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Bob Marley: One Love * A Captivating Biopic Celebrating Reggae Artist Bob Marley And His Music

Friday, February 16th, 2024

Bob MarleyOne Love celebrates the life and music of an icon who inspired generations through his message of love and unity. On the big screen for the first time, discover Bob’s powerful story of overcoming adversity and the journey behind his revolutionary music. Produced in partnership with the Marley family and starring Kingsley Ben-Adir as the legendary musician and Lashana Lynch as his wife Rita.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Zoe C. comments, “Bob Marley: One Love is a captivating biopic that celebrates iconic reggae artist Bob Marley (Kingsley Ben-Adir), as fortitude guides him through adversity and his music inspires people all around the world. We see how Bob expresses unity and love through his music as he quickly becomes a worldwide phenomenon.” Mikella G. adds, “Bob Marley: One Love is a passionate and inspiring documentary. I really like this film because it is educational, yet thrilling at the same time, and caused me to positively change my view of the world.” NaNa A. wraps it with, “Kingsley Ben-Adir’s performance as Bob Marley is great. His singing and his dancing are on point. I love the song choices in this film. I think that they chose Bob Marley’s best songs and they fit well with the structure of the film.” See their full reviews below.

Bob Marley: One Love
By Zoe C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Bob Marley: One Love is a captivating biopic that celebrates iconic reggae artist Bob Marley (Kingsley Ben-Adir), as fortitude guides him through adversity and his music inspires people all around the world. We see how Bob expresses unity and love through his music as he quickly becomes a worldwide phenomenon. As a music lover, and someone who didn’t know too much about Bob Marley, I really enjoyed watching this film. I like the pace and how director Reinaldo Marcus Green tells this compelling story through outstanding cinematography, an exceptional cast and sincere storytelling.

The story begins in 1976, late in Bob Marley’s life, but arguably the most important time of his career. While Bob loves Jamaica he realizes he must leave to protect himself and his family. He goes to London to find the right sound for his next album. Then “Exodus,” one of the most important albums of the 20th century, was born. The rest of the film demonstrates many of the obstacles Bob Marley had to overcome – finding purpose, struggling with confidence, and maintaining a healthy relationship with his wife.

Kingsley Ben-Adir steals the show. He’s extremely believable and delivers an incredible performance. From his body language to the way he speaks, he really becomes Bob Marley on the big screen. Lashana Lynch as Rita Marlee, Bob’s wife, gives another incredible performance. She plays Rita with such confidence – together, their relationship is one of this film’s strongest aspects. Kudos to them and to all the actors involved; their accents are on point, although a little difficult to understand at times. Regarding the story itself, I don’t think this film fully pays tribute to the icon that Bob Marley truly is. The film touches on how his music has united nations and delivers powerful messages of freedom, peace and bringing people together. However, Bob Marley didn’t only change music forever; he truly did change the world. I wish the writers would have delved deeper into the impact Bob Marley made on others. 

The message of this film is that people always face adversity but we can always find ways to overcome those hard times, and music is the greatest power to feel well and unite us. Be forewarned that this film is rated PG-13 for smoking throughout the movie, some violence and strong language.

I give Bob Marley: One Love 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releasesin theaters February 14, 2024. 

Bob Marley: One Love
By Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Bob Marley: One Love is a passionate and inspiring documentary. I really like this film because it is educational, yet thrilling at the same time, and caused me to positively change my view of the world.

Bob Marley: One Love is an honest and revealing documentary about the life of Bob Marley. He is a father, husband and a trusted friend who wants nothing more than love and world peace to be spread across the nation. The Jamaican singer was determined to bring his people together through music, despite the ongoing war and conflict.

A huge standout in this film is the directing by Reinaldo Marcus Green who created a nostalgic, sentimental, yet uncomfortable feeling to this documentary from the start, foreshadowing the outcome of the film. He focuses on different characters in different scenes and uses camera angles that help viewers to pick up on specific details, particularly, the shots of Marley’s first concert in Jamaica.

