The All-Star category has 1128 titles

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KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
JOEY AND ELLA
JOEY AND ELLA - GRINDSTONE HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Description - A mysterious diamond causes a baby kangaroo named Joey to grow quickly and gain the power of speech. When two bumbling thieves try to retrieve the magical gem, a teen and her new boyfriend try to get Joey to safety before it's too late.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love Joey and Ella! It is an adventurous comedy that is perfect for the whole family. This movie has it all - boy meets girl, girl likes boy, a mysterious jewel heist, an adorable kangaroo and a reminder of the importance of protecting our planet. So, buckle up and get ready for an action packed, fun filled family adventure that will inspire you.

This modern-day movie opens with two criminals stealing and then losing the Mazinski Diamond, which is a rare alien diamond. This unique gem is unknowingly swiped by a baby kangaroo from a traveling circus. Ella, a young girl who just moved to her grandfather's countryside house, discovers a cute kangaroo, Joey, hiding out in her grandfather's barn. Quickly, Ella discovers that the Mazinski diamond is not only rare, but magical. The diamond's magic allows Joey to grow rapidly and gives him the amazing power to speak! Word gets out that Joey has the Mazinski Diamond and soon everyone is on the chase for this special kangaroo. Ella and her new friend from school, Luke, have to work together to save Joey.

This cast is filled with many talented actors - Jennifer Michele (Ella), Angela Tran (Joey) and Jude Manley (Luke). Each one really connects with their character and delivers strong performances throughout the movie. My favorite part is when Joey and Ella meet for the first time in the barn, because it is such a heartwarming and sweet moment. You can really feel the bond between the two of them. And, I absolutely love the animation for Joey. It is so realistic. You think that he is a real kangaroo throughout the movie.

The intent of this film is to spread awareness about the effects of climate change and encourage us to work together in our communities to protect our planet. Climate change has negatively impacted Australia where there are many wildfires and droughts that put the kangaroo population at risk. This movie inspires us all to help keep our environment and animals safe by playing an active role.

I recommend Joey and Ella for ages 7 to 18. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. It releases on DVD and Digital July 27, 2021. So, hop to it! This is a movie you don't want to miss. ELLA OUT!

By Ella M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 7-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: Video and DVD


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
AILEY
AILEY - NEON
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - An immersive portrait of dance pioneer Alvin Ailey, told through his own words and a new dance inspired by his life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film Ailey opens with a moving speech by American actress Cicely Tyson honoring Alvin Ailey for his lifetime contribution to American culture through the performing arts. Ms. Tyson's speech sets the tone for the film as she states that he is a "choreographer of the heart" and has the "very spirit that has made him a pied piper of modern dance." Through dance he "reveals the meaning of things" and has brought a "whole new public to modern dance."

Ailey is a tribute to Alvin Ailey's life and work and shows his humble beginnings in a rural area of Texas during the Great Depression. His relationship with his mother and his childhood history impacted his outlook and expression in dance as he grew up dancing at house parties in his community. However, Alvin was a rebel and had his own ideas about movement and dance. As a choreographer he sought to create movement in the search for truth.

The film interweaves archival footage with interviews from Ailey American Dance Theatre members sharing their experiences at the dance company and Alvin's impact on dancing through his reenactment of life. Beautiful movement, agility and sensuality are shown throughout the various dance pieces, exploring the search for emotion by dancing with passion, joy and anger, as well as sorrow.

Director Jamila Wignot weaves everything together and highlights how Alvin Ailey's life experiences influenced his choreography and programs. The documentary wouldn't be complete without the amazing work of archival producer Rebecca Kent and her team, as the footage really brings his life story together.

The message of this film is that innovation and passion can affect change and raise peoples' consciousness. The movie, as well as Alvin Ailey's dancing, is a celebration of life.

I give Ailey 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters July 23, 2021 and if you appreciate dance and body movement you won't want to miss Ailey.

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

The documentary Ailey redefines the meaning of contemporary dance and the unconventional form created by choreographer Alvin Ailey.

Ailey is a documentary about the life of choreographer Alvin Ailey, known for creating contemporary dance arrangements such as Revelations and The River. With his own narration and testimonials from people who knew him, we learn who he was, what he went through and how he interpreted his life into dances that later became world renowned.

Out of many dance genres, modern dance used to be my least favorite. I found it odd and confusing. That is until I watched the film Ailey. Director Jamlia Wignot takes the documentary into a learning experience not only about Alvin Ailey, but also about the true meaning of interpretive dance. I enjoy the scenes of the modern Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, showing that his legacy still lives on through dance. This film has many scenes that feel like filler when the narrator is speaking and that gets repetitive over time. I love how this film does not require you to have a general knowledge or passion for dance. It allows the audience to create their own feelings and opinions about what dance means to them.

The message of Ailey is to pursue your passion and use your talent to impact others in a meaningful way. This documentary portrays this message with great success.

I give Ailey 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Ailey in theatres July 23, 2021.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK
CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AES 9-18
Description - Finley Tremaine, a small town farm girl, longs to spread her wings and soar as an aspiring performer. When a Hollywood film crew arrives in her sleepy town, she is determined to land a role in the production and captures the attention of handsome lead actor, Jackson Stone. Unfortunately, a botched audition forces her to change course. Now, disguised as cowboy "Huck," Finley finally gets her big break. But can she keep the charade a secret from everyone, including her evil stepmother and devious step-siblings?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Do you love Cinderella stories? Are you looking for a brand new, humorous and unique family film that has excellent characters and even better actors? You need to watch A Cinderella Story: Starstruck. It's one of my favorites of 2021 so far, and it's suitable for nearly any audience!

Finley Tremaine (Bailee Madison) is not your average Cinderella and neither is this story. Finley aspires to be a Hollywood star, so when a new action film comes to town, bringing famous actor Jackson Stone (Michael Evans Behling) along with it, she becomes focused on the audition stage. The film spirals into drama as Finley faces a constant inner conflict and tries to be more than one person. Will she keep her secret? The fear of discovery is constant, and she soon realizes that honesty could truly be the best policy, especially when it comes to her dream.

A Cinderella Story: Starstruck checks every box. The cinematography is better than most of what I've seen. The lighting and perspective make the images natural, and they use tons of creative angles. The cinematographers seem to have lots of tricks up their sleeves to make this film look amazing. Settings are chosen with precision; though some do seem a bit extraordinary for a normal town and farm land. However, we constantly see colorful views that leave me in awe. The film is a Cinderella story, but it isn't easily predicted like most new versions are. It's probably the most innovative princess story I've ever seen. The resemblances to the original Cinderella are hard to find, but are there nonetheless. Instead of mice, Finley's support friends are the farm animals. There's a unique addition behind every twist and turn of the plot. One of the best touches that I like is including a stepbrother, Kale (Richard Harmon), along with the traditional stepsister, Saffron (Lillian Doucet- Roche). These two siblings argue a lot; another different aspect between this version and the original. The stepmother, Valerian (April Telek), is as unbearable as always, though she's still a great character. Lastly, the acting is truly magnificent. It doesn't feel like acting. The actors seem to have real bonding, which is special. Richard Harmon as Kale, Bailee Madison as Finley and Michael Evans Behling as Jackson give some of the best performances. Kale is a difficult character to play, as there aren't really similar characters in other Cinderella stories. Richard Harmon pulls off the role with astounding ability, setting a great example for any future step brothers.

The message of A Cinderella Story: Starstruck is to follow your dream. Parents should be aware that there is some mild language and action.

I give A Cinderella Story: Starstruck 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. It releases on digitally June 29, 2021 and on DVD July 12, 2021, so don't miss it!

Reviewed by Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 9-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SCHMIGADOON!
SCHMIGADOON! - APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - A couple, Melissa and Josh, go on a backpacking trip in an attempt to patch up their failing relationship, only to find themselves still arguing. They then discover a magical town called Schmigadoon, which is perpetually trapped in a Golden Age-style musical, and slowly realize that they cannot leave until they find true love. The title and concept is a parody of the 1947 Broadway musical Brigadoon.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Schmigadoon! is a fun-filled musical comedy perfect for theatre kids and musical lovers! The cast of this new series has some famous faces like: Keegan-Michael Key, Dove Cameron, Kristen Chenoworth and many more!

On a bonding trip, lovers Josh and Melissa accidentally find themselves in the 1940's musical town of Schmigadoon. Josh and Melissa see everyone bursting into song and dance and soon discover that they can't go home until they find true love. Do they have it? Will they find it? Watch Schmigadoon! to find out!

The cast of Schmigadoon! stands out and so do the sets Josh Skinner (Keegan-Michael Key) is not excited about this musical town and tries everything he can to get away from all the singing and dancing. Josh experiences many emotional highs and lows: engagement, break-ups and drama. Melissa (Cecily Strong) is the one who decides on the bonding trip which leads them to Schmigadoon! She does enjoy the musical town and, eventually, joins in on the fun.

The scary Mrs. Mildred Layton (Kristen Chenoworth), wife of Reverend Layton, is the leader of the "Mothers of the Future" organization and isn't very fond of Josh and Melissa's arrival. As well as Josh, Mildred is also trying everything she can to get them to leave, as she thinks they are ruining "her" town. Betsy (Dove Cameron) is a young waitress who takes a quick interest in Dr. Skinner and tries to be his true love. Enchanting and wise school teacher Emma Tate (Arianna DeBose) doesn't care much for love and focuses on teaching the children, but all that changes when she meets Josh.

The set replicates a genuine theatre stage set, creating a definitive boundary between the real world and Schmigadoon!'s stage set--I love that. The music is all taken from mid-1900s musicals, but the words have been changed. You'll spend all day singing the tunes in your head, trying to figure out what the original songs are. I love the contrast in costumes from Josh and Melissa's modern day clothes to the town's 1940's outfits.

While there is more than one message to the story, the main one is that when hope looks lost don't give up (and maybe add a bit of song and dance).

I give Schmigadoon! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults, but strongly recommend this for theatre kids. This series does contain strong language and some slightly inappropriate scenes. You can find Schmigadoon! starting July 16, 2021 on Apple TV. I'm looking forward to a season 2 already!<
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BLACK WIDOW
BLACK WIDOW - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy, and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - After multiple delays, Marvel Studios finally delivers on their promise to bring forth the new action-packed superhero blockbuster, Black Widow! Black Widow has everything a classic Marvel fan would enjoy, yet is easily understood by viewers with no prior knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Behind all the superhero cowls is fantastic character development. Each character experiences a different emotional journey, finding themselves in an extremely different emotional place compared to the beginning of the film.

Black Widow serves as a prequel to Avengers: Infinity War, shining light on plot lines we had no clue occurred. The film picks up right after the events of Captain America: Civil War where Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is on the run from the U.S. government. When Natasha is attacked by the iconic villain Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), she is led to confront her past. When she learns the Red Room is still functioning (kidnapping and training widows), she must team up with unlikely allies to defeat the organization once and for all.

For comic book junkies there is always a worry that superhero movies will sometimes be a bore, because you already know the story so well. Black Widow abolishes this worry with multiple twists and turns that are new to comic book fans, yet are very respectful to classic superhero origins. When people think of the character Black Widow, they extremely undermine the grittiness of her backstory. Director Cate Shortland is marvelous at mixing in Natasha's dark past to boost her character development and show what drives her day today.

Black Widow is one of the darkest Marvel movies to date. Throughout the film, rough and sensitive topics present themselves such as child trafficking, drug use and suicide. The film also includes multiple curse words and many different instances of intense action. Despite the gloomy tone, the film explores themes of family and reminiscence. Morals are taught to younger viewers demonstrating the message that people can change; you just need to give them a chance.

I give Black Widow 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can stream Black Widow on Disney+ with premiere access or watch it in your local theater on July 9, 2021. Make sure to check it out!

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK
CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Finley Tremaine, a small town farm girl, longs to spread her wings and soar as an aspiring performer. When a Hollywood film crew arrives in her sleepy town, she is determined to land a role in the production and captures the attention of handsome lead actor, Jackson Stone. Unfortunately, a botched audition forces her to change course. Now, disguised as cowboy "Huck," Finley finally gets her big break. But can she keep the charade a secret from everyone, including her evil stepmother and devious step-siblings?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Do you love Cinderella stories? Are you looking for a brand new, humorous and unique family film that has excellent characters and even better actors? You need to watch A Cinderella Story: Starstruck. It's one of my favorites of 2021 so far, and it's suitable for nearly any audience!

Finley Tremaine (Bailee Madison) is not your average Cinderella and neither is this story. Finley aspires to be a Hollywood star, so when a new action film comes to town, bringing famous actor Jackson Stone (Michael Evans Behling) along with it, she becomes focused on the audition stage. The film spirals into drama as Finley faces a constant inner conflict and tries to be more than one person. Will she keep her secret? The fear of discovery is constant, and she soon realizes that honesty could truly be the best policy, especially when it comes to her dream.

A Cinderella Story: Starstruck checks every box. The cinematography is better than most of what I've seen. The lighting and perspective make the images natural, and they use tons of creative angles. The cinematographers seem to have lots of tricks up their sleeves to make this film look amazing. Settings are chosen with precision; though some do seem a bit extraordinary for a normal town and farm land. However, we constantly see colorful views that leave me in awe. The film is a Cinderella story, but it isn't easily predicted like most new versions are. It's probably the most innovative princess story I've ever seen. The resemblances to the original Cinderella are hard to find, but are there nonetheless. Instead of mice, Finley's support friends are the farm animals. There's a unique addition behind every twist and turn of the plot. One of the best touches that I like is including a stepbrother, Kale (Richard Harmon), along with the traditional stepsister, Saffron (Lillian Doucet- Roche). These two siblings argue a lot; another different aspect between this version and the original. The stepmother, Valerian (April Telek), is as unbearable as always, though she's still a great character. Lastly, the acting is truly magnificent. It doesn't feel like acting. The actors seem to have real bonding, which is special. Richard Harmon as Kale, Bailee Madison as Finley and Michael Evans Behling as Jackson give some of the best performances. Kale is a difficult character to play, as there aren't really similar characters in other Cinderella stories. Richard Harmon pulls off the role with astounding ability, setting a great example for any future step brothers.

The message of A Cinderella Story: Starstruck is to follow your dream. Parents should be aware that there is some mild language and action.

I give A Cinderella Story: Starstruck 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. It releases on digitally June 29, 2021 and on DVD July 12, 2021, so don't miss it!

Reviewed by Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 9-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SUMMER OF SOUL
SUMMER OF SOUL - FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is a feature documentary about the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which celebrated African American music and culture, and promoted Black pride and unity.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What do you know about the Harlem Culture Festival? This beautiful event that created so much love and togetherness has rarely been seen or discussed in mainstream media, until now. Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) tells the beautiful story of this life-changing festival, and what it meant for the civil rights movement. This documentary offers an eye-opening perspective of the times that motivated the festival and its incredible outcome.

Summer of Soul talks about the importance of the Harlem Culture Festival, and what it meant to the people of color at that time. There are many interviews with people that discuss how this event impacted their lives and gave them a sense of unity during those trying times. We also are fortunate enough to see live, unseen performances from such icons as Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, B.B. King and more.

What impressed me the most is that this happened in the same year as Woodstock. I grew up hearing a lot about the Woodstock Festival, but until I saw this movie, I had never heard of the Harlem Culture Festival. This shows just how divided our country was at that time, and how unfortunate it is that more people don't know about this beautiful event. I learned so much from this movie, especially about different aspects of the civil rights movement. It features videos showing the riots that occurred over justice and equality. Sadly, these riots still happen today for similar reasons. I especially appreciate that this documentary doesn't only show the fun parts of the Harlem Culture Festival, but these various socio-political aspects of times. The director, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, shows us the beauty of the event, plus the reason behind it.

The message of this film is: when you have to fight back, fight with love and creativity. People will always bring each other down, but if we can just help one person to know their worth, then we are doing good. That is something we could all hear more often.

I give Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Couldn't Be Televised) 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 10 to 17, plus adults. Releasing in theaters July 2, 2021.

By Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WOLFGANG
WOLFGANG - DISNEY+
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - An intimate portrait of the life and work of the original "celebrity chef," Wolfgang Puck.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wolfgang, a documentary film directed and produced by David Gelb (Chef's Table: France and Chef's Table BBQ), follows the life and career of Chef Wolfgang Puck. This film highlights Wolfgang's childhood trauma - how it affected him as a young boy who aspired to become a great chef; how he became arguably one of the best chefs in the world; the process of opening numerous dining spots; how fame and success affected him and his family.

The opening minutes follow Wolfgang greeting a farm owner, a close friend of his, as he cuts fresh fruits and rides through the corn field. This scene is important because it allows viewers to see how active Puck really is - daily - even when he is not at work. He enjoys visiting the farm to pick and choose fresh fruits and vegetables. Wolfgang even justifies how involved he is, stating, "At my age, I should probably slow down, and take it easy, but it's quite the opposite."

This film also includes statements from friends, family, former colleagues and current workers of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. throughout the film. Nancy Silverton, a pastry chef who worked at Spago (1982-85) (one of Wolfgang's many restaurants) states, "Wolfgang, without a doubt, was the first celebrity chef. He had so many restaurants, and so many different types of restaurants, all the products that he has on the shelves. I can't even keep up with him anymore to tell you the truth." This film shows Wolfgang cooking alongside his young cooks, watching over them and mentoring them. Evan Funke, a cook who worked at Spago (2000-06) states, "The biggest misconception about Wolf is that he is just a celebrity chef and can't cook, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The Mount Rushmore of California cuisine; Wolf's right there, in the middle. He's the founding father of the way we eat in this country."

This film also focuses on the uprising of Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant, Spago. Ruth Reichil, a food writer stating, "When wolf opened Spago, he changed the way Americans eat, even including pizza on the menu. Who knew pizza can be fancy?!" This leads me to my favorite part in the film, which is about the fancy pizza. Wolfgang shares the story of how he created his legendary smoked salmon and caviar pizza, unpredicted. It all started one night when it was extremely busy at Spago and suddenly Joan Collins (English actress), the biggest star on television at the time comes in. They had run out of an important ingredient that was needed to create the dish Joan Collins regularly ordered. They also ran out of baguettes or any other bread. Wolfgang got to work and started spreading out pizza dough, added some finely chopped onions, and baked it for a few minutes. Then, he put some milk cream on it, added some smoked salmon thinly cut, a few dollops of caviar, and served it to Joan. Wow! He truly is an incredible chef to come up with such a delicious pizza, out of nowhere. The most interesting part of this pizza is, it has no cheese, nor tomato sauce. This film also shares stories, from the perspective of Wolfgang, as well as his sister, as he visits his hometown of Sankt Veit an der Glan, Carinthia, Austria. He shared the unfortunate events he experiences with his stepfather; how he endured years of verbal abuse and being shut down daily as a young child; and how he overcame that.

The message I took away from this film is to never give up and stay committed. No matter your circumstances or where you came from, never give up on yourself. Wolfgang grew up extremely poor, but never let that define him or influence his courage to make his dream come true.

I give Wolfgang 5 out of 5 stars and recommend for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It releases June 25, 2021, by Disney+.

By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The documentary Wolfgang talks about how food is family and food is love. This film depicts the culinary development of Chef Wolfgang Puck and I was delighted to learn more about his upbringing and journey to become the chef and businessman that he is. Wolfgang is celebrated in my home every day as I use his cookware and my family incorporates cooking tips that my mom learned from watching him on various television shows. He made her feel more comfortable in the kitchen and in trying new concepts with his easy style and engaging personality, which have also influenced my love of cooking.

The film starts showing Wolfgang's early family life and the reasons behind his joy in the kitchen and love of cooking. We follow Wolfgang's culinary training until he becomes the first "celebrity chef" and really defines "California Cuisine," putting the gardens of California on a plate. After all, as Wolfgang says, "The right ingredients make all the difference." His incredible work ethic had leads to great monetary rewards, but at the expense of disrupting his family life. At the end of the documentary, as he looks back on his life, it seems that he has now found the right balance in his personal life as well as in the kitchen.

The documentary is an emotional journey guided by Director David Gelb. I love the beautiful cinematography and the use of archival footage. Brian McGinn's script makes you really feel that the movie is in Wolfgang's voice as he discovers that his purpose in life has been to make people happy through food as a conduit to love. The interviews throughout the film are meaningful and highlight the importance that Wolfgang Puck has made on the food industry.

There are so many important messages in this film such as following Wolfgang's work ethic and how it's important to believe in yourself and not be afraid to take chances. Giving up is not an option if you want to pursue your dreams, as nothing comes easy. Wolfgang says a lot of inspiring things in this film; his sentiment I love most is that "the grass is greener where it's watered the most." Where to put in the effort applies to life as well as to your garden.

