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KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DUNE (2021)
DUNE (2021) - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - A mythic and emotionally charged hero's journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet's exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity's greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I absolutely love Dune! It is a thrilling attention-grabbing adventure that creates a connection you would never expect. It opens your mind up to a whole new world that you never knew existed.

This film follows Paul (Timothee Chalamet), the son of the most noble and respected family on their planet, Arrakis. Forces from all over the galaxy, as well as theirs, are fighting for necessary resources, as well as power, in hope of someday finding the one who can stop time.

The director of Dune, Denis Villeneuve has created one of the best films I have ever seen. The camera work and the angles used are extremely insightful and satisfying. For example, when the actors are climbing up the dunes, it's almost as if we are following right behind them. The camera doesn't show us what is at the top until the characters themselves get there. This makes you feel as if you are actually there with them. It creates a suspense that I've never experienced before. Also, the digital and visual effects are out of this world. You fully feel as if you are there with them every moment. Every single sword fight and burst of fire encompasses the entire room and fully transforms your experience. The cast is terrific! For example, the relationship between Paul and his mother (Rebecca Ferguson) shows some of the most raw and real love between a mother and son that I've ever seen on screen. They fully embody their characters and their relationship with each other. Furthermore, I love the character Chani (Zendaya), who is mysterious and intriguing. Zendaya's work never fails to impress me, and I love her role here. I also really enjoyed the bond between Paul and Duncan. They have such a strong friendship that feels so genuine, and gives such a positive effect on the audience. The wardrobe, hair and makeup are all top notch. Every costume is so personalized for each character. All the outfits that Rebecca Ferguson wears are so intricate and unique. She has many wardrobe changes, while still staying true to her character. This is something that was cool to see in such an action packed movie. The hair and makeup are also executed extremely well. They are simple, but intense and give you the feeling that these characters do not live on earth, but they still feel human at the same time. The eye makeup that most of the characters wear, is natural looking and yet created an alien-esc look.

The message of this film is that if you can conquer your fear, then you can conquer anything. This film does include violent scenes, including blood, stabbings and bombs.

I give Dune 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Dune releases in theaters October 22, 2021.

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

I love Dune. This film is almost like an introduction to a great story. When at the end Zendaya's character says, "This is only the beginning," the foreshadowing tells me that there will hopefully be a sequel.

Dune is an exceptional film directed by Denis Villeneuve and adapted from the original sci-fi novel, written by Frank Herbert and published in 1965. Fans of the 1984 version directed by David Lynch - and newcomers to Dune -- will be fascinated to see Villeneuve's incarnation. I absolutely love the cast, cinematography, CGI, makeup and many other aspects of this film.

The film takes place on an unfamiliar desert planet, Arrakis - the world of Arrakis is breathtaking. I love the culture of the planet, such as the languages they speak, the homes the characters live in, and, of course, the makeup and costumes have a huge effect on the aesthetic of this planet. The story centers on a young man named Paul Atreides (Timoth�e Chalamet) who has an important role: His family is responsible for mining a very valuable and powerful spice, which is the most precious element on Arrakis. As the story unfolds, it's easy to be captivated and mesmerized into the illusion that you as the audience are with the characters on Arrakis. At times, though, I felt I was almost missing parts of the story. Since this is an adaptation from a book, a lot of information has to be left out, and I left the theater wanting to know more about Arrakis. I also felt that the beginning is a bit slow and most of the action in this film takes place near the end, although that isn't a huge issue for me.

Now let's talk about the acting and this great ensemble cast with Timoth�e Chalamet in the lead role and his peers: Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Oscar Issac and many others. I've been a huge fan of Timoth�e Chalamet for a long time and this is one of his best performances to date. I love his character - you can really see how at the beginning of the movie he is a vulnerable yet strong boy who eventually stands his ground and knows his place. I also love Zendaya's performance; throughout the entire movie I was waiting to see her appearance. I also love Jason Momoa's character, another one of my favorites. Finally, Oscar Issac and Rebecca Ferguson work really well together and deliver very engaging performances.

The costumes are very detailed and intricate which bring out fascinating elements of the planet. And the cinematography (by Greig Fraser) and visual storytelling is so beautifully done and goes in perfect sync with the production design. It's important to acknowledge Hans Zimmer who composed all the music since his score brings the sci-fi storytelling to life.

The message of the film is we all have a purpose, we should find our own voice and destinies and true empathy is as powerful as blood lineage in our world.

I give Dune 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Dune opens in theaters, October 22, 2021 and I highly recommend seeing it in IMAX if you can.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
UNDER WRAPS 2021
UNDER WRAPS 2021 - DISNEY CHANNEL
Series: TV, AGES 7-18
Description - Friends Marshall, Gilbert, and Amy accidentally revive and release a mummy from its sarcophagus in the days leading up to Halloween. At first terrified, they quickly learn that the Mummy who they affectionately name 'Harold' is actually very sweet and in dire need of assistance.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Are you ready for a remake of a spook-tacular and adventurous mysterious story? Then you have got to check out Disney Channel's new Under Wraps movie! It's got everything - action, friendships, mysteries, and a lovable, friendly mummy! It has a spine-tickling storyline, with many surprises along the way. So, buckle up and get ready for a fun, chilling story that is perfect for the whole family!

This storyline follows three friends, Marshall, Gilbert and Amy, who mysteriously find a mummy in their neighbor's basement. Accidently bringing it to life, they discover he is a kind mummy. Most films describe mummies as horrid, brain-eating, dead monsters. But this movie is special because, its mummy is not like the others. He is a kindhearted, affectionate and friendly mummy, ready to help his friends with anything that may come next. Upon finding out that their new friend Harold, the mummy, will turn to dust if not put back in his sarcophagus by midnight on Halloween, the three friends do everything to save their new mummy friend.

You'll love the main characters. Marshall (Malachi Bartoh) is a sci-fi, monster enthusiast. Gilbert (Christian J. Simon) is a scared, yet honest friend. He is always trying to help his friends and embraces people for whom they really are throughout the movie. Amy (Sophia Hammons) wants to solve mysteries and get the inside scoop. She dreams of becoming an investigative journalist. Even though she's the new kid in town, she is bold and is not afraid to stand up for what is right. Malachi Barton connects with his character, Marshall, in a believable way. Christian J. Simon's Gilbert is very funny; Christian is funny in real life as well. He makes giving a solid, amazing, thorough performance look easy. Sophia Hammons gives a dynamic, well thought out performance and shows the variety of ways she can connect with different emotions while portraying Amy. The costume for Harold is well thought out, with incredible special effects. He looks and seems like an actual mummy. My favorite character is Amy because she is very brave, incredibly smart and she is not afraid to speak her mind.

This message is to embrace people's differences and to not judge a book by its cover. When Harold is brought back to life after thousands of years, people seem to fear him - when he's really trying to help them out. You discover that all Harold wants is a friend and our three friends learn to accept him for who he is on the inside, beyond his wrapped-up-mummy-outside.

I give Under Wraps 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Under Wraps is available now on Disney Channel and Disney plus. This is a movie you don't want to miss!

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
NO TIME TO DIE
NO TIME TO DIE - MGM STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13 - 18
Description - In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - No Time to Die certainly kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire two hours and forty three minutes. This movie has a combination of danger, romance, sadness, humor and a lot of action and violence, but most importantly, it shocks the audience by revealing a secret hidden from James Bond.

No Time to Die is about agent 007, James Bond (Daniel Craig) who, after a peaceful five years of retirement, comes back to complete a mission, rescuing a Russian scientist who created a powerful weapon out of DNA. During Bond's mission rescuing this scientist, he finds out his number 007 has been assigned to another agent, a woman. He also finds out his wife's secrets and he meets Safin (Rami Malek), a villain who uses the Russian scientist to create dangerous technology. My favorite part is when the female 007, Nomi (Lashana Lynch) tries to compete with Bond on the rescue mission.

This film has a lot of dangerous action. The majority of the scenes include explosives that will make the audience jump out of their seats. The stunts are amazing. The wardrobe is very classy and elegant. The female roles are very important in this movie. Bond's wife is Madeleine (L�a Seydoux) who, at a young age had to fire a gun in order to protect herself. Paloma (Ana de Armas) is a Cuban agent who helped Bond with his mission. Nomi is very proud of her number 007 and does not want to give it back to Bond. Watching these women in action is amusing as well.

The moral of this film is to trust the ones you love. James Bond didn't trust his wife and he lost five years of his life without her that he can never recover ever again. Be forewarned that this movie has a lot of gory scenes and violence, but it does have a PG-13 rating.

O give No Time To Die 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 and 18, plus adults.

This film opens in theatres October 8, 2021. What are your thoughts about agent 007 being a woman? Drop your comments below and stay tuned for more reviews.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
JUST BEYOND
JUST BEYOND - DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, 11-18
Description - Inspired by the writings of R.L. Stine, "Just Beyond" is an eight-episode anthology series that tells astonishing and thought-provoking stories of a reality just beyond the one we know. Each episode introduces viewers to a new cast of characters who must go on a surprising journey of self-discovery in a supernatural world of witches, aliens, ghosts and parallel universes. Stine, prolific author of young-adult horror fiction, including the "Goosebumps" and "Fear Street" series, has been scaring readers worldwide for over 35 years. The show's creators referenced his popular page-turners while developing their new series of hair-raising stories. Episodes acknowledge teenage struggles, such as bullying, peer pressure and anxiety, through supernatural storylines that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Just Beyond is so thrilling! It has the just right amount of scary, unusual and supernatural. All of the storylines are so different and keep you wanting more.

Just Beyond has eight episodes running about 30 minutes, each with a unique storyline. Episodes include "Parents Are From Mars, Kids Are From Venus," "Which Witch," "My Monster," "We've Got Spirits, Yes We Do," "Standing Up for Yourself" and "The Treehouse."

This live action anthology series is loosely based on the graphic novel series by R.L. Stine, also titled "Just Beyond," so fans of the series, or any R.L. Stine story should love the show. The costume design, especially for "Which Witch" and "My Monster" are incredible; Luna's outfits are perfect for her character and the monster looks super realistic. And sometimes, the costumes even give references to past R.L. Stine work. The music is very fitting as it is eerie and gives you the chills as you listen. The cinematography really adds to the storyline, as there are so many unique angles and points of view. This show has some very talented young actors, such as McKenna Grace, who plays Veronica, Lexi Underwood as Ella, Cedric Joe plays Sam, Gabriel Bateman as Jack and Megan Scott who plays Olivia. I loved all the episodes, but my favorite is "Leave Them Kids Alone," because it just could happen.

The messages vary from episode to episode, but what stands out are: embracing uniqueness, not letting fear get the better of you and it matters more about what's inside than outside. Some of the episodes contain scary parts that young kids might find frightening.

