The KIDS FIRST! Endorsement category has 1850 titles

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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WHAT A DISASTER!
WHAT A DISASTER! - PBS DISTRIBUTION
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 7-18
Description - PBS SoCal, Southern California's home for new PBS program premieres, debuts an entertaining new spin on emergency preparedness with the special What A Disaster! The fun new game show hosted by Jay Jackson (Parks & Recreation) challenges three Southern California families to test their emergency readiness plans in the event of the next wildfire, earthquake, flood or other disaster. Viewers will follow the contestants' progress through a series of fast-paced, exciting tasks that include comical twists designed to educate and teach critical, lifesaving guidance.

The competition-themed special seeks to raise awareness on the importance of disaster preparedness as well as equip viewers with an understanding of the "do's and don'ts" in emergency situations. Produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, each family's strategies will be judged remotely by two disaster response experts: El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center in San Bernardino's Lulu Lopez and LISTOS National Program Director Liliana Encinas. The family with the most creative and resourceful solutions will be rewarded with a $1,000 cash prize. The other families with the least number of successes will be receiving a Disaster Preparedness Kit.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review below
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What A Disaster! is an enjoyable family watch, after which you'll be prepared for any disaster that might come your way. The unique format, engaging challenges and crucial message all make this an amazing movie to watch over Thanksgiving!

What A Disaster! is a game-show style program hosted by Jay Jackson, centering around three Southern-Californian families (The Yang family, the Smith family and the Luna family) competing to be crowned the most prepared for any natural disaster that may come their way. They're also competing to receive $1,000. The families are led through a series of challenges that include knowing where your utilities are and what to pack if you're running out of a burning building.

As this is a PBS production, the 40 minute film is stitched together quite well. The contestants are spontaneous and bring life to the film, especially the little kids! I also enjoyed Jay Jackson's bubbly hosting. He looks upon these families as his neighbors, and the care he has is evident. There are some points where the contestants' voices seem to echo or reverb, though. It is also a bit obvious that the judges are reading from a script, as their eye line is off-center. But overall, the production value does not drag What A Disaster! down.

As its title would give away, the film promotes disaster preparedness and staying safe in any situation. Also, this film endorses messages of sticking together, especially with family, and teamwork. This is an especially important message for 2020, given the wildfires that SoCal has suffered, and I'm super glad that PBS produced this program.

I give What A Disaster! 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Adults would enjoy this film as well. What A Disaster! premieres in Southern California this Thanksgiving on Thurs., Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. on PBS SoCal and encores on Sat., Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. on KCET.

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 7-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
I HATE NEW YEAR'S
I HATE NEW YEAR'S - TELLO FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 16-18
Description - With a huge hit on her hands, rising music star Layne hits some serious writer's block. She decides to head home to Nashville for New Year's Eve, looking to find her ex and get back her songwriting mojo. As she spends New Year's jumping between bars and parties with her best friend Cassie, looking for the one that got away, she realizes that the love of her life, and the reason she sings, has been right in front of her all along.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I Hate New Year's uses current events very well, including the world of the music industry, the use of social media to promote and to present ideas, and especially the representation of the LGTBQ+ community. Teens and younger adults can relate to the film in that it deals with decision making and how to deal with emotions when insecurity hits. The songs in the film are beautifully done, and they add to the tone of the movie.

The storyline follows a rising pop star who finds herself unable to create songs, having writer's block. She travels to her hometown in hope of finding inspiration to continue creating music. With the help of her friend and the intervention of fate, she has to face her past to create the best future for her career, and for herself.

The film presents a story that is directed to older teenagers due to the themes of love, friendships, taking risks and insecurities. These topics are more topical for older teens and young adults. The writing is quite good and there is a solid continuity between each scene. It has good continuity and keeps the main themes easy to understand. There are some scenes that break the fourth wall which was unexpected and maybe unnecessary, but they do add to the comical tone of the film. In some scenes, acting doesn't quite have the punch I would hope for, but for the most part, emotions are well portrayed and they can be both observed and felt by the audience. The vocabulary is very modern and it addresses issues such as social media, school experiences and dreams. The music is excellent; the original songs are very well done with lots of emotion. The images are high quality so every detail is appreciated. The main characters are portrayed by popular actors that can be recognized from known TV shows and other films. However, the camera work is a bit uneven. There are multiple scenes where the shot starts to shake and gets out of focus. Sometimes when people are speaking, the camera shakes and it feels awkward.

This is a LGTBQ+ film. It shows a romantic and comical story between two characters that are young women. It also shows representation of a minority group, which can be crucial for young members of the community that may be looking to see someone like themself in a movie. It also deals with many themes that are frequent for teenagers and young adults, which makes it very appropriate for those age groups.

The messages of the film is about how friendships can make a difference in someone's life, especially when insecurities or hard situations arise. It also deals with the issue of taking risks and facing decisions that may not result in what is wanted, but are necessary to move on in life. Throughout the movie multiple characters drink alcoholic drinks. They are not underage, but there is drinking.

I give I Hate New Year's 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 16 to 18, plus adults. This LGTBQ+ film explores the life of a young rising pop star and how coming back home can mean more than just creating a new song. Multiple themes are in play - how facing decisions can make a difference in your future, how cultivating friendships is important, and what being a friend means. It especially shows how fame and popularity are not as important as family, friends and one's wellbeing. The original songs of the film are very emotional and the lyrics are poems that add to the chemistry between the characters. There are some minor issues such as shaky camera work and some slow performances, but the emotional meaning of the movie and the storyline make those issues not that severe. Representation of different members of the LGTBQ+ are represented throughout the movie. The movie is centered on the life of a young woman, and how she is able to move on and to grow as a person once she accepts the circumstances of her life.

Reviewed by David O., KIDS FIRST! Youth Juror
Juror Recommended Age: 16-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TEAM MARCO
TEAM MARCO - SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 6-14
Description - Marco, 12, is obsessed with his iPad and hardly leaves the house. But when his grandmother dies and his grandfather moves in, Marco's life is turned upside-down and he's forced...to go play outside. "Nonno" (Grandpa) introduces him to bocce ball and to the neighborhood crew of old Italian men who play daily at the local court. With sport, laughter and love, Marco finds connection to other people and rounds up a team of neighborhood kids to take on Marco's grandfather and his pals.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Team Marco is a wonderful, heartwarming and sweet movie. This family-friendly fun comedy will have you laughing, bring you joy and inspire you to seize each day.