I give Wolfgang 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The documentary will be available on Disney+ June 25, 2021 so don't miss this inspiring story.

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

I really like the new documentary Wolfgang because it's a fascinating, intimate film about world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. It taught me a lot about the food industry, and how much it could impact someone's life.

This documentary starts off telling Wolfgang Puck's life story. We learn about his culture as well as his family life. As the film goes on, we see his struggles, as well as successes, throughout his life. Wolfgang Puck is an extremely hardworking, determined person, and uses his childhood trauma as a way to never give up, and to keep going. Although he makes many mistakes, we learn that he is just a normal person like everyone else. And, Puck learns from his mistakes, and becomes a better person in the end.

I enjoy that this film shows us the raw aspects of Wolfgang's life. There aren't a lot of production and special effects. Instead, everything is very real, and you can get a strong sense into what his life truly is like. Another thing that works very well is how they incorporate many videos from his past. This gives the audience a deeper look at how he works, and the type of person he is. It also contributes to the authenticity of the film. Lastly the interviews with important people in his life are a great addition to the whole documentary, telling Wolfgang's story from other perspectives.

The message of this documentary film is to never give up on yourself, and your dreams. This film does deal with a sensitive topic - suicide.

I give Wolfgang 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. You can watch Wolfgang starting June 25, 2021 on Disney+.

By Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WE THE PEOPLE
WE THE PEOPLE - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Description - Learn the basics of rights and citizenship with upbeat songs by popular artists like Janelle Mon�e, H.E.R., Adam Lambert, Brandi Carlile and more.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the catchy tunes, the perfectly rhyming lyrics, the animation and the lessons of the new ten episode series, We the People. I love how it includes animations such as women and men united, jumping above the clouds, almost like collecting all the facts as they jump in the air.

Created by Chris Nee, the award-winning creator of Doc McStuffins and Vampirina, and executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, We the People takes civics lessons to a whole new level for kids like me.

This series is a call to action to rethink civics as a living, breathing thing as it reframes the understanding of what government and citizenship mean in the modern world. The opening minutes of each episode give you a preview of what's to come, sharing minor facts about the topic the episode addresses before it plunges into the specifics. Each topic is covered thoroughly, which helps young viewers grasp the importance of each topic and not simply focus on the catchy tune that accompanies it. For example, instead of just talking about the federal vs. state power, a song explains how choices by the feds or the state affect our daily lives and how we have a choice in who holds positions of power. The songs included are all upbeat original songs performed by popular contemporary artists such as H.E.R., Janelle Mon�e, Brandi Carlile, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Lambert, Cordae, Bebe Rexha, KYLE, Andra Day and poet Amanda Gorman.

A huge part of this series is the animation which, as a visual person, attracts and holds my attention. When the facts are played out in powerful pictures with great colors and cool designs, I'm immediately hooked! Ten of the world's leading animation directors contributed to this show - men and women, LGBTQ+ and various ethnicities, including Oscar winner Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Jorge R. Gutierrez (Netflix's Maya and the Three), Trisha Gum (The Lego Batman Movie), Jorge R. Gutierrez (The Book of Life), Victoria Vincent (A Dog That Smokes Weed), Benjy Brooke (Teen Titans Go! To The Movies), Mabel Ye (Kid Cosmic), Tim Rauch (Mushroom Park), Daron Nefcy (Star vs. the Forces of Evil), Everett Downing (My Dad the Bounty Hunter) and Kendra Ryan (We the People). I love that this film practices its message of inclusivity behind the scenes as well as on-screen. My favorite episode is most definitely episode three, "Taxes."

The message of this film is that we are the future and we have a voice! Let's continue to educate ourselves and our peers and speak up for the right, against the wrong. Let's make a difference and help one another. We are the people.

I give We the People 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It releases July 4, 2021, on Netflix. Look for it!

By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

We The People is a very innovative way to learn about history and social studies. Most importantly, it helps us understand things that are part of our everyday lives that we either take for granted or don't fully understand or appreciate. These things help us to live better in our community and society. I also love that the show also explores a new way to incorporate music videos and listen to music with a purpose.

I didn't know what to expect from this ten part series; I love that the episodes are very short, because they are just the length of a song. Each composition has a different style in terms of animation and color palette; all according to the story. We the People consists of ten eye-candy episodes with captivating lyrics, contemporary rhythms, lots of creativity and fundamental storytelling.

We The People is produced by accomplished children's television writer Chris Nee who began her career at Sesame Street International and has been honored with a Peabody, Humanitas, NAACP and Emmy awards. In this project she teamed up with Barack and Michelle Obama with whom she previously worked pm other educational and fun projects. This is the content we need and our generation should appreciate it. The production company Higher Ground which produced the series was created with the purpose of creating not only entertaining programming, but informative and inspirational as well. I can affirm that this content positively impacted me and I am happy to spread the word and recommend it. The series proves the great power of music in establishing strong and effective connections with audience. The inclusion of the artists that participate is brilliant and includes some of the top music artist such as H.E.R, Cordae, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Janelle Monae. The powerful poet, Amanda Gorman, is also an important voice in this series. Each episode has a different director and the topics range from "Active Citizenship," to "Taxes," "Immigration" and more.

I give We The People 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Although the themes are more appropriate for late elementary and middle school kids, really everyone in the family will love the music, the message and the beautiful images.

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GHOSTWRITER 2021
GHOSTWRITER 2021 - APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, 8-16
Description - Ghostwriter follows four kids who are brought together by a mysterious ghost in a neighborhood bookstore, and must team up to release fictional characters from works of literature. Ghostwriter, garnered an historic Daytime Emmy Award win for Outstanding Children's or Family Viewing Programming for season one, and recently debuted new episodes from season two on Apple TV+ which follows the young heroes working to save their bookstore and discover the true identity of their ghostly companion. By the end of this season, Episode 13, the students have bravely completed their missions, closing the book on this adventure! The award-winning show is currently in production for season three with a new group of curious, intelligent children on another unbelievable literary journey.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Have you ever wanted to have tea with the Mad Hatter, battle the Frankenstein monster or solve a mystery with Sherlock Holmes? Welcome to the lives of Ruben Reyna (Isaac Arellanes), Chevon Redmond (Amadi Chapata), Donna Palmer-Moreno (Hannah Levinson) and Curtis Palmer-Moreno (Justin Sanchez). With some of the best storylines, creative incorporation of literary elements and beyond impressive acting, Ghostwriter is an absolute must-see for all kids and teens!

Ghostwriter follows four kids on a fantastical mission to solve a mystery and figure out what unfinished business the ghost wants them to complete. Along with mysteriously dropping random clues left and right, the 'ghostwriter' releases characters from different books. Although these fictional people can only be seen by the four kids, they do cause disruption while helping solve the mystery. After the characters have served their purpose, the middle-schoolers work to return them to their appropriate book and take the next step in figuring out the ghost puzzle. In the last few episodes, the kids actually dive into the world of a book rather than having the characters from the book come to them, which adds excitement to the already fabulous TV series.

Ghostwriter is one of the most creative shows that I've ever seen. The prospect of fictional characters coming to life and interacting with young teens and kids is a wonderful one and I can't imagine it being done any much better than it is in Ghostwriter. The show is very written well. The inclusion the literary characters is woven naturally into a normal teenage drama, creating a fun environment that doesn't seem forced in any way. Realistic dialogue is peppered with the fantastical elements. To go with this incredible dialogue, the actors portraying the kids all deliver relatable and funny performances that grabbed my attention. The delivery of their lines, together with their physical motions and facial expressions are seamless. The actors that portray the book characters are also above and beyond. Each one uses accents, slang and behavior that are a little out of the ordinary. Cameron Brodeur, as the Camarillo Kid, displays a range of emotions for his complex character. His accent and cowboy-style actions add to this interesting and entertaining character. Another actor whose performance shines is Jeff Joseph, who plays Frank. Frank shows up in multiple episodes as an older man from a poem. His old country accent is superb and really enhances his character. Frank makes a return appearance in the most recently released episodes. These characters from different time periods and worlds need costumes that show us where they are from and who they are. The costume designers deserve a big tip of the hat for their superb work. Sets and props are well-executed. Although many of the episodes are based around real people coming to life, there are a couple of scenes where imaginary animals are the focal point. The animators make the transitions between animation and live action seamless, without it being obvious that a fantastical creature is alive.

The message of Ghostwriter is to value your friends and know that unlikely friendships will occur, but that doesn't mean they won't be good ones. There are a couple of minor intense scenes, such as battling monsters and a crime mystery, and several suspenseful episodes. For example, the "Frankenstein" and "Jungle Book" episodes and the last few in the second season are more intense.

I give Ghostwriter 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 16. Ghostwriter is currently streaming on Apple TV+.

Reviewed by Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 8-16 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN
ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - It's not where you go. It's what you leave behind.... Chef, writer, adventurer, provocateur: Anthony Bourdain lived his life unabashedly. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon. From Academy Award�-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom, Won't You Be My Neighbor?), this unflinching look at Bourdain reverberates with his presence, in his own voice and in the way he indelibly impacted the world around him.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain offers an incisive look into the life and times of an enigma who raced through life with ferocity, grit, and a truly remarkable nonchalant attitude. A tale of a man who continued to barrel through life like a steam locomotive, picking up emotional baggage, shattering relationships, and joking about darkness all along the way. A great story of one of the greatest raconteurs whose story ended too quickly. This is Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.

Renowned chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain seduced New Yorkers' stomachs years before he enraptured audiences with shows like A Cook's Tour, No Reservations, and of course, the famous Parts Unknown. And even before his culinary career, Bourdain hit one of the lowest lows of his life, with a destructive heroin and cocaine addiction that he attributes to a visceral, angry response to the love and affection of his parents. Roadrunner largely summarizes Tony Bourdain's adolescence, skipping to the publication of his bestselling memoir Kitchen Confidential which first launched him overnight into the show-biz. The film chronicles Bourdain and his crew's adventures, getting caught up in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Beirut, eating exotic items in the far reaches of East Asia, and making deep and long-lasting friendships all along the way. Bourdain forsook his home life for these travels. The film also documents the later chapter of Anthony Bourdain's life, wherein he was betrayed by love, struggled to cope with his emotions, his agoraphobia, and his growing sense of insecurity about fatherhood. And in a heart wrenching sequence, the film documents Bourdain's suicide and the responses of his loved ones to this event.

It's an incredible film, a journalistic undertaking by award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville that won my heart. The magical voice of Bourdain guides the film. Scenes from his shows, archival footage, Bourdain's Instagram stories, and interviews with his close circle of friends and family, including his second wife Ottavia Busia-Bourdain and his friend Chef Eric Ripert, are tied together to tell an enchanting story that genuinely is not depressing or dark. To paraphrase Busia-Bourdain's quote in the film, Anthony Bourdain was more than the acts he committed near the end of his 61 years of life, and much like him, Roadrunner brings much light into the viewers' hearts. The editing and musical score, especially the careful inclusion of the title song from the 1970 film "Violent City," about a man who takes revenge on his unfaithful lover, help move the story forward and provide a deeper meaning to an already superb film.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a reminder to all of us that we have someone we can reach out to, we have a reason to live, we have a reason to enjoy every moment of our lives, and we have a reason to be the best version of ourselves. Given Bourdain's colorful personality, one wouldn't be surprised to learn that there is cursing throughout the film, and mentions of suicide and taking drugs also pop up over the course of the 2-hour piece.

I give Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 11, 2021. It is scheduled to be released on July 16, 2021, by Focus Features, after which it will air on CNN and HBO Max on an unspecified date.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a personal, honest--albeit loving--look at and into the life of Anthony Bourdain and all the various detours it took. This documentary charts his journey from chef to writer to acclaimed TV host, as told by his closest friends, the people he worked with, and his family.

After an opening credits sequence that runs through the years leading up to Bourdain's career as a chef, Roadrunner begins its sprint in 1999 after he's secured a deal to write a book about his experiences in the restaurant world, Kitchen Confidential, the New York Times bestseller that would put Bourdain on the talk show circuit, and kickstart his ascent towards celebrity. In preparation for writing his second memoir, A Chef's Tour, he was approached by TV producers who pitched an ongoing series in tandem with the upcoming book, thus forming a partnership that would spawn multiple shows, win several Emmys and begin Bourdain's long tenure on television screens and secure his status as a world-famous traveler.

This film is a challenge on many levels. For starters, Bourdain's suicide is still a recent event in the public eye, and, I'm certain, a fresh wound for those who knew him. It's difficult to watch a feature-length story of someone's whole life, knowing that it's going to end so inevitably, suddenly, and sadly; however, Roadrunner succeeds by showing us Bourdain in his totality which balances the sadness of his inevitable end. And yet, audiences may find it unavoidable to wonder who he really was, along with his loved ones striving to answer the question: Who was Anthony Bourdain off-screen?

Roadrunner mirrors Bourdain's own frequent departures from home and journeys to parts unknown, taking us back and forth from his television world and his home life with his daughter. We see a conversation between Bourdain and a friend, where they discuss the paradox of wanting to return home when they're away, but immediately wanting to get back on the road when they get home. This tragic conversation gets right to the heart of the movie's title, Roadrunner, and just how reflective it was of Bourdain's own everyday life.

After a TV episode goes awry, Bourdain talks about his faltering belief in the power of the table at which we eat and share, yet Roadrunner becomes a testament to that power. Nearly every interview in the film is organized across a table, where deeply personal details and anecdotes from those who knew Bourdain are exchanged. Director Neville operates with a wealth of outtakes from his TV shows and all the excess footage of Bourdain's 20 years on screen, but it's these genuine moments with Bourdain's tribe that cut the deepest.

I give Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults, for mild language and strong themes throughout. Roadrunner lands in theaters on July 16, 2021.

By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BOSS BABY: THE FAMILY BUSINESS, THE
BOSS BABY: THE FAMILY BUSINESS, THE - DREAMWORKS - LA
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Now adults, Theodore Templeton and his estranged brother take a magical formula that transforms them into babies for 48 hours. Together, they must now go under cover to prevent an evil genius from turning fellow toddlers intro monstrous brats.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The boss is back baby! The Boss Baby: The Family Business brings back the Templetons from the original movie, The Boss Baby, also created and directed by Tom McGrath. This movie brings the same energy, hilarious animation, fight scenes and secret missions we've come to love with The Boss Baby Franchise.

In this sequel, the Templeton brothers, Tim (James Marsden) and Theodore "Ted" (Alec Baldwin) are back as adults and have drifted away from each other over the years. We meet Tim's family, including his new toddler daughter, Tina (Amy Sedaris), who is now the new Boss Baby and is on a mission from Baby Corp. to bring them together. This launches a new family business.

The main characters are Tim's wife, Carol (Eva Longoria), daughters, Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and Tina, and, of course, his brother, Mr. Boss Baby himself, Ted. While the film has a lot of references to the first film, you can easily follow along in this sequel. Most of all the original main characters are back, and we even get a visit from Tim and Ted's parents. I really enjoyed that Tom McGrath stays true to the original concept, but adds a new storyline. One of my favorite scenes is when another baby group, "The Ninja Babies" are chasing Ted. He initially thinks they are cute until they start attacking him. It is pretty funny watching Ted run around screaming. Alec Baldwin nails Ted's sound effects. Even Amy Sedaris's squealing as Tina is hilarious and she actually uses this squeal in real life to get people's attention.

The message of this film is that it is important to focus on what matters most - love and family. Over the years, Ted always put his job and money ahead of his family, but realizes that he will always be lonely if he doesn't prioritize things. Parents should look out for bad habits some of the babies show and words that sound similar to profanity.

The Boss Baby: The Family Business is the perfect movie for families to bond over this summer. I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. The Boss Baby: The Family Business launches July 2, 2021 in theaters and on Peacock.

Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The new film The Boss Baby: Family business is a very interactive movie and animated sequel. I absolutely loved it. Directed by Tom McGrath and Sean Mullen, it is completely entertaining, exciting, very humorous and fun to watch. As I watched the movie, I could not stop laughing.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is the official continuation of the original film, Boss Baby, about a wannabe executive baby named Theodore Templeton (Alec Baldwin). Now both Ted and his older brother, Tim (James Marsden) are adults and they've grown apart. When Uncle Ted drops in for a visit, he learns that his niece, Tina (Amy Sedaris) has the same business-minded, mini-manager drive and spirit as her uncle. Tina gets Tim and Ted to experiment with a new technology that reverts them back to babies for 48 hours. This is when all the excitement starts; the mission reunites the Templeton brothers in unexpected ways, and leads them to re-evaluate what the true meaning of family is as they are reminded what truly matters in life.

My favourite characters are Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and Tina (Amy Sedaris). Ariana Greenblatt plays Tabitha as an intelligent and bright young girl at the top of her class, who is scared to sing in front of a crowd, because she doesn't want to make a mistake and wants to make her dad proud. When I watched that part of the movie, I wanted to tear up, because it is such a beautiful moment when she sings and gets over her fears. Amy Sedaris's Tina takes matters into her own hands and acts like the Boss Baby she is, restoring the bond between her dad and uncle. My favourite scene is when the Templeton brothers are stuck in a situation and say, "It's lonely at the top; just because you grow up does not mean you grow apart."

The message of this movie is that there is nothing more important than the love of your family and the bond between them; having a family that loves you brings a person such comfort and peace, and helps them to become more confident.

I give Boss Baby: Family business 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. This film releases in theatres Friday, July 2, 2021. Save the date!

Reviewed by Josephine M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LONELIEST WHALE: THE SEARCH FOR 52, THE
LONELIEST WHALE: THE SEARCH FOR 52, THE - BLEECKER STREET MEDIA
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Description - The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 is a feature length documentary that will take audiences on a journey to find the forgotten "52 Hertz Whale." Calling out at 52 Hz, a frequency unrecognized by other whales, this mysterious creature is believed to have lived its life in complete solitude, its calls forever unanswered by its own kind. In our ever-present fascination with these majestic beasts, the tale of "52" has prompted an intense reaction amongst our own species, pointing to a greater awareness of human loneliness than ever before.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The riveting documentary The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52, by Joshua Zeman, brings us closer to our deep connection with animals. From the very first moment of the film, the beauty of the underwater world and the majesty of whales hooks the viewer in. The story is filled with hope and disappointment; it evokes emotion at every twist and turn. Anyone who watches the film immediately sympathizes with the 52 Hertz Whale.

The call of the 52 Hertz Whale was first detected during the Cold War. At first, the noise was thought to come from a Russian submarine, but later it was discovered to be a whale. Scientists had never heard whale sounds with that frequency before and one scientist, Bill Watkins, began to search for it. After the death of Bill Watkins a group of scientists decided to set out on a seven day expedition in search of 52. The film follows the ups and downs of their adventure, with no guarantee of success. Will they find the 52 Hertz Whale? The ending might not be what you expect.

This film features the world's biggest experts in marine biology and whales. Each of these scientists has their own expertise and, when they work together, they create the perfect team to find 52. They communicate so well that, without even knowing it, I was learning about anatomy, whale communication, and important patterns in science. The music brings everything together, creating a dramatic and sentimental effect. The whale sounds are haunting and touched me deeply. My favorite parts of this film are the majestic underwater scenes. By placing suction cup cameras onto the whales and using underwater drones, the filmmakers were able to record whale movements and interactions in all their beauty.

This message of this film is that humans and animals are connected in more ways than we can ever imagine. We don't need a common language to communicate. We are connected by nature and emotion. We learn that severe noise pollution from shipping containers and oil drilling disrupts their ability to understand each other. The story makes me want to buy locally and think of ways to protect the safety of whale habitats. There is occasional use of profanity, but there are no offensive or degrading words. While some of the expeditions are risky, it is unlikely that kids would imitate them.

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. It is a must-see film. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Adults will absolutely love this film as well. The film releases in theaters July 9, 2021 and on digital on July 16, 2021.

By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Passionate researchers and an adventurous search for a mysterious singing whale is just what you'll get in The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52! This documentary takes you on a journey through the Pacific Ocean while delivering a touching and thrilling story about connections between marine life and humans.

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 is a documentary about a whale, nicknamed 52 or "the loneliest whale" that had never been seen, but known to exist by the unique song he sings at 52 Hertz. Originally thought to be the sound of a submarine, scientists later learned the sound came from a whale. This documentary follows a team of scientists on their journey searching for the 52 Hertz whale, and the challenges in finding it.