I give Just Beyond 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. This show begins streaming on Disney+ October 13, 2021.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 11-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GHOST AND MOLY MCGEE, THE
GHOST AND MOLY MCGEE, THE - DISNEY CHANNEL
Series: FEATURE, AGES 6-16
Description - Tween optimist Molly McGee lives to make the world a better place, fix what has gone wrong, and spread joy. Meanwhile, cantankerous ghost Scratch lives to make the world a worse place, break what has gone right, and spread misery. When a curse from Scratch backfires, he finds himself forever bound to Molly. Despite that, Scratch and Molly form an unlikely friendship that guides each of them through the ups and downs of their respective worlds.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Ghost and Molly Mcgee is a fun show about the supernatural. With so many things that don't exist in the real world, this show makes you see into the world of the supernatural.

This show is about Molly Mcgee (Ashly Burch) and The Ghost whose name is Scratch (Dana Snyder). When Molly moves into a new house that is haunted by Scratch, Molly instantly befriends him and, in an attempt to get her off his back, he curses her so that she will be haunted forever - but, that ends up being a curse for him. To find out what happens to this hilarious duo watch this show!

One cool thing about this show is that, when the ghost does his haunting thing, the whole screen turns sideways and the colors go crazy, which makes it so entertaining to watch. Another thing I like about this show is the ghost council. The head ghosts hands out assignments and each ghost gets a scare report where they have to show a certain amount of scares during a certain period of time. The whole show is animated and has a very different style of animation. Most animated shows I watch try to look 3D and as realistic as possible, but this one is closer to 2D and it intentionally looks more like a cartoon. That has a more kid-friendly feel, especially with the scary ghost scenes.

The message is that unlikely friendships can work out.

I give The Ghost and Molly Mcgee 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 16. I think younger kids might find the ghost scenes a little scary. This begins streaming October 1, 2021 on Hulu TV Live.

By Avalon N. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 6-16 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
JUSTIN BIEBER: OUR WORLD
JUSTIN BIEBER: OUR WORLD - AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Justin Bieber: Our World takes viewers backstage, onstage, and into the private world of the musical icon as he prepares for his unprecedented concert, "T-Mobile Presents New Year's Eve Live with Justin Bieber." After a three-year hiatus from a full performance, and with concert venues shut down due to the pandemic, Bieber delivers an electrifying show to close out 2020 on the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton Hotel for 240 invited guests--and millions of fans across the globe watching via livestream. The film follows Bieber and his close-knit team in the month leading up to the show, as they rehearse and construct a monumental stage while adhering to strict health and safety protocols. The film also captures personal, self-shot moments between Bieber and his wife Hailey.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Justin Bieber: Our World is one of the most immersive Belieber experiences out there - the film takes you backstage, onstage and into the private world of Justin Bieber in a beautifully produced 96 minute documentary. It's certainly not a film to miss!

Viewers step into the shoes of Bieber and his team as they prepare for a record-breaking New Year's Eve 2020 concert after a three-year hiatus. Due to pandemic protocols, Bieber plans to deliver his performance on top of the Beverly Hilton Hotel for 240 invited guests and millions of fans watching via live stream. But setting the whole event up is certainly no easy task. Rehearsing, building a massive stage and light setup, and dealing with technology make the experience more than slightly stressful for the crew. The film also captures personal self-shot moments between Bieber and his wife Hailey through his own "vlog camera." A good part of the film is composed of Bieber performing his songs.

The production quality of Justin Bieber: Our World is quite high, with candid perspectives captured in an organized fashion and organic cuts between songs and scenes. The genuine companionship and love Bieber's crew has for him (and vice versa) shows on screen. It's certainly heartwarming to see the small, sweet moments, like how Bieber's choreographer is welcomed back on set after his quarantine.

Justin Bieber: Our World promotes teamwork, perseverance, patience and the importance of family.

I give Justin Bieber: Our World 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Justin Bieber: Our World premieres on Prime Video on October 6, 2021. Check it out!

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

Last year was a year like no other. Humans across the globe had to adapt while taking a pause due to the pandemic and its lockdowns. For many of us, that was a difficult task. Many events came to a screeching halt including family and friend get togethers, holiday gatherings, and any entertainment outside the home. Life was as abnormal as it gets! We look forward to these events within our lives as they are what keep us laughing, smiling and connected to others. We had to get real creative in staying connected with love ones and that's exactly what world superstar, Justin Bieber did in 2020 while ringing in the new year. Together with his dedicated team of music professionals, Bieber found a creative way to stay connected and share his talents with the world on a very special evening considering the strict guidelines of the pandemic.

Justin Bieber: Our World, is a new 90 minute documentary which highlights the recording of Bieber's special evening and the days leading up to the New Year's Eve concert. The film takes us behind-the-scenes and gives fans a look at the many efforts put forth by the Bieber team to produce an amazing show while following strict COVID health and safety procedures. The film documents a 30 day overview of the hard work and obstacles involved in the production of an event during this uncertain time. With little public entertainment going on during the pandemic, Bieber's creative team found the perfect way to deliver this artist's talents to fans globally in celebration of the New Year. Approximately 200 fans were able to view Bieber's return to the stage from their socially distant balconies, while others around the world were able to watch a live stream of the concert from their homes. Above the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, this music artist did not disappoint his fans with his gift of 21 hits shared with the world.

There are many positive thoughts worth sharing about this film. First, I have a great deal of respect for Justin Bieber and his journey. He entered the industry as a child and dug his heels in to get where he is today. He has overcome many obstacles in his life, including performing for a world overcome by COVID, which is evident in this film. The film highlights so many of the moving parts that are put into play to produce entertainment. I appreciated seeing how all the various teams of professionals came together in order to put create such an amazing show. Most notable in this documentary are the choreography and dancers. A big "thumbs up" for Nick DeMoura, the lead choreographer on the Bieber Team, who created masterpiece dance routines for this concert. The dancers stole the show! As I'm more than a casual fan, I had hoped that this documentary would reflect more on the personal life of Bieber, rather than the film being almost entirely about this concert. There's no doubt that Justin Bieber was born with a true gift and he's a very talented individual, so whatever he is able of sharing with his fans - we'll take it!

The message in Justin Bieber: Our World is the importance of teamwork and loyalty. Bieber's team has been together since he became a super star and it is obvious that they have formed connections that are much more than professional. They work together through challenges and hard times, but always find ways to laugh and to build on their friendships. The message is also about commitment and mutual respect. These are two qualities which are desperately needed within this industry. Justin Bieber makes it very well known through his words and actions in the film that he values his team.

I give Justin Bieber: Our World 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults and all Bieber fans will especially enjoy this documentary. Justin Bieber: Our World is streaming now on Amazon Prime.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY
MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY - AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13 - 18
Description - Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat, a full decade before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned separate-but-equal legislation, Pauli Murray was already knee-deep fighting for social justice. A pioneering attorney, activist, priest and dedicated memoirist, Murray shaped landmark litigation--and consciousness-- around race and gender equity. As an African American youth raised in the segregated South--who was also wrestling with broader notions of gender identity--Pauli understood, intrinsically, what it was to exist beyond previously accepted categories and cultural norms. Both Pauli's personal path and tireless advocacy foreshadowed some of the most politically consequential issues of our time. Told largely in Pauli's own words, My Name is Pauli Murray is a candid recounting of that unique and extraordinary journey.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The documentary My Name is Pauli Murray is a missing piece of history that has not been taught in our classrooms. It amplifies the life of an African American female whose struggles pushed her to create everlasting change in our modern society.

My Name is Pauli Murray shares the life of Pauli Murray, an African American queer woman, who shattered the status quo by fighting for women's and civil rights. She was a student, lawyer, minister and a heroine in many aspects. This documentary sheds light on all of her societal triumphs and personal defeats.

As an African American female, I felt a great sense of sadness after watching this documentary. This film shows that the society I currently live in is a direct result of Pauli Murray's impact and yet, I never learned about her in school. Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen, producers and directors of the documentary RBG bring to live the legacy of a woman unknown to most people. There are little questions the audience has about her life after the film's completion. One aspect I did not like is how the film breaks her life into phases of her career paths. This set-up hampers us from seeing the connection between her personal life and her careers. However, that may be due to my curiosity about knowing more about her and her life. My favorite part of this film is the repetition of the quote, "She was ahead of her time." Pauli Murray refused to move to the back of a segregated bus 15 years before Rosa Parks did. Many people think that certain historical events, radical ideals, and justice comes with a timeframe when, in actuality it does not. That is what this film teaches us.

The message of this film is that you are not ahead of your time; it's just that the world may not be ready for you. Yet, soon enough, they will be. This film does contain violent scenes showing racial injustice.

I give My Name is Pauli Murray 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. My Name is Pauli Murray opens in theatres September 17 and streams on Prime Video October 1, 2021.

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

My Name is Pauli Murray is a documentary about Pauli Murray, a civil rights activist, women's rights activists, lawyer and poet and non-binary advocate for LGBTQ rights. It goes into detail about Pauli's life, as well as the many great things Pauli accomplished and the impact they left on the future. This film is very informative and overall a well-structured documentary. It was an enjoyable viewing experience.

It was really interesting to learn about Pauli Murray, because before watching this film, I had no idea who they were. And Pauli was definitely a person who deserves to be remembered--not just for their legacy and cultural impact but also for who they were as a person. My Name is Pauli Murray does take time to discuss Pauli's personal life and hardships, and that is one way in which this film makes Pauli relatable to people of this generation. I was particularly interested in the discussions of gender identity and presentation. It was heartbreaking to hear about Pauli's difficulties being non-binary, because nowadays we do have words to describe what Pauli felt.

I also really enjoyed the editing and presentation of this documentary. Not only was this film extremely educational and thought provoking, but it was also fun to watch. There were many instances where quotes from Pauli would appear on screen to drive the point of a specific section, which was very effective. My Name is Pauli Murray has a unique visual style, and the pacing is excellent.

I definitely think My Name is Pauli Murray is crucial viewing for anyone who is interested in civil rights and gender equality. The film tells a very inspirational story about an unsung hero who was before their time and who deserves to be heard. However, it should be known that this film includes graphic depictions, as well as descriptions, of racist hate crimes. There are many moments that showcase photos and footage of these events, and this could be potentially triggering.

I give My Name is Pauli Murray 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. This film comes out in theaters September 17, 2021 and will be released on Prime Video on October 1, 2021.

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE
EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE - AMAZON PRIME
Series: FEATURES, AGES 12-18
Description - Everybody's Talking About Jamie is a 2021 biographical coming-of-age musical comedy-drama film directed by Jonathan Butterell (in his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Tom MacRae based on the stage musical of the same name, in turn adapted from the BBC Three documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16. Despite obstacles, 16-year-old Jamie has the courage to fabulously follow his unconventional dream in this inspiring true story turned musical sensation.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Everybody's Talking About Jamie is the new musical film of the year! With music to get you on your feet and comedy that will make your stomach hurt, Everybody's Talking About Jamie is one to watch.