This movie is about a boy named Marco (Owen Vaccaro) who is insanely addicted to video games. When his grandmother dies and his house nearly burns down, his grandpa, Nonno (Anthony Patellis), moves in. Nonno is extremely bothered with his grandson's obsession with video games. Nonno will not stand for this and takes measures into his own hands. He decides to take away all of Marco's electronics and forces him to play outside. Nonno teaches Marco his favorite sport - bocce ball. Can Marco and his team of friends beat Nonno and his gang of neighborhood Italian bocce ballers in a bocce ball tournament?

This movie was written, directed and produced by Julio Vincent Gambuto, and it is his first feature film. This story is inspired by a real-life experience. About four years ago, when Julio was visiting his nieces and nephews, he noticed that his nephew, Marco, didn't even greet him when he arrived at their house because his head was buried in his electronics. This sparked the idea for his movie. The film takes place in Julio's beloved hometown, Staten Island, NY. It was filmed on location, which was very important to Julio. He loves his hometown community and was passionate about it being filmed on Staten Island. My favorite characters are Nonno and Marco. I really like the performances of Anthony Patellis because of his dry sense of humor and his love of family, which shines through. He is very entertaining while playing the cranky grandpa battling technology. Owen Vaccaro convincingly plays the "pre-teen techie" Marco. I can relate to his love of electronics and his struggles trying to balance Nonno's desire for conversation, friendship and connecting through Nonno's favorite sport, bocce ball. My favorite part of the movie is when Nonno is trying to figure out the Google Assistant.

The main message of the movie is to be present when around your family. This film shows technology is not always bad, and in fact connects us. It also reminds everyone that, while technology will be around forever, your family will not be. Cherish the time you have with your family.

I give Team Marco 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults. Team Marco will be released on most streaming platforms November 20, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 6-14 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
COLLECTIVE
COLLECTIVE - PARTICIPANT
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - In 2015, a fire at Bucharest's Colectiv club leaves 27 dead and 180 injured. Soon, more burn victims begin dying in hospitals from wounds that were not life-threatening. Then a doctor blows the whistle to a team of investigative journalists. One revelation leads to another as the journalists start to uncover vast health care fraud. When a new health minister is appointed, he offers unprecedented access to his efforts to reform the corrupt system but also to the obstacles he faces. Following journalists, whistle-blowers, burn victims, and government officials, Collective is an uncompromising look at the impact of investigative journalism at its best.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - An electrifying and groundbreaking documentary, Collective is a chilling reminder of the underhanded dealings of modern politics. Shot in a rigorously observational manner, Collective covers an event that took Eastern Europe by storm and led to massive big pharmacy and government reform.

On October 30, 2015, a deadly fire in Colectiv, a popular nightclub in Bucharest, Romania killed 64 and injured 146. Of the 64 killed, 38 died in the hospitals. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered they were in close contact with some of the most resistant hospital bacteria on the continent, which festered in their unclean wounds. In the first part of the film, Catalin Tolontan's journalistic crusade is detailed, as he embarks upon a journey to uncover the negligence, corruption and political machinations that plagues the Romanian health system as a whole. Vlad Voiculescu is introduced as the new minister of health, and he looks to take Romania in a new direction for health and safety but faces massive backlash. Watch Collective to find out how this crisis is solved.< p>A widely-known Romanian journalist at the Gazeta Sporturilor, Catalin Tolontan, together with Vlad Vioculescu, ex-minister of health and patients rights activist, are featured in Collective. Tolontan colleagues Mirela Neag and Razvan Lutac are captured in the newsroom, printing papers and delivering fiery questions at press conferences. I especially enjoyed their portion of the film, possibly due to my interest in journalism, but also because of Tolontan's unique approach to tackling this case - calculated vehemence. Even Voiculescu's segment is intriguing, albeit a little more morose and harder to follow. Honestly, you can't help but feel bad for Voiculescu, the one upstanding politician who cares for people more than for the money in his pocket, especially in the tense election scenes. Tedy Ursuleanu, a burn victim, is also featured in this film. Her story is not illustrated in great detail, but featuring her is, to me, a massively positive step for Nanau to take. It adds a whole new level of 'wow, this is real' to Collective.

The cinematography in this film is absolutely stunning; the camera team uses dimly lit, low contrast scenes to drive home the intensity of the incident and harshly lit closeups in telling the story of the people that Collective follows. The lack of ambient noise filtration in press conferences helps the viewer really jump into the story. Besides the plot, this has got to be my favorite part of the entire documentary.

Collective promotes freedom of speech, government transparency, and valuing lives over profit, which are all positive morals. There are political elements in this film as well as rather graphic scenes depicting burn victims, that you should be aware of. Also, there is some bad language and the whole plot is unsuitable for younger audiences. Nanau successfully calls viewers to action to speak out against corruption.

I give Collective 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Collective is in theaters and on-demand November 20, 2020.

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
COME AWAY
COME AWAY - RELATIVITY MEDIA
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Eight-year-old Alice (Keira Chansa), her mischievous brother Peter (Jordan A. Nash) and their brilliant older sibling David (Reece Yates) let their imaginations run wild one blissful summer in the English countryside. Encouraged by their parents Jack and Rose (David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie), the kids' make-believe tea parties, sword fights and pirate ship adventures come to an abrupt end when tragedy strikes. Peter, eager to prove himself a hero to his grief-stricken and financially-struggling parents, journeys with Alice to London, where they try to sell a treasured heirloom to the sinister pawnshop owner known as C.J. (David Gyasi). Returning home, Alice seeks temporary refuge in a wondrous rabbit hole while Peter permanently escapes reality by entering a magical realm as leader of the "Lost Boys."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Come Away is such a spectacular film. It has the elements of favorite childhood classics, but has a maturity to it as well. There are so many spectacular surprises, I definitely need a sequel.

This storyline follows the Littleton family, which serves as the origin story of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. After a tragedy occurs in the family, Rose and Jack (Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo) fall apart and their young son Peter (Jordan A. Nash) and Alice (Keira Chansa) are left to pick up the pieces. There are cameos of classic villains such as the Queen of Hearts and Captain Hook. The film is narrated by Alice's older self (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).