There are so many highlighted parts that help the audience to unravel this difficult topic of having hope in even the most hopeless of times. Some of the shots zoom in on Marley moving in slow-motion. Similarly, this is also done with the crowd that is watching him, which helps viewers understand just how impactful his music really is. All of the cinematography and scenery in this movie is beautiful. Each location shown is exquisitely shot. France, London, and all the other European locations have a very local feel, yet there is also the excitement of discovering a new place, which is exactly what those in the film are doing.

Most importantly, the lens that Jamaica is shown through fits the tone and mood of this documentary perfectly. I felt that I was able to understand what it looked like in the 1970s and, through shots of the beaches, the eye-catching colors and the abundance of culture, I was able to partially understand what it must have felt like during that time. Lastly, what piques this film’s enjoyability the most for me is the message told throughout the movie. Bob Marley’s entire purpose for creating his music was to unite his people, and bring peace to the battling leaders of Jamaica. He wanted nothing more than for everyone to come together peacefully.

The message of fighting for what you believe in – no matter the risks – and living your life to the absolute fullest is delivered beautifully, and reinforced throughout the entire film. Kingsley Ben-Adir who plays Marley is outstanding; his ability to showcase these characteristics of Marley does not go unnoticed. He brings this legendary human being to life, allowing the world to understand Bob Marley for all that he was and all that he stood for.

The message of Bob Marley: One Love is that in this life, peace and love will always bring you the most happiness and win in the end. Please be aware that this film does include foul language, slightly gruesome fight scenes, and the use of drugs and smoking.

I give Bob Marley: One Love 5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Bob Marley: One Love in theaters beginning February 14, 2024.

Bob Marley: One Love
By NaNa A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I like the film Bob Marley: One Love because of its deep references to Jamaica and its culture. I also love the settings and the song choices. The humor is great and makes the movie a lot better.

This film is about Jamaica’s biggest pop star, Bob Marley (Kingsley Ben-Adir) and his journey to becoming a famous singer, beloved worldwide. We see Bob Marley at the beginning, living a normal life, playing soccer and making music with his friends. However, this was a time of a lot of violence in Jamaica and Barley and his wife both experienced it firsthand. Bob Marley was inspired by the violence to pursue his music career and traveled to London to start to produce his music there. His song, Exodus, gave him a big rise in popularity and fame. 

Kingsley Ben-Adir’s performance as Bob Marley is great. His singing and his dancing are on point. I love the song choices in this film. I think that they chose Bob Marley’s best songs and they fit well with the structure of the film. My favorite part of this film is when he is making his song Exodus with his band in his living room and everyone is smiling and having fun. It made me laugh and smile. Marley was a Rastafarianism which he believed unified the Jamaican people and was a big part of his music creation.  The film also has a lot of humor in it, which adds to its appeal. 

The film’s message is to never give up and always follow your dreams. Be forewarned that there are incidents of gun violence and bloody gore in this film. 

I give Bob Marley: One Love 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. You can find Bob Marley: One Love in theaters February 14, 2024.  

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A Nashville Wish * The Romantic Country Film Of A Lifetime Combining Drama, Country Music, And Romance

Thursday, February 8th, 2024

A country singer falls for the girl of his dreams and has to choose between love and his dreams of stardom in Nashville.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kyla C. comments, “A Nashville Wish is the romantic country film of a lifetime. Combining drama, country music, and romance, this film is engaging and enjoyable.” Eshaan M. adds, “With a foot-tapping score, A Nashville Wish is a classic family watch that delivers exactly what it promises — a high school romance with some country music. “ Ella S. wraps it up with, “A Nashville Wish is a moving musical with an inspiring success story. It is set in the countryside and told by interesting, dynamic characters and impressive musical performances. I love the encouraging environment the movie creates with characters who provide support for one another.” See their full reviews below.

A Nashville Wish
By Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

A Nashville Wish is the romantic country film of a lifetime. Combining drama, country music, and romance, this film is engaging and enjoyable. It has strong acting, pleasant music and, for the most part, an excellent storyline.