Created, produced and directed by Joshua Zeman The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 is very interesting and educational. My favorite part was seeing how Mr. Zeman and the researchers were able to put tracking devices on the whales. It seemed very challenging and astonishing at the same time. They used advanced equipment to accomplish that, such as the SOSUS, which is used by the military to track the sounds of submarines. The film shows how whales sing to connect with other whales. However, when it comes to 52, his song is different, which might not enable him to communicate with others; hence is believed to be lonely.

One of the biggest lessons in this documentary is that humans should pay attention to how everything is connected. Even if we don't speak the same language, there are always ways to connect and communicate with other living species. The film also touches on how humans can help whales by reducing noise pollution from things such as off-shore drilling, which really interferes with how whales communicate with each other. Parents should be aware that there are scenes showing people harming whales.

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find this film in theaters and on demand starting July 9, 2021.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FATHOM
FATHOM - APPLE TV
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Directed and photographed by Drew Xanthopoulos ("The Sensitives"), "Fathom" follows Dr. Ellen Garland and Dr. Michelle Fournet, two scientists focused on the study of humpback whale songs and social communication. As they embark on parallel research journeys on opposite sides of the world, they seek to better understand whale culture and communication. The documentary film uniquely reveals a deep commitment and reverence to the scientific process and the universal human need to seek answers about the world around us. From hypothesis to groundbreaking experiences in the field, "Fathom" showcases the passion, curiosity, collaboration, perseverance and work it takes for leading scientists to make scientific discoveries.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fathom is an outstanding documentary that shows how interesting and awesome oceanography really is. One of the many things that makes this film great is the cinematography; it captures the beautiful ocean setting in a way that makes you feel as if you are there. Another aspect I enjoyed are the scientists. These women are incredible at what they do and at explaining it to non-scientists. I love two female scientists are featured because they are extremely underrepresented in this field of work.

The storyline follows two female scientists on a boat testing their hypotheses about whale communication. One of them, Dr. Ellen Garland, is answering her question about how far whale communication can travel. The second scientist, Dr. Michelle Fournet, is studying the whale's woop - a distinct type of call that is "almost as if the whale is saying, 'hey.'" Fathom not only focuses on the scientists' work life, but also their personal interactions with the team, their families, and just being goofy people.

One of my favorite parts is when Dr. Fournet manages to accomplish her goal of tracking 30 whales in two weeks while also caring for her team. I love that Dr. Garland, as a feminist, talks about how hard it is to show weakness as a woman in a male-dominated line of work. The scenes with Dr. Fournet and her crew on their boat in the middle of the ocean are captured so perfectly, from the lighting to the rich colors of the ocean. It makes me want to be there. When Dr. Fournet describes how dangerous this job is, it shows what these scientists are willing to risk to increase our knowledge about these beautiful whales.

The message of this film is about feminism; it is a recurring theme and is talked about a lot. These female scientists are great role models, especially for young girls who may be interested in science. This film promotes positive behavior, education and perseverance.

I give Fathom 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18 plus adults. Fathom premieres on Apple TV+ June 25, 2021.

By Samantha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY
PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 3-18
Description - Thomas and Bea are now married and living with Peter and his rabbit family. Bored of life in the garden, Peter goes to the big city, where he meets shady characters and ends up creating chaos for the whole family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is a family-friendly comedy-adventure film. I loved watching whimsical animated film. It had me laughing from beginning to end. The crazy adventures of Peter and the animals are highly entertaining.

In this film, the characters you loved from the first movie are back. A beautiful wedding, a new business, and a perfect life on the farm appeared to be all Peter Rabbit and his family need, but things change when a book Bea wrote about the rabbits gets an opportunity to be published.

Director Will Gluck and screenwriter Patrick Burleigh bring back Peter Rabbit with a new adventure while maintaining what we love about the characters from the first movie. The talented voice-overs of Peter Rabbit (James Corben), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki), Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Cottontail (Aimee Horne), and Barnabas (Lennie James) bring life to the characters and laughter. Of course, a comedy-adventure is nothing without a proper soundtrack. The music by Dominic Lewis keeps up with the high-energy animal mischief and helps build emotion. Art directors Nicholas Dare and Sophie Nash create realistic computer-generated animals that could easily play the lead actors in any movie, including humans. Their personalities will have movie viewers falling in love with them and cheering their victory.

Through Peter Rabbit's adventures on the farm and in the city, we learn that the importance of "family" is a continuous theme throughout the film. Unfortunately, Peter makes the mistake of letting the judgment of others question his character. However, the unconditional love from his siblings, cousin Bea, Thomas and the other animals helps him realize he doesn't have to be perfect to be loved. Bea and Thomas finally understand that "family" comes in all shapes and sizes.

I rate Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18. Adults will also enjoy sharing laughs with their families. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway premieres in theaters June 11, 2021 and on Amazon Prime.

By Calee N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 3-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PENGUIN TOWN
PENGUIN TOWN - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, 10-15
Description - 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!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LUCA
LUCA - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 10-18
Description - Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, the original animated feature is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: he is a sea monster from another world just below the water's surface.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Luca is an entertaining animated film filled with fun, lots of scooter rides and unforgettable moments. It has great messages and shows you that you can have a good time if you just "Silencio Bruno." This new Disney-Pixar film has the potential of being one of your favorites.

The storyline is about a boy named Luca (Jacob Tremblay), who is a bit different from the rest. He is what people call a sea monster and so is his new friend Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer). Luca lives underwater as a sea monster, but he can't resist going up to the shore to explore the world as a human boy with Alberto, even though his parents tell him not to. When Luca's parents find out, they tell him he now has to live in the deepest part of the water with his uncle. Luca and Alberto run away to a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, where they meet a girl named Giulia (Emma Berman), who quickly becomes their friend. However, the town is full of fishermen who are trying to catch sea monsters. Luca and Alberto keep running into situations where they almost turn back into sea monsters, so they must work hard to keep their secret or something bad might happen to them.

I like the relationships that are developed throughout the film, such as Giulia and Luca's friendship. They teach each other new things, which really help them bond. The ending of the movie is a bit sad because the friends are separated, but that just goes to show how great the writers developed the relationships in this movie. The storyline is fun and exciting and shows the adventures of the characters. My favorite character is Alberto because he is daring and funny. He tries things that he never tried before, even when they are a bit risky and that makes him a fun character.

The message of Luca is that sometimes you just need to "Silencio Bruno" which means you need to tell that little voice in your head that prevents you from doing fun things to just be quiet. There is nothing to look out for in this film. It's completely family-friendly.

I give Luca 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults. You can watch Luca beginning June 18, 2021 exclusively on Disney+. Be sure to check it out!

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Pack your bags for a trip to the Italian Riviera! Luca is the feel-good flick to get audiences into the summer spirit. With its comedy, lovable characters, and unique animation, this movie is another Disney pictures hit.

Luca follows two sea creatures, Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) as they wander amongst humans in the small town of Portorosso. The secret of their identity hangs in the balance as the entire town fears sea creatures, and some residents even hunt them. The two boys then befriend Giulia (Emma Berman), and the three of them go on an adventure of a lifetime.

This film is the perfect movie for families. The friendship between Luca and Alberto, Giulia's rebel side, and the love of parent and child stand out. Alberto helps Luca to let loose, mentoring him in all things human. Their friendship blooms and the two of them tackle their issues together. The two boys steal the show and are set to become fan favorites. The movie also shows viewers the beauty of what most of us take for granted. Luca falls in love with the stars and moon which he has never seen. He gazes at them curiously. He reads books and uses a telescope to watch the blazing balls of fire. He also dreams of going to school and learning, something he was never able to do underwater. One of the most notable differences in this Pixar film is its animation. Its artistic style is noticeably different from other Pixar classics. The characters are 3D with long arms and legs, with wide hands, feet and heads. The vibrant colors and settings show the beauty of an Italian summer. The bright sun, clothes and houses fall brilliantly into step with one another. The attention to cultural detail is immaculate. The characters switch from Italian to English. The town is picture perfect, with old houses and tight, winding streets laid with cobblestones. It is clear that the filmmakers put a lot of time and effort into this film, recreating visuals that are classic Italy.

The moral of the film is the importance of friendship and family. Luca, Alberto and Giulia all fight together and for one another against all odds. Giulia defends the boys and helps hide their secret, instead of being afraid of them like the rest of the town. Luca and Alberto face the world head on, and make sacrifices, putting the others' needs ahead of their own.

I give Luca 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 plus adults. It starts streaming on Disney+ June 18, 2021.

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

The new movie Luca from Pixar Studios will have viewers asking for a sea monster sequel. I didn't know what to expect from this movie and found myself being pulled into the mayhem and adventure and cheering on the surprisingly likeable sea monsters. The pleasing mix of a peaceful underwater colony of misunderstood sea monsters and a quaint seaside village makes for a charming movie for all ages and interests. This animated full-length feature continues the high standards that audiences have come to expect from Pixar while establishing itself as unique.

Set on the Italian coast, the movie follows the unlikely friendship between two sea monsters, Luca and Alberto, who come from the same place, but are also from very different worlds. Luca is part of a close-knit family that is very protective and warns him of the dangers of the human world which is a mystery to them. Alberto has had to make his own way in the absence of his father and has built a life for himself on the shore of the Italian village. The animation shows the transformation the boys make from sea monsters to humans, which helps them disguise themselves as normal people.

Luca (Jacob Tremblay), Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Guilia (Emma Berman) are the key characters. The music is very enjoyable; it is very operatic and very Italian-inspired. The animation is superb. The movie has a strong story line. Of course, coming from Disney and Pixar, viewers definitely get the quality they are expecting. My favorite part is definitely when the sea monsters reveal their actual identities to the people in the village. That part is pretty surprising. There is a cheerful feeling in a lot of the scenes, which has a positive impact on viewers. This film was is truly outstanding and delightful in every way.

The message of this film is to not be afraid and have fun in life or you might regret it later. Parents will find this film satisfying and cute; it is a great movie for the whole family to watch.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. It is available on Disney+ right now!

By Ava H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
IN THE HEIGHTS
IN THE HEIGHTS - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - In the Heights centers on a variety of characters living in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, on the northern tip of Manhattan. At the center of the show is Usnavi, a bodega owner who looks after the aging Cuban lady next door, pines for the gorgeous girl working in the neighboring beauty salon and dreams of winning the lottery and escaping to the shores of his native Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, Nina, a childhood friend of Usnavi's, has returned to the neighborhood from her first year at college with surprising news for her parents, who have spent their life savings on building a better life for their daughter. Ultimately, Usnavi and the residents of the close-knit neighborhood get a dose of what it means to be home.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Did you love the musical In the Heights and want more? Well, your wish has come true and you can have more because In the Heights is now a movie! It has the same great soundtrack and is even more action packed.

In the Heights is about Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner, and his disappearing neighborhood in New York City, specifically Washington Heights. Small businesses are moving away; people are leaving; and Usnavi is going back to his home in the Dominican Republic to help his family. What will happen when Usnavi leaves?

This movie is based on the book by Quiara Alegria Hudes and musical, with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda - both titled with the same name. The music is phenomenal and very memorable because it makes you want to get up and dance. While writing this review, I still have all the songs stuck in my head. Lin-Manuel Miranda also plays the Piragua Guy. Along with the music, the choreography is outstanding, particularly the group choreography - a mix of hip-hop and Latinx styles. Everyone is in sync and energetic. The scenes are very detailed, artistic and beautiful, with so much color. The acting is beyond amazing and every character is so believable and loveable. Anthony Ramos, as Usnavi, stands out and seems very genuine. Melissa Barrera, as Vanessa, shows so much perseverance for her dreams. Leslie Grace's Nina is passionate as she deals with her character's conflicts. My favorite character is Abuela Claudia because she is so loving to all, and she reminds us to have paciencia y fe (patience and faith). The characters speak Spanish at times during the film, so it helps if you have some knowledge of the Spanish language, but it's not essential to enjoying the movie.

The main message is that sue�itos (little dreams) aren't always easy; you have to work for them. In the Heights addresses some serious topics like attending college and dealing with racial bias as a minority. This movie has some profanity and suggestive references.

I give In the Heights 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters or on HBO Max June 11, 2021.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
12 MIGHTY ORPHANS
12 MIGHTY ORPHANS - SONY CLASSICAL
Series: FEATURES, AGES 10-18
Description - During the Great Depression, Rusty Russell gives up a privileged position to coach football at an orphanage in Fort Worth, Texas. Whipping his young players into shape, they soon become an inspiration to their city, state and an entire nation.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - With a moving script, deep characters, and incredible production quality, 12 Mighty Orphans is a film you should not miss! A throwback to the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the aftermath of the First World War, the film will strike a chord with all generations, and it's an especially great watch for sports fans and Texans.

The film tells the true story of one of the greatest football coaches in American history - Rusty Russell (Luke Wilson). Russell gives up his position coaching and teaching in Temple, Texas, to move to the Masonic Home, a decrepit orphanage in Fort Worth, where he teaches math and science, and more importantly, coaches the young orphan boys in football. Russell struggles to whip his team of emotionally damaged novice players into shape.12 Mighty Orphans shows the journey of the relationship between player and coach and how Russell turns the orphanage into a source of inspiration for the entire nation.

The production quality of this Sony Classics movie is superb; from the start, the Texas drawl of the intermittent narration, the slightly browned footage, and even the car that Rusty Russell drives, a 1930s Ford, all contribute to making the viewer feel that they truly are in post-World War I Texas. The dialogue is both clear and realistic, and it helps add to the depth of each character. The three characters who are the most expounded upon are Rusty Russell, Snoggs (Jacob Lofland), a thin, good-hearted orphan, Doc Hall (Martin Sheen), the medic of the orphanage and Hardy Brown (Jake Austin Walker), the troubled yet talented football star. Each of these characters has a detailed backstory and the actors that play them emote beautifully throughout the film, always staying true to their character in a way that never feels forced. I especially love Jake Austin Walker's performance as Hardy Brown and Martin Sheen as Doc Hall; the intense emotion of Hardy's role and the layered personality of Doc really bring the story to life. And of course, the fatherly Rusty Russell is the star of the show!

12 Mighty Orphans promotes messages of unity, community, perseverance and faith. For the young orphan boys, getting over the tragedies of their past is the only thing holding them back from greatness; Russell shows them (and viewers) that moving on, though difficult, is the key to putting your best foot forward and succeeding in the future.

I give 12 Mighty Orphans 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18; adults will enjoy this film as well. 12 Mighty Orphans will be available in limited-release form on June 11, 2021 and in theatres on June 18, 2021.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

12 Mighty Orphans is a great film and very family friendly. I like that it focuses on events that brought about a sense of pride to a community when the world was not in a good place.

The film is based on a true story about a group of orphans, Hardy Brown (Jake Austin Walker), Snoggs (Jacob Lofland) and Fairbanks (Levi Dylan) and Rusty Russell (Luke Wilson) who leaves his position at a prestigious school to come to the orphanage to coach these boys. These boys have never played football before. With the support of Coach Russell, his wife Juanita (Vinessa Shaw), Doc Hall (Martin Sheen) and a former orphan, Mason Hawk (Robert Duvall), the boys learn to believe in themselves and become a true team. They beat the odds and discover their individual and collective strengths on the way to becoming a really good football team. The Mighty Mites, a name given to them by Mason Hawk, end up getting the support of their community because they symbolize hope and resilience of the human spirit.

The film really excels at the character arcs; we watch most of the main characters experience growth as a result of their interactions with Coach Russell and with each other. The film features some well-known actors, like Academy Award-winners Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen, who both excel in their ability to bring characters to life. Another plus is that the film focuses on something positive that the community rallies behind and it temporarily takes their minds off of the Great Depression. My favorite character is Coach Russell. As an orphan himself, he beat the odds and became a successful coach and family man, but he doesn't forget where he came from and goes back to help other orphans. Coach Russell shows the kids that it is possible for them all to do much more than they or the world expects.

The message of this film is that, no matter how dark times get, you should never give up on yourself or the world. Even those that the world has forgotten about can have a beacon of hope.

12 Mighty Orphans gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. 12 Mighty Orphans releases in theaters June 11, 2021.

By Ayden P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I like 12 Mighty Orphans because it is based on a real life event. It has an incredible cast and each one portrays their character so well. This story is a big eye opener.

The story follows a group of 150 children at an orphanage in Texas in 1940. A football coach and teacher named Rusty Russell (Luke Wilson), who is an orphan himself, recruits 12 teenage orphans to play football. These young boys go from playing without shoes, not knowing how to play football and not even having a real football to play with to winning the Texas state championship. Mr. Russell and the orphanage's doctor, Doc Hall (Martin Sheen), train the team. They teach them discipline, respect, love for the sport and, the most important thing, self-love and self-respect.

12 Mighty Orphans is directed by Ty Roberts who manages to transmit onto the big screen the story of these orphans - sadness, frustration, suffering, passion and joy. The cast includes some A-list actors such as Robert Duval, Wayne Knight and Treat Williams. The locations and landscape are colorful and beautiful. The wardrobe features outfits from the 40s, including football gear made of leather pads and leather helmets. My favorite part is when the team comes together and starts to realize that being an orphan is not as bad as they think it is.

The moral of this film is that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from; as long as you do things with love and passion, you will succeed in life. Teamwork plays a big role in this film, because the orphans come together as a family to succeed at football. Be forewarned that the film contains some profanity, some explicit dialogue, and bloody real life events.

I give 12 Mighty Orphans 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Minors can watch this magnificent and possibly award-winning movie, with the supervision of an adult. 12 Mighty Orphans has advanced screenings at Texas theaters starting June 11 and opens nationwide June 18, 2021.

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CRUELLA
CRUELLA - DISNEY+
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Before she becomes Cruella de Vil? Teenaged Estella has a dream. She wishes to become a fashion designer, having been gifted with talent, innovation, and ambition all in equal measures. But life seems intent on making sure her dreams never come true. Having wound up penniless and orphaned in London at 12, four years later Estella runs wild through the city streets with her best friends and partners-in-(petty)-crime, Horace and Jasper, two amateur thieves. When a chance encounter vaults Estella into the world of the young rich and famous, she begins to question the existence she's built for herself in London and wonders whether she might be destined for more after all. When an up-and-coming rock star commissions Estella to design him a signature piece, she begins to feel as though she has truly arrived. But what is the cost of keeping up with the fast crowd- and is it a price Estella is willing to pay?
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Cruella, the film, is a very audacious take for a Disney movie. It is bold, strong, raw, and at the same time flourishing with creativity and joyful to watch. The acting is superb and all aspects of production--costumes, locations, art and design--are on point. Last but not least, the soundtrack is definitively one to remember.

This origin story tells how the well-known villain from the original book and subsequent animated movie The Hundred and One Dalmatians becomes Cruella. Sadly, it takes bullying, cruelty and hate to turn a wonderful character to evil. In Cruella we see a young Estella (Tipper Steifert-Cleveland) surviving as an orphan, struggling to create a family with two boys she meets on the street, along with the noble company of two dogs that are humans' best friends. This is one of the aspects I love about Cruella: despite that Cruella de Vil is well known for animal cruelty, this movie honors dogs by having two canines, Buddy and Blink, as important cast members.

Tipper Steifert-Cleveland's performance is the perfect predecessor to the stunning grown-up Estella (Emma Stone) to shine in a multi-layered character. We see how 12-year-old Estella is bullied at school which is one of the most important messages of the movie to its younger audience, showing how people that surround you can hurt you when your appearance doesn't match what they see as "normal." As Estella, Emma Stone is full of creativity and ideals and an absolute survivor. She's a hard worker who's determined to make her dreams come to life. We see her cleaning floors and toilets at the iconic fashion store Liberty of London, pursuing a career in fashion design--but society sabotages her plans.

The Baroness (Emma Thompson) is despicable and charming at the same time. Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser play Jasper and Horace, respectively; little thieves that show unconditional love to Estella and are literally partners in crime. John the Valet (Mark Strong), besides being perfectly cast, should have had more presence in the storyline since he could have brought more humanity and hope to the film. My favorite part? The music, brilliantly composed by Nicholas Britell to match the narration and the era. And the visuals and cinematography are just stunning.

The story of Cruella is fascinating, but my only issue is how long the storytelling takes, including scenes that could have been edited out. At times, there are a couple instances of self-explanatory dialogue related to the turning point in the story: the world is cruel, making Estella become the meanest villain in response. Ultimately, the message of the film is that environment, nature and nurture play a decisive role in one's being and in our role in society.

I give Cruella 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 13 to 18, plus adults. There are some mildly violent scenes and themes that can be inappropriate for the very young. Cruella opens May 28, 2021 in theaters and on digital platforms.

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Cruella is an all-new, live-action feature film that is fashion-forward and villainous! The fashion and soundtrack really help drive the film. The camerawork is astonishing and connects you to the protagonist's journey.