This film keeps you on your toes at all times. There are so many references to other films about Peter and Alice that we watched as kids. Throughout the movie, we see images of Tinkerbell and of Alice's classic blue dress; we learn how Peter meets the lost boys. There are so many nostalgic moments served to you on a silver platter. From the signature phrases and costumes, to solving questions that we've had for years, it's a gem. The mystery of Peter Pan's shadow is solved! The family tree in Come Away is so brilliant and elaborate, tying up all the loose ends from the stories we've grown up with. Discovering that Peter and Alice are siblings is just the beginning. We see how they go their separate ways, with Peter on his way to Neverland and Alice heading down the rabbit hole. By the end of the film, we are left wanting a sequel, just wanting to know what actually happens to Peter and Alice after their happily ever-after.

The message of this film is imagination can always set you free. From the beginning to the end of the film, Peter uses his imagination to help him when the going gets tough. From watching the drawings on his desk come to life, to pretending to fight pirates, he always uses his imagination to escape reality. You should know that there are some behaviors that are not quite appropriate for younger audiences. Rose drowns her sorrows in alcohol and Alice finds the bottle and drinks from the same glass. However it appears that it's a shrinking potion. It depends on how the audience interprets the scene, as a minor drinking, or as an imagination gone wild.

I give Come Away 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. It is available nationwide and at home on VOD November 13, 2020

Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FISHBOWL
FISHBOWL - 101 STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - In a small town filled with secrets, three sisters are forced to cling to each other as they cope with loss and a father who's growing increasingly obsessed with the rapture he thinks is coming.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I found Fishbowl super interesting. There's a lot to discuss about the themes and presentation.

The story follows three sisters, Belle, Rachel and Jessa, as they struggle to cope with recent trauma in a small town. Meanwhile, their father grows more paranoid over the end of the world.

It's important to mention that this film is heavily about religion. What sparks the father's paranoia is a televangelist claiming he can save people from Judgment Day. As a result, the father becomes obsessive and borderline abusive. I really like how this film comments on religious figures taking advantage of those who are struggling. It's a topic I don't see discussed that often, and I think it's well handled here. Because on the one hand, you feel bad for their father, Rick, as he's dealing with trauma just like his daughters. However as the film goes on, he begins to spiral out of control, and becomes more and more unlikeable. Despite that, you understand his downward spiral isn't entirely his fault. It's an intriguing character arc, and a great way of showing how religion changes people. Humans are fragile and flawed and need direction, but which way should they go?

I also really like the acting in this film. The daughters give incredibly emotional and compelling performances, but I want to give special mention to Caroline Coleman, aka Jessa. She has no lines of dialogue, but her acting is really emotional and I really felt her pain. This is her first film and I sense a great future ahead.

However, while I think this aspect of the film is handled well, there are many scenes that don't really seem to have a purpose other than to make you uncomfortable. I don't inherently have a problem with a movie trying to make me feel uncomfortable, if there is a reason for it. But, I couldn't really figure out what the reasons were for those scenes. So take this as a warning that some scenes might be upsetting.

The presentation of this film is pretty great. I like the dull, somber tone of the movie, and the lack of music. This movie also utilizes a lot of flashbacks as a way to get a better understanding of the sisters' mother. I like how the events that led to this story aren't entirely clear, and they let you figure out what's happening through context clues and parallels. I think it makes the character arcs, along with the ending, much more impactful.

I rate Fishbowl 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, as this film can be quite dark. It is available now on Amazon and other VOD platforms, so look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
OCTONAUTS: OPERATION DEEP FREEZE
OCTONAUTS: OPERATION DEEP FREEZE - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 5-12
Description - The Octonauts are a team of adventurers who explore the worlds oceans, rescue aquatic creatures and protect their habitats - from the bustling eco-system along the Amazon River to the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Octonauts: Operation Deep Freeze's characters and stories are cute. The DVD's educational Arctic theme flows throughout every episode, giving you the option to enjoy all 66 minutes at once or to split up them up to view only one episode at a time if you want to limit screen time.

The Octonauts, Captain Barnacles, Kwazii, Peso and crew, travel to the Antarctic to respond to a call for help. In each of the five episodes the team encounters a dilemma under the ocean or in the environment near the water. The Octonauts work together to come up with a plan and quickly put it into action. Always upbeat and never too scary, they face challenges and overcome them as a team.

The animated characters have unique voices and depict various animal types. The main characters include a polar bear, a cat and penguin. While there are a variety of animals, they all have the same black eyes and most of the background landscapes are flat. For example, the clouds don't move in the sky. The colorful characters, their movement and the music would likely keep children engaged enough that the backgrounds are not particularly important.

The Octonauts vow to explore, rescue and protect. Each episode provides a few educational points and talks about protecting wild life and the environment in terms younger viewers can easily understand. In this DVD you learn about penguins, the Arctic vs. Antarctic and fossils (to name a few).

The message of teamwork is woven into each episode and every character has its own skillset that is valuable to the team, further depicting uniqueness. The Octonauts: Operation Deep Freeze has no violence, profanity or bias present.

I give Octonauts: Operation Deep Freeze 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 7. It is available on DVD now so look for it.

Reviewed by Angela G, KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Octonauts: Operation Deep Freeze, like so many of their other DVDs, is so enjoyable! It has the cutest animation that has a near stop-motion look and fun adventures.

The Octonuats are a group of animals that explore, rescue and protect. On this thrilling DVD, we join the Octonauts on their numerous exciting adventures to the Arctic and Antarctic (yes, there is a difference). And for those that have watched previous episodes, this DVD introduces some new characters. There are five episodes in this DVD, each running about 13 minutes and include Operation Deep Freeze, Walrus Pups, Emperor Penguins, Coelacanth and Hidden Lake.

Octonauts once again never fail to keep people entertained. There is something new to learn for everyone. The animation is very high quality, yet simple, and always has a new landscape to see, even if it is just snow and water. The voice cast includes Simon Greenall, who plays Captain Barnacles, the leader of the Octonauts, who also happens to be a polar bear and really nails the leader-type voice. Rob Rackstraw plays Kwazii, the adventurous pirate cat, and has a splendid "piratey" voice. Paul Panting plays Peso, the expert penguin medic, and does a perfect shy but kind voice. My favorite episode is Hidden Lake because I had no idea that red lakes existed, let alone that anything lives in them!