This film follows Tucker (Maxfield Camp) as he navigates the ups and downs of his musical career and his relationship throughout his senior year of high school and the following summer. Tucker has a dream relationship with his longtime crush, the cheer captain, Lisa (Kaileigh Bullard). However, this relationship begins to create more obstacles and challenges for Tucker as he is forced to decide whether the greatest love of his life is worth sacrificing the possibility of his lifelong dream, to record music in Nashville. With Lisa’s parents disapproving of Tucker, their long term plan for her in the family business, and her reputation in town, she also has to make a difficult decision.

The characters in A Nashville Wish are portrayed meaningfully and emotionally. Tucker and Lisa are both very dynamic characters who have deep, personal backstories. For example, we discover that some of Tucker’s motives are due to a family loss a few years back. This demonstrates even further the depth of each character and how much effort went into creating these characters and bringing them to life onscreen. The acting fully mirrors the talent of the writers. Maxfield Camp and Kaileigh Bullard have amazing chemistry as a couple throughout the highs and lows of their onscreen relationship. They are so genuine; it truly seems like they’re in love. Maxfield wonderfully accentuates Tucker’s changes through a variety of conflicts, emotions, friendships and so much more. To match the spectacular characters and acting, the music is fantastic and fits the movie in every way. Despite not being a big country music fan myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the songs that are incorporated at every twist and turn of the plot. They help express the characters’ emotions and thoughts, and also help with the setting and mood of the film. The tone of the music always matches the events occurring in the film. While the songs help move the story along, the story is a bit lacking at times. Although the plot and the concept is unique and very engaging, some of the subplots failed to engage me and ended up slowing down the movement of the story. For example, parts of the film focus on Tucker’s best friend, Chewy (Fletcher Olsen). Although the character and the acting are perfect for the film, some of the storyline involving him is really unnecessary and slow.

The theme of A Nashville Wish is that when difficult decisions come around in life, it’s important to think long and hard about your priorities so you don’t make irrational decisions. Tucker’s big decision is the main focal point of the film and this message is emphasized through his character and his decisions.

I give A Nashville Wish 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can watch A Nashville Wish in theaters beginning February 2, 2024, and on video on demand beginning February 27, 2024.

A Nashville Wish
By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

With a foot-tapping score, A Nashville Wish is a classic family watch that delivers exactly what it promises — a high school romance with some country music.

In a small town in West Virginia, high school senior Tucker (Maxfield Camp) has big dreams to travel to Nashville and cement his career as a country music star with his best friend Chewie (Fletcher Olson) after graduation. He falls in love with the beautiful cheerleader Lisa (Kaileigh Bullard), and she’s smitten by him as well after a serendipitous event at a concert where their favorite artist Cassie Jo Campbell (Alexis Gomez) is playing. There’s just one problem — Lisa comes from a wealthy family who owns a prominent business in town, and her parents won’t let her go to Nashville with Tucker. Lisa defies her parents, and all is set. But in a conveniently-timed scene, right before they leave for Nashville, Chewie tells her that she will ruin Tucker’s chances of becoming a star and convinces her to dump Tucker and stay home. Now Tucker is heartbroken in Nashville, and Lisa is heartbroken in West Virginia. Viewers will see how the two get back together — if at all — and the role Cassie Jo Campbell plays in Tucker’s life.

There’s no diving deep into emotions, psyche, or similar here; A Nashville Wish is among the leagues of Hallmark-esque films releasing each year, which is perfectly fine. It works as good, clean family entertainment. The acting is passable, with Camp and Olson, ironically enough, having the best chemistry with one another. A couple scenes are interestingly staged, including a musical interlude where Tucker and Lisa are in the middle of a field alone…except for a truck full of singers behind them. The cinematography is good, though, with lots of medium shots and closeups that squeeze as much emotion out of the script as possible. The music is the most striking element, as it should be in a country music-centric film. Admittedly, I’m not a country connoisseur, but the songs are amazing, both in terms of the vocals and production quality. Lee Greenwood is the most recognizable voice as Grandpa Woods. T. Graham Brown sings a country and gospel song, and the film leads Maxfield Camp, Kaileigh Bullard, and Alexis Gomez do as well.

A Nashville Wish promotes following your passion and finding a balance between personal and professional aspirations by focusing on the professional first, and then letting the personal fall into place.