Based on the novel The One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, Cruella takes you on the journey of how the most fashionable villain goes from being a mischievous, rebellious and fashionable young girl (Tipper Seifert-Cleveland) to becoming Cruella De Vil (Emma Stone). After suffering a great loss, Estella meets two young homeless thieves, Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser) and they instantly become family. Estella uses her fashion sense to design costumes to allow them to run scams to survive. Then, she gets the job of a lifetime, creating outfits for the chic, terrifying fashion legend, the Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson). After a revelation connecting the Baroness to a horrific event from her childhood, Estella seeks revenge and gets a chance to let out her inner "Cruella."

The main characters in this film are Estella/Cruella de Vil, the Baroness von Hellman, Jasper, Horace, Anita Darling (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and Mark Strong (John the Valet). Cruella is narrated by none other than Cruella herself and is set in 1970s London during the punk rock revolution. The camera techniques used are sensational; at times they make you feel like you are walking with the characters. The party scenes stay true to the red, black and white color pallet Cruella is known to wear. My favorite part is when the rebellious Cruella goes to a black and white ball wearing an all-white outfit and drops a match on it. The dress burns up and reveals a red dress underneath. It is also remarkable how costume designer, Jenny Beavan up-cycled materials, such as trash, and uses the infamous Dalmatian pattern, to create Cruella's outfits.

The message of this film is that sometimes the worst memories are the ones that have the greatest impact on your life. In this film, Estella experiences different events in her life that would break the typical person, but it led to her experiencing some of the greater moments of her life, such as meeting Jasper and Horace or having a chance make clothing. The only parent warning I have is a short scene where Estella is drinking.

I rate Cruella 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18; adults are sure to love it too. Cruella releases simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on Friday, May 28, 2021.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT - ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Justina Machado, George Chakiris, Mitzi Gaynor, Chita Rivera, Norman Lear, Gloria Estefan, Sonia Manzano, Karen Olivo, Emilio Estefan Jr., Terrence McNally, Mariem Perez Riera, Pedro Juan Lopez
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It is the ultimate in-depth documentary about one of Hollywood's most trailblazing actors. This film is the absolute tear-jerking, hysterical, educational experience of the year. By the movie's end, you just want to go for it too.

Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It recounts the life story of critically acclaimed actress Rita Moreno. Rita, who is best known for her roles of Anita in West Side Story and Carmela in The Electric Company, stars in the documentary, along with stars like Whoopie Goldberg, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eva Longoria and more. The film features clips from a large variety of Rita's films throughout her career as well as from award shows, and photographs and footage from her personal life, including interviews with her friends and family.

This film shines a light on how incredible Rita is, and how human as she leads the way for Puerto Ricans and all Hispanics in the 1960s, stands up for women's rights and fights to be able to choose which roles she plays. She deals with being type-cast as an island or Hispanic character, and decides and turns down roles that would shove her into a tiny box. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly side of Rita's life, not just grazing at the surface. It shows how Rita struggled with hating her Hispanic roots, because it limited her as an actress. She tells how she was sexually abused, was forced into an abortion by her then-boyfriend Marlon Brando, and tried to commit suicide. The film shows exactly why Rita is such a beloved actress and person. Despite all she's been through, she never gives up and learned to value the woman she is. Rita grows into her own person throughout the movie, telling how everything that put her down at the time just made her stronger.

The moral of the film is to stay strong and keep fighting. Rita is not eighty-nine years old and one of 15 EGOT winners (acronym for the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards), just because she gave up. Being a Puerto Rican actress in New York and trying to find your way in the world wasn't as easy as Moreno makes it look. She has maintained her humbleness and blossomed into a modern woman who fights for human rights and looks great while doing it.

I give Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters June 18, 2021.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It is a trailblazing documentary that will inspire girls across the world who have a dream! Rita Moreno's life story is a testament to her perseverance and others like her who had a dream and decided to go for it.

This documentary profiles Rita Moreno (West Side Story, One Day at a Time), following her life from its beginnings as a poor Puerto Rican girl to becoming an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) award-winning actress. We see her struggles and trials throughout her life and how she confronts and handles them.

Latina Mariem Perez Riera directs this documentary and brings a great deal of passion to it, making the film very personal and authentic. The film employs stop motion animation, film excerpts to show Moreno's life as a young woman to a legendary entertainment icon and political activist. Not only are the scenes diverse, so are its features. I particularly enjoyed hearing from Morgan Freeman, Lin- Manuel Miranda and Hector Elizondo. My favorite parts of this documentary are actually the sad parts. So many people in the limelight tend to sugar coat the truth about their troubles, which makes them seem perfect. This film is raw to the point that, even though her life has a Hollywood spin to it, it actually tells a story that many young girls can relate to today.

The message of this documentary is in the title - be a girl (or boy) that goes for your dream. Rita Moreno came from less than many, yet lived a life bigger than most. You can do it! You won't know unless you try. This film does contain a description of sexual violence and some profanity.

I give Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
QUIET PLACE, A: PART II
QUIET PLACE, A: PART II - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Quiet Place Part II returns to the Abbott family minus Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) who dies in the first movie trying to save his family from aliens attempting to take over the world. It appears the aliens have returned to the Abbott's small town where, once again, any noise will lead to certain death. But there is hope after the discovery of an old friend in hiding.

This outstanding horror film sequel by John Krasinski exemplifies how cinematography and lighting can make a film ten times better. This is especially clear in one of my favorite scenes in which Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) is standing in her flooding nursery, with paper falling off the walls, and dim red lights wrapped around her soaked dress. The camera angles really make this scene much more majestic and tragic. Also, the cinematography captures the CGI figures perfectly. It is terrifying and chilling how realistic these creatures look, drawing the audience into this truly unique film.

One of the best things about A Quiet Place Part II is the talent! I believe every actor and actress featured in this amazing film deserves a standing ovation. My favorite actress is Emily Blunt who is excellent in her role as Evelyn Abbott, bringing layers to her character and displaying her character's growth as the movie progresses. Also, the CGI used to create the antagonizing creatures truly stands out. It feels as if the creatures are there with the actors during the shoot, which is both terrifying and impressive at the same time.

The main messages of A Quiet Place Part II are to have bravery and perseverance. Examples of those qualities can be seen when protagonist Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds) goes off on her own, leaving her mother and two brothers behind in search of an island rumored to have other survivors. Some things to be aware of in A Quiet Place Part II are gore, jump scares and some other instances of horror that would not be appropriate for a younger audience.

I give A Quiet Place Part II 5 out of 5 stars. I loved it! I would recommend this film for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. You can find A Quiet Place Part II at your local movie theater starting on May 28, 2021.

By Samantha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11As much as Emily Blunt and John Krasinski have to be incredibly silent, A Quiet Place Part II is a screaming delight with surprising twists and major intensity. Just when you think you can't get enough of these mind-boggling jump scares, the film provides new creative plot lines that make you jump left and right. The film does lack a major conclusion, which doesn't really give viewers closure, and it leaves you with the thought, "Wait, the movie's over?"

As you can guess, A Quiet Place Pat II picks up after the events of A Quiet Place. The film follows the Abbott family after they leave their previously destroyed home. When they discover a nearby outlander named Emmett (Cillian Murphy), they attempt to work with him so they can face the challenges outside their known world to survive the day. This sequel broadens the universe in ways that we could have never known in the first movie.

When it comes to a horror film, of course you need plenty of monsters. The increased amount of screen time the aliens have in A Quiet Place Part II is immensely more than the first movie. The visual effects department stepped up their game, really improving the CGI with plenty of detail, and making the aliens look a lot more realistic. With the number of aliens being amped up, of course the amount of action is too. The film includes as much action as you could possibly have in a 90 minute runtime.

The one word that describes A Quiet Place Part II is - intense. The sequel adapts its genre from horror to more of a thriller, with an emphasis on thrills. Certain parts of the film can be very extreme and make your heart pump out of your chest. It might seem scary on the outside, but on the inside, it demonstrates themes of family and friendship. It also expresses the importance of trust, and how you should bestow it upon new people in your life.

Topping an outstanding first movie is an almost impossible task, but director John Krasinski proves it to be possible by making A Quiet Place Part II superior to the first movie. Without a doubt A Quiet Place Part II is dialed up 100% from the first movie, improving the alien screen time and CGI that the debut movie lacked. Therefore, I give A Quiet Place Part II 5 out of 5 stars and recommend the film for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can find A Quiet Place Part II in your local theater on May 28, 2021.

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

From the bone-chilling thriller, A Quiet Place, comes the terrifying sequel A Quiet Place Part II. I was horrified and delighted with this film, and I believe I jumped about 20 times throughout the whole movie. Filled with suspense and intensity, A Quiet Place Part II is a must watch for all you horror fans.

Instead of picking up where A Quiet Place they left off, A Quiet Place Part II starts with a flashback of life before the monsters attacked. We see how the Abbott family, our heroes, were living a normal and happy small town life. All of a sudden, there is a flash in the sky and, after a short while, the monsters emerge. The town slowly starts to be destroyed as the creatures pick off people that speak too loudly. Suddenly, we flash forward to the current time where the original film left off, where the Abbott's seem to be the only ones left, or so they think. The suspense and intensity of this film will make you cringe and bite your nails out of fear of what is to come.

This movie is spectacular and there are so many details that deserve recognition. To start, I need to acknowledge the realistic, extraordinary acting in this movie. Noah Jupe (Marcus Abbott) and Millicent Simmonds (Regan Abbott) both convey such strong emotions using so little spoken word. They only use their facial expressions and sign language to communicate for the majority of the film, and yet it is some of the most top tier acting I have ever seen. The acting isn't the only thing that makes this movie spectacular. I love seeing two strong female characters. Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott is the spitting image of a tiger mom. The way her character is portrayed makes it so she shows moments of tenderness, while at other times she is killing monsters left and right like it's nothing. I could go on and on about Millicent Simmond's character, but the main thing that stuck out to me is that we have a deaf teenager who is a hero. She isn't portrayed as helpless because of her hearing abilities; in fact, she is the bravest out of all of them.

The message of this film is that courage means doing the right thing, even when you're afraid. There are many times in this film when we see characters stepping up to help each other, even when it means they risk losing their own lives.

I give A Quiet Place Part II 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 17 plus adults. It releases in theaters May 28, 2021.

By Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GENIUS GENERATION, THE
GENIUS GENERATION, THE - PRX
Series: PODCAST, AGES 6-18
Description - Did you know that the trampoline was invented by a 16-year-old? That popsicles, snowmobiles, and the Braille language were also invented by young people? Join host Danni Washington every week to meet the innovative kids, tweens, and teens who are running their own businesses, making new discoveries, or inventing something new using science.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - 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.

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

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

By Avalon N., 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

By Apurva S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 23 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 6-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: AUDIO


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DARK HOBBY, THE
DARK HOBBY, THE - DIFFERENT BY DESIGN
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - The Dark Hobby is an expos� of the devastation to species and reefs caused by the aquarium trade. This adventurous saga follows a band of Hawaiian Elders, conservationists and scientists who stop at nothing to protect marine wildlife. They file a lawsuit against the State of Hawai'i to halt the collection of reef creatures, a fight that goes all the way to the Supreme Court.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - How can we fix what we don't know is broken? How can we make change for something if we can't see what is wrong? The answer is simple...we can't unless we are aware that a problem exists. Hidden under the surface of our oceans within some of the riches habitats on the globe, there IS a problem and we must take immediate action to save our natural world before it disappears. The Dark Hobby, a compelling new documentary film, exposes the ugly truth behind a hobby practiced by so many people globally - the aquarium hobbyist. This film sheds light on the secrets of wildlife trafficking through the corrupt commercial extraction of our most precious species occupying the world's coral reefs.

Aquariums are certainly beautiful and enjoyable for humans, but they come at a huge cost to other living things involved in this "hobby" industry. The Dark Hobby highlights some alarming statistics within this captive industry that are sure to shock those that admire these artificial habitats. The film takes us to Hawaii's Kona Coast where Robert Wintner, the film's executive producer and long time marine activist, educates us on the dismal journey of marine life from capture to captivity. Several other activists and research scientists offer additional evidence on this ever so cruel hobby. Plucked from their natural habitat, 99% of marine wildlife die within the first year of captivity - only to be replaced following their death. The continuous demand to replace aquarium life drives many "aquarium collectors" into the business, causing great devastation to marine ecosystems. The Dark Hobby refers to fish keeping as a "global travesty demanding the world's attention" and this film is sure to change minds.

The Dark Hobby takes us underwater to some of the richest marine habitats in the world. This exclusive footage is outstanding and beautifully captured by the film's cinematographers. The Hawaiian ecosystems shown in this documentary are so diversified and viewers get a firsthand look at what could be lost if we continue to allow wildlife to be stolen. The scenes with including Native Hawaiians speaking out to save their culture are especially powerful and a great addition to the film.

The message in The Dark Hobby is about the need to open our eyes and think critically about all that is involved in human entertainment. Humanity can be driven at times by greed and selfishness, which can cloud reality. Humans are taking away marine life's most prized possession - their freedom - and this film gives us the information and education we need to speak out about giving that freedom back.

I give The Dark Hobby 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults, especially animal activists, will also love this documentary. The Dark Hobby makes its debut May 21, 2021 on a variety of digital platforms. Please spread the word, it's critical that this film's message be heard.

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FROM CRADLE TO STAGE
FROM CRADLE TO STAGE - PARAMOUNT PLUS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - Directed by Dave Grohl and inspired by his mother, Virginia Hanlon Grohl, and her critically-acclaimed book, From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars, the Live Nation Productions FROM CRADLE TO STAGE is a dynamic personal exploration of the special relationship between successful musicians and their moms. The six-part series will debut exclusively on Paramount+.

Honest, humorous and emotional, each episode features a famous performer and their mother, alongside Dave and Virginia, as they take an impassioned journey home and explore each artists' upbringing and the tools they received as a young talent to survive the turbulence of success.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - From Cradle To Stage is the ultimate music documentary series! From rock, to country, to pop, we learn so much about our favorite musicians and the women that raised them. A plus is that we get to see their adorable baby pictures.

This new series is based on the book by the same name written by Virginia Hanlon Grohl, mother of David Grohl, drummer of Nirvana and guitarist for the Foo Fighters. The two discuss what it was like raising and being raised as a rock star. They also team up with Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Pharell Williams, Miranda Lambert and their mothers to talk about the childhoods of these incredible artists. The show answers a loaded question, "What was it like to raise a musician?"

This show is so creative. Virginia's and David travel around the United States to learn more about their musical friends. It's so interesting seeing rare videos and pictures of the stars, along with first-hand stories about their formative years. From Cradle To Stage shows how the love of music runs in the veins of these artists from an early age. You see how Virginia's love of music spread to David, who grew up surrounded by music. It's very insightful to watch how a mother's love and support encouraged her child to pursue a mutual love for music. Although worrisome, these mothers always encouraged their children to pursue doing what they love. It's heartwarming to gaze upon the mothers' collection of framed platinum records and Rolling Stone magazines.

The moral of the series is to always have your child's back. In the music industry, where some become famous Grammy winners and others are not as lucky, these mothers always supported their children. Whether or not the parents supported the rock 'n' roll lifestyle and fame their child pursued, they always put their child's happiness first. Always asking, "How can we help?" There are some warnings for this series in regards to adult language and mentions of alcohol and drugs.

I give From Cradle To Stage 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for older teens plus adults. It is available on Paramount+ May 6, 2021.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CITY OF GHOSTS
CITY OF GHOSTS - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 2-8
Description - A group of kids discover stories around their city by communicating directly with the ghosts who inhabit it.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What could possibly be clever, charming and also refreshing? The new short series City of Ghosts! displays a new authentic animation style that is really pleasing to the eye and will make you want to watch the show more and more. The show delivers a very creative plot that makes you fall in love with both the show and its characters.

City of Ghosts follows a group of children that love ghosts. Together they decide to make a homemade show discovering different ghosts around the city. The children go to various places meeting new people and new friends.

City of Ghosts has a very different animation style than most other shows. The physical characters are animated, but the environment around them is real world settings. This seems odd at first, but over time you start to adore it. The animation really stands out because of this creative new angle of animation it delivers.

The show has many themes of friendship, family and exploration. City of Ghosts also has many morals. It teaches children the importance of creativity and the concept that you can do anything you put your mind to.

I give City of Ghosts 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 2 to 6. This was definitely a highlight of the New York International Film Festival and is available now on Netflix.
Juror Recommended Age: 2-8 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES, THE
MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES, THE - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8 TO 18
Description - A quirky, dysfunctional family's road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity's unlikeliest last hope.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Mitchells vs. The Machines is a must-see animated, action packed, comedic film! It's complete with robots, evil smartphones and one crazy unexpected family adventure to save planet Earth. The fight scenes and special effects are literally out of this world.

The storyline follows protagonist Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson), a creative outsider who is looking forward to meeting "her people" at her new film school. Her dad, who just wants to keep his family together, decides to go on a cross-country road trip to take her there instead of Katie flying, so they can bond one last time. On the way, the family ends up in the middle of a robot uprising and now it's up to the Mitchells to work together to save the world.

The main characters in this film are Katie, her dad Rick (Danny McBride), little brother Aaron (Michael Rianda), mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) and family dog Monchi (Doug the Pug). This film is all about connecting. Its director, Michael Rianda, uses every part of the creative process to make sure the audience relates to the characters. The storyline and the Mitchell's road trip are based on a real road trip some of the staff took while not using cell phones and just connecting. I love how the film combines both an illustrative, hand-painted approach and realism animation style to help develop the characters. Rianda helped develop Katie's character by making her love for filmmaking a focal point throughout the movie. There are hilarious freeze-frame moments where Katie is writing on a screen, it's almost as if she is the narrator. One of my favorite scenes is when Linda turns into a "super" mom and takes on the robots to try to protect her kids. I also like that Rick and Katie's family song "Live Your Life" by T.I. and featuring Rihanna is used to represent their relationship and wrap up the theme of the movie.

The message of this film is that everyone in a family has their own personality and you should just let people be themselves and focus more on understanding and connecting to them. In this film, Katie is considered a "weirdo" because she isn't like everyone else. The film shows how you should embrace your "weird" qualities, because that's what makes you unique.

I rate The Mitchells vs. The Machines 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It releases April 30, 2021 on Netflix.
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FAMILY REUNION (SEASON 2)
FAMILY REUNION (SEASON 2) - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 9-18
Description - When the McKellan family moves from Seattle to Georgia to be closer to extended family, the transition is like being a catfish out of water.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The NAACP award-winning series Family Reunion is back for another season, featuring new characters, fresh plots and musical interludes that will hook viewers from the start. Family Reunion Season 2 is definitely binge-worthy!

Season 2, Part 3 of Family Reunion is about ex-NFL tight end, Moses McKellan (Anthony Alabi), and his wife, Cocoa (Tia Mowry-Hardrict), as they and their four children continue living with Moses' parents M'Dear and Grandpa (Loretta Devine and Richard Roundtree.) After finding out about their financial issues, Moses and Cocoa attempt to get everything back in order. With that comes conflict, challenges in faith, and hardships, but they lean on each other to figure everything out.

Fans of Family Reunion will notice right away that Part 3 sets itself apart from the previous season - for example, by highlighting the vocal ability of the cast. In addition to being an actor, Cameron J. Wright, who plays Mazzi, is a singer in a band. Previously, we saw a bit of singing from him; however, this season we see him performing a lot of musical numbers and his singing has improved. Also, the wardrobe team has stepped up their game and really understands each character and chooses outfits that are vibrant, stylish and satisfy the personalities of each of the characters. The topics they discuss in Part 3 are much more mature as well. For example, there is a death of one of the characters, which is something many people can relate to. The writers and actors convey the story in such a way that people will have an emotional response to that episode.

The message of Family Reunion is to keep your faith even when things get tough, and remember you can always count on your family to be there when you need them. The members of the McKellan family have their ups and downs. But when they remain strong, connected to one another and rely on God, everything eventually falls into place. There are sensitive topics such as death and race relations, but, other than that, it's a family-friendly show.

Family Reunion is a great series that has a lot of potential to be a family favorite. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18 plus adults. Family Reunion season 2 premiered on April 5, 2021 on Netflix. So go check it out!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 9-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LIVE FROM MOUNT OLYMPUS
LIVE FROM MOUNT OLYMPUS - PRX
Series: PODCAST, AGES 8-12
Description - Combining the talent of contemporary theater with the power of Greek myths, this podcast is an audio adventure for audiences of all ages. When young Perseus makes a rash promise to save his mother from the clutches of an evil king, he has to strike out on a dangerous quest. Hermes, god of luck and thieves (Hadestown's Andr� De Shields), is the host for this tale of terrifying monsters, powerful gods, and a brave girl who will change our hero's life forever. This is a production of the Onassis Foundation.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Live from Mount Olympus is entertaining because it teaches Greek mythological lessons to tweens and makes it more digestible, appropriate and action-packed.