There are many positive messages throughout the DVD, including helping others, protecting the ecosystem and the importance of teamwork. Younger children should keep in mind that they should not be interacting with wild animals in real life. However, this show might inspire them to be a vet or animal researcher.

I give Octonauts: Operation Deep Freeze 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 8. Adults will think that the DVD is fun and probably learn as much about different animals as their kids will. This DVD is available now, so look for it.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Octonauts: Operation Deep Freeze is a superb, educational DVD that will capture your attention for its entire duration. The intricately-designed characters (both their personalities and outward look) and the unique storylines are wondrous!

This 66-minute DVD follows a team of sea-adventurers (Captain Barnacles the daredevil polar bear, a friendly ex-pirate named Kwazii the cat, a medic: Peso the penguin and others), as they embark upon an expedition to Antarctica to help out marine life. They prevent a group of penguins from falling into an ice chasm, rescue walrus pups with the Captain's niece and nephew, and discover some microscopic creatures under a hidden lake.

I have a bit of a history with the show Octonauts; I loved it when I was younger and, to be totally honest, still have a soft corner for the super awesome animated animals. Specifically two: the resourceful and level-headed Captain Barnacles who is voiced by the highly talented Simon Greenall; he's one of my favorite voice actors. And, of course the scaredy-cat Peso who is the first to show vulnerability, but is one of the most resilient characters in the show. He's played by Wayne Grayson. Also, the animation is absolutely spectacular; the deep colors and super cutely designed characters will surely catch your eye. Overall, it's a beautifully executed show!

Octonauts: Operation Deep Freeze promotes messages of teamwork, helping others, perseverance and resourcefulness. It's an uplifting DVD that will surely put a smile on your face.

I give Octonauts: Operation Deep Freeze 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 4 to 6. Octonauts: Operation Deep Freeze is available now on DVD! Look for it!

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Runtime: 70 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99 Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST QUALIFIED ENDORSEMENT
HONEST THIEF
HONEST THIEF - OPEN ROAD PRODUCTIONS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - They call him the In-and-Out-Bandit because meticulous thief Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) has stolen $9 million from small-town banks while managing to keep his identity a secret. But after he falls in love with the bubbly Annie (Kate Walsh), Tom decides to make a fresh start by coming clean about his criminal past, only to be double-crossed by two ruthless FBI agents.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Honest Thief is the "average Joe" of current film releases. It's a movie with very few characteristics that make it stand out from other action/drama. In the film, Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) tries to give up $9 million in stolen money to live an honest life with the woman he loves. But as he attempts to turn himself in, two corrupt Feds, Ramon (Anthony Ramos) and John (Jai Courtney) take advantage of the stolen money. Now he must clear his name for a murder he never committed all in the name of love.

I feel like I have watched Honest Thief many times before. Many action/drama films have the same feel to the plot, action and dialogue - and the writing here feels a bit lazy. It is as if Honest Thief cut and pasted elements from clich� lines from classic action films and put them into scenes that were supposed to be suspenseful and dramatic. I have heard the lines "I am coming for you" in too many films to count, and the effect of using these lines too much is disappointing.

I like that Honest Thief is fast-paced and scenes don't drag out. There are "good old" car chases, people being knocked out and being swung around like ragdolls. The use of comedy is sparse and feels thrown in the movie for the sake of comedic relief. Honest Thief is serious in tone so the comedy feels awkward and out of place, especially since there is so little of it.

I can usually enjoy any kind of film for what it is, but something rubbed me the wrong way about the character of Annie (Kate Walsh), Tom's wife. Her role, even her designation as a grad student, feels instrumental only for the progression of Tom's character. Tom believes he can turn himself in, delete his past, and that Annie will stay with him even after finding he's a professional bank robber. I am disappointed in the stereotypical and outdated use of women as the motivation for everything a man does --as well as not happy with the lack of female representation here. If we use the Bechdel test for female representation and ask, "Does the film have two named female characters that talk to each other about something other than men?" Unfortunately Honest Thief fails this test.

This film has action, violence and some strong language. I am able to empathize with Ramon as he struggles about whether to go along with John and steal the money for the future or do what is morally right. Even in Tom's case, as we learn about his motivation for robbing banks, we realize that not everyone is what they seem at surface level and good people can do bad things.

I give Honest Thief 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 12 to 18. Honest Thief released in theatres on October 16, 2020.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
COME PLAY
COME PLAY - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A long-limbed monster named Larry targets Oliver, a non-verbal autistic young boy along with his family and friends as well as other victims by manifesting through their smart phones, computers, television screens and other mobile devices.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Come Play will surely give you the chills! This Halloween-release horror film incredibly realistic CGI, sonorous and somber soundtrack and superb performances make this an enjoyable watch. I'll get into more about the production quality very soon, but first: the plot!

Come Play follows Oliver (Azhy Robertson), an elementary school student with autism. He's a little lonely because he's different from everyone else, and so when he finds an ebook which promises friendship, he's eager to read it from cover to cover. But in the book lies Oliver's worst nightmare: Larry, a monster who wants Oliver so badly that he's willing to break through Oliver's devices into his world just to take him away.

The production quality of this film is incredibly high. Jacob Chase, director and writer of Come Play, has written a spine-tingling script and puts forth his impeccable skills of direction in this film. David J Bomba, the production designer, meticulously designed each scene; his handiwork is magnificent. And Roque Banos, to whom the musical credits go, provides just the right low-pitched, deep soundtrack that completes the overall package of this horror indie film.

As far as the acting in this film is concerned, all of the performances are absolutely amazing! Azhy Robertson's portrayal of Oliver is perfectly toned and well-acted; it is quite realistic and is unlike most representations. I also love Gillian Jacobs' performance as Oliver's mother, Sarah. She's supremely talented at emoting and her delivery is impeccable. Playing a mother is difficult; striking up the right emotions is a challenge, and it's a great achievement to convincingly portray one. Absolutely awesome!

This film promotes friendship and staying beside one another through tough times, just like Byron (Winslow Fegley) and Oliver do. There are some things that parents need to look out for. Because of Oliver's autism, he can be a bit standoffish and aloof and hits some of his friends at times. Oliver's mom and dad fight frequently, and insecurity about parenting is brought up. In general, the subject matter of this film (horror, autism and bullying) is intended for slightly more mature audiences.