I give A Nashville Wish 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 plus adults. You can watch A Nashville Wish in theaters beginning February 2, 2024, and on video on demand beginning February 27, 2024.

A Nashville Wish
By Ella S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

A Nashville Wish is a moving musical with an inspiring success story. It is set in the countryside and told by interesting, dynamic characters and impressive musical performances. I love the encouraging environment the movie creates with characters who provide support for one another.

The movie follows a recent high school graduate, Tucker (Maxfield Camp), who is an aspiring country singer. Tucker and his best friend Chewy (Fletcher Olson) are ready to hit the road to Nashville to become stars when Tucker’s dream girl, Lisa (Kaileigh Bullard), a popular cheerleader from a prestigious but strict family, suddenly and unexpectedly takes an interest in him. Unfortunately, Lisa’s parents are disapproving of Tucker’s plan, forcing Tucker to make a decision that could change the course of his future. 

One thing I love about A Nashville Wish is that Tucker has a great support system – the encouragement from his family and friends is clear from the beginning. Chewy and Tucker have shared the same dream of moving to Nashville to become famous since they were in fourth grade. It is nice that Tucker has a friend who shares his interests. And for many artists, gaining family approval presents a challenge, but this is not an obstacle Tucker faces, as his parents and grandfather (Lee Greenwood) truly believe in his star potential and urge him to pursue his passions. I admire Tucker’s perseverance as well. At times, his life is hard, such as when he is struggling for money in Nashville. But music is Tucker’s dream for a very long time – he never considers giving up on it, and eventually he finds success and stardom! The singing in the movie is also worthy of praise – all the main actors have vocal training and a background in music, adding to the film’s authenticity. A Nashville Wish takes you on a rollercoaster of ups and downs, from the move to Nashville and arguments with Chewy to Tucker’s date with Lisa at a Cassie Jo Campbell (Alexis Gomez) concert. Tucker’s duet with Cassie makes the film wholesome and brings it full circle. 

A Nashville Wish reminds us that determination is vital to succeed. It’s what drives you to go for your biggest goals, even when the world deals you a tricky hand. It’s also a reminder to keep your eyes on the prize and trust that the small things will work themselves out – the universe has a plan for you. So stay focused and remember to thank the people who believe in you!

I give A Nashville Wish 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults.  A Nashville Wish releases in theaters beginning February 2, 2024, and on video on demand beginning February 27, 2024.  

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Argylle * Very Exciting Action Film With Lots Of Plot Twists

Friday, February 2nd, 2024

A reclusive author who writes espionage novels about a secret agent and a global spy syndicate realizes the plot of the new book she’s writing starts to mirror real-world events, in real time.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Miguel C. comments, “Argylle is a very exciting action film with a lot of plot twists. The high quality sound effects and background music are spectacular and terrific acting.” Rayce S. adds, “Argylle has some funny moments and some good action scenes, but for the majority of the movie the dialogue falls flat. The VFX look like they were rushed, and the star studded cast is not used to their full potential.” Sydney wraps it up with, “I like the detailed spy movie Argylle because it has an involving plot that put me on the edge of my seat while watching it. It starts off slowly, but then the storyline kicks up. This movie is well-produced, with smooth camerawork and appealing characters, but does have a smattering of unnecessary bits and pieces.” See their full reviews below.

Argylle
By Miguel C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14 

Argylle is a very exciting action film with a lot of plot twists. The high quality sound effects and background music are spectacular and terrific acting. 

The storyline follows a writer Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard), who is seen at a reading for her new book, Argylle 4. At the reading we meet the key characters including Lagrange (Dua Lipa) and Aidan Wilde (Sam Rockwell) who is revealed to be a spy.  After it is revealed that Elly has been writing about a super secret spy mission, things begin to get heated.

(from left) Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Aidan (Sam Rockwell) in Argylle, directed by Matthew Vaughn.