The podcast is perfect for tweens that are interested in Greek mythology and find the exciting stories entertaining. Hermes, the god of luck and thieves, is the host and acts as the messenger between the gods and humans. Throughout each episode, the listener learns about Perseus trying to save his mother from an evil King by using his power and perseverance. Each episode begins with a recap, presents a quest that Perseus goes on, a lesson he learns, and ends with an ad for similar podcasts.

The podcast is very well produced and is highly entertaining, while simultaneously educating tweens about Greek mythology. The episodes range from approximately 20 to 30 minutes in length. The sound effects, voices and overall soundscape made it seem like I was really there in the midst of the action. At some points, I closed my eyes and could easily picture the interactions between the characters playing out in my head, due to the great attention to detail pertaining to the spatial awareness. I recommend listening with earphones to get the full effect. Another interesting component of this podcast is that the listener can take a quiz to see what Greek god they are.

The message of this podcast is that anyone can be their own hero; in other words, believe in yourself.

I give Live from Mount Olympus 5 out 5 stars and recommend this for ages 8 to 13. You can listen to this now on TRAX at: https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus.

By Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Live from Mount Olympus is a fresh take on effervescent Greek mythology with witty narration and amazing production quality that is sure to hook any and all listeners and spark an interest in these ancient stories.

This TRAX podcast, backed by the Onassis Foundation, centers around Perseus (Divine Garland), our young hero who you may know from the Medusa myth. Perseus makes a rash promise to save his mother from an evil king and embarks upon several crazy adventures along the way. The show is narrated by Perseus' sibling, another son of Zeus, Hermes (Andr� De Shields), god of luck and thieves. The podcast has everything mythology fans will love: terrifying monsters, rich plot lines, powerful gods, the quintessential Greek theatrical elements of family, love and discovering oneself and your capabilities.

Live from Mount Olympus is produced by the Onassis Foundation. Many of the individuals on the podcast's team are Tony award-winners or Peabody-award winners, and their prowess shows. The brilliantly-designed audio blends rich, mellifluous background music with spry, enthralling and engaging narration. Perseus' and Hermes' witty repartee also invites even those who loathe mythology (who could?) to listen to the podcast. Even though it's a podcast, I could visualize all the characters right in front of me, especially the Gorgons and other monsters. Overall, the voice acting and production quality combine to make this podcast an even more fun and enriching experience!

Live from Mount Olympus promotes messages of perseverance, courage and exploration - three key elements to any Greek hero. It's a great podcast for young kids to listen to in their free time for entertainment purposes; they'll surely pick up some positive qualities from the podcast.

I give Live from Mount Olympus 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18. Adults will enjoy this podcast as well. You can listen to Live from Mount Olympus on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Live From Mount Olympus is an interesting podcast retelling the Greek myth of Perseus with a few flaws, but plenty of mythical elements, characterized voice acting, and nice sound effects. This is a great podcast for kids and young teens who love myths!

This podcast follows Perseus (Divine Garland) as he braves the quest of collecting the gorgon Medusa's head. In addition to this mission, the episodes reveal some interesting relationships as Perseus journeys home. If you always wanted to know what happened from the time Perseus gets Medusa's head to when he returns to his island, this podcast is for you.

Many traditional stories include mythical elements and Live From Mount Olympus uses plenty of these, including sea serpents, gorgons, gods, royalty and so much more. Along with these elements, realistic sound effects are used to pull you in so that you can't stop hitting the next play button! Sound effects are vital because there is nothing on the screen to guide you. Natural sounds like birds, rushing water and wind are often in the background, making it more realistic. Sometimes podcasts only have background noises when it is important to the plot, but that is Live from Mount Olympus makes full use of them throughout each episode. Voice acting is the key aspect when creating podcasts and the actors have to use the tone of their voices to help the audience understand what's going on. Most of these episodes have plenty of characterized acting, but in some action scenes it is hard to understand exactly what is happening. Sometimes the suspense level is low because I was not sure what was going on. For example, in Medusa's cave, it is supposed to be a very breathtaking moment. I found that, because I was unsure where everyone is or what they're doing, it lost some excitement. The characters are noticeably different in this podcast than in the original stories. This could be disappointing if you're hoping for more character connections to those stories. Perseus does not have as much pride as his character originally had, and has other personality differences.

The message of this podcast is do not let your pride get in the way. Showing how bravery is rewarded is another component.

I give Live From Mount Olympus 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 13. Listen to Live From Mount Olympus on Trax at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus

By Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Live from Mount Olympus podcast is great. It's really engaging and it follows one of my favorite topics -- Greek mythology. The introduction introduces Perseus and it's amazing how they bring this story to life! -- even in the introduction.

The storyline follows Perseus, son of Zeus and princess Danae. Baby Perseus, due to a prophecy of him killing his grandfather, is locked in a wooden crate along with his mother and pushed out to sea. The crate lands on Seriphus, where Perseus grows up, oblivious to his destiny. When King Polydectes tries to force Danae to marry him, Perseus makes a crazy vow to save his mother from the evil king and it leads him on all sorts of quests. Medusa? Sea monsters? The titan Atlas? Bring it on!

I've read a lot of mythology and know that when a God has a child with a mortal, that child is considered a demigod. Demi means half, which means that person is half-god. The most famous demigods in Greek Mythology are Heracles and Perseus. This is a great introduction to the myth of Perseus. When I read about Perseus, his story is barely mentioned, because there was so much else to talk about. This podcast is a really nice presentation of Perseus' story. It's super engaging. I love how writers Alexie Basil and Nathan Yungerberg wrote it so it is very lifelike and you feel as if you are actually there watching it all. I also like the accent of Andromeda; when I heard that, I sort of perked up. It makes you pay attention. Tony Award-winner Andre De Shields voices Hermes, messenger of the gods and narrator of the show. He just makes you want to keep listening! The only issue I have is that sometimes the tone of the voiceovers doesn't match the words they are saying. The entire podcast is super engaging. I don't think I could imagine a better adaptation of the myth of Perseus.

The podcast teaches multiple lessons - think before you speak; listen to your parents; don't make rash promises are a few.

I really like Live from Mount Olympus and rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It's engaging; it's amazing. I recommend it for ages 4 to 18, plus adults. If a person enjoys Greek mythology, this podcast is a must. Even my five-year-old brother was hooked! You can listen to Live from Mount Olympus on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus

By Alma K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The podcast Live From Mount Olympus tells an intriguing tale filled with action and adventure, that is sure to leave you itching to hear the next episode.

The podcast is based on Greek mythology, narrated by Andre De Shields as the voice of Hermes, the ancient God of thieves, luck and much more. Divine Garland plays the role of a boy named Perseus, who is the son of Zeus, God of the sky and leader of the Olympians and Jullian Walker plays Danea. Perseus makes a rash promise to an evil king to save his mom and ends up embarking on a dangerous journey.

This podcast is about characters from Greek mythology that go on a new quest which is not from the original Greek myths. The voice actors all make this feel like a story that is taking place. We hear a range of emotions in their voices from fear to annoyance, and more. They make this new story something that makes history believable. The sound effects are excellent and really enhance the story. This is a podcast where sometimes things get really fast and intense, but you can easily figure out what is happening - especially if you are into Greek mythology. It is an amazing podcast which I hope will have a sequel.

The message is to be careful what you promise to do and take things seriously when you are considering doing something. In this story, Perseus makes a rash promise without knowing what he has to do to save his mom. He ends up getting a task that some people think is impossible. If he had thought more about what he said, he might not have been stuck with the situation that he was.

I give Live From Mount Olympus 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to18, plus adults. I also recommend you review the original story of Perseus before you listen to this. This is an adventure you will not want to miss. You can listen to Live From Mount Olympus on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 17 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: AUDIO


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SECRETS OF THE WHALES
SECRETS OF THE WHALES - DISNEY+
Series: DOCUMENTATY, AGES 8-18
Description - Filmed across 24 locations over three years, this saga ventures into the world of whales to reveal life and love from their perspective and explores the cultures of orcas, belugas, narwhals, sperm whales, and humpback whales.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Have you ever been told that our oceans are very mysterious and that they hold many secrets that are likely to be hidden forever? Well, that's certainly true - our oceans are indeed mysterious and some of the most amazing secrets hidden deep within our oceans have recently been discovered and are ready to be shared with the world in a new National Geographic four-part documentary series. Secrets of the Whales spotlights four species of whales and uncovers their secrets and stories of survival with "first time" evidence and never-before-seen coverage. This series is epic and one you are going to want to witness!

Secrets of the Whales brings alive the visions of both Academy Award winning filmmaker and conservationist James Cameron and acclaimed National Geographic Explorer and Photographer Brian Skerry as they share their knowledge and research finding of some of the most intelligent giants living on our planet. Filmed across three years and in 24 locations, this documentary series, narrated by award-winning actress Sigourney Weaver, takes viewers on an amazing journey into the lives of orcas, humpbacks, belugas, and sperm whales. From Cameron and Skerry's work we gain such an expansive understanding and appreciation of whale family dynamics, social bonds, communication and tradition. It's the "secrets these mammals share which help them prevail."

This series has me completely captivated throughout all four episodes. Seeing the variety of marine life within their natural habitat is just jaw-dropping. With such stunning photography and action-packed video footage, the cinematography in Secret of the Whales is the best I've ever seen. As each scene is presented to viewers, you get a sense of being right there and consumed within each moment. To pick a favorite episode within this series would be impossible, since each episode is so unique with new secrets of the whales being unveiled to viewers.

The common message within all four episodes of Secrets of the Whales is centered around culture. These whale families must work together in a sophisticated manner if they are going to survive and be successful as a species. Whales are highly evolved creatures that have the complexity of family bonds, language, feeding patterns, emotions and interesting secrets. It is critical that these traditions be taught to offspring and passed down throughout the generations.

I give Secrets of the Whales 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults, especially those interested in marine ecology and conservation will certainly appreciate these films as well. Secrets of the Whales will begin streaming on Earth Day April 22, 2021 on Disney+. What a great way to celebrate Earth Day. Don't miss this series!

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

If someone came up to you and asked whether you liked reading facts or fiction, chances are you'd probably say fiction. And I can relate. Let's face it, the real world can be boring, but Secrets of the Whales definitely is not. Its pictures and views are absolutely outstanding; it has pretty unknown facts; and, best of all, it hooks you in! Kudos to the creators of Secrets of the Whales for making it something I can't stop watching.

This show is a classic documentary series that gives an inside look into the lives of whales. From raising their young, to getting them food, to teaching them to swim and where they live, Secrets of the Whales is an in-depth show that doesn't miss a fact.

The show is amazingly entertaining; it's like a dramatic show, but with a little less drama and featuring whales instead of humans. We learn that whales feel emotions and grieve as well. Drama like this is definitely a factor that got me hooked into the show. One thing I need to call attention to is the images and cinematography. National Geographic Explorer and Photographer, Brian Skerry brings expansive knowledge and research to the film. Cinematographer Brian Armstrong's images are clear and relevant, always providing a highly appreciable visual match to the story. Narrator Sigourney Weaver also has a clear voice and talks slowly as well as loudly, so we can hear her and understand her well.

When I watched this show, I definitely learned a lot about the lives of whales. They are a lot smarter than we think. This was a very educational experience. It is definitely a family-friendly show.

I recommend Secrets of the Whales for ages 6 to 18, plus adults and give it x out of 5 stars. Secrets of The Whales is produced by National Geographic and releases on Disney+ on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. Be sure to check it out.

By Apruva S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
YEAR EARTH CHANGED, THE
YEAR EARTH CHANGED, THE - APPLE TV
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 718
Description - Narrated by David Attenborough, never-before-seen footage shows how our living in lockdown opened the door for nature to bounce back and thrive. Across the seas, skies, and lands, Earth found its rhythm when we came to a stop.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Perfectly timed for Earth Day, The Year Earth Changed is a mesmerizing portrait of the natural world in a year of lockdowns and quarantine. It's a must-watch for nature lovers, and even if you aren't a nature lover, you'll love the cinematography!

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, The Year Earth Changed is a documentary featuring exclusive footage from five continents that shows you a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic - the planet was given a much-needed break! The BBC Natural History Unit compiled film from Jalandhar, India of the Himalayas on the horizon, of clear skies in polluted places like Los Angeles and China, of birdsongs in San Francisco, of whales in Glacier Bay and of hippos walking to the gas station in South Africa, among many others. The crew even got the chance to film a leopard, which adapted from its nocturnal routines to hunting in the daylight, within feet of their camera.

The Year Earth Changed is a beautifully constructed film, and the care taken in creating it and obtaining accurate facts is evident. There's little I can mention that would detract from the glory of elephants and humans living side-by-side, of Japanese deer running across the city to their old grazing patch, and of capybara finding new pastures in the homes of Argentina's suburban families. This is simply an amazing family watch.

The Year Earth Changed puts forth perhaps the most convincing argument that the pandemic has actually had an upside to it, showing real evidence of natural change and organisms thriving in their habitats, unbothered by humans. The message of the 48-minute film is to respect nature and recognize that after this pandemic, we need to do all we can to be kinder to the Earth.

I give The Year Earth Changed 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids age 7 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it now on Apple TV+!

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST!

Over the past year, humans across the globe have had to adapt while taking a pause due to the pandemic lockdown. Interestingly so, while our lives were a bit on hold, something very interesting and exciting has happened right under our noses. The absence of humans in a variety of ecosystems around the world has had a profound effect on the natural world. The Year Earth Changed is a compelling new, one-hour documentary that takes us on a journey to over 30 cities across five continents, detailing nature's response to the global pandemic. The film highlights for viewers that this global experiment is our "call to action" in making positive change for Mother Nature.

The Year Earth Changed is a magnificent documentary emphasizing the immediate need for reducing man's footprint on the natural world. The film shows us firsthand how we are able to transform the health of the planet by making adaptations in the way we live our lives. David Attenborough, narrator of the film, explains how striking changes on and below the surface of the earth, as well as within the atmosphere, can take place when humans allow more of a balance between them and nature. One year's worth of amazing research for this documentary displays how simple things such as the reduction of travel, crowds at beaches, and people within cities can improve our fragile ecosystems. The Year Earth Changed is a timely film and critical for us all to see!

This film is so uplifting and has a great deal to rave about. The beautiful photography, drone shots and elusive video footage are incredibly captivating. The flourishing habitats that are captured in this documentary certainly give us something to smile about. Executive producer Alice Keens-Soper and director Tom Beard have given the world something very special - a new appreciation for what humans can do to help preserve our global ecosystems. Every example we are presented with in The Year Earth Changed is inspiring and heartfelt. I can only hope that this story of change can be globally presented for all to witness.

The message in The Year Earth Changed is simple - man and nature must find a balance. If we are to share our planet with the variety of species that occupy it, we must live harmoniously. Modest changes in the way we live are vital for the future of our natural world. The speed at which nature is disappearing is alarming and, if we are unable to coexist, species will be lost forever. The Year Earth Changed is a "wake up call," and it's critical that its message be shared.

I give The Year Earth Changed 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults would also love this documentary. The Year Earth Changed begins streaming on April 16, 2021 on Apple TV+. A great way to celebrate Earth Day is to encourage everyone to watch this film!

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 7-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GIGANTOSAURUS: SEASON 1, VOL.2
GIGANTOSAURUS: SEASON 1, VOL.2 - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 2-8
Description - Life is an adventure for 4 dinosaurs - new volcanoes are popping up all the time, long-necked brachiosauruses and enormous triceratopses roam free, meteor showers light up the night sky and the big bad Gigantosaurus reigns over it all!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Vol.2 is such an upbeat and fun series and has the most delightful and beautiful color palette. The friendship between the dinosaurs seems very genuine.

The storyline follows a group of dinosaurs that take off on adventures and deal with struggles such as planning parties and combating seasonal allergies. These dinos have fun together and their friendship is exceedingly strong. Some of the other dinosaurs claim that Gigantosaurus is the biggest and baddest of them all, but through their adventures together they realize that Giganto is not so bad after all.

Young children will enjoy this because of the fun, different-looking dinosaurs that are also spunky and likable. Of course, the adventures are fun and definitely relatable. Most importantly, various life lessons are woven into their dialogue, making it easy for kids to grasp. Each episode flows well and certainly makes sense. The structure goes as follows: the dinosaurs encounter a problem (whether it is losing an hour of daytime or dealing with the sniffles), then the group faces obstacles, but ultimately Giganto helps them solve their problem. The material and vocabulary are suitable for the intended age group. For example, instead of using the word allergies, they call it the sniffles, since children can grasp the action of sniffling and sneezing better than the word allergies. The animation is great. The color scheme is always vibrant - light blue, green and yellow, which is also calming. The DVD cover shows a big jungle that is also shown in the episodes. The backgrounds are whimsical and vast and incorporate small details such as volcanoes and big trees. The visuals most definitely relate to the dinosaurs' jungle adventures. The user can select any episode they want, fast forward through them, or drag the buffer button across the screen. It also remembers where you left off.

The show focuses on problem-solving and not jumping to conclusions. For example, while planning a party, everything seems to go wrong, but through communication and problem solving, the dinosaurs are able to create a fun party and Giganto makes them realize, all the elements of the party do not matter, it's being with friends that makes a party. Two takeaways for children are "never judge a book by its cover" and "do not jump to conclusions."

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Vol.2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 3 to 10. Younger children will enjoy the beautiful visuals and cool, vibrant looking dinosaurs. Older ones will understand the messages, while also appreciating the visuals.

By Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 will bring much entertainment to young dino-lovers. The animation is colorful, the storyline is full of adventures and the message is always positive.

This DVD follows the travels of four young dinosaurs named Rocky (Dylan Schombing), Bill (Nicholas Holmes), Tiny (Aine Sunderland) and Mazu (Nahanni Mitchell), who live in the Cretaceous period. Episodes include The Floating Stone, Racing Giganto, A Tiny Favor, Crying Wolfasurus, and How Giganto Got His Roar. This DVD has four hours of fun with 26 episodes.

I found the animation very appealing and really unique. It has vibrant backgrounds and a distinctive style that looks like the characters are hand drawn, but also look 3D. The voice work is very well executed. Mazu, voiced by Nahanni Mitchell, is a clever Ankylosaurus that always has a plan. Rocky, voiced by Dylan Schombing, however, just goes for it. Even his voice sounds adventurous. Aine Sunderland has a peppy and bubbly voice that fits Tiny's character perfectly. Bill, who is a shy Brachiosaurus, is voiced wonderfully by Nicholas Holmes. My favorite character is Tiny, the playful Triceratops, because she has a fun personality and I think I would be most like if I was a dinosaur in the Cretaceous period. My favorite episode is An Artist is Born, which is about Tiny's older brother finding a new passion. The award-winning series is produced by Cyber Group Studios in France and directed by Olivier Lelardoux.

There are many positive messages throughout this DVD, including the benefit of helping others and having patience, learning from trying new things and, of course, the power of teamwork and friendship.

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 3 to 8. Dinosaur-lovers will really enjoy is. This DVD is available now, so look for it!

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 is a very unique DVD, based on the TV show. It has four main characters, plus Gigantosaurus, who does not speak.

This show is about four little dinos, Rocky (Dylan Schombing), Tiny (�ine Sunderland), Bill (Nicholas Holmes) and Mazu(Nahanni Mitchell) who go on all sorts of adventures together such as frozen party and finding a flower. Gigantosarus is a dino that does not talk; he only growls and roars and is generally seen as a big, mean, scary and green dino. Once you get to know him he is not such a bad guy, but he often gets blamed for things he didn't do.

This DVD is amazing. This show has truly fascinating characters and storyline. All the voice actors are really terrific. They are all adult actors yet, in the show, they sound like kids. If you listen to them and then see what they look like in person, you would be surprised. This show has lots of cool animation. It is very clear and cool looking. The background scenes are like nothing I have seen before. All are unique to this show and include scenes that show us jungle where the dinosaurs live. The growls and roars made by the dinosaurs are really amazing. They sound like a real dinosaur made them.

The message of this show is that friendship is what matters. In the end, friends will always prevail and you can count on them for anything. If you can't, they are not real friends. You should always be able to trust your friends and rely on them.

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 2 to 8. The DVD is available now, so look for it. This could also be a fun family show to watch with younger kids.

by Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 is a beautifully animated, lively and positive DVD that kids will surely enjoy! With crisp voiceovers, sweet messages and lovable characters, you'll find it difficult to tear yourself away from the screen.