I give Come Play 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults may enjoy this film as well. Come Play releases in theatres on October 30, 2020.

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

Grab some pillows and blankets to hide behind because today we are talking about the new terrifying film, Come Play! Come Play has brilliant jump scares flying at you left and right, and tons of scary scenes that will make you jump in odd ways. The suspense of the movie continually puts you on the edge of your seat dying to find out what happens next. Come Play provides an authentic plot. Quite frankly, I have never seen anything like Come Play, which makes it even more entertaining to watch.

Come Play follows a young boy named Oliver (Azhy Robertson) who is on the autistic spectrum and, unfortunately, cannot verbalize for himself. Instead, Oliver uses his phone or tablet to communicate. However, one night his phone starts talking to him. In the middle of the night, Oliver's phone randomly gets stuck on a book called "Misunderstood Monsters," and Oliver learns of a monster named Larry, who just wants a friend. Soon Oliver learns Larry's true potential and he and his family must escape the curse of this devilish monster.

The most compelling characteristic that makes Come Play so entertaining is the writing. The writing is superb. It is written in a strange and clandestine way, so it doesn't scare you in the predictable ways you might anticipate. Come Play is extremely impressive with its horror approach. The writers create angst and scare you with just two innocent people walking down the sidewalk, and not with a huge creepy monster. This movie's electrical effects are extremely important because of the electrical connection Larry has. The lighting effects in this film are exceptional. They definitely make the movie even creepier.

Come Play is a horror movie. I recommend it especially if this is your first experience viewing this film genre, because it is scary, but in a fun and entertaining way. Besides the typical jump scares, the movie also provides a different type of horror - bullying. Bullying is shown quite a lot in the first half of the movie and may not set the best example for children watching. Important lessons are communicated in this film, particularly the importance of friendship and family.

Similar to when the jump scares made me scream, I am screaming now that my rating for Come Play is 5 out of 5 stars. It has amazing writing and electrical effects. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults, because of the frightening scenes and language. You can find Come Play in theaters October 30, 2020.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CASAGRANDES, THE: FAILS FROM THE CRYPT/BAD CLUCK
CASAGRANDES, THE: FAILS FROM THE CRYPT/BAD CLUCK - NICKELODEON
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 10-18
Description - With All In: The Fight For Democracy, documentarians Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes weave a compelling account of the history of voting rights in the U.S, a long, winding path through many of the most pivotal moments and movements of the past--through triumph and tragedy--bound to infuriate audiences just as much as it'll invigorate them. The story of voting rights in this country is not brief, nor simple. The movie opens with a primer on Georgia's 2018 gubernatorial election between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp. From there, the film documents the vast journey from the dawn of our nation when the only people who could vote were white, male landowners to where we are today, with voting rights for all citizens over 18. It's remarkable just how much Garbus and Cortes are able to encompass within the film from Reconstruction and Jim Crow segregationist practices, and the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, up to the present day. The pacing is impressive and gives the viewer a lot to take in and take away from the film, but the film is never overwhelming in its scope or ambition. Garbus and Cortes even include footage as recent as the Wisconsin primary depicting voters donning facemasks at the polls. It's slightly surreal to see a story being told that is so heavily informed by the headlines of today. The film's most engaging perspective comes not from that of a voter, but a politician in that of Stacey Abrams. Her point of view anchors the film as living proof of the consequences of voter suppression. The importance of voting demonstrated throughout gives urgency to All In, and I commend the editing, considering how much the situation surrounding voter suppression and the fight for voting rights was still developing in the months leading up to the film's release. All In: The Fight For Democracy affirms the power of one's vote and shows how much traction has been gained in establishing wider voting rights. The film also demonstrates the degree to which the ever-present threat of voter suppression has grown and the ways in which it plagues the elections of today, illustrated by the gubernatorial race between Abrams and Kemp. Michael Waldman utters a sentence early on in the film that encapsulates nicely the film's thesis: "History is never a straight line, it's always a fight." History repeats itself just as often as it progresses and that notion is crystallized within this film at various points where the film jumps back in time to show how the past has informed the present. All In closes with a crystal-clear message to go vote. An acute reminder that All In can't close the door on its story precisely because the fight referred to in the film's title is still ongoing. Much work has been done in the realm of voting rights, but much more still remains to be done-- the film doesn't lose sight of that. I give All In: The Fight For Democracy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 for some brief violent images from newsreels and archives. This is timely, illuminating documentary filmmaking covering a pressing issue and definitely a must-see, not just for the information it contains, but the skill with which it's presented. All In: The Fight For Democracy is available to Amazon Prime subscribers starting September 18, 2020.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Casagrandes is just the show to get you into the Halloween spirit! Its spooky new episodes, "Fails from the Crypt" and "Bad Cluck" bring chills and frights to anyone watching. It's a great family fun adventure.

Casagrandes follows the Mexican/American family the Casagrandes on their wild journeys and is a spinoff on the Nickelodeon show The Loud House. Season two kicks off with "Fails from the Crypt" where Ronnie Anne (Izabella Alvarez) and her friends try to break a local record for staying in the cemetery overnight. They try everything in their power to not be scared, and the challenge is harder than it seems In "Bad Cluck" a spirit chicken appears and haunts the family. The Casagrandes band together to get the ghost out of their home.

Definitely the best parts of these episodes are the crazy twists and turns, with some surprises. I found "Bad Cluck" to be less exciting than "Fails from the Crypt." The topic was not as funny. "Fails from the Crypt" is perfect for the spooky season, and really brings out all things Halloween. The tone is dark and freaky, like a graveyard, which is wonderful.

Throughout both episodes, the Casagrandes family comes together and faces many issues they have as a family. There a little bit of haunting that might be fearful for children under the age of 10.

I give Casagrandes "Fails from the Crypt & Bad Cluck" 4 out of 5 stars and recommend these episodes for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It is available October 9, 2020 only on Nickelodeon.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCARACY
ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCARACY - AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - The documentary takes a look at the history, and current activism against voter suppression; barriers to voting that most people don't even know is a threat to their basic rights as citizens of the United States.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - With All In: The Fight For Democracy, documentarians Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes weave a compelling account of the history of voting rights in the U.S, a long, winding path through many of the most pivotal moments and movements of the past--through triumph and tragedy--bound to infuriate audiences just as much as it'll invigorate them.