Kudos to director Matthew Vaughn for delivering such an exciting film. The special effects really stand out, especially the sound effects which make it seem almost as if I was there. I also enjoyed the background music throughout the film. The music by Lorne Balfe creates suspenseful moments that kept me engaged with the movie. The best scene has to be when Aiden has to fight against the undercover spies on the train. We get to see how Elly interacts with the whole situation and, of course, there is amazing fight choreography. We notice how Argylle (Henry Cavill) is always alongside Elly and Aiden, but not in a way you might expect. Over the course of the film Elly is searching for the ending of her fifth book, but the plot completely changes throughout the movie. 

The film’s message is to always remember who you are and this film delivers this message in a suspenseful way. It’s important to note that this film contains a lot of fighting, blood and crazy action scenes.

I give Argylle 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters February 2, 2024. 

Argylle
By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

(from left) Wyatt (John Cena) and Argylle (Henry Cavill) in Argylle, directed by Matthew Vaughn.

I like the detailed spy movie Argylle because it has an involving plot that put me on the edge of my seat while watching it. It starts off slowly, but then the storyline kicks up. This movie is well-produced, with smooth camerawork and appealing characters, but does have a smattering of unnecessary bits and pieces.

Argylle follows an author named Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) who is famous for her secret agent novels. Just as she is about to release her next book, Elly notices that the characters and scenes in her books are coming to life. If her stories are coming to life, Elly is in grave danger.

The main characters are Elly Conway, Aiden (Sam Rockwell), Argylle (Henry Cavill), Wyatt (John Cena), Ruth (Catherine O’Hara), Director Ritter (Bryan Cranston) and Alfie (Samuel L. Jackson). All of the actors are quite wonderful at portraying their characters. For instance, Elly Conway’s character dramatically shifts intentions and the actor, Bryce Dallas Howard, is quick to change from evil to the hero.

(from left) Argylle (Henry Cavill), Lagrange (Dua Lipa) and Wyatt (John Cena) in Argylle, directed by Matthew Vaughn.

Aiden is a hilarious character, especially when he fights the bad guys. He’s nonchalant and chill about taking out 20 people. Additionally, the camerawork is great because it shows many different perspectives, which make the scenes more exciting and suspenseful, but also helps the audience feel like they’re in the film. This is prominent during the fight scenes – and note that there are a lot of them. Some are unnecessary, especially during the long two and a half hour movie. The first half is slow and doesn’t have a lot of action, but the second half is action-packed. The storyline is well-written, filled with many surprises that shocked me. It is based on the real author, Elly Conway, whose identity is unknown. There are clues that hint about Elly’s true identity, and you’ll just have to wait to find out. I particularly enjoyed the dancing scenes with Elly and Aiden. They are hilarious because they’re ballroom dancing and shooting people at the same time. This is just one example of the many quirky things of the movie.

The film’s message is to trust yourself and don’t ignore your gut feelings. Elly keeps seeing Argylle in the mirror instead of her reflection, which has a deeper meaning. Elly wants to shut “him” out, but Argylle is trying to warn her of the dangers ahead. In actuality, Argylle is her voice because she created him. It’s a good reminder to always listen to yourself. Be aware that there is foul language, violence, gun usage, and murder in the film.

I give Argylle 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Argylle releases in theaters February 2, 2024.

Argylle
By Rayce S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

(from left) Lagrange (Dua Lipa) and Argylle (Henry Cavill) in Argylle, directed by Matthew Vaughn.

Argylle has some funny moments and some good action scenes, but for the majority of the movie the dialogue falls flat. The VFX look like they were rushed, and the star studded cast is not used to their full potential which is disappointing. 

The story follows an introverted novelist who writes about a secret agent and a global spy syndicate—and she discovers that the plot of her latest work is mirroring actual events in real time.

Argylle
is a movie that starts off bland in the beginning then teases you with some enjoyable moments that don’t pay off. The main character Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard) was not that interesting, and I became more interested in Argylle (Henry Cavil). However, the biggest disappointment of the film is its dialogue. In the theater I found myself wanting to leave after hearing one-liners over and over that for me just didn’t land well. And the poor visual effects kept stopping my immersion into the film. Toward the climax it becomes distracting and the final action scene looks fake, mainly in the background. I do have to give this film credit for having a lot of twists and turns—until halfway through the film I was engaged. All of the shocking twists kept me wanting more. Argylle might secretly be a work of genius simply based on its ending credits scene, which I won’t spoil.