Based on true events, the story follows Jamie New (Max Hardwood) , a sixteen-year-old boy with the passion to become a drag queen, and he gets help from a former drag queen. With his best friend, Pritti Pasha (Lauren Petal), he attempts to prove wrong the people who doubt him, including school bully Dean Paxton and his own father. Although his father has chosen to cut him out his life, his loving mother is always there to help.

Jamie New is a huge character. He has an answer for everything and always has some glitter to spare. As he attempts to become a drag queen he is more confident than ever. Hugo/Miss Loco Channel (Richard E. Grant) is a former drag queen who attempts to help Jamie as he sees him as the next generation and the future of drag. Pritti Pasha is definitely the brains of the duo. She is a high achiever and would never break the rules. The rest of the cast are incredible and every single character stands out.

The music in this film is from the original stage musical. My favourite song is the opening song, "And you don't even know it." It serves as an introduction to some of the characters and is an upbeat dance number that will have you dancing and singing along just like the rest of the soundtrack. My favourite part of the film is when Jamie realizes that all he wants is to be a drag queen and becomes Hugo's trainee. As a result he starts saving for his very first drag queen dress - his mum already bought him the shoes.

The message of the film is to be who you want to be. Don't let others pull you down from what you want to do, especially if it makes you happy. You should be aware that this film does contain very strong language.

I give Everybody's Talking About Jamie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Everybody's Talking About Jamie steps out of the darkness and into the spotlight on September 17, 2021 on Amazon Prime.

By Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12The film follows Jamie New (Max Harwood), a gay 16-year-old boy from Sheffield, England, whose secret dream is to become a drag queen. His mom, Margaret (Sarah Lancashire), as well as his best friend and fellow outcast Pritti Pasha (Lauren Patel) support him, but his absentee father (Ralph Ineson), homophobic bully Dean Paxton (Samuel Bottomley) and future-focused career's teacher Ms. Hedge (Sharon Horgan) all seem to be against Jamie. Mentored by former drag queen and current shopkeeper Hugo Battersby (Richard E. Grant), a.k.a. Loco Chanelle, Jamie embarks on a journey to discover his true identity, tearing down boundaries and burying toxic relationships along the way.

Max Harwood brings viewers along on his emotion-packed hero's journey; he certainly steals the show. Besides Harwood, though, Lancashire's portrayal of Margaret captures all of the motherly emotion that a sentimental coming-of-age story needs. The care between the two is palpable. Jonathan Buttrell makes his silver-screen directorial debut with this film, and his technique of capturing emotion is superb. Unfortunately, lighting, camera angles and focal choices leads to some distraction in some compelling moments. The score of the film, as with the musical version, is superb, but the sheer number of songs and usage of varied background tracks causes the film to drag as it nears the end. Nevertheless, the music is undoubtedly the highest point of the film.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie promotes acceptance, following your dreams and never being afraid to take a risk. There is some mild profanity in the film.

I give Everybody's Talking About Jamie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Everybody's Talking About Jamie is available on Amazon Prime Video beginning September 17, 2021. Go check it out!

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

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is the empowering spectacle everyone needs! With its amazing songs, incredible dresses and an iconic protagonist, the film will have you wanting to dance along at your nearest cabaret.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is based on the true story of Jamie New (Max Harwood) and adapted from the West End musical of the same name. Jamie was always taught to be conventional, to choose a "realistic" career and be basic like everyone else. On his sixteenth birthday, he realizes that's not who he is, and decides to become a drag queen. The film has mind-blowing choreography with top-tier songs that pay homage to the musical.

This movie is a real Broadway show in your living room. The elaborate dance numbers with large groups of people, neon lights, phenomenal singing and fabulous drag dresses leave little to be desired. Jamie finds his way into the world with glamour and by making a statement. He encourages audiences globally to be yourself. Being a drag queen in the small town of Sheffield, England was very different. Jamie grows into the stunning personality of Fifi la True with the support of his amazing mother and friends. The film itself really proves how much effort the filmmakers put into their work. The movie shows the real truth of what it was like to be a drag queen in the past. Richard E. Grant is the best mentor Jamie could ever have. He explains his life in the 1980s reminding Jamie about the epic beginning of drag culture. He is so amazing; his fluid movements and the way he speaks just make you want to be his friend. Richard really worked hard on not making his character a parody of a drag queen, but reflect the beauty of a queen. He shows he has what it takes to be called Loco Chanelle, on and off the stage. The movie also has amazing cameos like the iconic queen Bianca Del Rio and Layton Williams, the star of Everybody's Talking About Jamie on West End.

The moral of this film is to always be yourself. Jamie never gave up on his dream of being a drag queen and most of all, he never gives up on being himself. He put in the effort of becoming an amazing queen, and working on himself. He always shines and never cares what others think.

I give Everybody's Talking About Jamie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 plus adults. It is available in theaters September 17, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
COME FROM AWAY
COME FROM AWAY - ENTERTAINMENT ONE Click to purchase directly from the producer
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 10-18
Description - Come from Away is a 2021 American-Canadian musical film comprising a live stage recording of Irene Sankoff and David Hein's 2017 musical of the same name, which tells the true story of 7,000 passengers who were stranded in a small town in Newfoundland, where they were housed and welcomed, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The film, produced in response to the shutdown of Broadway caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, was directed by Christopher Ashley and filmed in May 2021 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York City, featuring members of the Broadway cast.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Come From Away is a modern musical telling the life-changing story of the stranded passengers diverted to Newfoundland following the 9/11 disaster. With an incredible cast, catchy tunes and a moving tale Come From Away is definitely a film to watch.

Twenty years ago, on September 11, two planes crashed into the world famous twin towers in New York City, after they were high jacked. American air space was closed and all planes in the air were forced to land; thirty-eight of them were diverted to and stranded in Newfoundland, Canada. This story follows the passengers and crew from one of the planes as they come to terms with life in their new surroundings, while forming new relationships and bonding with the locals. This is the filmed version of the award-winning Broadway musical, filmed live on stage at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York City, which tells the story of those 7,000 stranded passenger.

Throughout this film, twelve cast members each play a number of roles and it is very hard to single people out at times. All the characters are based on key individuals involved in the plane diversion. Some cast members who really stood out to me include: Jenn Colella who plays one of the pilots and a townsperson, Annette. She plays sets the bar very high for anyone who might play these roles in the future. Her amazing solos and riffs will knock your socks off. Sharon Wheatly plays Diane and Jim Walton plays Nick, two people who meet on one of the planes and, throughout their time in Newfoundland, start to feel a connection. Sharon and Jim are both very talented and share and amazing duet, "Stop the World." The remaining cast members each bring something different to this amazing production in their own unique way, from comedy to heart-break. My favourite song is the opening song "Welcome to the Rock." I love that it's an upbeat dance number that introduces you to the cast and the characters they play. I don't think I could choose a favourite part of the musical as all of it is just so interesting, moving and inspirational.

The message of this film is to remember how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away or changed forever. My thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this tragic event over the past 20 years.

I give Come From Away 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It premieres September 10, 2021 on Apple TV+.

By Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Come From Away is an amazing filmed version of the Broadway musical. With all the singing and dancing, this show is sure to get you up and dancing.

This musical is a lot like the film Hamilton in that it is a live recording of the stage musical and is based on real historical events and people. It is about the aftermath of 9/11 when 38 planes were forced to land on a small Newfoundland island and tells how all the residents of the town of Gander took care of 7,000 people who were on those planes while they were stuck there for five days.

This musical is different from most because there is no main character; every character is equally important. Also, all the actors play two roles, often both a passenger and a helpful Newfoundlander. The costume changes are incredible as they often do them while on stage, but that is so small that you might not notice it. Another cool thing is that in the back of the stage there is a door that some people walk through and then it shuts again, which I found intriguing. Some of my favorite characters are Kevin and Kevin, who are dating and Bonnie, who takes care of animals. One of my favorite scenes is when people are walking on chairs and others keep moving the chairs and the stage rotates so it looks like they are moving. It has so much music. I continued listening to it right after I finished watching the film and listened to it while I was writing this review.

The message of this show is twofold. First, that you can make the best of any situation and second, when you can help others, try to help.

I give Come From Away 5 out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. It is available on Apple TV+ now.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MEERKAT MANOR: RISE OF THE DYNASTY
MEERKAT MANOR: RISE OF THE DYNASTY - BBC WORLDWIDE AMERICAS
Series: TV SERIES, 8-18
Description - Continuing the dramatic tale of survival revolving around three families of meerkats who are descendants of the legendary meerkat matriarch, Flower.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Many of us live in areas where Mother Nature brings a variety of seasons which exposes us to a wide array of ecosystems. Because we're used to this variety, we have become incredibly curious about areas of the globe whose ecosystems are perhaps not as vast; one area in particular is the desert. With its harshly hot and dry climate, we know that anything able to withstand such brutal weather has to be an amazing creature and that's one reason we have completely fallen for the South African meerkat. The documentary series Meerkat Manor has entertained us for over 15 years and has brought the wondrous secrets of the Kalahari Desert right into our homes. The latest series, Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty, is totally engaging and makes us want to see more of our favorite mongooses.

Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty follows three families of the most charismatic desert mammals and showcases their family dynamics. In the spotlight of this series is Swift, the granddaughter of the original Meerkat Manor Whisker family matriarch, Flower. We've waited 12 years to catch up on what the Whiskers, Hakuna Mata and Ubuntu families have been up to and there are many surprises within this series as some things have changed. The new series continues to show us just how difficult life in the desert can be, yet with the perfect family dynamics and role assignments, animals can overcome these challenges. Just like in our own lives, people compete for space, food, and other resources, the meerkat families are no different. These episodes highlight that, despite the fact that the meerkats share a common bloodline, individual survival and the survival of their family is their main concern.

There are a lot of great things about this series, but my favorite part is the character led story telling by narrator Bill Nighy. The series humanizes the meerkats and gives each their own entertaining personalities. There are heroes, villains, babysitters, a Romeo and Juliet pair, and so much more. These personalities are hilarious and interesting to watch. The cinematography is also fantastic with its capturing of some of the most harsh weather conditions on Earth. I especially enjoyed the scenes where the camera was placed deep within the meerkat burrows. Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty is a captivating series about the natural world and I appreciate its educational value.

The message of this series is about teamwork. Of course, family, culture and perseverance are worth mentioning here also; however, if this species didn't have a system of working together, they could not thrive within their harsh ecosystem. Each meerkat has a specific role to support its family. They work cohesively in a variety of ways to assure the success of their family. Whether their role is one filled with drama or with entertainment, one thing is for certain - these desert dwellers are sure to tug at your heartstrings.