The story of voting rights in this country is not brief, nor simple. The movie opens with a primer on Georgia's 2018 gubernatorial election between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp. From there, the film documents the vast journey from the dawn of our nation when the only people who could vote were white, male landowners to where we are today, with voting rights for all citizens over 18.

It's remarkable just how much Garbus and Cortes are able to encompass within the film from Reconstruction and Jim Crow segregationist practices, and the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, up to the present day. The pacing is impressive and gives the viewer a lot to take in and take away from the film, but the film is never overwhelming in its scope or ambition. Garbus and Cortes even include footage as recent as the Wisconsin primary depicting voters donning facemasks at the polls. It's slightly surreal to see a story being told that is so heavily informed by the headlines of today. The film's most engaging perspective comes not from that of a voter, but a politician in that of Stacey Abrams. Her point of view anchors the film as living proof of the consequences of voter suppression. The importance of voting demonstrated throughout gives urgency to All In, and I commend the editing, considering how much the situation surrounding voter suppression and the fight for voting rights was still developing in the months leading up to the film's release.

All In: The Fight For Democracy affirms the power of one's vote and shows how much traction has been gained in establishing wider voting rights. The film also demonstrates the degree to which the ever-present threat of voter suppression has grown and the ways in which it plagues the elections of today, illustrated by the gubernatorial race between Abrams and Kemp. Michael Waldman utters a sentence early on in the film that encapsulates nicely the film's thesis: "History is never a straight line, it's always a fight." History repeats itself just as often as it progresses and that notion is crystallized within this film at various points where the film jumps back in time to show how the past has informed the present. All In closes with a crystal-clear message to go vote. An acute reminder that All In can't close the door on its story precisely because the fight referred to in the film's title is still ongoing. Much work has been done in the realm of voting rights, but much more still remains to be done-- the film doesn't lose sight of that.

I give All In: The Fight For Democracy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 for some brief violent images from newsreels and archives. This is timely, illuminating documentary filmmaking covering a pressing issue and definitely a must-see, not just for the information it contains, but the skill with which it's presented. All In: The Fight For Democracy is available to Amazon Prime subscribers starting September 18, 2020.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
2 HEARTS
2 HEARTS - 12 PING�INOS S.L
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - For two couples the future unfolds in different decades and different places, but a hidden connection will bring them together in a way no one could have predicted. Based on an inspirational true story, 2 Hearts is a romantic journey that celebrates life, love and generosity of spirit, and challenges audiences to believe miracles are possible.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This romantic drama is filled with inspiring messages that melted my heart and moved me in unexpected ways. Make sure you grab a box of tissues before you watch this tearjerker. I cried my eyes out!

The film is based on the inspirational true story of Christopher Gregory (Jacob Elordi) and Jorge Bacardi (Adan Canto). It takes place in two different decades, two different cultures, two different ages and two different romances. They essentially have almost nothing in common, yet their lives intertwine in a very surprising way when they end up having a profound connection.

This movie caught me off guard. While it is a heartwarming movie with a few corny jokes and several funny scenes, it is filled with very relatable sad realities. The actors are very believable. I found myself wrapped up in their story as if I was part of their actual families. The actors in the movie are cast perfectly. Two of the strongest performances are by Adan Canto who plays Jorge, a hopeless romantic whose struggles go from joyful bliss to devastating sorrow. Radha Mitchell plays Leslie, a very strong woman who demonstrates what the power of love can do. It's a difficult role and she nails it. My favorite character is Chris because he is a corny, awkward, lovable college-boy, who reminds me so much of my own college-age brothers.

The main messages are the importance of human connection, the power of love and how life is both "awesome and fantastic." There is some bad language in the film and it promotes safety in a big way.

I give 2 Hearts 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will enjoy it, too. This movie releases in theaters on October 16, 2020.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MIC DROP - PRX
Series: PODCAST, AGES 9-13
Description - Teens have a lot to say about this complicated world -- are you listening? Mic Drop features first-person stories by tweens and teens sharing their mood-swinging, dream-chasing, rule-breaking dramas, adventures and experiences -- with no adult interruptions. A CBC Original podcast.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Mic Drop is a youth hosted series that is devoid of adult interruptions and allows children to talk freely among themselves about complicated topics. It is a great way to offer other children that may be enduring similar situations a sort of validation. This podcast does not squander children's thoughts and feelings due to their age; instead it invites youth to be able to discuss more adult topics. As an adult, I enjoyed the topics and discussion and can relate to them as well. It is significant for children to be able to hear other children talk freely about what they are genuinely feeling without having an adult sway or dictate the conversation. Children's ideas and emotions matter just as much as adults.

The youth hosts tackle topics such as Black Lives Matter, divorce and mental health. I enjoyed listening to them express their feelings and emotions in the podcast. Tweens and teens would enjoy this podcast because it is from a child's perspective. It seems easier for a young person to feel included if another child is speaking about something they may be experiencing as well. In many ways it validates their thoughts and feelings.

I love the flow of each podcast episode. It opens with an introduction, a brief anecdote, the feelings of the speaker, and closes with a summary of how they feel in the end after talking. The podcast name, Mic Drop is a smart name. All the topics in the podcast do have a mic drop aspect to them. The speakers drop a bombshell, usually at the beginning or end of the podcast that emphasizes the topic and discussion. Some of the topics regard racism and homophobia. Some parents may not be ready to discuss these particular topics, but you can always skip the ones you don't want to listen to and listen to others instead. However, it is worth noting that tweens and teens are aware of these topics and listening to a discussion of them helps them know how to deal with them.

Production wise, the sound is crisp! I am very impressed with the quality of sound in each episode. The intros start with an upbeat song accompanied by the message: without adult interruption (which I love).

I give Mic Drop 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 13, even 18 and older. The material offers children the opportunity to not feel discouraged about discussing topics that may deemed suitable for adults only. Some of the episodes give insight for children, and even adults, about topics they may not be well educated about. Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Mic Drop is the perfect way to connect the teenagers of today with real stories from their peers as it covers topics of all kinds that the rising generation can relate to.

Currently a two season podcast, each episode of Mic Drop features the experiences of teens and tweens and their take on mood-swings, dream-chasing, rule-breaking dramas, adventures and experiences. What makes it even better is that there are no adult interruptions. So the stories we hear are true to the source.