The show follows the life and times of four dinosaurs - Rocky (Dylan Schombing), Bill (Nicholas Holmes), Tiny (�ine Sunderland) and Mazu (Nahanni Mitchell), who live in the adventurous Cretaceous period. And of course, the title character - Gigantosaurus. Known by the four as Giganto, this seemingly scary, yet actually kind giganotosaurus aids the four dinosaurs in their efforts. This DVD includes 26 "Dino-mite" episodes that, in total, span four hours. Episodes include "The Shortest Day," "The Best Crest," "Coco Bill" and "Patchy Sees the Light."

This DVD has some amazing, vibrant animation that goes perfectly with the tone of the episodes; that's my favorite part of the whole viewing experience. All elements are intricately drawn, including details like water droplets, nostrils and even skin texture. The voice actors show their talent in their portrayal of the various characters; you feel the emotion in the characters' voices throughout the show. When Tiny is dejected, you too feel sad. When Rocky is off on another adventure, you feel like you're along for the ride with him, and are absorbed by his happy-go-lucky tone. My favorite character is Mazu, because he's pragmatic and a great role model for kids. That's one clever Ankylosaurus! I love all the episodes, but one of my favorites is "The Best Crest," because it encourages perseverance and resourcefulness, and promotes the message that even things that seem disadvantageous have an upside.

This brings me to the values and morals that Gigantosaurus promotes. Each episode has a different focus, but courage, teamwork, friendship, perseverance, kindness and selflessness are just a few of the amazing lessons that kids are taught in this DVD.

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 2 to 7. This DVD is great for dino-lovers and is available now.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Runtime: 286 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 2-8 Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99 Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GODZILLA VS. KONG
GODZILLA VS. KONG - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Legends collide as Godzilla and Kong, the two most powerful forces of nature, clash on the big screen in a spectacular battle for the ages. As a squadron embarks on a perilous mission into fantastic uncharted terrain, unearthing clues to the Titans' very origins and mankind's survival, a conspiracy threatens to wipe the creatures, both good and bad, from the face of the earth forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Godzilla vs. Kong and rate it as the best action movie of 2021 so far. It keeps you sitting on the edge of your seat. I really like the amazing graphics and the computer generated image effects.

This movie is about two strong titans who won't back down from their throne. It happens that Godzilla's and Kong's ancestors were enemies centuries ago. While Kong is captive in a semi-artificial environment dome, Godzilla comes out of the ocean and walks in the city destroying everything that crosses his path. This is not the heroic Godzilla we watched from his last movie. No one understands why Godzilla is so angry. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), who takes care of Kong and Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) helps Kong find a safe place to live, which is the core of the Earth. While Kong is being transported on a huge ship, Godzilla senses Kong in the ocean. That's when the first extraordinary and intense battle of these two titans begins.

This film has amazing CGI. Godzilla's rough skin and red eyes make it look like he is real. Kong looks like an actual gigantic ape. You can sense his soul in his eyes. He surprises the audience by having a special bond with an orphan named Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the only person able to communicate with him. The sound effects are amazing. The cast are all outstanding including a more mature Millie Bobby Brown who plays Madison Russell and a funny Julian Dennison who plays Maddie's friend Josh.

The moral of this movie is that greed and excessive pride lead to an unnecessary rivalry situation. We need to leave the past in the past and start fresh. Unity is the key in this film.

I give Godzilla vs. Kong 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Godzilla vs. Kong opens March 31, 2021 on HBO Max and in theatres.

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Godzilla Vs. Kong pits two cinematic titans against each other in a fight for the ages but one that relegates its undercooked human characters to the sidelines, as it should, in favor of spectacular clashes, monster to monster, in all their big-budget glory.

Following the events of 2017's Kong: Skull Island and 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Godzilla has become the alpha to the similarly-powered titans roaming the earth. Meanwhile, Kong has left his island home with one of its natives, a little girl named Jia (Newcomer Kaylee Hottle), as he is monitored and researched by a team of specialists trying to keep him from Godzilla's grasp. Well, you read that title, so you know that's not happening, and indeed it doesn't! Godzilla begins attacking after years of stability between humanity and skyscraper-sized creatures. Kong's greatest champion among the researchers, Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), is approached by an old colleague (Alexander Skarsg�rd) and is convinced to take Kong to an underground world called Hollow Earth. Hopefully, in this habitat he can thrive and find more of his kind, free of the threat of Godzilla and others like him. It's not before long on this journey that Godzilla senses his primate competitor and arrives to dispatch Kong.

There've been several Kong/Godzilla solo efforts in recent years in the lead-up to this face-off, and somehow it is all worth it. Although there are flaws--the two main plotlines feel disconnected and previous story developments abandoned--they don't compare to the immense joy it is to watch these titans go at it. That would be enough: a mildly enjoyable large-scale romp, the cinematic equivalent of smashing two well-loved action figures together. However, Adam Wingard's direction elevates the action sequences. Consistently satisfying and, better yet, consistently surprising--watching Kong leap from building to building, dodging Godzilla's atomic breath, or Godzilla getting Kong's ax launched at him doesn't grow stale.

Godzilla Vs. Kong humanizes Kong as someone who's lost his family and now the home he protected. I didn't expect to feel emotionally attached to a 400-foot ape, but there you go. Whether you're team Godzilla or team Kong, I have no doubt, you'll find some enjoyment in the shenanigans they unleash. I was entertained--and if this matchup means anything to you, I think you will be too!

I give Godzilla Vs. Kong 3 out of 5 stars and an age rating of 12 to 18 for mass--and I mean, mass--destruction, some mild language, and the injuries each of the titular creatures sustain. Godzilla Vs. Kong is out March 31, 2021, simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.

By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
US AGAIN
US AGAIN - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: ANIMATED SHORT, AGES 8-18
Description - An elderly couple regain their youth in the rain.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Us Again is a beautiful and lively animated short film that will surely have you up and dancing! The choreography of the animated characters, the intricate details, and the underlying message all combine to make this a lovely watch.

The seven-minute short film follows an elderly man and his young-at-heart wife living in a vibrant metropolis with echoes of New York City. The man is ever-tired and only wants to sit on his lounge chair reading the newspaper, while his wife yearns to explore the world outside. One rainy, magical evening, their ages truly seem just a number, and the couple re-discover their passion for dancing, salsaing their way across a landscape of memories. It's a beautiful story told through rhythm and movement.

The animation in Us Again is truly stunning; the design taps into emotions, encapsulating the excitement and hubbub of a huge city, with neon lights, beautiful textural details on the water, and even on the tiny black umbrellas people carry walking down the street. Us Again shows us Disney's future; extreme detail in animation. The two main characters of this short also have lots of expressive features, and you can tell that Disney's animation technology has gone to the next level when light details like crow's feet are added in. Even their dance steps convey emotion! Speaking of the dancing, acclaimed choreographers/dancers Keone and Mari Madrid were crucial to the process of creating Us Again because they came up with all of the dance steps, which flow so smoothly and naturally in animated form. There are no jerky movements at all, and it's as if you're watching an animated version of Dancing With The Stars. The background score (though it really does push its way to the foreground) also adds so much to this short. Something I noticed in the seven-minute film: Keep an eye on the puddles, because the characters' reflections show the characters as their older selves throughout the film, even in scenes where the characters traverse through memories from ages ago. This demonstrates the incredible attention to detail in Us Again.

The message of Us Again is to never let go of your passions (and your youth), and, if you do, be sure to make an effort to rekindle the fire in your heart. It's an apt message for a time like the one we're living in now, when we have the time to follow our passions and pursue new hobbies.

I give Us Again 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Us Again will be shown before Disney's latest film, Raya and the Last Dragon, only in theatres, and it will be available on Disney+ in June of 2021.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Runtime: 7 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: VIDEO


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MIGHTY DUCKS, THE: GAME CHANGERS
MIGHTY DUCKS, THE: GAME CHANGERS - DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 7-18
Description - After failing to make the cut to join the now powerhouse Mighty Ducks junior hockey team, 12-year-old Evan's mother encourages him to form a new team of underdogs with help from Gordon Bombay, the Ducks' original coach.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is super enjoyable to watch! This beloved movie franchise now has a new series that all Mighty Ducks fans can enjoy. It has comedy, a creative storyline, great messages and of course plenty of Mighty Ducks hockey action.

The next installment of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers follows a boy named Evan (Brady Noon) who loves hockey and plays for the Mighty Ducks. However, the Mighty Ducks are not what they used to be, as the team has become a bunch of kids who want to win at all costs. Since the team moved to the 12 to 14-year-old bracket, only the best will stay on the team and, unfortunately, Evan is not one of them. After being devastated from being cut, Evan's mom (Lauren Graham) decides that they should make their own team, but the deadline is in a few days. Can they find a rink, a coach, players and equipment to play in the league? It's a lot of fun to watch their journey.

Since this new series is based on the previously released Mighty Ducks movies, you might want to watch some of those movies just to know some of the references and backstories of various characters. The characters include a diverse set of kids, parents and coaches that are very relatable and entertaining. Emilio Estevez reprises his role as a "cranky" Gordon Bombay being coaxed into coaching. Sound a bit familiar? My favorite character is Nick (Maxwell Simkins), because he is sweet, has a love of hockey, is not very good and has the best one-liners.

The message of this show is to remember that, just because you are not the best, does not mean you should not bother to try. And it would not be a Mighty Ducks movie without demonstrating the importance of teamwork. There is a tiny bit of mild profanity.

I give The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Adults, hockey fans and Mighty Ducks movie fans will enjoy it, too. The first episode of this show comes out on Disney+ March 26, 2021.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 7-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
A WEEK AWAY
A WEEK AWAY - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Nowhere left to go, Will Hawkins finds himself at camp for the first time. His instinct is to run, but he finds a friend, a father figure and even a girl who awakens his heart. Most of all, he finally finds a home.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Week Away is a total breath of fresh air! This film is set to be the feel-good teen rom com of the year with hilarious one-liners and catchy tunes. This is definitely a new Netflix knockout.

A Week Away follows juvenile delinquent Will (Kevin Quinn) as he goes to camp Aweegaway as a way to escape juvie. At the camp, he meets Avery (Bailee Madison). Soon, Avery tears down Will's walls and shows him the ropes. The two of them, along with the rest of the campers, breakout in song and dance. The large dance numbers and intimate ballads balance out the storyline perfectly.

The cinematography is absolutely breath-taking. The shots of the early morning at the camp and the gorgeous dancing between Avery and Will at the dock are stunning. The sun shines down on the two as they dance together. The choreography is spectacular. The upbeat dance numbers with large groups make you want to dance with them. The songs are also incredible. After watching this movie, you'll definitely want to add the whole soundtrack to your playlist. Along with this film's spectacular visuals, the performances stand out. The intimate scenes between Avery and Will leave you rooting for these young teens from the lovely garden scene where Avery confesses how she's exhausted of trying to be perfect, to Will's vulnerable moment as he comes to terms with being loved and accepted.

The moral of the film is that your past doesn't define your future. Once the truth about Will's checkered past comes to light, he runs away, believing that Avery would reject him. She, on the contrary, accepts him with open arms. Over the week that the film takes place, Will's character develops dramatically, as he learns to love himself and learns how God and faith guides souls.

I give A Week Away 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It is available on Netflix March 26, 2021.

Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

A Week Away is a teen rom-com musical. It has attractive, lakeside outdoor settings, amazing choreography and solid faith-based messages.

This movie follows a teenage boy named Will (Kevin Quinn) who is a bit of a troublemaker. He takes his actions a bit too far by stealing a police car, and when caught has the choice of going to a juvenile detention center or going to a faith-based camp with one of his foster families. He chooses camp Aweegaway, a place where some of the teens are only a week away from a life-changing experience. While at camp, Will meets Avery (Bailee Madison), who may very well be the catalyst for that change.

At several points during the storyline, A Week Away can be a bit cheesy and predictable, but this is a rom-com musical so it can only go in so many directions - and it's still fun! On the musical front, this movie has an impressive soundtrack. Kudos to the songwriter, Adam Watts, for the original songs in this movie. The choreography is splendid as everyone has a dance during the singing, and it is perfectly in sync with everything else. The setting for this movie is beautiful! The cabins have so much attention to detail; the forest is very realistic; and the lake is gorgeous. Now I want to go to Camp Aweegaway! Kevin Quinn, who plays Will, possibly drew inspiration for this role from his character in Bunk'd, also about a camp. Bailee Madison is so believable as sweet and faithful Avery, who becomes Will's love interest. My favorite character is Avery's dad (Dave Koechner) because he is kind, silly and pretty inspiring. He is such a good dad role model.

The two primary messages for this movie are that nobody's perfect and always keep your faith. There are a couple of examples of bad behavior in the movie, like someone stealing a car and running away from home.

I give A Week Away 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 9 to 18. It comes out on Netflix March 26, 2021.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER, THE
FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER, THE - DISNEY+
Series: TV, AGES 11-18
Description - Following the events of 'Avengers: Endgame,' Sam Wilson/Falcon and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier team up in a global adventure that tests their abilities -- and their patience.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Are you ready to fly into nonstop action? Are you ready to watch a show that will belly laugh and also immerse you in an emotional ride of a lifetime? Well if so, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the show for you! Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan return in iconic roles, delivering mind-blowing action choreography and creative new ways to show action like Marvel hasn't achieved before. This will definitely bring a smile to long time Marvel fans, and it will also be extremely enjoyable for first time Marvel viewers.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame, establishing the current status of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). Sam (aka the Falcon) is still completing missions fighting crime left and right. Bucky (aka the Winter Soldier), on the other hand, is lying very low. He is dealing with mental health issues, trying to make peace with himself and the world. When the terrifying villain Zemo makes his reappearance from the events of Captain America: Civil War, Bucky and Sam must team up and defeat this foe.

In Captain America: Civil War, we get a taste of the Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan duo. Everyone loved it. Now to satisfy our lust for more, we have The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Their chemistry is outstanding. You laugh consistently throughout the show, making you want more and more. The visual effects and writing departments each deserve a lot of credit for the extremely creative route the show takes, demonstrating to the world what beautiful effects Marvel can produce.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is intense at times. A good portion of the show is pure action that some parents might not be comfortable with their younger children seeing. Some episodes contain mild cursing. The show does offer many morals and lessons. It explores themes such as teamwork, love and friendship. It also teaches the lesson that, even though you might have lost someone you love, they would have wanted you to move on and continue to live the life you want.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier soars higher than the Falcon does in the show, delivering plenty of great laughs and action-packed scenes. The show does contain intense action and cursing. Therefore, I give The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Every Friday a new episode releases on Disney+ starting March 19, 2021, so make sure to check it out!

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the action-packed series everyone needs! With explosions, story-telling and two Avengers, we explore the backstories and lives of our favorite superheroes. This show is definitely a Marvel world-class adventure.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame. We catch up with the two heroes and see how much has changed in the last five years. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) is still fighting crime as the Falcon, as he hangs up the Captain America shield. Meanwhile, Bucky Barnes tries to move on from the wars, as his past as the Winter Soldier haunts him. Soon, the two Avengers must team up against their latest villain, Baron Zemo (Daniel Br�hl).

Marvel yet again delivers with the cinematic spectacular they're known for. The series starts off doing what Sam knows best - fighting and flying. With explosions and swift movements, Sam saves a prisoner. This series really gives insight to characters that never took center stage. It showcases why their skills and mindsets make them valuable assets and Earth's mightiest heroes. It's so exciting to see them on their own. It's beautiful to see the two heroes be actual humans and people, not just aliases. We also see how comfortable the actors are in their respective roles. Sebastian really dives in deep into how Bucky has changed and faces these emotions head on. Anthony also merges with Sam. It's so hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. They're both hilarious and their performances offer comedic relief. I can't wait to see both Sam and Bucky reunite. These two characters have been teased to be a comedic duo in previous Avengers films.

The moral of the series is that there's always a way to help heal all kinds of wounds. Sam desperately tries to help his sister with finances and tries to gain back the time he lost. Bucky, on the other hand, goes to therapy to help deal with his trauma and pain, trying to erase all traces of the Winter Soldier.

I give The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. It starts streaming on Disney+ March 19, 2021.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 11-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HERO DOG: THE JOURNEY HOME
HERO DOG: THE JOURNEY HOME - LIONSGATE FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - Chinook, the Alaskan malamute, must lead a shipwrecked blind man out of the wilderness while the man's children launch a rescue mission of their own.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Hero Dog: The Journey Home is a new family-friendly adventure that will warm your heart. Directed by Richard Boddington, this film is sure to tug at your heartstrings as it follows the journey of a shipwrecked blind man who is courageous enough to attempt to find his way home through rugged terrain led by "man's best friend." This breathtaking journey is filled with a great deal of suspense and will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

Blind Royce Davis (Steve Byers) and his newly appointed seeing-eye dog Chinook are en route to his sister Susan's (Natasha Henstridge) house deep within the Canadian wilderness. He boards a boat to cross the lake to get there. Royce's sister Susan (Natasha Henstridge) and his two children Erin (Morgan DiPietrantonio) and Max (Zackary Arthur) await his arrival but the boat never arrives. The boat's captain has suffered a heart attack and Royce and Chinook set out to find their way home while Royce's children launch their own mission to find their dad.

It's hard not to enjoy a movie where the lead role is played by "man's best friend." Chinook steals the show with his courage, knowledge and ability to become the eyes for his human. Although Chinook doesn't belong to Royce Davis, this dog knows his role and his instincts are put in place right from the beginning of the film. Chinook surely has the star power in this film. Since I am a huge nature lover, I truly appreciated the cinematography in this film. The landscapes are amazing, especially during the fall months in which the movie is filmed. The nature scenes are spectacular and the wildlife within them are well appreciated. I also enjoyed Max's survival skills and his will to want to put those skills to use in helping to find his dad.

Hero Dog: The Journey Home provides viewers with the strong message about hope and strength. Many people struggle with a variety of disabilities which can be life threatening at times. These challenges can certainly be overcome when you allow hope and strength to lead the way. Of course, Royce Davis has significant help from his furry friend Chinook, but without his will to survive, he may have fallen victim to his disability.

I give Hero Dog: The Journey Home 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18; adults will love it too as this is the perfect family movie. Hero Dog: The Journey Home will be available on Digital, On Demand and DVD March 23, 2021. This is a great film so don't miss it!

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PUNKY BREWSTER (2021)
PUNKY BREWSTER (2021) - PEACOCK
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - A follow-up series to the 1980s sitcom about a young foster child named Punky. Punky Brewster (Soleil Moon Frye) is now a successful photographer with a gaggle of her own adopted kids, both inspired by her beloved adoptive dad Henry. Her savvy teen daughter Hannah (Lauren Lindsay Donis) is helping her learn online dating after a recent divorce, while her younger sons Daniel and Diego (Oliver de los Santos, Noah Cotrell) can't stop bickering. She's still best friends with Cherie (Cherie Johnson), who runs the orphanage and hopes the Brewsters can help out with Izzy (Quinn Copeland), a troubled kid with a running-away streak, not unlike young Punky.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Punky Brewster is so much fun to watch! This iconic show from the 1980s is now rebooted with ten new episodes and even includes some of the original cast.

The new Punky Brewster is about the original Punky Brewster (Soleil Moon Frye) who is now grown up, with kids of her own, living in Chicago. While photographing the children at her old adoption center, she meets a girl named Izzy (Quinn Copeland) who reminds Punky so much of herself. Punky's long-time friend Cherie (Cherie Johnson), also from the original show, asks her to watch Izzy until Cherie finds her the perfect family. Once they find the "perfect" family, will Punky let her go?

Knowing that this show is a reboot, I recommend watching the original series to appreciate all of the comedic references and become familiar with Punky's backstory. Although it's not necessary to do that and still enjoy the show. I love that the show maintains all of the original characters, while also adding new characters, primarily Punky's children. Punky's family reflects the reality of today's diverse family structure including divorced parents, biological and adopted children, different races as well as a very diverse set of personalities. The show includes not only the original star of Punky Brewster, Soleil Moon Frye, but also her best friend Cherie Johnson. Soleil Moon Frye provides so much energy and fun by displaying a more carefree nature and frequently screaming "Punky Power" (my favorite).

The importance of family, acceptance and having a place to call home are the key messages in this show. Like the original series, Punky Brewster covers several serious topics such as child abandonment, divorce, bullying and gender nonconformity.

I give Punky Brewster 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults will enjoy it, too. Punky Brewster is out now on Peacock, so look out for it!