I give Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults, especially animal lovers and nature enthusiasts, will also love this series. Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty is available now on BBC American and AMC+. Episodes 7 and 8 are coming out on September 4 and September 9, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Marvel Studios' "Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings" stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization. The film also stars Tony Leung as Wenwu, Awkwafina as Shang-Chi's friend Katy and Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan, as well as Fala Chen, Meng'er Zhang, Florian Munteanu and Ronny Chieng.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the most mystical and beautiful movie in history! The music, the special effects and the acting all take you to another world. The film leaves you wanting a Morris of your own.

The storyline follows a young man named Shang-Chi (Simu Liu). His father is a one thousand-year-old man and conqueror nicknamed The Mandarin (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), who has only ever used the infamous and all-powerful Ten Rings for evil. When the Mandarin is set to unleash infinite evil on the universe, Shang-Chi has to stop his father.

This movie is a cinematic experience. The fighting and choreography are out of this world. The long slow motion shots make the audience feel as if they are in a video game. Simu steals the show; every fight scene is flawless with his fluid movements and it proves just how hard he worked on his character for this film. Every audience falls in love with Shang-Chi; he's funny, with perfect comedic timing and he knows the balance between peace and violence. He encapsulates what the majority of young adults feel - like not being able to find their place in the world. The movie makes fans feel as if they've known Shang for years. It has wonderful flashbacks, which give the audience glimpses of his past, his pain and how his fears have shaped who he is. The film gives a wonderful all-around scope of this character that feels like a friend we've known all our life. It makes fans excited to see Shang-Chi again. Shang and his sister Xu Xialing are an iconic duo. They're both powerful and, while there's some tension due to their past, they put everything aside and let love shine through. Xialing is a role model, officially joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most powerful women. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is perfect for AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) representation in cinema. It represents Chinese culture powerfully, shows what it's like to be an Asian-American in modern day USA, not to mention that Simu is Marvel Studios' first Asian-American superhero. Simu and Shang-Chi are writing history while also inspiring children and fans all around the world. The film delivers on all grounds; the cameos are shocking and leave you on the edge of your seat. Trying not to shout during the two post credits scenes prove to be a challenge. By the end of the movie, I wanted to sing the song "Hotel California" at the top of my lungs.

This film reminds you to search for who you are and let your past guide you to who you want to be. Ever since his mother died, Shang has been trained by his father to use violence. When he arrives at his mother's village, he learns how to find peace within himself and the world around him. He learns to trust himself and to use the rings for good.

I give Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 plus adults. It is available only in theaters September 3, 2021.

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

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel's first Asian solo-superhero movie does not disappoint. The dynamic relationships between the characters combined with the incredible actors create a powerful, heart-rending movie about the value of family. In addition, the humorous segments contrast with the intense scenes to make this film so well rounded.

The story begins with Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) living a normal life in San Francisco working as a valet driver with his best friend. Then he is attacked on a bus and forced to confront his past. He explains to his best friend that his father, Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung), is the feared, immortal man who leads the Ten Rings Organization. The Ten Rings are a weapon so powerful that Wenwu was able to conquer all the land and riches that he wanted. Shang-Chi ran away from home at a young age, because he didn't want to be another one of Wenwu's murderous pawns. Now, Wenwu is looking for him and his sister, to bring them back home.

Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi's dual personality exceptionally well. Towards the end of the film, Shang-Chi exudes a completely different persona than the one we saw at the beginning of the film. Another prominent actor that I enjoyed is Awkwafina who plays Katy; Katy adds so many hilarious moments that make the film more enjoyable. Of course she is also extremely talented at acting and portrays Katy as a loyal and courageous friend. Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery also adds comedy. Awkwafina, Ben Kingsley and Morris (an adorable, faceless, fluff-ball beast) make an incredible comedy trio. CGI is a major component of this film and has the potential to make or break the entire experience. The CGI does not disappoint. In fact, this has to be some of the best CGI that I've seen in the entire MCU franchise; MCU has killer CGI every single time, so this is a bold statement. Not only are there numerous magical beasts that come to life, but the water itself seem to come alive as well. The Ten Rings also seems to have a mind of its own - speeding off one moment and lightly dancing in the next. It is also incredible to discover how these rings can be used for more than just fighting. The costumes are absolutely gorgeous and, just like the creatures, so unique. Within the village, the warriors' armor is made of dragon scales, which defends them from their ancient nemesis. In the city, the people rock the cyber punk style. And, in San Francisco, the attire is authentic to the 21st century. My favorite part is the ending. I was incredibly pleased with how everything ends. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so you're just going to have to see for yourself.

The message of this film is centered around the power of familial love and the power of finally opening up your heart. The value of family is displayed through the challenges that the characters go through. Their relationships are what keep them strong. The power in opening up your heart is experienced through Shang-Chi. The only thing holding Shang-Chi back from reaching his true potential is the hate and guilt he held deep within his heart. Once he lets all of that go, he is freed.

I give Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters September 3, 2021. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and will most likely go back to watch it again. Go check it out.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
9/11: INSIDE THE PRESIDENT'S WAR ROOM
9/11: INSIDE THE PRESIDENT'S WAR ROOM - APPLE TV
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - 9/11 from the President's perspective, with exclusive access to information from the one's that had to take decisions during the World Trade Center's attack.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - In 2021, we will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the greatest American tragedies of the 21st century, the September 11 attacks. To help educate the public about exactly how this horrific event unfolded, the remarkably detailed documentary 9/11: Inside The President's War Room was created.

Going minute by minute, hour by hour, 9/11: Inside The President's War Room offers two narratives, following the president's actions, thoughts, and movements, and the developing situation in New York City.

President George W. Bush was interviewed for this film and his impeccable memory of the day and skilled delivery make the documentary even more unique. His impassioned vow to bring Al-Qaeda to justice, his struggle to keep his anger in check, and his helplessness as he was flown around the country to avoid a rumored attack on Air Force One show exactly how novel this crisis was. The film includes high-quality archival footage and the perspectives of individuals like Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Ted Olson, as well as the president and vice president's chief of staff. I've never seen a more thoroughly researched and impeccably pieced-together documentary. The many perspectives from all these individuals contribute to a strong narrative that captures you from minute one. Each interview is compelling and the editing cuts between medium shots of the individuals and archival footage, creating an immersive and truly "in the room" experience. The background music complements the film's somber tone.

9/11: Inside The President's War Room is a portrait of resilience, tact, patience and leadership. There is some mild profanity in the film as well as some footage of the Twin Towers collapsing with screams in the background.

I give 9/11: Inside The President's War Room 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. 9/11: Inside The President's War Room is available now on Apple TV+ .

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DOOGIE KAMEALOHA, M.D.
DOOGIE KAMEALOHA, M.D. - DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, 10-18
Description - Set in modern-day Hawai'i, Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. - a coming-of-age dramedy inspired by the hit medical series Doogie Howser, M.D. - follows Lahela "Doogie" Kamealoha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), a 16-year-old prodigy juggling a budding medical career and life as a teenager. With the support of her caring -- and comical -- 'ohana (family) and friends, Lahela is determined to make the most of her teenage years and forge her own path. Guiding Lahela is her career-driven mother Dr. Clara Hannon (Kathleen Rose Perkins) who's also her supervisor at the hospital, her doting father Benny (Jason Scott Lee) who helps keep her connected to what matters most, her free-spirited older brother Kai (Matthew Sato), her gregarious younger brother Brian Patrick (Wes Tian), her best friend Steph (Emma Meisel), her surfer crush Walter (Alex Aiono) and her fellow hospital colleagues, Dr. Lee (Ronny Chieng), Charles (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) and Noelani (Mapuana Makia).
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. is a show that our generation so desperately needs. It exemplifies the life of a modern teenager in a positive and truthful light while being totally binge-able.

Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. is a Disney Plus Original Series inspired by the 1989 TV series Doogie Howser. It follows Lahela "Doogie" Kamealoha, a medical prodigy who is only 16 years old. With her life as a doctor and a teenager she struggles to keep up with both lifestyles.

The main character, Lahela (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) is a great character that exhumes girl power. From the show before this she is a modern take on old practices. Plus, she is a person of color and a female who is breaking unforeseen barriers at an early age. Apart from Lahela, Dr. Lee (Ronny Chieng) is one of my favorites. His jokes and comedic timing are always funny. Oftentimes, Disney comedies are very predictable and rarely contain great jokes; however, the humor in this show has modern references that create a wonderful watching experience. Same with the costumes in this show; the wardrobe throughout for Lahela are age appropriate and wearable. The show is based in Hawaii, so the sets at the hospital, the beach and the Kamealoha home are all beautiful with bright, vibrant colors accompanied with the soothing sounds of the ocean. My favorite part of this show is how it reflects the modernity of teenagers throughout the years. Many shows today portray teenagers in an inappropriate and unrealistic light. But this show makes it comfortable for a 17-year-old girl, like me, to be proud to be a teenager.

The message of this show is that it may seem like the world is on your shoulders, but the family around you has plenty of shoulders to help with the weight. This film promotes positive social behavior.

I give Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. This show starts streaming exclusively on Disney+ September 8, 2021, with new episodes every Wednesday.

By Ashleigh Clyde, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 17
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CULTUREVERSE
CULTUREVERSE - PRX
Series: PODCAST, AGES 6-18
Description - "Cultureverse" is an immersive audio drama that celebrates our collective cultural past. It is a place where myths and legends come alive in the modern world. In each episode, an ordinary kid encounters an extraordinary creature, myth, or folk character from their culture, embarking on an exciting journey of self-discovery. "Cultureverse" isn't just an audio adventure, it's a show that celebrates who we are, and where we come from.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Cultureverse is a unique educational podcast with hosts we all love - actresses Yara Shahidi and Kelley-Marie Tran! Kids will appreciate its high production quality and immersive plot lines.

Each episode of this podcast delves deep into a unique cultural tradition or concept, such as the Czech golems or the Dangsan Tree of South Korea. The podcast teaches these concepts using a simple, but effective storyline - a child learns more about their culture through a real-world scenario (for example, bullying during online classes). For example, one of the episodes centers around Cholito de Suerte, a magical, luck-giving creature in Mexican folklore. A young girl is in the process of rebranding her musical persona and really wants some cool sunglasses. One day, she finds the Cholito de Suerte in her locker, and she remembers that her grandmother said the Cholito is generous and kind to all those who take care of it. After she gives the Cholito food, it spits out lots of coins and she's able to buy her sunglasses (and more) with the money. This cycle continues for a while until the secret of her Cholito is betrayed, after which a unique lesson is taught. The show is based on a beautiful idea and is executed very well.

Cultureverse has no set cast except for the hosts Yara Shahidi and Kelley-Marie Tran. There's a new child voice actor in each episode. The script doesn't differ much between the two hosts; it's natural and maintains a good pace throughout the 20 to 25 minute duration. I really enjoyed Tran's narration a bit more, but since the stories in each episode have such sustained, contained momentum powered by the child voice actors and plotline, it doesn't make much of a difference who is hosting.