This podcast has a real feel as we hear firsthand experiences from numerous teens and hear their thoughts about issues that adults often don't discuss with them. It's personal and seems as if the speaker is simply having a conversation with us, the audience. Kids have a lot more to say than adults often give them credit for and this podcast amplifies the many important stories that are hiding away in the minds of these children. We hear about their dreams, identities and struggles. I love that it promotes a dialogue on many serious issues such as mental health, culture, substance abuse, LGBTQ and more. Growing up can be a dangerous thing; young people are extremely impressionable. It's very common for their struggles to be dismissed by adults who don't take them seriously or encourage positive behaviors. That type of response can be alienating. Mic Drop helps kids that are struggling with issues that the speakers are discussion that they aren't alone.

This podcast talks about some serious issues including violence. The takeaway for teens and tweens listening to this show should be that there are others who are experiencing similar things as them and this podcast promotes taking adults out of the picture for a moment so that kids can connect with each other on a deeper level.

I rate Mic Drop 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 9 to 16. You can listen to Mic Drop on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/mic-drop

By Anokhi L, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

Mic Drop is an exceptionally entertaining podcast that genuinely kept me interested and intrigued throughout all the episodes that I listened to. I got to hear about the experiences that teens younger than me go through. It is comforting to know that we aren't alone, but we are all still going through different experiences that are shaping and forming our personalities and sense of character. This podcast allows the listener to take a break from their own life and imagine what it is like to live as a teen in 2020, if they aren't a teen already. It features stories of kids with varied personalities and stories that are meaningful, to a degree, as well as amusing to listen to.

Mic Drop details certain aspects of teen life varying from fun extracurricular activities to more serious topics such as sexual harassment. I listened to the three latest episodes: Gabriela's, Marty's and Bella's. Gabriela's episode is centered around her love of jiu-jitsu and judo, while also touching on her experience of being sexually harassed by some of her male teammates. In Marty's episode, he discovers punk music and uses it as an escape from the bullying and teasing inflicted upon him by his classmates. In Bella's episode, she discusses her on-and-off relationship with her elementary school boyfriend and the emotional rollercoaster that ensues. Other episodes include "Ben Beatboxes through his Parent's Divorce" and "Taneia brings Black Lives Matter to School."

Listening to Mic Drop allowed me to place myself into these kids' shoes. The stories are well thought out and interesting to listen to. I cared about what they had to say, because it reminds me so much of myself and some experiences that I have gone through. It made me nostalgic to some degree. It is a professionally produced podcast with a fairly high production value that caters to kids and adults alike. Mic Drop overflows with positive messages. It teaches people to always follow their dreams and passions, even if that means having to overcome several obstacles. It also reminds us of what it is like to be a young teen and to live in a world filled with both fun and stressful situations and experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I give Mic Drop 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 10 to 18, because it talks about serious topics such as sexual harassment, drugs and alcohol, some of which parents may not find appropriate for younger kids to listen to. Mic Drop is both a fun and poignant podcast that encompasses what it means to be a teen today. I enjoyed it and believe that many other teens will. You can listen to it on TRAX by PRX at https://www.trax.fm/mic-drop

Reviewed by Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Mic Drop is a podcast featuring tweens and teens talking about the world and experiences from their lives. These teens have a lot that they want to share about this year, 2020. They want to tell us what these past couple of months have been like for them and their friends, too - with no adult interruptions.

The show's hosts care deeply about so many things that have happened this year. For example, they all really care about what happened to George Floyd and they definitely care a lot about what COVID-19 has done to the world. They share their experiences with their podcast listeners, because 2020 has been a roller coaster year. They tell us what they did, how they acted and anything else on their minds about this year so far.

These teens and tweens want their audience to know about the things that we should all care about right now, whatever age we are. They have had a very different and unusual year and their podcast talks about their lives, adventures and experiences. In future episodes, they will share more in detail. For example, one kid shares how he sold candy at school at the beginning of the year. He admits this was a bad idea, but we don't know specifically why, although I can certainly guess.

A few important messages in this podcast are that you should try to get involved with all of the things that come up in your life. Also, you should try to tell people about what has happened or what you have done this during this past year. You should also listen to what you hear in the world or from your friends and family, so that it can help you later on in your life. That is how we learn and grow.

I give Mic Drop 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. You can listen to this podcast on TRAX by PRX.

Reviewed by Conrad W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Runtime: 12 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 9-13 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: AUDIO


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EVER AFTER: A CINDERELLA STORY
EVER AFTER: A CINDERELLA STORY - DISNEY+
Series: FEATURE, AGES 9 - 18
Description - This updated adaptation of the classic fairytale tells the story of Danielle (Drew Barrymore), a vibrant young woman who is forced into servitude after the death of her father. Danielle's stepmother Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston) is a heartless woman who forces Danielle to do the cooking and cleaning, while she tries to marry off her own two daughters. But Danielle's life takes a wonderful turn when she meets the charming Prince Henry (Dougray Scott).
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The exceptionally entertaining film Ever After: A Cinderella Story, starring Drew Barrymore, is filled with drama, romance and comedy! The best part is definitely its intriguing plot, which is based on the Cinderella story. I thoroughly enjoy following Danielle (Drew Barrymore) throughout her adventures. The cast is full of strong actors and the costumes are beautifully detailed.

We are introduced to the story by an elderly woman who meets with a couple of men, because they seem to have unknowingly written a book about something that she knows actually happened. They call her 'Cinderella,' but the woman knows her as Danielle. The dusty pages of the book open and we are brought into the bright, colorful world of a young girl. That world soon becomes dark and evil when her father dies and she is taken in by the Baroness Rodmilla (Angelica Huston) as a servant. She struggles under the weight of understanding her heart and rebelling against Rodmilla.

The most noticeable element in this production is the story. Compared to the original Cinderella stories, this is far better, taking an amazing twist off the traditional plot. While keeping the same ideas of romance and being treated unfairly, we see more realistic events in this film. The acting performances almost equal the incredible plot. Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston's performances are outstanding, but Megan Dodds (Marguerite), Melanie Lynskey (Jacqueline) and Anna Maguire (young Danielle) are also unforgettable. These actresses make the difference between a good movie and a great movie. Also woven throughout the story are breath-taking costumes. At many points, I just stared at the screen in awe. One example is when Danielle dresses up near the beginning of the film with the help of Gustave (Lee Ingleby). She wears a pressed gown with white lace and some nice shoes. The truly mind-blowing detail is her hair. Bravo to her hairstylists! Not only in this scene, but throughout the entire film, her hair always seems to be perfectly styled. When she is serving Rodmilla and her daughters, she has her hair down, but it is still pretty. Once she goes into the village as a courtier, her hair is braided, styled and commonly topped with an accessory that always matches. Without these fantastic attention to detail, this film would not be what it is.