(from left) Lagrange (Dua Lipa) and Argylle (Henry Cavill) in Argylle, directed by Matthew Vaughn.

The theme of Argylle is remembering who you are, and it is best represented by Elly Conway as she embarks on a journey through her old books to find parts of herself. I quite liked this aspect of the film because it really gives us a chance to know more about Elly Conway.


Overall, I give Argylle 2 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18.  This film releases in theaters February 2, 2024. 

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Mean Girls * Back In A Stunningly Entertaining Modern Day Adaptation For A New Generation Of Fans  

Friday, January 12th, 2024

Cady Heron is a hit with the Plastics, an A-list girl clique at her new school. But everything changes when she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “Get in losers! The iconic Mean Girls is back in its new modern day adaptation for a new generation of fans to enjoy. As a brilliant combination of the 2004 movie and the Broadway musical, this film is stunning, entertaining and the perfect movie to start the New Year!” Sydney S. adds, “I like the musical remake film Mean Girls because of its interesting plot and enjoyable characters. It’s very relatable for teenagers and hilariously entertaining to watch.” Valerie R. wraps it up with, “Do you have what it takes to be on top of the social food chain? Join the clique, the Plastics, and get ready to watch the reimagined, iconic 2004 Mean Girls movie this winter with friends and family!” See their full reviews below.

Mean Girls (2024)
By Tiana S, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Get in losers! The iconic Mean Girls is back in its new modern day adaptation for a new generation of fans to enjoy. As a brilliant combination of the 2004 movie and the Broadway musical, this film is stunning, entertaining and the perfect movie to start the New Year! 

Mean Girls borrows the same storyline as the original film, with plenty of plot twists. The film is presented as a story narrated by Janice (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damien (Jaquel Spivey). It follows Cady Heron (Angourie Rice), a new student at North Shore High School who moved to the US from Kenya. She makes friends with Janice and Damien, and eventually crosses paths with Regina George (Reneé Rapp), Gretchen Weiners (Bebe Wood) and Karen Shetty (Avantika), also known as “The Plastics.” When Cady is sent to spy on The Plastics by Janice and Damien, it sets off a series of chain reactions including drama, betrayal, and getting hit by a bus.

Fans of both the original Mean Girls movie and the Mean Girls Broadway musical will not be disappointed. My favorite song was “Someone Gets Hurt” sung by Renee Rapp. From her gorgeous vocals and the beautiful scenery, this performance is so mesmerizing that it could have been a stand-alone music video. I love that they include other songs from the Broadway show like “Apex Predator” and “Revenge Party” as well as new ones. I also love the special cameo appearances and newly discovered facts about the original characters; both of which really add depth to the film. I love how the movie includes things like social media and other references to things unavailable in 2004. I watched this film in theaters and there were so many places where I just wanted to pause or rewind it because they were so mind blowing. This is a movie I would love to see again!

The film’s message is to be yourself and not get caught up with the wrong people. Cady was so fed up of “living the life” with The Plastics that she betrays her true friends and loses the smart and sweet girl she originally was. Parents should be aware that there is foul language as well as suggestive topics and special effects that are so realistic they will make you gasp.

I give Mean Girls 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to18, plus adults. Be sure to watch after the credits for a very short post credits scene. Be sure to check out Mean Girls in theaters now!

Mean Girl
By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, ages 1l

I like the musical remake film Mean Girls because of its interesting plot and enjoyable characters. It’s very relatable for teenagers and hilariously entertaining to watch.<p>The film follows Cady who moves to a new town where a notorious popular clique runs the local high school. She becomes close with them to spy on them for her other friends and get closer to a guy. In the process, her acting isn’t as fake anymore.