Cultureverse promotes cultural appreciation as opposed to cultural appropriation. It encourages kids to learn about different cultures, even providing them with some further reading at the end of each episode.

I give Cultureverse 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. Cultureverse is available now online at https://www.trax.fm/cultureverse. Go check it out!

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

With a hint of culture and lots of interesting stories, the podcast Cultureverse is a great way to learn more about stories from the past in a fun way. Even though these stories from the past have been modernized to entertain children, some of the plots get a little random and off-topic. However, that doesn't stop this podcast from being a great way to educate your child about different heritages.

Hosted by Kelly Marie Tran and Yara Shahidi, Cultureverse takes myths and legends from different cultures, adds fictional modern characters and a new storyline, which make them more interesting and understandable. Kids will enjoy the exciting characters and the fascinating creatures.

The voice acting and sound effects in this podcast are so extravagant and over-the-top that it feels like the sounds are coming out of the screen and into your room. It's definitely a very creative concept for a podcast, especially because it makes kids want to learn and keep listening. This would be a good added tool in a classroom for a history lesson because, while it sounds like a normal fantasy book, it still keeps the key parts of the original stories or myths. It could also be used at a heritage day or a multicultural festival as added content.

This podcast's message is to keep culture alive through stories, as they are the foundation of our heritage and we should not let them be forgotten.

I give Cultureverse 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. Cultureverse is available now online at https://www.trax.fm/cultureverse

By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

I genuinely enjoyed the podcast, Cultureverse and the way it uses different myths and legends to make new and interesting stories.

Cultureverse is an immersive audio drama celebrating our collective cultural past. It is hosted by two hosts, Kelly Marie Tran and Yara Shahidi that share lots of different stories about various people going through a multitude of myths and legends. In each episode, a modern day kid encounters a creature, myth or folk character from their culture and embarks on an exciting journey of self-discovery. There are nine episodes available now including The Dangsan Tree, The Water Drabon, Dagda's Harp and more.

A lot of the stories are Chinese or Vietnamese origin. It's amazing how this podcast fabricates these stories using only words, music and sound effects - without any visuals. They are all so engaging with lots of cool things, starting with the voices. All the voice-over actors really excel at portraying their characters. At the end of each episode we learn the names of the voice-over actors. We also learn more about the original myth or legend that each story is based on. On example is the water dragon story, in which David and his sister try to save the town from the drought. This is based on the Chinese legend of the water dragon where a boy saves his town from a drought and gets turned into the water dragon. This is just one example of the many stories featured on the podcast. My favorite part is how the host tells each story with emotion and passion.

The message of this podcast is about how so many things are still influenced by old myths and legends.

I give Cultureverse 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages for 6 to 18, plus adults. Cultureverse is available now online at https://www.trax.fm/cultureverse

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Are you looking for a new podcast with amazing acting and hosting, creative stories and cultural values? Listen to Cultureverse, a brand new podcast created for tweens and teens to be entertained by fantastical adventures and educated about many cultures. Co-hosted by Kelly Marie Tran and Yara Shahidi, Cultureverse is a must-listen epic-adventure podcast.

Each episode of the podcast features a new character, a new background and a new cultural adventure. The short introduction lets viewers know more about the character and their desires; then Cultureverse dives into the magical adventure. One of my favorite episodes is The Watermelon Prince. Based on a Vietnamese folktale, Mia (Vicky Win) is sucked into a world of magic through none other than a talking watermelon. In the universe of this folktale, Mia meets herself, but as a different person. When she returns from her adventure, she feels as if she's found another part of herself.

Cultureverse is a podcast with many positive aspects. The hosts are warm, welcoming and educational in their pre-story and post-story talks. They are also very talented narrators that make the stories more interesting and enjoyable. All the voice-actors are great; they make each story more fun while creating a vivid picture for the audience. The plot is another strong point. Each episode starts off realistic, so I'm stuck in the mind of a character when the fantastical elements start. It helps that normal kids experience these crazy cultural adventures. If the characters were superheroes or other fantasy creatures, it wouldn't be as relatable. This podcast is a great way to introduce a variety of cultural myths and folktales.

The message of Cultureverse is to learn and explore other cultures' traditions. This theme is clearly conveyed in each and every episode. It's great that passing on these positive messages is a top priority for this podcast.

I give Cultureverse 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14. You can find Cultureverse on Trax at ahttps://www.trax.fm/cultureverse.

By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 8-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: Web Series


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINDERELLA (2021)
CINDERELLA (2021) - AMAZON PRIME
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - A modern, musical take on the evergreen fairy tale, Cinderella's impeccable sets and wardrobe, as well as its talented cast make this production a one-of-a-kind watch.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A modern, musical take on the evergreen fairy tale, Cinderella's impeccable sets and wardrobe, as well as its talented cast make this production a one-of-a-kind watch.

Cinderella follows the story of Ella (Camilla Cabello), a poor orphan who lives with her abusive, restrictive stepmother Vivian (Idina Menzel) and her mean, obnoxious and spoiled stepsisters (Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer). She loves to design dresses and even has her own workplace in her basement, where a crew of merry mice (James Corden, Romesh Ranganathan, James Acaster) watch over her. It is her dream is to open up a dress shop in the town marketplace; however, in her kingdom, women cannot run businesses. When Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine), the unassuming heir apparent, lays eyes on Ella, he falls head over heels in love with her, as does she for him. However, as Cinderella and Prince Robert find themselves and their paths in life, a series of decisions they must take puts their love story in jeopardy. There are lots of subplots and side stories in the film, but that's the main plotline.

Cinderella maintains a steady and engaging pace with just enough action, comedy, romance and drama throughout the nearly two-hour duration. As it's told through a combination of songs and dialogue, it's only logical that the cast is comprised of a mixture of singers, actors, and comedians. Camila Cabello, Billy Porter and Idina Menzel "slay" in the film, as Porter's character (Ella's fairy godparent) would say. Their delivery is clear and, in the case of Cabello and Menzel, though a lot of the film's soundtrack is comprised of remakes (like Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation); it's refreshing to hear their take on the songs. Pierce Brosnan plays the stately, confident, yet flawed and patriarchal King Rowan and Minnie Driver acts as his strong, regal Queen Beatrice. I love the portrayal of strong women in the film. Beatrice, Ella and even Vivian have one thing in common - they are restricted by their society. Vivian had to give up on her passion; Beatrice must sit silently next to her husband for life; and Ella is at risk of losing her dreams. It's certainly unique to see this struggle in a fairy tale film. Shot at Pinewood Studios in the UK, the film's sets are impeccable, and I truly felt I was in a medieval kingdom with the characters.

Cinderella promotes advocating for yourself, pushing against restrictive gender roles, following your dreams, choosing your own destiny and so many more positive messages! There are only one or two uses of mild profanity in this film.

I give Cinderella 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Cinderella releases on Amazon Prime Video September 3, 2021.

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

Cinderella is the feel-good flick for fans of all ages! Its wonderful soundtrack will have both parents and children singing and dancing. The jokes are spectacular; the casts' diversity is amazing; and the romance will have everyone tearing up.

Cinderella takes the classic beloved fairytale and gives it a modern twist. Cinderella (Camila Cabello) dreams of opening her own fashion boutique, but that dream is frequently criticized by her stepmother Vivian (Indina Menzel). Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) is a royal rebel, refusing to marry, if not for love. He proposes to host a ball, to which all maidens are invited. Cinderella never stops dreaming of opening her own store and, when presented with an opportunity to go to a royal ball to find a job for designing, she accepts the invitation.

This movie is comedy, romance, girl power and music at its finest. We usually are served Cinderella films that take place in present day; however, Cinderella gives audiences a tale presented in medieval times, only modernized. The film manages to fit in multiple jokes and as many comedic one-liners as possible. Never missing a beat, every character gives audiences multiple laughs. The girl power in the movie is so inspiring. Cinderella faces hardships over her dreams, just like her step mother, sisters and Queen Breatrice, who wants to be independent. Then there is Princess Gwen, who has innovative ideas about how to run the country, but can't because she's a woman. The women stand strong, follow their hearts and, if romance rolls around, then that's great too. The romance in the movie is absolutely beautiful; two people want to love each other, but struggle against the status quo; Cinderella, who fiercely wants to open up her own store; Robert, who doesn't quite fit in with the royal court. The best scene in the whole film is the dance scene at the ball. The entire party has amazing choreography and rock songs, including a beautiful duet by the Prince and soon-to-be Princess. The soundtrack is filled with classic songs from Ed Sheeran, Queen, Janet Jackson and more, along with original songs. It's so fun to see these iconic characters singing and dancing to such iconic songs.

The lesson Cinderella learns and teaches audiences globally, is to always believe in yourself. She goes the distance, proving her worth to herself and those around her, that women can do amazing things just like men, such as opening a business.

I give Cinderella 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 16. It is available on Amazon Prime beginning September 3, 2021.

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

Cinderella may be a commonly told story, but this filmed musical is anything but common. This live action film takes a classic fairy tale and rewrites it as an amusing, witty and modern retelling of a fiery young woman setting out to achieve her dreams. Out of the countless variations of the "Cinderella" story, the 2021 release of Cinderella by Kay Cannon is by far the most unique and empowering that I have seen.

In this version, Cinderella (Camila Cabello) still has her eyes set on freedom and a life away from her dreadful stepmother (Idina Menzel). However, in modern fashion, she also dreams of becoming a business woman and owning her own dress shop. Following her ambitions, she stumbles across Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine). While the two quickly fall in love, Cinderella is unwilling to sacrifice her own dreams to live a life just as stuck as she was under the control of her stepmother. Despite living in a land with outdated beliefs against women, with the help of her fairy Godmother, or Fab G (Billy Porter), Cinderella is determined to make a name for herself and create a successful business.

In her acting debut, singer Camila Cabello is impressively charming and nails the wit of her Cinderella, making her a perfect candidate for the rebooted character. Menzel and Porter, both Tony award-winners, wonderfully add a unique and interesting take on their characters. Menzel is magnificent, creating a new backstory for Vivian the stepmother, a once idealistic mother who learned from her mistakes. Porter brings a completely different, yet inspiring angle to the fairy godmother, sporting a striking orange gown and a spirited attitude in this role. The music is just as great as the actors, featuring both original and covered songs. The soundtrack is full of varying styles from rap, to powerful musical ballads, to Queen's "Somebody to Love." My favorite part of this movie is the diversity of the storyline. Not only do audiences get to see Cinderella follow her dreams, but also we see the growth of characters such as the stepmother, Prince Robert, the little sister of the Prince, Gwen (Tallulah Greive) and even the King (Pierce Brosnan) and Queen (Minnie Driver).