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

Punky Brewster is an amazing show with great messages and entertaining concepts. It's a show that makes you laugh, and gives you an old familiar feeling, especially if you are a fan of the original show. This new Punky Brewster has the potential to be a favorite!

Punky Brewster is a reboot of the '80s sitcom Punky Brewster. It focuses on a now grown-up Punky (Soleil Moon Frye), who is a single parent of three kids after her divorce from Travis (Freddie Prinze Jr.). At the local children's adoption center, Punky meets a little girl named Izzy (Quinn Copeland) who reminds her of herself when she was younger. When Punky's best friend Cherie (Cherie Johnson) asks Punky to look after Izzy while she searches for the right family to adopt her, Punky grows very fond of Izzy and finds it hard to let her go. Izzy makes a connection with Punky as well and finally feels like she has a family.

I really like how they use some references from the original show, such as Punky wearing two different shoes, and her catchphrases "Holy Macanoil" and "Punky Power." Even though the show is a reboot, you don't need to watch the original show to know what happened with Punky because they bring it up in a couple of episodes. I also like how the set is made to look like the rooms in the original show, such as the tree house from the original series. Punky's oldest daughter, Hannah, has a room that looks just like Punky's old bedroom. My favorite character in the show is Izzy because, even though she is a foster kid and doesn't have much, she is very humble and, in each episode, we see how she teaches the family lots of things. In one episode, the kids feel like there is not enough room in the house for Izzy, but with Punky's help, they decide Hannah will share her room with Izzy and they learn to be grateful for what they have.

Each episode has a great message; the one that stands out the most is that it's okay to be different and to be true to yourself. You should know that in a couple of scenes Punky and Cherie are drinking adult beverages.

Punky Brewster is an incredible show to watch! I give it 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Punky Brewster is out now on Peacock. Go check it out!

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
THAT'S TOTALLY NORMAL!
THAT'S TOTALLY NORMAL! - PRX
Series: PODCAST, AGES 8-12
Description - Yes, this is the podcast about the science of puberty. As soon as we're born our bodies are constantly growing, changing, breaking and at times, confusing us. And the biggest changes, growths and confusions seem to come when we're young, vulnerable and easily embarrassed. Yes, we're talking about puberty. And yes, it sometimes can be hard to talk about. But, it doesn't need to be. Put on some headphones and lean in as we break down the biology, chemistry and health topics of growing, changing and going up. The host is Dr. Tessa Commers a board-certified pediatrician (MD, FAAP) based in Seattle, WA.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - That's Totally Normal! is interesting and puts science and puberty in layman's terms, while simultaneously giving young teenagers healthy relationship advice.

The podcast That's Totally Normal! discusses puberty and the various topics include changing relationships, voice changes, growth spurts, stretch marks and cellulite. Hosted by Dr. T, each show begins with an introduction backed with an upbeat song. The setup for the episode is prompted by a listener's question that relates to the topic.

The audio is crisp and the production value is wonderful. It is easy to listen to and the topics are age appropriate and engaging. An example of how the podcast is engaging, yet informative is in the episode, "Changing Relationships." This episode includes various snippets of responses and stories of multiple young teenagers that are interviewed. This reinforces the central idea that it is totally normal for young teenagers to experience the things they are experiencing. Dr. T gives scientific explanations, in a simple way, as to why puberty causes young teenagers to act the way they do. Dr. T explicates responses that can better alleviate future disagreements with young teenagers and their friends, peers and family.

The message of this podcast is that truly, what teens are experiencing is completely normal and backed by sciences and the experiences of others.

Overall, I give That's Totally Normal! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. You can listen to it now on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/thats-totally-normal

By Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the podcast That's Totally Normal. It is informational and enjoyable. I learned things that I didn't know but, I thought I knew. The film talks about a variety of topics and it's nice to choose what you want to listen to hear other people's point of view. I could relate to the things that these women are talking about.

Hosted by a female doctor, each episode in this podcast addresses different topics. I listened to "Where's My Period, And When Will It Be Regular," "The Erection Episodes" and "Hair Down Where?" They discuss different things like odor, acne, periods, body image and etc. We learn what causes these things, how normal they are and how they happen to everyone. Also, there are youth guests on the show so you can listen to a kids' point of view.

I learned more about guys' and girls' bodies how they work. There are many cool facts on this podcast that interest me and make me want to learn much more about my own body. My favorite episode is "The Erection Episode." It made me feel like I wasn't alone in my curiosity about boys. I'm sure other girls my age have questions about these same things. It helped learning more about boys' bodies and how they deal with them.

The message of this podcast is that our bodies are normal and, in my case, every girl is going to experience what I am - periods, body image, boys, drama and more. In the case of boys, every guy is going through the same sorts of things - enlargement, insecurities, odor and such. Everything going on in your body is normal and you don't need to be ashamed because the person standing next to you or your friend is going through the exact same things that you are. Our bodies are normal. This podcast talks about things that people might be uncomfortable talking about and that some kids might not be ready for but are curious about. It is very informational and could help lots of people that are thinking about their bodies constantly, wondering what is going on.

I give That's Totally Normal 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. You can find this podcast online at TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/thats-totally-normal

Reviewd by Makena P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Puberty, sex and ejaculation? These words used to make me cringe, but that is because I didn't know what they actually meant. Now I know That's Totally Normal!

The podcast That's Totally Normal! explores all of those uncomfortable and embarrassing topics we would rather not talk about or educate ourselves about. However, it is done in such a way where, not only is the audience comfortable, but more informed. On average, each episode is eleven minutes in length or substantially less.

Host and writer Dr. Tessa Commers, known to us as Dr. T, has a youthful and reassuring voice. As a board-certified pediatrician and the writer of this podcast, the information she provides can be trusted and taken to heart. Editor and Sound Designer John Ross makes the entire podcast come together by adding whimsical and funny sound effects that make the information easier to take. My favorite episode is "Acne," where Dr. T discusses the world of zits, pimples and even bacne.

The positive and uplifting message of the podcast That's Totally Normal! suggests that "we are all in this together." While our bodies may be different, together we experience many of the same things.

That's Totally Normal! gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. You can find the podcast That's Totally Normal! on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/thats-totally-normal

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Runtime: 13 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: AUDIO


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
OOH! YOU'RE IN TROUBLE
OOH! YOU'RE IN TROUBLE - PRX
Series: PODCAST, AGES 8-12
Description - Ooh You're in Trouble is a podcast for tweens about the moments of defiance that define us. Each episode features true stories of young people confessing a moment they broke the rules growing up. From the makers of MORTIFIED, the series explores why kids defy rules -- what does it reveal about us and what can we learn from it? From sneaking out of the house past curfew to organizing a protest, these are the stories of Rebels, Rascals, Rule Breakers, and even Revolutionaries. The result? A show that's funny, educational, insightful and messy. Just like growing up.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Ooh! You're in Trouble is fun, but simultaneously life lessons. They are interactive and allow the listener to reflect and answer questions at the end. The audio is crisp and the production value is extraordinary.

The podcast Ooh! You're in Trouble showcases stories of kids that have broken the rules. This podcast is not about glamorizing the stories of the mischievous, but explains why kids feel the need to break the rules. The topics that are up for discussion include underage driving without a license, bullying a teacher and creating an illegal slime business. The episodes begin with a disclaimer that all the stories are true, but some names and places have been changed. After the disclaimer, there is a sleuthy song accompanied by children saying, "Ooh! You're in trouble," then the show begins.

What makes the podcast interesting and informative is shown in the episode "Not Licensed to Drive." Kate explains how she drove her mom's car at the age of 14 to go get milkshakes on a hot summer day in the Midwest. Although Kate, her sister and friend did not get caught, through Kate's reflection, she explains that it was not a smart idea. The podcast lists various other possible outcomes that could have occurred that day. The end of the podcast prompts the listener with the questions, "What would you do?

The message of this podcast is to point out that, although it may be tempting to break the rules, there are consequences that you should be aware of. By listening to those that have done it, perhaps you might rethink things.

I give Ooh! You're in Trouble 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to age 8 to 18. You can listen to it now on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/ooh-youre-in-trouble

By Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A fun, light podcast perfect for a morning commute, Ooh, You're in Trouble will entertain listeners of all ages with its fun sound effects and strong storytelling style.

Ooh, You're in Trouble is a podcast where adults look back at their moments of teen defiance that shaped them. Each episode centers around one misadventure, a true story of a moment a young adult that broke the rules growing up and what they learned from their experience. It's an interesting answer to the question: why do we act out?

It's a show that's funny, educational, entertaining and insightful - perfectly reflective of growing up. The participants in each episode are between the ages of 10 and 25. They engagingly tell their stories, with an intricate plot buildup and super dramatic climax; they surely capture listeners' attention. Merk Nguyen hosts the podcast (in a minor role) as LV, the "little voice inside your head." Nguyen's peppy hosting helps accent each episode, though she doesn't play as big of a role as a conventional podcast host. Each episode is blended with tons of light, youthful-sounding music and effects (every episode has background music created by a different artist). The crisp editing by Hadley Dion and Aaron Garber makes the 20- to 27-minute episodes fly by! I also love the podcast thumbnails' art style, and the titles are super fun, too.

The message of Ooh, You're in Trouble is one of exploration and learning from your past doings; all of the older participants got into sticky situations as tweens or teens and grew from those mistakes. It's a positive message that's not pushed too hard, but that makes it perfect for leisure listening without sounding too preachy.

I would give Ooh, You're in Trouble 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. You can listen to We Got You on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/ooh-youre-in-trouble

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The stories in the podcast Ooh You're in Trouble are beautifully illustrated and told in a way in which you learn something and it's also exciting to listen to. I really enjoyed it. At first I thought that this podcast wouldn't be fun, as it progresses I found myself drawn in. I was learning a lot, and it is hilarious.

This podcast is told by adults and teens talking about experiences that they have had breaking or bending the rules when they were younger. The audience is asked questions too and gets to ponder what they would do in a particular situation. The people talk about their experiences, while voicing regret and also lessons that they learned from it.

This podcast is cheesy and dramatic at times, but that contributes to its overall humor and makes it more entertaining and engaging. The recurring actors on the show are always able to bring out a new voice for their character. The sound effects, variation of points of views and the difference in stories all contribute to an amazing show. I love how some of the episodes are very relatable for me, and that I find them all enjoyable regardless. They are a reasonable length and have playful, mischievous music which really sets the fun mood of the podcast. My favorite episode is one following a girl that drives a car before she has her license and all the obstacles she and her friends have to overcome to meet their goal. I find it highly impressive how well thought through some of the peoples' plans are in this podcast and how determined they are at times to get to their goal. The show is about troublemaking, but sometimes it's not pointed out that people's actions are wrong. This is beneficial, because it leaves it up to you to decide if you would do the things that they did in a particular situation, hypothetically. But, it also could be problematic in that it might give kids ideas for getting into trouble. So, when listening to it, keep that in mind. Just because it's not voiced clearly that the actions are wrong, that doesn't mean you should do them.

The message of this podcast is that troublemaking isn't always necessarily "bad," but it can sometimes get to the point where it ends badly or unsafely and you will probably regret your actions afterwards, but learn something too.

I give Ooh You're in Trouble 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18, plus adults. Ooh, You're In Trouble is available on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/ooh-youre-in-trouble

Reviewed by Rosemary K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 25 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: AUDIO


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WE GOT YOU
WE GOT YOU - PRX
Series: PODCAST, AGES 8-12
Description - We Got You is a podcast that gives a voice to every kid out there who doesn't have anyone to go to, with advice straight from teens who've been there before. We Got You is a weekly advice podcast where teens answer questions from middle schoolers across the country on life, loneliness and an uncertain future. We Got You is produced by Sonic Union.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - We Got You is a wonderful tool, particularly during the pandemic when some children are unable to make it to their therapy appointments. But, it's relevant to others that are not in therapy also.

The podcast We Got You is a series aimed towards tweens and teens that do not have someone to confide in. The speakers are older teenagers that have been through some difficult things that the younger teens are dealing with such as divorce, depression and suicide. Each episode begins with the host, Samantha Logan, introducing the topic of discussion, then the guest (an older teen) tells their story. Through the older teen's story, advice and reassurance for the younger teens is given.

This podcast is very well produced and informative. The audio is crisp; the intros on all the podcasts are uniform and the background music during the host's introduction is suitable. The issues addressed are perfect for tweens and teens. For example in the episode "Jazmine - Depression is OK to Discuss," Jazmine discusses how she felt extremely alone and could not understand why she felt so sad all the time. She reassures the listener that they are not "crazy" if their mental health is not 100% all the time and they should find healthy coping mechanisms to get themselves out of a depressive situation.

The message of this podcast is that you are not alone in feeling the way you do, that others have experienced similar things and can give you advice on how to manage your feelings.

I give We Got You 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this to ages 8 to 12. You can listen to this now on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/we-got-you.

By Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A candid and honest look at modern teens' lives with incisive commentary on mental illness, coping with conflict and other timely topics, We Got You is a great listen for kids looking for answers.

Have you ever felt like you are experiencing something negative that no one else is? Well, We Got You reassures you that there is someone who has been there and done that before, sharing the perspectives of kids on growing up, thriving and surviving in an uncertain world, and dealing with the darker aspects of life. Each episode has two parts. First, a kid speaks about their experiences. For example, one episode centers around a girl named Asha and her experiences with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Second, the floor is opened up for questions about the subject, which are submitted through the show's Twitter account, and the main speaker is joined by one or two other kids who share their personal experiences and thoughts. The show is hosted by actress Samantha Logan, but she takes a backseat in the podcasts, and it feels like each episode is really hosted by the kid who's sharing their thoughts.

The kids on the show are truly skilled raconteurs, presenting their experiences in an engaging way that makes you feel for them. Many of the speakers bore their hearts on the podcast, especially in the episodes about mental health, and it is heartwarming to see that they feel confident to share their experiences and thoughts so openly. The podcast is full of earnest perspectives and the roundtable segment features lots of great questions that I would definitely have asked. The sound designer Rob Ballingall also beautifully blends together sound bites with some sound effects and background music to make the podcast even more intricate.

The message of We Got You is quite simple: you don't have to go through anything alone. It's a podcast with a purpose, a beautiful one at that, and it's executed wonderfully.

I would give We Got You 5 stars out of 5, and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. You can listen to We Got You on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/we-got-you

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The We Got You podcast is an amazing outlet for kids and teens that don't have a voice or need extra inspiration to help cope with their challenges. This podcast is all about helping others hold onto hope.

Writer / creator (Halle Petro) and producer (Sonic Union) proudly presents We Got You. Many episodes have guest speakers that talk about their conflicts. The podcast covers such topics as dyslexia, anxiety, depression, PTSD, social media, bullying and lots more.

I love this podcast series, because it includes so many inspirational stories. I got a sense of thankfulness while listening to the first couple of episodes. Although the podcast is audio only, it makes you take the time to settle down and listen. The guest speakers are so strong in their ability to speak out and spread awareness. Each episode is about 15 to 20 minutes long. They are full of amazing stories and a Q and A. The Q and A at the end of each episode includes middle-schoolers from around the country that get their questions answered by teens that have been there before. Especially during these tough times due to COVID-19, taking care of our physical and mental health is important. The weekly advice in these podcasts encourages kids and teens to come of age in the world around us. In each episode the real life example is accompanied by music that transports the listener to that space. Listening to these stories can give anyone hope, courage and gratitude.

I got lots of messages from this podcast, although the one that stood out the most is to hold onto hope. Never give up; have courage!

I give the podcast series We Got You series 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 16. The We Got You podcast is currently available on TRAX podcast page at https://www.trax.fm/we-got-you.

By Avery P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

We Got You is such an inspirational podcast. I love it. It shares stories from teens all over the country that have gone through hard times and makes them feel heard. This podcast also makes you feel lots of emotions and is almost as entertaining as a regular TV show.

For example, one of the episodes talks about Jaelin, an 18-year-old boy who lost both of his parents before the age of nine, and went through childhood being abused by his stepfather. His journey continues as Jaelin finds hope through his brothers and friends.

One of the best things about this podcast is the emotions. You can really feel all that Jaelin's been through, from the death of his first parent to losing his second. His enlightening speech gives you hope that there is always a way out, no matter how much you have been through. Many movies, TV shows and podcasts use music to convey emotions. However, We Got You doesn't need music to show what these kids are feeling; you only need to hear their stories. To be able to show emotion without music is pretty hard, so that really intrigued me.

In the words of Dumbledore, "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, when only one remembers to turn on the light." This describes the message of the podcast (even though it's not said in that way), that you should never lose hope. There are no foul words or concepts, but there is some mention of aggressive behavior. An example is Jaelin speaking of his father both verbally and physically abusing him.

I give We Got You 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 and anyone who is going through a hard time. We Got You can be found on Trax at https://www.trax.fm/we-got-you.

By Apurva S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 27 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: AUDIO


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
STRAY
STRAY - MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Stray explores what it means to live as a being without status or security, following three strays as they embark on inconspicuous journeys through Turkish society. Zeytin, fiercely independent, embarks on adventures through the city at night; Nazar, nurturing and protective, easily befriends the humans around her; while Kartal, a shy puppy living on the outskirts of a construction site, finds companions in the security guards who care for her. The strays' disparate lives intersect when they each form intimate bonds with a group of young Syrians with whom they share the streets.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Stray is a brilliant film about three beautiful dogs living on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey. Director Elizabeth Lo gives a unique perspective that allows viewers to venture into dogs' lives and learn a lot about the country of Turkey and the people there, as well. Through the eyes of the dogs we learn about their lives on the streets and the lives of others they interact with. We gain a better understanding of the people as we overhear conversations the citizens are having which tell us a lot about the personal lives of the people there and the living conditions. For both the dogs and some of the people, there is danger and the struggle to survive. There are also touching moments. It is an unforgettable film that helps people understand a different part of the world, the people and animals that live there, and that they all have the same basic needs of food, shelter, and friendship.

This documentary follows three dogs named Zeytin, Nazar and a puppy named Kartal. The camera follows the dogs at their level which is a very ingenious and a creative touch. As the camera rolls, we follow along and see how these dogs interact with other dogs and the humans they encounter. Not only do we get to experience a stray dog's life, but the lives of a young group of boys also living on the streets. The dogs in Istanbul are allowed to roam around the city freely since the citizens fought to save them. We're taken into these dogs' lives and live it with them, seeing all the sights and sounds they see.

One of my favorite scenes in Stray is when Zeytin is in the park and notices another dog approaching. You can tell from the beginning, when we first get to know Zeytin, that she is a sweet dog. She doesn't seem to mind the other dogs she comes in contact with and is friendly towards them. Watching Zeytin and the other dogs in the park was very enjoyable. I just loved watching them run around and being very playful. It is a scene that could have been in any part of the world. I also enjoyed watching the puppy, Kartal. The puppy's expressions are very sweet and, the way people react to Kartal, it adds a nice touch to the film.

The message in this film is to step up for what you believe in. The citizens of Turkey made sure their voices were heard, so that dogs can freely roam, and are not to be held captive or destroyed. Every life is worth something. The dogs provide comfort to many people there. There are some warnings. Some scenes can be graphic that go with life on the streets. Some of the topics and language spoken by some of the people is also for older viewers.

I give Stray 5 out of 5 stars. I was glued to the screen and I am now a much bigger fan of documentaries after watching this film. I plan to watch more in the future. I recommend this film to ages 13 to 20. Magnolia Pictures will release Stray in theaters and On Demand on March 5, 2021.

Reviewed by Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MOXIE
MOXIE - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Fed up with the sexist and toxic status quo at her high school, a shy 16-year-old finds inspiration from her mother's rebellious past and anonymously publishes a zine that sparks a school-wide, coming-of-rage revolution.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the coming-of-age movie, Moxie! It has comedy, drama and a terrific message, while handling very serious topics. The cast is perfect, and the music gives the film a lot of energy.

Moxie is based on the novel by the same name by Jennifer Mathieu and follows a 16-year-old girl named Vivian (Hadley Robinson) who prefers to be under the radar. This all changes when Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Pe�a) comes to her high school. After witnessing Lucy "holding her head high" during an encounter with another student, Vivian notices all of the horrible ways that girls are being treated at her school and decides to publish an anonymous zine that sparks a fire in all of the other fed-up girls at her school.

Amy Poehler directs the movie and plays Vivian's mom. She also happens to be my favorite character, because she is very clever, inspiring and is not a "traditional mom." The rest of the cast plays their characters so well. We see Vivian's journey from follower to leader. Lucy is such a bold and confident woman, standing up for what is right. Seth (Nico Hiragra) comes across as a really cool love interest of Vivian's and male ally to the female revolution. Patrick Schwarzenegger's portrayal of Mitchell Wilson is terrific, as I just hated him in the movie. The supporting characters are very diverse as we see people of all shapes, sizes and races, including a girl in a wheelchair, which I rarely see in movies, plus an all-girl band.