The main characters are Cady Heron (Angourie Rice), Janis ‘Imi’ike (Auli’i Cravalho), Regina George (Reneé Rapp), Damian Hubbard (Jaquel Spivey), Karen Shetty (Avantika), Gretchen Wieners (Bebe Wood) and Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney). The casting is perfect in the film. The actors are not only wonderful, but they portray the characters in the original movie. They all have different and unique personalities. Mean Girls has many musical numbers. The characters randomly break out into song, which is a bit cheesy at some points, but it makes it stand apart from the original movie. The camerawork is magnificent because it captures the whole setting of the kids at school and their personal interactions. The lighting really stand out during the musical numbers where it enhances the contrast between the singer and the rest of the cast. When Regina is singing, she is illuminated while the rest of the cast is standing still, unlit and frozen. I applaud the producer, Tina Fey, who also plays Ms. Norbury. Speaking of a previous cast member, there is a special cameo appearance of the original Cady Heron by Lindsay Lohan. I recommend watching the original Mean Girls (2004) because there are many iconic scenes that are included in this film. The inclusion of those scenes makes me appreciate the movie even more. My favorite part of the film is its humor. There is a lot of it and it made me laugh a lot while watching it. Important to mention is that the humor is all based on things that today’s teens can relate to. The term “text slang” is used as well as other new and trending concepts and words.

The film’s message is to be yourself and don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Cady wants to become like Regina, but she learns that her true self is what makes her special. This film has foul language and the use of many inappropriate terms.

I give Mean Girls 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Mean Girls releases in theaters January 12, 202

Mean Girls
By Valerie R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic , age 10

Do you have what it takes to be on top of the social food chain? Join the clique, the Plastics, and get ready to watch the reimagined, iconic 2004 Mean Girls movie this winter with friends and family!

Cady (Angourie Rice) is the new kid at North Shore High, where she befriends Janice (Auli’i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey).  Regina George (Renee Rapp), Karen (Avantika Vandanapu) and Gretchen (Bebe Wood) take Cady in as one of the Plastics. When Cady falls for Regina’s ex she finds herself in her cross hairs and, while being part of the Plastics, Cady betrays her true friends Janice and Damian. Through the film, Cady realizes that she was wrong and that should just be herself and make it up to Janice and Damian. She learns that everyone is special and should be recognized for that.

What I enjoy the most about this film are the stunning show tunes. I love the catchy rhythm and voices of the actors! My favorite song is “Someone Gets Hurt.” I also really like the costume designs. The costumes have a modern Y2K style, which Gen Z teens can relate to. Another thing worth mentioning is the cast. Each actor plays their character perfectly and has their own spin on the classic characters. For example, Bebe Wood allows the audience to feel the emotions of Gretchen on a deeper level. When Regina bosses her around, Gretchen gets fed up with having to deal with Regina to the point that she doesn’t let Regina sit with them at lunch when she breaks one of the Plastics rules. Kudos to the casting director. I really love how this film reimagines the original Mean Girls. I love how they keep the iconic lines and songs in this film. Lastly I love the set designs, especially those during the musical numbers that are bright and on theme.

The film’s message is to focus on yourself and be nice because everyone in this world just wants to coexist. This film teaches us that we are special in our own way and we should not try to be someone we are not. We should not have to change who we are just to fit in. Please be advised that there is harsh language and other age-inappropriate content in this film.

I give Mean Girls 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Mean Girls is available in theaters now.

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The Color Purple – A Musical Remake Of The 1985 Film With A Tear-Jerking Story, Engaging Musical Numbers And Brilliant Acting

Monday, December 25th, 2023

Torn apart from her sister and her children, Celie faces many hardships in life, including an abusive husband. With support from a sultry singer named Shug Avery, as well as her stand-her-ground stepdaughter, Celie ultimately finds extraordinary strength in the unbreakable bonds of a new kind of sisterhood.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “I love this reimagined, musical version of The Color Purple! It has a really good balance of joyful and sorrowful scenes, which made me care deeply about the characters. Its cast is brilliant, as all of them fit their roles perfectly and have absolutely outstanding and powerful voices.” Sydney S. adds, “I absolutely love the film, The Color Purple! This musical remake of the 1985 film is a tear-jerking story with engaging musical numbers and brilliant acting. The film holds so much power and I like that it promotes hope.” See their full reviews below.