This rendition of Cinderella offers a bold message to audiences about feminism and the idea that women do not need to fall in love to find fulfillment as they can be whatever they set their mind to. Parents should be aware that this film contains some adult humor. I rate Cinderella 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. This film opens in theaters September 3, 2021.

By Abigail L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 11-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BOSS BABY: THE FAMILY BUSINESS, THE (DIGITAL/DVD)
BOSS BABY: THE FAMILY BUSINESS, THE (DIGITAL/DVD) - DREAMWORKS - LA
Series: FEATURES, AGES 7-18
Description - The Templeton brothers have become adults and drifted away from each other, but a new boss baby with a cutting-edge approach is about to bring them together again - and inspire a new family business.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - movie reviews,by kids for kids,comedy,animation,Tom McGrath,Jeff Hermann,Alec Baldwin,James Marsden,Amy Sedaris,Ariana Greenblatt,Eva Longoria,Jimmy Kimmel,Lisa Kurow,Jeff Goldblum,James McGrath,Reyn Doi
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Boss Baby is back in business...family business. With new adventures and new characters, but the same shenanigans, this is a film you won't want to miss. If you enjoyed the first movie you will enjoy this sequel too.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is about grown-up Tim (James Marsden) with his two kids and a grown-up Ted (Alec Baldwin) who is a big-time CEO. They come across a magical formula that transforms them into babies for 48 hours. They join Tim's secret-agent daughter and go undercover to prevent an evil genius from turning all toddlers into horrible brats.

At the end of the last film, we got a cliffhanger that leads viewers into the plot of this film. We see a baby in a suit, which helps build the audience's excitement about what this sequel has in store. The plot of The Boss Baby: Family Business is fun and exciting because it focuses on a couple of different things at once. Tim and Ted are rebuilding their brotherly bond and working together to stop world domination. Tim is figuring out his relationship with his daughter Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and the whole family is learning to recognize how important it is to come together. It's a story that is heartwarming and funny at the same time. My favorite character in this film is Baby Tina (Amy Sedaris) because she is straightforward, keeps everyone on task and reminds everyone what is important. We know that Tim and Ted don't always get along and can get sidetracked, but Baby Tina is there to make sure they get the job done.

The message of The Boss Baby: Family Business is that family is everything and to remember the good times. It is definitely family-friendly.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is an amazing film to watch. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. This movie releases on digital August 31 and on Blu-ray September 14, 2021. Go check it out!

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

The highly anticipated sequel to The Boss Baby is finally here. The Boss Baby: Family Business is a hilarious movie that has a very special dynamic to it. With new characters and relatable plots, this film can easily become a fan favorite.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is about brothers Tim and Ted Templeton (James Marsden, Alec Baldwin), who are all grown up. Tim now has a family and is a stay-at-home dad; which is seen as nothing in comparison to his little brother Ted, who is a big-shot CEO. When they both end up drinking a serum that turns them into babies for 48 hours, they join forces with Baby Tina (Amy Sedaris) for one more mission with Baby Corp to stop an evil scientist from world domination.

The animation in The Boss Baby: Family Business is very high quality, which will impress audiences immediately. The babies and kids in the film don't look like real people, but they don't look like cartoons either. It's a perfect combination that fits each of the personalities, which are all different. When I hear Baby Tina and read her character description, she looks exactly like how I envisioned her. The addition of new characters in The Boss Baby: Family Business is an aspect that makes the plot more entertaining. For instance, Tim's daughter Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) plays a huge role in this sequel. Tabitha is a very smart and down-to-earth young girl; however, her relationship with her father is becoming strained. It provides a new female character that kids can look up to; also creating a relatable storyline for fathers and daughters that may be trying to build a better relationship. The new characters are just really refreshing to see because they all bring something different to the film.

The message of The Boss Baby: Family Business is that you can always rely on family in the end. Although Ted and Tim grew apart as they got older, when they need each other most, they are able to work together and lean on each other.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is a movie that surpassed my expectations. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. It's perfect for a family movie night. The Boss Baby: Family Business releases on digital August 31, 2021 and on DVD September 14, 2021.

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 7-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SMARTEST KIDS IN THE WORLD, THE
SMARTEST KIDS IN THE WORLD, THE - DISCOVERY PLUS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Based on Amanda Ripley's New York Times bestseller, The Smartest Kids in the World, chronicles a year abroad with four American teenagers, who study in countries that dramatically outperform the United States in education. We travel with them as they adjust from their local high schools in Wyoming, Orlando, Maine and The Bronx to high schools in Finland, South Korea, Switzerland and the Netherlands The film gives voice to students, hearing first-hand their discoveries and insight about how to reform U.S. high school education.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I thoroughly enjoyed The Smartest Kids in the World and highly recommend it for everyone, especially students. Documentaries don't usually interest me that much, but this movie, based on the New York Times bestseller by Amanda Ripley, captivated me with its themes and landscapes.

The Smartest Kids in the World is a full-length documentary directed by Tracy Droz Tragos following four different U.S. students (Simone, Jaxon, Brittany and Sadie) as they travel for a year to different countries as exchange students. It focuses on different methods used in each country that makes students perform higher on tests. We learn what we should be doing differently in the United States and what other countries are doing great in terms of education.

Along with a storyline that captivates you and shows that it's not always that easy to adapt to new places, this film, while showing the hard work of the students, also has many fun and relaxing parts that balance out the kids' time while abroad. There are lots of beautiful landscape shots and calm music. All of this adds to the peaceful feeling you get from the movie, even though school can sometimes be quite the opposite of that. I really enjoyed seeing all of the students' journeys and, although they aren't acting, their on-camera appearances show the insights they gain along with their stories, accomplishments and comparisons of life abroad to life at home. One thing that is lacking is that it falls short in giving specific ideas of how to improve U.S. education. It does show what our schools are doing wrong it only touches on how to improve education in our country.

The message in this film is that the U.S. is often thought of as a perfect country, but in lots of areas, including education, this is not true. The students in this film found that the schools in other countries actually offer a range of more challenging, hands on, more choice-driven, even less stressful education - all of which contribute to higher test scores, higher education levels and higher graduation rates. We would benefit from looking beyond our boundaries to see how we can improve our educational system.

I give The Smartest Kids in the World 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It begins streaming exclusively on Discovery+ August 19, 2021.

Rosemary K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I enjoyed watching the film, The Smartest Kids In The World because it shows teenagers traveling to different colleges and high schools to figure out what education platform is better. Its view on education in the USA is a bit discouraging.

Inspired by the book by the same name, this documentary follows a group of teens that go to non-behavioral schools. Produced by award-winning filmmaker Tracy Droz Tragos, it follows four American teenagers that travel to four different countries for one school year in search of a better education for themselves.

We see how the kids have to learn new languages to get into these various schools and to make friends. All of their traveling about to find a better education is inspiring. I found it discouraging that the kids had to go outside the US in search of better schools when it seems that they should have been able to get good education in their own country. They traveled long distances and experienced many hardships in order to find a good school that would challenge their minds academically. We see that Pennsylvania schools don't offer the best educational experiences. One student, Tracy Droz Tragos expressed the difference between rich and poor schools. Some students attended school in Switzerland, others attended schools in South Korea and elsewhere. The main characters are both interesting and disappointing. They are taking their future into their own hands and charging out into the world. During their adventures they are learning from one another, which is inspiring. The film doesn't show us how change can happen in US schools, but it points out how desperately it is needed.

This film captures the integrity and bravery among these teens. Our younger generation needs to learn more about the difference between learning in the USA verses learning abroad. I rate The Smartest Kids In The World 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It begins streaming exclusively on Discovery+ August 19, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
NOTORIOUS NICK
NOTORIOUS NICK - GRINDSTONE HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Nick Newell, a one-armed MMA fighter gets a rare chance to fight for the lightweight championship. He strives to win for himself and all the other people in the world with physical challenges. The film is based on an inspiring true story of a young man who became known as "Notorious Nick." KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S., comments, "This film is absolutely amazing. Hopefully the way it approaches disability in an empowering perspective will encourage more studios to do the same. Instead of Nick always being knocked down and seeing the negativity of his disability, he learns his strengths, never giving up, working to find a way to perform at his full capacity."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Notorious Nick will have you on the edge of your seat, cheering and screaming at the top of your lungs! This film delivers on all aspects; it leaves you teary-eyed and motivated to get out of your comfort zone. This is the perfect family film.

Notorious Nick tells the true story of Nick Newell (Cody Christian), who is a one-handed MMA fighter. Nick starts off as a wrestler and faces multiple challenges, but pulls through, becoming a world renowned MMA fighter, known as Notorious Nick. With the support of his family, best friend and coach, Nick proves that sky's the limit.

This film is absolutely amazing. Hopefully the way it approaches disability in an empowering perspective will encourage more studios to do the same. Instead of Nick always being knocked down and seeing the negativity of his disability, he learns his strengths, never giving up, working to find a way to perform at his full capacity. He holds his own against famous mixed martial artists. He also encourages a boy with a similar disability to change his attitude. He believes in himself, even when he is the only one who does. His mother is a great role model, inspiring other parents by always pushing Nick to succeed. The sheer determination between this mother and son duo empowers everyone. Nick learns how to fight inside the ring and out, even when he has to fight for his right to compete in the Light Weight Championships. He has to prove that - every competition where he has fought was legitimate, and he never backs down - determined to prove himself to the board and his opponent. Stay for the end credits for a chance to meet the real-life Notorious Nick and his coach. He talks about his journey and about how he's only just getting started.

The moral of this film is to never give up; fight for what you believe in; and believe in yourself. Nick always fights against bullies, discrimination, opponents and negativity. With his disability, he learns to compete in the ring, to be considered just as great as his competition. He proves himself worthy to everyone and to himself. Be forewarned that there is profanity and depictions of alcohol use.

I give Notorious Nick 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters August 6, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DIARY OF A FUTURE PRESIDENT: SEASON 2
DIARY OF A FUTURE PRESIDENT: SEASON 2 - DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 10-18
Description - The second season of Diary of a Future President returns to Disney+ with all ten episodes available for binge-worthy streaming. Continuing the origin story of Cuban American and future leader Elena Ca�ero-Reed as she enters the seventh grade and recounted through excerpts from 13-year-old Elena's diary, this coming-of-age series follows Elena through the ups and downs of middle school which sets her on the path to becoming the President of the United States.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Diary Of A Future President: Season 2 is very different from other Disney Channel shows. It has a very inspiring message which makes it a show that I would want to keep watching to find out what happens next.

The storyline follows young Elena (Tess Romero) finding her way through middle school as she starts 7th grade and begins a journey to becoming the president. Her brother Bobby (Charlie Bushnell) is having some problems with starting high school and managing his crush. Their mother Gabi (Selenis Levya) is dating Sam Faber (Micheal Weaver) and has just decided to have him move in. All in all, there is lots of fun new changes in the second season.