The key messages in this film are: to be the change you want to see, and friendship can support that change. You should know that the film has some mild profanity, shows underage drinking and handles some mature subjects.

I give Moxie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It comes out on Netflix March 3, 2021.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
COUNTRY COMFORT, SEASON 1
COUNTRY COMFORT, SEASON 1 - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 10-18
Description - When her career and personal life get derailed, an aspiring young country singer named Bailey takes a job as a nanny for a rugged cowboy named Beau and his five children. With a never-give up attitude and loads of Southern charm, this newbie-nanny is able to navigate the family dynamics and be the mother figure they've been missing. To her surprise, Bailey also gets the band she's been missing in this musically talented family who help get her back on the road to stardom.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Country Comfort, Season 1, because this family comedy show has drama, romance and family situations filled with comedy. I like that this show brings realistic family events to the table. If Season 1 is this great, I cannot imagine how Season 2 will be.

This show is about a widower cowboy named Beau (Eddie Cibrian) who has five kids, a girlfriend and a nanny. This show reminded me of an old show named The Nanny. In every episode the nanny, named Bailey (Katharine McPhee), worries about not getting fired. The kids are somewhat mischievous and very talented. Each one sings and plays a different instrument. The young boy, Dylan is a manager or wants to become a celebrity manager and plays the piano and the drums. The 15-year-old boy, Brody is a singer, a dancer and plays guitar. The oldest boy, Tuck plays guitar and sings too. The older girl, Cassidy misses her mom the most. She is a strong and stubborn little girl. The youngest girl, Chloe, who is five is really funny and mature for her age. The dad's girlfriend, Summer is jealous of how Bailey takes better care of the kids than she does and of how much the children love Bailey.

My favorite episode is when famous singer, LeAnn Rimes, comes to their house and surprises Cassidy. Cassidy has a recording of her mom singing a LeAnn Rimes song on her phone and when she plays the song, LeAnn sings along. This show is very funny. The cast is very talented, especially the kids, who are multi-talented. There is lots of music. Almost every episode has either Bailey or one of the other children playing the guitar and singing. Each episode is approximately 25 minutes long. The show takes place inside their southern home and outside at their barn.

There are many morals in this show. Telling the truth is the most important one. In one episode the dad lies and so do the kids, but in the end everyone learns not to lie.

I give Country Comfort 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Remember to mark your calendars as this premieres March 19, 2021 on Netflix.

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Watching Country Comfort, Season 1 was an absolute treat. This wonderful new series will leave you in tears from laughing and crying, while giving you a warm feeling of family, love and music. Be prepared to fall in love with every character in this new heartwarming show.

Country Comfort is a new Netflix series premiering this spring. It is filled with entertaining episodes such as Crazy, Teardrops on My Guitar, Sign, Sign, Everywhere a sign, My Girl, Blue and Summer Lovin'. Each episode follows the story of how a failing country singer, Bailey, is taken in by a large family, only to learn to love each and every one of them. The music, laughter and spirit of the show will make you root for love, togetherness and success for our clumsy protagonist. This is a show I highly recommend.

While watching Country Comfort, Season 1 a few things really caught my eye (and ear!). To start, the actress who plays Bailey, Katharine McPhee, has both an amazing voice and a fantastic stage presence. When she sings, she is unlike many country singers. She really got me into her songs, especially when she sings for her audition for the CMA concert. I also absolutely love her comedic timing. Shows may be written as comedies, but it is up to the actors to make their lines funny and make audience laugh. That she does. I found myself laughing out loud many times when she gets into one sticky situation after the other. This show is a comedy, but it has something different than many other family sitcoms on TV today - a country setting. It is very refreshing to see a change of location.

The message of this show is: when you don't at first succeed, try, try, again. Bailey has many situations thrown at her, such as dealing with a breakup, losing something very important to one of the children, and finding feelings for new love. She always overcomes these obstacles with a little more spunk each time. She sets an example that, even when life shoves things in your way, you will make it through.

I give Country Comfort, Season 1, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 8 to 15. This series premieres on Netflix March 19, 2021.

By Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SPONGEBOB: SPONGE ON THE RUN
SPONGEBOB: SPONGE ON THE RUN - PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT Click to purchase directly from the producer
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - Set before the events of the television series, SpongeBob goes on a trip to Kamp Koral and meets some new friends. However, when his pet snail Gary gets kidnapped by Poseidon and taken to the Lost City of Atlantic City, he and his new best friend Patrick must go on a rescue mission to save him from the dastardly plan of Poseidon before it is too late. The movie will also reveal the first time our beloved characters (as kids) met at Camp...a magical moment that brings meaning to the power of true friendship.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The outstanding film SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run, written and created by Tim Hill, portrays the true meaning of friendship. The story touched my heart. Although this film is animated, each of the characters and their feelings feel so real to me. The compassion in this film matches perfectly with the humor. At some points, the suspense is so high that I was on the edge of my seat!

The protagonist, SpongeBob (Tom Kenny), has always loved and cared for his pet snail, Gary (Tom Kenny). When the King of the Seas (Matt Berry) is in need of a snail, SpongeBob's arch enemy, Plankton (Mr. Lawrence), takes Gary away in order to get rid of SpongeBob. Plankton wants the secret recipe for the famous crabby patties, but SpongeBob keeps ruining his master plans for stealing it. SpongeBob and his trusty friend Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) take a journey to the Lost City of Atlantic City in order to rescue Gary from the King's palace. Unfortunately, SpongeBob and Patrick get into a life threatening situation with no one there to help them. How will his friends save the day? Maybe even plankton will come to the rescue!

Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke's voice overs are, hands down hilarious. There wasn't a scene in the whole film where I didn't laugh! Both have such unique, varied and energetic voices which bring to life their individual characters. Tom Kenny adjusts his voice to make Gary sound absolutely adorable. His voice makes me think of my own pet, that I love so much. The animations are beautiful and filled with deep and vibrant color. The characters' facial expressions perfectly match the liveliness of the actors' voices.

The message of this film is that true friends will always have your back, no matter what. Friends will always be there during your times in need and everyone needs true friends. This sweet message encourages everyone to be kind and loyal. There is no violence that is gory although there is an axe that is never used. There is no harmful language or stereotypes. Most of the characters are a good influence.

I give SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. This is a great family movie. It releases on Paramount + March 4, 2021. Look for it!

Reviewed by Nyara, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WE ARE SILVER DAZZLERS (2021)
WE ARE SILVER DAZZLERS (2021) - ROBERT SICO
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Documentary about the dance team from Harlan High School in San Antonio, Texas......The Silver Dazzlers! Go on a journey with these amazing young ladies, and watch as they experience an incredible season that included dancing at the AT&T Center, the Alamodome, and of course, dancing for their school. Plus, see how an emotional football season changes the dance team forever, and why being a Silver Dazzler can be life changing. "You think it's just learning how to dance...but it's so much more than that. "Adriana N�jera - Dance Team Director
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - We Are Silver Dazzlers is a documentary about a dance team at Harlan High School in San Antonio, Texas. It showcases the journey associated with being a Silver Dazzler. This documentary also shows the bond that the dance team has and how they overcome the hardships of competitive dance with one another.

This film is appealing because, no matter what age someone is, they have been a part, or will be a part of some team. Whether the team is a group of people at work collaborating towards a common goal, or a sports team, one can relate. A child would enjoy this because they can look up to the girls on the dance team. They can possibly be inspired by their hard work and dedication to their sport. I also think dance is very entertaining to watch, so child may enjoy it for the entertainment aspect.

This documentary flows well. It begins with the stories about how the girls got onto the team, highs and lows they have experienced together, favorite performances and moments together, and then what life might look like after the dance team. I also enjoy the intercutting between video footage of the performances or practices and the interviews. It's a perfect balance between the two. I felt empathy for the girls being interviewed because I remember the feeling of being part of a dance team and then graduating and having to move on. Everyone knows the feeling of having to move onto the next stage of their lives and it can be very hard.

The material and vocabulary are suitable for the intended age group. It is also not word heavy regarding dance terms; even if one does not have a dance background, they can still understand what the girls are discussing. There is a section in which the death of a fellow student is discussed. It does not go into detail regarding the death, but this topic still may be hard for some viewers.

The camera quality is quite good. The dance team's costumes are very ornate. The music is mostly royalty free music, but I did notice some pop songs here and there, which made me wonder if the filmmaker has the license to use them.

This film shows the viewer that being part of something good, such as a hardworking dance team, has positive outcomes for not only the thing they are part of, but for themselves also. Viewers can appreciate the importance of working hard under pressure. To paraphrase a quote from the film: do not take the small things in life for granted, because when you look back on your memories, you will realize how big those moments actually are. Do not be sad it's over; be happy it happened.

I give We are Silver Dazzlers 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - We Are Sliver Dazzlers, by Robert Sico, is a tremendously encouraging documentary that is very exceptional.

This documentary is about a dance team that consists of a group of young girls from a high school in San Antonio, Texas, that share the same passion under the amazing leadership of Adriana Najer, who teaches them the meaning of dedication which makes them become great stewards.

This film explores the true meaning of friendship and family. It follows a realistic journey of today's times and a first time experience for a lot of things; listening to the individual testimonies of the girls is so heartwarming. The audience gets an upfront, behind the scenes look at what it takes to be part of a phenomenal dance team. This film is a tear-jerker and you might catch yourself grabbing a tissue to wipe your tears. The way Robert Sico captures the positive, happy and sad moments is really superb; capturing real life stories and keeping it relevant to today's youth is very brightly done. This film is so modern, from the background music to the uniforms. The way the director captures the girls' stories is dazzling.

The message of this film is you don't have to be biologically related to be a family. And we see how behind a great leader is a great "family."

We Are Silver Dazzlers is a sentimental and beautiful documentary. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

By Deena H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I love watching the bond among the members of this high school dance team in the documentary We Are Silver Dazzlers! The combination of candid interviews from the team members with footage of the team's dazzling dance numbers creates an emotional journey as they reflect on past dance seasons at Harlan High School. This documentary highlights the thoughtful intentions and dedication the Silver Dazzlers put into their dances and I am in awe of the loving support they have for other members of their high school community.

The documentary catalogs a full season with the Silver Dazzlers dance team as they choreograph, practice and perform routines at school sporting events, pep rallies, and destinations like the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Alternating between dancers in their sophomore, junior and senior year and Coach Adriana N�jera, the team talks through the significance of their bejeweled costumes, behind the scenes of important performances, and their individual journeys to become join the treasured team. Additionally, as members of the Silver Dazzlers in the team's first year, the graduating seniors discuss the legacy they have built through the dance team and the values they hope to pass on to the next generation of Silver Dazzlers.

Although the documentary is a bit long at 90 minutes, it is neatly organized into sections like "Pep Rallies" and "A Football Season to Remember." I love the choice to utilize vlog footage from the dancers in the documentary. In contrast to the dances, the vlog perspective pulls the audience closer to the dancers and provides a unique look at what the Silver Dazzlers do behind the scenes of their performances. The dancers' signature white hat and cowboy boots are stunning when they perform on the football field, but I also love the creativity of their other costumes, like the ripped t-shirts in their Halloween performance and bright red sequined coats in a dance from their first season. The film features many emotional moments from the dancers, with a lyrical dance from football season standing out among the rest as it was dedicated to the loss of a fellow student. The dancers are extremely eloquent when talking about their fellow students and impactful in relaying the drive and disappointment the football team felt when losing a big game that year. I also like the music choices in this film. For example, when a dancer becomes emotional during an interview "Human" by Christina Perri slowly crescendos, mimicking and highlighting the girl's raw emotions.

We Are Silver Dazzlers portrays the perseverance of a closely knit team, and champions the importance of supportive relationships within a team. This documentary also promotes a strong work ethic and dedication.

I give We Are Silver Dazzlers 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and adults will enjoy it as well.

Reviewed by Bella F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

We Are Silver Dazzlers is very entertaining and inspiring. The down to earth story and really connects to the audience on an emotional and humble level.

This documentary follows a group of dancers and their journey throughout their high school years. Adriana Najera, the dance teacher at Harlan High School, teaches a group of 23 girls dances they perform at events such as pep rallies, football games, competitions and more. Throughout the years, these girls form a sisterhood and become amazing leaders and friends.

All of the girls that are interviewed are so kind-hearted, humble and passionate. Throughout the film, they all show their passion for dance and performing. Through hard work, dedication and teamwork, they celebrate their accomplishments together. The way the dancers talk about each other shows that they truly have a great bond. They act as if they are just one big family and connect to the audience through their stories and emotions. We watch the team experience hills and valleys and, in the end, it is all worth it because they all get to do what they love to do. Throughout film their outstanding costumes shine, from the original ones used at football games and pep rallies, to the sparkly and shiny ones used at conventions and competitions, they consistently wear dazzling uniforms.

The message of this film is that a successful team takes friendship, hard work and determination.

I give We Are Silver Dazzlers 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18.

By Taia P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CROODS, THE: A NEW AGE
CROODS, THE: A NEW AGE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - The prehistoric family the Croods are challenged by a rival family the Bettermans, who claim to be better and more evolved.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Croods: A New Age is sensational because of the clever and colorful graphics, funny and realistic conflicts.

The storyline is about the Bettermans not liking the Croods. They must learn how to get along with one another and they have many adventurous life lessons along the way.

I like the story line because it's relatable to real life. The family conflicts and differences make the movie unpredictable. The characters are well developed. The production is state of the art. It is highly colorful and engaging from start to finish. The film is a great follow-up to the first one. My favorite part is when the main characters, Phil Betterman and Grug, are in the Jacuzzi.

The message in the film is that we do not have to look the same and we all have far more in common than we realize. It's okay to look different.

I give The Croods: A New Age 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. It releases November 26, 2020

Reviewed by Bailey Rae F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
OWN THE ROOM
OWN THE ROOM - NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ENTERTAINMENT - LA
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 11=18
Description - Own the Room chronicles five students from disparate corners of the planet as they take their budding business ventures to Macau, China, to compete in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. Santosh is from a small farming town in Nepal; Alondra works the register at her family's bakery in Puerto Rico; Henry is a programming wiz from Nairobi; Jason is a marketing machine from Greece; and Daniela, an immigrant fleeing the crisis in Venezuela, is taking on the chemical industry from her lab at NYU. In the uplifting film, each of the business hopefuls has overcome immense obstacles in pursuing their dreams, from hurricanes to poverty to civil unrest. As they represent their countries as the top student entrepreneurs, the high-stakes global finals are their opportunity to win worldwide attention and the coveted $100,000 grand prize to make their life-changing business ideas a reality and transform the world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Own the Room is a new feature documentary from National Geographic Documentary Films directed by Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster. This directing duo delivers an uplifting movie that has us digging into our "emotional toolbox" as we follow the heartfelt journeys of young entrepreneurs bringing change for future generations. The optimism of these individuals is so incredible and can certainly be appreciated by anyone working hard to pursue their dreams.

Own the Room follows the paths of five young innovators from across the globe who showcase their business plans to "change the world one big idea at a time." These individuals overcome cultural obstacles and push the limits in order to reach the top. Santosh, Alondra, Henry, Jason and Daniela have each qualified to represent their country at the annual Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in Macau, China. Each has the dream of taking their business to the next level to become the world's most influential change-maker. Aside from setting their eyes on the prize of $100,000, each hopes to raise awareness that "no matter where you come from, it does not define where you are going." They are each proud of their culture, their family support, and the chance to represent their country.

I enjoyed the emotional conversations in which the students share their cultural backgrounds and find their words to be genuine and spirited. Their determination, confidence, and fearlessness kept me wanting to see more. Costantini and Foster are clever to include the lifestyle, family background and the obstacles that each of these students face. That allows viewers to appreciate the students' journeys even more and perhaps to gain a better understanding of each of the young entrepreneurs' business ideas. The cinematography is fantastic, taking us into five areas of the world and showing viewers a variety of ways of life. The society in which you live does indeed partly shape you as an individual, and yet this documentary proves that it doesn't have to hold you back.

Own the Room delivers many messages and mainly demonstrates how determination is at the root of all success. If you are determined, you will be driven to work hard to achieve no matter how many obstacles confront you. Challenges serve to strengthen us. It is this determination that we see in each of the student entrepreneurs and which becomes so inspiring to viewers. Given the current state of the world right now, an inspiring film such as Own the Room is exactly what we need.

I give Own the Room 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults would certainly love and appreciate this film just as much as kids. Own the Room will begin streaming on March 12,, 2021, on Disney+. Mark this date on your calendars because this is a film you're going to want to see.

Reviewed by Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Own the Room is an inspirational, beautifully-made documentary that will have you on the edge of your seat, completely enthralled for the entire duration.

In Own the Room, we learn about the stories of Henry, a programmer from Kenya; Alondra, from Puerto Rico - a baker with a passion for serving the deaf; Santosh, from Nepal - a small-town-guy with big dreams from Nepal; Jason, from Greece - a humorous marketing whiz; and Daniela, a Venezuelan immigrant honing her talents as an incredibly intelligent chemical engineer in her lab at NYU. These five intrepid and enterprising young entrepreneurs have faced great challenges, from hurricanes to poverty to civil unrest, to pitch their ideas at the EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), one of the world's leading entrepreneurship competitions, and win the $100,000 grand prize that can help make their dreams come true.

All of the entrepreneurs in this film show their true selves, and (this is rare for documentaries covering competitions) support one another vocally, even in their interviews. Speaking of interviews, for the most part we get to see the talented young adults' personalities shine and ideas flourish while they are in action. The cinematography is beautiful, especially the shots of the bustling city of Nairobi and Santosh's village in Nepal. I also love the way that the cinematography team covered the GSEA event in Macau, with energetic shots of the entrepreneurs preparing and pulsing music backing Henry's nail-biting immigration fiasco. The bits of pitches only take up about five to ten minutes of the film, and they are amazing, of course. But it's the buildup that keeps you watching!

Own the Room promotes messages of grit, courage, and innovation. It's a beautiful film to watch, especially in the time we live in now when people are having to innovate to survive and thrive.

I give Own the Room 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Own the Room releases March 12, 2021 on Disney+.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 11-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CREW, THE
CREW, THE - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 13-18
Description - Life in the garage goes off track for a NASCAR crew chief and his racing team when a new boss shakes things up.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Crew is an enjoyable watch that teaches you in equal measures about racing and being there for your friends. Even for those who aren't NASCAR fans, this ten-episode show will grip your attention and sweep you up into a riptide of emotions.

Honestly, there's not much technical detail given about racing; the deepest the show gets into the subject matter is describing the inner workings of a muscle car engine. But viewers will not be disappointed. The Crew follows a group of coworkers - Kevin, Chuck, Amir, Jake and Beth - at Bobby Spencer Racing (a small NASCAR team out of North Carolina) through their daily lives - their highs, their lows and their in-betweens. Catherine Spencer, Bobby's daughter, takes over the company within the first episode. The high-and-mighty Stanford graduate right out of Silicon Valley is tasked with completely revamping the company. Careers are put in jeopardy, game hunting goes wrong (no animals were hurt in the making of this show) and we see exactly how much NASCAR teams love steak in all forms.

This rip-roaring show is led by the comedy powerhouse Kevin James, a true legend, who plays Kevin. He's the 'personality' of the office, a former racing driver who retired to the garage after an injury. Gary Anthony Williams plays the fix-it man, Chuck. Dan Ahdoot is the socially-awkward and anxious Amir. Freddie Stroma plays the slightly slow, but incredibly adorable Jake. Sarah Stiles is the curly-haired, sweet, Southern Beth. The femme-fatale of the show, Catherine Spencer, is played by Jillian Mueller. Of all the characters, I love Kevin (obviously) as well as Beth and Catherine. Both of the women have such layered characters, especially Catherine. We are only given hints at her childhood - save for the frequent mention of her Stanford degree, which is turned into a drinking game by Kevin and Frank. The cast is incredibly talented, especially in terms of their comedic timing. Their chemistry is visible on screen. You can tell that they would be the best of friends on set. The sets of The Crew are also so realistic!

The Crew is truly a show about community, friendship and sticking together. All of the members of the NASCAR team featured in the show are, as the High School Musical jingle goes, "all in this together." They bear their new boss Catherine together, and help each other through their problems. There's slight profanity at certain points in the show, and there are hunting scenes, but they're not graphic.

I give The Crew 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. The Crew will be available on Netflix on February 15, 2021.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV



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