This film does include some profanity.


I give The Electrical Life of Louis Wain 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain releases in theaters and on Amazon Prime November 5, 2021.

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Eternals * An Action Filled Blockbuster Teaching About Cultures From So Many Different Centuries

Friday, November 5th, 2021

Marvel Studios’ Eternals features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, the Deviants. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Mikella G. comments, “I really like Eternals. It’s an action filled blockbuster that teaches you about cultures from so many different centuries. Most importantly, it brings you into a whole new world of marvel.” See her full review below.

Eternals

By Mikella G, KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, age 15

I really like Eternals. It’s an action filled blockbuster that teaches you about cultures from so many different centuries. Most importantly, it brings you into a whole new world of marvel.

This film centers on the life of the eight eternals that are the first of their kind and have immortal life. Each character has their own unique characteristics, and powers. Throughout the movie they work together to help create a better planet, and learn many things along the way.

Something that really stands out to me is the amount of surprises that are thrown along the way. This movie is extremely unpredictable, which creates a suspense that really grabs the viewer’s attention. There are so many turns of events that I never expected! Another thing that I really enjoy is how many different locations are involved in the film. For instance, they talk about Mesopotamia and ancient times. We see so much about their cultures and how people back then lived their lives. The camera highlights how people used natural resources to survive. We also learn about their religion and life skills. This is especially interesting to me because I am currently learning about these places in my history class. Finally, I love how unique and diverse each character’s costumes are. For example, Thena (Angelina Jolie) has a very classically elegant wardrobe, whereas Sersi (Gemma Chan) wears more armor and structured outfits. I love fashion, and enjoy when movies put a lot of attention into it and that is definitely the case here.

The message of this film is to never lose sight of who you are, no matter what unexpected surprises life throws at you. This film does include a slightly sexual scene, as well as violence with fire and open wounds.

I give Eternals 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Eternals in theaters starting November 5, 2021.

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