Season 2 has lots of fun things to talk about. First is the theme song at the beginning of every episode. I love the way it starts as her middle school diary and ends as the president's book. It kind of shows her journey. Second, there are lots of relatable new things in this season, such as having a crush that doesn't feel the same way you do and having your friend get a girl or boy friend and not having time for you. Third, there are lots of cool sets such as Elena's bedroom. The way that the bathroom is in between Bobby and Elena's room is so cool. One of the sets is at the school and added this season is a theater which is a fun set. Fourth, this show uses lots of fun camera angles to enhance the viewing experience. Last, this show and its cast have been nominated for five different awards in 2020 and 2021. Most notable is winning a Gracie Allen Award for Best Actress in a supporting Role to Selenis Layva.

The message of this TV show is to always include others, be yourself even when that is hard, and always be honest.

Diary Of A Future President: Season 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. This premieres August 18, 2021 on Disney+. So be sure to check it out.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CHARLIE'S COLORFORMS CITY: FANTASTICK ADVENTURES
CHARLIE'S COLORFORMS CITY: FANTASTICK ADVENTURES - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 2-6
Description - Once upon a time, there was... Charlie! A friend like no other! Charlie is YOUR silly, creative playmate and best friend. He is SOOOOO excited to take YOU on adventures with him. Charlie created Colorforms City out of his imagination so that he can tell the best stories possible... like a knight trying to save a balloon, adventuring to the other end of the rainbow, or Charlie's epic quest to solve a mystery. Come along with Charlie and his friends as they solve problems using creativity, ingenuity, and the shapes Charlie sees all around him.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - In Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures Charlie and his friends create stories and imagine doing different things around their city such as being a mechanic and solving mysteries. Charlie invites the audience to use their imagination to create the story along the way. This DVD is educational and promotes problem-solving while simultaneously teaching children about shapes and colors.

I find this show appealing as an adult, because even though the questions Charlie prompts the audience with are simple, it is still fun to participate in an interactive show. I think children will enjoy this show because they will feel immersed creating the story along with Charlie. The city where Charlie lives is funky and vibrant, which will keep the children engaged and interested.

The episodes are easy to follow. Each one begins with Charlie introducing the audience, followed by the main theme song. After that, Charlie invites the audience to join him in creating a story. Usually throughout, Charlie asks the audience to create something with him to help fix a problem that arises in the story. In the end, all the loose ends are tied up perfectly and Charlie proposes that the audience continue the story on their own. The characters, especially Charlie, are very likable. We are inclined to relate to Charlie and feel empathy towards him. The vocabulary is very suitable for the intended age group. The concepts are also easy to follow. For example, when Charlie talks about shapes, it is not expected that children know what each shape is. Charlie prompts the audience by asking what is the best shape to create a particular animal and then explains why or why not each shape would or wouldn't work. It also teaches children what colors are associated with what feeling. For example, when Charlie says "paint me blue" and is sad, the viewer understands that blue is often associated with feeling gloomy. The visual quality is very inviting and cheerful. The DVD allows one to access specific episodes they want to watch. It also is equipped with subtitles, but I only saw them available in English. The most important benefit of the show is giving children the confidence to make their own decisions and use their imagination to help create their own story. Charlie's Colorforms City does allow for children to problem-solve when they need to use their imagination to create the remainder of the story.

I give Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures 5 out of 5 stars because it encourages children to use their imagination, is interactive and visually appealing. It is significant that children continue to use their imagination and Charlie promotes just that. In each episode, Charlie asks the audience to create something with him to help fix a problem that arises in the story. In the end, even though all the loose ends are tied up, Charlie proposes that the audience continue the story on their own. This further encourages the children to think on their own. The vibrancy of the series will easily draw children in, as well as all the funky shapes of the city. The main takeaway for both children and adult viewers is to remind them that they have the power to tell and create their own story. I recommend it for ages 4 to 10, plus adults.

By Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Are you ready for a colorful, playful and interactive adventure that's both fun and educational for the whole family? Then you've got to watch the amazing Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures. In this educational animated series, you'll be inspired to create colorful and magical stories, while developing your critical thinking skills. So, buckle up and get ready for new and exciting adventures that are better than ever!

Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures is all about exploring Colorforms City with Charlie and his two best friends, Red and Violet. In this series, you go on eight whimsical, interactive, storytelling adventures in Colorforms City while learning about different colors, shapes and sizes. Every story Charlie and his friends create is an adventure, so you never know what's coming next because Charlie is always shaking things up! Whether Charlie's a mechanic or a chef - you're in for a real treat.

This cast is filled with so many talented actors throughout the series. Jacob Soley plays Charlie, your creative, fun companion. He connects with his character in such a way that you all will be best friends instantly. Tyler Barish plays one of Charlie's best friends, Red. He is engaging and really connects with his character. Saara Chaudry plays Violet who delivers a dynamic performance. She is my favorite character because she always looks on the bright side of things. My favorite episode is "Mystery Charlie" because someone is stealing all the color from Colorforms City! Charlie and his friends have to work together using their problem solving and critical thinking skills to solve the mystery and save the day. Oh! And I just love the animation and music. The theme song is so catchy! When you hear it you can't help but jump to your feet and dance.

The intent of this DVD is to motivate kids to learn more about colors, shapes and sizes. With Charlie's imagination leading the way, you'll be inspired to create colorful and magical stories, while developing your problem solving skills. Charlie also teaches friendship skills such as being kind, respectful, supportive and being an active listener.

I highly recommend Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures for ages 2 to 6 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This DVD is available now so, jump to it because you've got a great story to create!

By Ella M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures is a new DVD where we get to revisit our good friend Charlie who is back and more creative than ever. With new stories and new adventures, young kids will feel like they are a part of the journey too!

Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures is about a young boy named Charlie (Jacob Soley) who loves to go on adventures and create stories. He lives in a very vibrant and fun place called Colorforms City, where everyone is friendly and works together. In this DVD, Charlie does things he's never done before, like becoming a cowboy and having his own restaurant. Kids will learn so much as they join Charlie on his colorful journeys!

Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures is a show that will teach kids valuable lessons. I've seen previous episodes of Charlie's Colorforms City, but this new DVD has a uniqueness of its own. The main thing that sets this DVD from previous ones is the new storylines. We all know that Charlie is very fond of stories and in the episode "Sick Charlie" we see a plethora of stories in a short amount of time. That's because Charlie has a case of "story sneezing." Yup, that means every time Charlie sneezes, he is transported into another story. This is something Charlie has never experienced before, which can be a welcome adventure for fans of the show. It definitely shows off his out-of-this-world imagination. Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventure is geared towards younger audiences. Kids who are just starting school may even be watching this show, which is perfect if they want to have more practice learning about shapes, colors and using their minds to entertain themselves. Because the characters and the objects are two-dimensional, it's simpler for young kids to understand. Audiences will never be overwhelmed when watching this DVD; they'll only want more.

The message of this show is that you don't have to wait to be creative. You can be creative anytime, anyplace. No matter where Charlie is, he's thinking ingeniously and wondering what he can do next. This is very family-friendly and is perfect for parents to watch together with their young children.

I rate Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 6. The DVD is available now, so make sure you check it out!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Runtime: 90 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 2-6 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99 Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
RESPECT
RESPECT - MGM STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 13-18
Description - Following the rise of Aretha Franklin's career from a young child singing in her father's church's choir to her international superstardom, "Respect" is the remarkable true story of the music icon's journey to find her voice and become the Queen of Soul.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Queen has arrived! Respect will have viewers singing and dancing to Ms. Aretha Franklin's songs as well as appreciate seeing her pathway to become The Queen of Soul. With amazing performances and storytelling, this biopic is epic and is sure to give viewers something to sing about and inspiration to follow their own dreams.

Respect tells the story about how Aretha Franklin (Jennifer Hudson) got her start by singing in her father's, C.L. Franklin's (Forest Whitaker) choir and weekend parties, to becoming one of the most iconic voices in music history. Along the way, we learn about the trials and tribulations Ms. Franklin had to overcome to become "Aretha" - the woman, artist and icon. Hudson delivers Ms. Franklin's story in a way that allows you to connect on so many levels to Franklin's life experiences.

Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson really stays true to her own acting and singing talents in this film and proves just why Ms. Franklin handpicked Hudson to tell her story! I love how Ms. Hudson does not try to overact to portray Aretha Franklin or mimic her voice, which surprisingly really works out well. My favorite part is when young Aretha and her mother, Barbara Franklin (Audra McDonald), are talking and playing the piano together and actually singing their conversation. It is very touching. Of course, the music in the film is spot on, since most of it is Aretha Franklin's. The costumes are incredible and very fashionable. Hudson's gowns were truly fit for a Queen. The film uses different cinematographic color techniques to represent different time periods, which make you feel as if you are watching actual footage of Aretha Franklin in her time verses Jennifer Hudson playing her in present day.

The message of this film is you have to own your voice. Don't let others determine how you follow your dreams, what they should look like or what they should be. Ms. Franklin spent a lot of time doing what everyone else wanted her to do and it wasn't until she started listening to herself and demanding respect, that she started making hit records. It was only then that she was able to become The Queen of Soul. Parents should be aware that there are scenes with drinking, violence and suggestive behavior.

Respect is a must-see film filled with inspiration and women empowerment. I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can find Respect in theaters August 13, 2021.
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
VIVO
VIVO - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Description - Vivo follows a one-of-kind kinkajou (aka a rainforest "honey bear") who spends his days playing music to the crowds in a lively square with his beloved owner Andr�s. Though they may not speak the same language, Vivo and Andr�s are the perfect duo through their common love of music. But when tragedy strikes shortly after Andr�s receives a letter from the famous Marta Sandoval, inviting her old partner to her farewell concert with the hope of reconnecting, it's up to Vivo to deliver a message that Andr�s never could: A love letter to Marta, written long ago, in the form of a song. Yet in order to get to Marta, who lives a world apart, Vivo will need the help of Gabi - an energetic tween who bounces to the beat of her own offbeat drum to fulfill his owner's wishes.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Vivo is an awesome film to watch. It showcases the love between animals and humans, as well as their love for music. There are great messages; the concept of the movie is entertaining; and every song is fun to listen to. You will be tapping your feet to the beat as you follow this film's adventures.

Vivo is about a kinkajou named Vivo (Lin-Manuel Miranda) who lives with his friend Andr�s (Juan de Marcos Gonz�lez) in Cuba. Andr�s and Vivo can't directly talk to each other, because one is human and the other is an animal; but, when they sing together they connect. Vivo soon learns that when Andr�s was younger, he had a love interest named Marta (Gloria Estefan). Unfortunately, when Andr�s was going to tell her how he felt, she got an opportunity to follow her dream as a singer and he didn't want to interfere with her decision. He wrote her a song and didn't get to give it to her, so now Vivo is determined to give it to Marta before it's too late.