The Color Purple (2023)
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I love this reimagined, musical version of The Color Purple! It has a really good balance of joyful and sorrowful scenes, which made me care deeply about the characters. Its cast is brilliant, as all of them fit their roles perfectly and have absolutely outstanding and powerful voices.

This movie is a musical adaptation of the novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker and also the movie The Color Purple from 1985. It follows two teenage sisters named Celie (Phylicia Pearl Mpasi/Fantasia Barrino) and Nettie (Halle Bailey/Ciara) in the American South in the early 1900s. Celie and Nettie are best friends, but then they get separated once Celie gets married to a man named Mister (Colman Domingo). The movie then tells the story of the struggles that Celie faces and her attempts to find her sister.

If you’ve seen the original movie and or read the book, you will notice the storyline is the same. However, how the story is portrayed is very different. It’s full of singing and dancing as in a Broadway musical. I like this rendition of The Color Purple the best out of the three because thesinging and dancing are so engaging – I really connected with the characters and their emotions. My favorite character is definitely Sophie, played by Danielle Brooks, because she is very funny and powerful, has a rich voice, and I loved every scene she was in.  The actors with the strongest performances are Fantasia Barrino as Celie and Colman Domingo. Celie, is such a dynamic character as we see her grow and change so much while she overcomes all of her traumas. Also, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi is definitely the right choice to play young Celie since she and Fantasia look very similar. Also I absolutely despise Mister because of Colman Domingo’s incredibly convincing performance!  The Color Purple also stars Taraji P. Henson, Corey Hawkins, Deon Cole, and H.E.R. Be sure to look for a couple cameos by people who were in the original movie adaptation.

The messages of this movie include the power of perseverance, the importance of forgiveness and of having the fortitude to overcome oppression and abuse. It also emphasizes the importance of family. Be aware that there is profanity, alcohol consumption, and rape.

I give The Color Purple 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters December 25, 2023.

The Color Purple
By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I absolutely love the film, The Color Purple! This musical remake of the 1985 film is a tear-jerking story with engaging musical numbers and brilliant acting. The film holds so much power and I like that it promotes hope.

The storyline follows Celie who struggles to find freedom in her life. After her children are taken from her, she is sent away to live with a husband who doesn’t allow Celie to contact her sister. 

The main characters in the film are Celie (Fantasia Barrino), Young Celie (Phylicia Pearl), Young Nettie (Halle Bailey), Nettie (Ciara), Shug Avery (Taraji P. Henson), Sofia (Danielle Brooks), Harpo (Corey Hawkins), Mister (Colman Domingo), and Squeak (H.E.R.). The actors are incredible. They bring so much emotion that enhances the storyline and brings the movie to life. You can tell how they’re feeling by the look in their eyes! I love the amount of laughter in this movie. Sofia’s remedy to her depression is laughter. Celie never fails to laugh and smile when she’s happy. The relationship between Celie and her sister Nettie is so heartwarming, but seeing them get separated is crushing. I found my emotions flailing all over the place. There’s tension between some of the characters, too, which adds suspense.

The costumes are relative to the time and setting. They get interesting when Shug Avery comes to town, though. The lighting dims when there’s tension or something awful happens, which is a great touch. The direction of this film is incredible because it focuses on important details, such as body language or angles. Steven Spielberg did a wonderful job once again. I really like the musical theater side incorporated in the film. The music touches hearts and helps the characters express their feelings. The songs are catchy, too. The dances are so well-choreographed and detailed. There’s a perfect balance of musical theater. It’s also beautiful to see the characters brought together by music. My favorite part of the film is the character Celie and her breakthrough with finding herself. No matter how difficult her life gets, she pushes through and finds joy in the little things. She’s grateful for what she has and deals with abuse at the same time. At the end, her message about herself and her life is beautiful. 

The message of this film is that life can be difficult, but life is beautiful when you learn to persevere and stay positive. It also encourages you to stand up for yourself. Themes of family and friendship are also included. You should be aware there are some sensitive scenes that contain abuse, foul language and sexual content.

I give The Color Purple 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Color Purple comes out in theaters December 25, 2023.

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