The songs in Vivo are fun and made me want to listen to them over and over again. My favorite song is "My Own Drum" performed by Gabi (Ynairaly Simo) because it is upbeat and describes how Gabi feels. I like how the writers, Quiara Alegria Hudes and Kirk DeMicco portray Vivo's character development. In the beginning of the film Vivo doesn't want to go to Miami for Marta, but when he realizes how much it means to Andr�s and remembers all the things Andr�s has done for him, he has a change of heart. My favorite character is Vivo because he is loving and daring. Vivo looks out for Andr�s and takes care of him and does anything he can to help him. He travels all the way from Cuba to Miami and overcomes many challenging obstacles along the way.

The message of Vivo is that, even when times are tough, you have to have hope and do what is best. This film is completely family-friendly.

I give Vivo 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Vivo on Netflix beginning August 6, 2021. Be sure to check it out!

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

As its name suggests, Vivo is a vivid animated film full of life, color, music and emotion. Directed by Kirk DeMicco and Brandon Jeffords, Vivo is the first-ever musical for Sony with a Latino theme, and the story is certainly very relevant and aims to be significant for the Latino community. Vivo features all-new songs written and performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda which are powerful, emotive and contribute nicely to the storytelling.

Vivo is about the way we connect with others through music. In a very old-fashioned Cuba, a kinkajou named Vivo is voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. A kinkajou is a mammal that looks like a monkey but is a rainforest "honey bear." Vivo and his owner Andr�s enjoy making music and performing together. When Andr�s receives an invitation from his friend, famous singer Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), to attend her farewell show in Miami, Vivo is in charge to deliver the message to reconnect their friendship.

Vivo connects with our inner and pure childhood emotions and the characters in this story are lovable and relatable. For example, with the help of a young girl, Gabi, our protagonist Vivo is able to make the journey to Miami. Gabi, an aspiring musician, is a girl with talent and ambition, but rebellious and spontaneous. Gabi is a very special character representing the effervescent tween years where not everything fits in the molds of society. The animation in Vivo is gorgeous: the characters are colorful and vibrant. The attention to detail in the architecture and landscapes of Cuba is breathtaking. The presence of nature is also key to the story. As Vivo and Gaby navigate their way to Miami, they travel through the Everglades and encounter the wildlife at its fullest.

Vivo demonstrates a nice balance between traditions and everyday life and new adventures and discovering life out of our boundaries. Another great success is how the film resonates with a multigenerational audience, connecting youngsters and older members of the family effectively making it a perfect experience that unites the whole family. Vivo shows us the power of music in making connections between us and how music helps us to achieve goals.

I give Vivo 5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for all 8 to 18, plus adults. Vivo opens in theaters and Netflix on August 6, 2021.

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

Vivo it is a heartwarming movie that has happy moments, funny moments and tragedy. I like the storyline, the graphics and the catchy songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Vivo is a computer animated film about a kinkajou monkey played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who knows how to play instruments and performs at one of the Habana's plazas (Cuba) with his master, Andres Hernandez, an old musician. Andres (Juan De Marcos) had a female singing partner once, Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), who he was in love with, but she moved to Miami, Florida, to become a star. Marta is performing one last time, because she is retiring. So she invites Andres to perform with her for the last time as a duo. Marta doesn't know Andres is in love with her and that Andres wrote her a song when she left Cuba. Tragedy happens and it is upon Vivo to deliver the news and the song to Marta

This movie has beautiful computer animated scenes. The backgrounds simulate the city of Habana in Cuba, Key West and the Florida Everglades. The scenes are very colorful and bright. The songs are very catchy and appealing. Besides being the main character's voice, Lin-Manuel Miranda also wrote 11 songs for this film. He offered Cuban legend Gloria Estefan a part in this movie and she had the opportunity to create her character, which is a mix of Celia Cruz, another Cuban legend, and Mrs. Estefan's mother, who she describes as a diva. This film has a stellar cast including Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy) as Rosa, Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) as the snake Lutador and Leslie David Baker (The Office).

The story reminds us to always express your love to the person you love, because it might become too late to do it. Always open your heart to the person you love; let them know your feelings before it is too late. My favorite part is when Vivo delivers the letter to Marta. It provided closure for his beloved partner, Andres.

I give Vivo 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. This film is also a great asset for the Cuban community, especially now during Cuba's troubling times. Vivo is in theaters now and begins streaming on Netflix on August 6, 2021.

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 7-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
QUEEN OF THE BEACH
QUEEN OF THE BEACH - UNDER THE MILKY WAY
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - While on vacation in Goa, India, Canadian filmmaker Chris McDonell turns his camera on Shilpa Poojar, a 9-year-old beach hawker hustling tourists to buy clothes and jewelry from her seaside shop. Funny, charming and skilled beyond her years, she is a migrant worker from the unique Banjara people and the primary breadwinner for her family. Forging a connection in this chance encounter, Chris returns 3 times over the next 7 years to capture Shilpa's story of sacrifice and survival and help her achieve her childhood dream of going to school - a relentless effort that will test them both along the way.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A gritty, honest portrayal of a child laborer's life and her journey to achieve her dreams, Queen of the Beach is a touching documentary film highlighting a global issue in an emotionally-sensitive, thorough, and unique way.

Christopher McDonell is a Canadian filmmaker on a month-long project in India, following some missionaries from his church on their trip. He makes a quick stop at Anjuna Beach in Goa, where he meets nine-year-old Shilpa, a child laborer who is the sole breadwinner in her family. Tenacious and witty, Shilpa instantly forms a bond with McDonell and he returns three times over the next seven years as Shilpa's "brother," visiting her village and learning more about her tribe, the Banjaras', way of life. He makes it his mission to help Shilpa realize her childhood dream of attending school in her small village in Karnataka; over the course of the film, both Shilpa and Chris must overcome several obstacles to reach this goal.

This is one of the most engaging documentaries that I've come across; Shilpa and her friends are vibrant, sweet individuals with layered personalities. Her smile lights up the screen and there's never a dull moment; McDonell's sprightly narration ensures that the pace of the film never drops even when they face some dead-end challenges. Since McDonell poses deep, personal, and tough questions to Shilpa, her friends, and her family, viewers come away from the film feeling like they really know her and her world. Even though the film was shot over the course of seven years, footage taken in 2009 does not feel drastically different from footage taken in 2015; the production quality of this documentary is spectacular throughout the 100 minute duration.

Queen of the Beach is all about making your dreams come true and never giving up even when life throws you a curveball. One thing to watch out for in the film: some mentions of pedophilic activity that occur on the beach at night, and McDonell catches some of this on film. Thematically, this film is for teenage audiences and older as it deals with child labor.

I give Queen of the Beach 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Queen of the Beach premieres August 15 (Indian Independence Day) both on digital and on demand from Under the Milky Way Productions.

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


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
WISH DRAGON
WISH DRAGON - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Description - Determined teen Din is longing to reconnect with his childhood best friend when he meets a wish-granting dragon who shows him the magic of possibilities.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wish Dragon is an animated film sure to entertain family audiences. This new movie, similar to Soul, has a unique plot with plenty of fantastical ideas. A combination of wonderful acting, animation and plot makes for a delightful movie.

Wish Dragon follows Din (Jimmy Wong) as he struggles to find his long-lost childhood best friend, Li Na (Natasha Liu Bordizzo). A green teapot then shows itself, and Din soon realizes that it's not your average teapot - there's a dragon inside. The dragon, Long (John Chu), informs Din that he can make three wishes. With the challenge of finding his friend, avoiding the goons that are trying to steal the teapot and keeping the secret of the wish dragon from the rest of his friends and family, Din's quiet life soon becomes a flurry of activity and excitement.

The film has some of the best animation I've ever seen. Characters, objects, settings and beings are flawless, aside from when they need to be flawed. Colorful, detailed animation creates a vivid world that's full of life. Everything seems to pop off the screen and I feel as though I've been transported into this world. Along with the animation, the stunning performances by the actors add so much to the film. The voiceovers match the characters and the animated expressions change with the actors' tones. John Cho, voicing Long (the wish dragon), is one of the performances that seems effortless. The dragon's superb appearance mixes nicely with the deeper voice of the actor. Natasha Liu Bordizzo, as Li Na, and Jimmy Wong, as Din, also deliver excellent performances - the voice acting is true to the animation. These two high points are enhanced by its strong plot. In fact, the storyline of Wish Dragon is detailed, relatable and perfect for a family movie. Unique ideas, as well as thoughtful messages and themes, are all here. The characters are strong, enhanced with interesting backstories about their noteworthy pasts. Events throughout the film are well-timed and make sense. There aren't any scenes that seem forced in order to keep the plot going. It all flows well. The only shortcoming that I found is that it is a bit predictable at times. Some of the primary plot points, such as the three wishes and epic battles against the bad guys, are a bit repetitive and predictable. However, it's nothing a little popcorn can't help.

The message of Wish Dragon is to understand the importance of relationships and don't be greedy. The film does a noteworthy job of making the messages noticeable without being completely obvious. There are some action scenes, but they are definitely appropriate for kids.

I give Wish Dragon 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 plus adults. Wish Dragon is currently available Wish Dragon is a very heart-warming, action-packed and magical film. It is a combination of a love story between best friends, an adventure of trying to keep a childhood promise and a father who wants to give his daughter everything in the world. The story is very relatable and humorous.

Wish Dragon is about Din (Jimmy Wong), a determined teen who wants to reconnect with his childhood best friend, Li Na Wong (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), who moved away when they were kids. Din never forgot about her and always feels like something is missing from his life. During one of his food deliveries, he receives a magical tea pot that houses a wish-granting dragon, Long (John Cho). Long offers Din three wishes which sets in motion an adventure to get his friend back.

The lead characters in this film are Din, Li Na, Long and Li Na's dad, Mr. Wong (Will Yun Lee). My favorite character is Long, because not only is he hilarious, but I enjoyed watching his character's journey to find out what life is really about. The animation of the busy city, houses, billboards and people are vibrant, accurate and makes you feel like you are on an adventure in China with Din, Li Na and Long. There are plenty of comedic parts in this film, such as when everyone is watching television and Long is eating his newly discovered shrimp chips and, because he is invisible to everyone except Din, you only see the shrimp chip in the air being eaten.

The message of this film is that there is more to life than just fame and fortune. Friends and family and having people that genuinely care about you are what is most important. The main reason Mr. Wong moves away with Li Na is because he wants her to be able to have everything in the world, but he didn't realize that by doing that she will never make any real friends and never experience the true meaning of life.

Wish Dragon is a very meaningful, entertaining family film. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. You can find Wish Dragon streaming on Netflix now.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10 for streaming on Netflix starting June 11, 2021.

By Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11


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.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
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.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
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?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
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



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