The message becomes clearer as the film develops - work hard, always stay positive and treat others fairly. Danielle goes through a period of grieving, but then she slowly starts to realize that she must move on, even when it means working hard to feed and serve her stepmother and stepsisters as they insult her. She stays positive all the time, which is very important for her apparent destiny to come true. The sympathy we feel for Danielle when her stepmother is cruel to her can all be traced back to treating others fairly. This is the most important message in this film.

Ever After: A Cinderella Story is one of the best films I have watched. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. You can find it on Disney+ and other streaming services now so look for it.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CHRISTMAS WITH A CROWN
CHRISTMAS WITH A CROWN - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Cassie and Nicolas are from different worlds. All Cassie wants is to revive her town's Holiday Winter Festival, a tribute to her mother, who created the event many years before. Hope strikes when she meets a mysterious visitor, Nicolas, who has an interest in holiday tradition. But Nicolas has a secret: He's a Prince. It's going to take a Christmas miracle of Royal proportions to save the day.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Christmas with a Crown will warm your heart. The story captures love, the importance of family and tradition all in one holiday package.

The story follows Cassie heading back to her hometown for the holidays when she learns that the Christmas festival, her late mother's passion project, is no more. She quickly gets to work to recreate the event in her mother's memory and to help raise funds for the struggling library. She meets Nicolas, an out of town stranger who helps her plan the event. As they grow closer and Christmas grows near, Nicolas works up the courage to tell her his royal secret.

Cassie (Lisa Durupt) and Nicolas' (Marcus Rosner) love story takes the focus, with settings and scenes of the film fading into the background. Arthur (Michael Lazarovitch) plays a strong supporting role with a nice touch of amusement. Walt (John Treleaven) and Melinda (Diana-Marie Stolz) support Cassie on her journey towards the event and give off vibes that a little love might be bringing them closers as well.

Christmas with a Crown showcases the importance of family and tradition, especially during the holidays. The initial meeting of the main characters shows a bit of rudeness, but that quickly dissipates and the remainder of the Christmas with a Crown features only the positive message of family, teamwork, working towards a common goal, and tradition.

I give Christmas with a Crown 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It is available December 1, 2020 on Digital and DVD.

By Angela G., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Christmas with a Crown is a lighthearted Christmas fairy tale. When their two worlds collide in a small town during the Christmas season, Cassie and Nicolas must work together to make their dreams come true. It is a story about love, the importance of family and the true meaning of Christmas.

This holiday film is about a woman named Cassie (Lisa Durupt) who returns to her hometown to visit her dad (John Treleaven). When she learns her community's, beloved library is in danger of closing forever, she decides to take on the Holiday Winter Festival that her mom used to do each year to raise enough money to save the library. She meets a stranger named Nicolas (Marcus Rosner) who decides to help her take on the challenge of getting the festival ready in time for Christmas. As they work through their own personal problems time is ticking on the deadlines for their decisions. Little does she know he is keeping a royally big secret.

One of my favorite scenes is when Cassie and Nicolas are ice-skating together. The rink setting is beautiful when the light hits the snow which creates a soft glow and forms a romantic mood. The skating rink is decorated with trees and lights that fit the mood of the Christmas season. I also enjoy the way the characters interact with each other. Cassie and Nicolas's relationship creates an interesting storyline. Their roller coaster relationship keeps it intriguing. Cassie's relationship with her dad is also heartwarming and touching. It really reflects the importance of family that the movie tries to stress. I like how the film has a surprising twist that involves how the two main characters families are intertwined.

The message embedded in this film is that people should follow their hearts. A lot of times, following your heart may not be easy, but it can be worthwhile in the long run. Both Cassie and Nicolas are facing difficult decisions. Just like these characters, ordinary people often face decisions where they are being pulled in different directions by other people and must decide for themselves what is right for them.

I give Christmas with a Crown 4 out of 5 stars. It is somewhat predictable, but it has interesting twists that keep it entertaining. I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18. Adults who enjoy Christmas movies will enjoy it as well. The movie will be available December, 2020 on digital and DVD.

By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Christmas With A Crown is full of Christmas spirit. The cast and sets are amazing and it really put me in the Christmas mood.

The story follows Cassie, a woman living in New York, who decides to spend Christmas in her hometown, Winderville, and an undercover prince, Nick, who wants to find out about the 'winter festival,' a tradition, created by Cassie's late mother, celebrated on Christmas Day. When it looks like the town's library is on the verge of closing, Nick and Cassie might just have to join forces to bring it back. How will Nick's mother react? Will they save the library? Watch Christmas With A Crown to find out.

The cast and sets are great. The actors are all amazing and play their characters to a high and realistic standard. Lisa Durupt stars as Cassie and, although she has been in many films and TV shows, this is one of her first starring roles, and she performs amazingly well. Marcus Rosner (Once Upon A Time and Arrow) joins her as the undercover prince, Nick. He plays his part to a very high standard considering he had to play his role in both an English and American dialect, switching regularly between both. The sets are my favorite, especially the ice skating rink where Nick and Cassie share their thoughts about their homes, families and Christmas traditions. My favorite part of the film is when Arthur, the prince's right-hand man, finds out Nick is pretending to be a 'commoner' in Winderville. His reaction is priceless. The Christmas music in the background made me want to get up and dance. It really makes me wish it was Christmas today.

The message of the film is that two is better than one and that you shouldn't hide away the truth from the people that care about you.

I give Christmas With A Crown 4 out of 5 stars. It is enjoyable but quite predictable. I recommend it for ages 6 to12, plus adults. This film is available on Digital and DVD December 1, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Christmas with a Crown is sure to be a holiday classic! With romance, conflict, comedy and some nutmeg, this film leaves us wanting more. It's the perfect film to get you into the Christmas spirit.

When Cassie (Lisa Durupt) returns home for the holidays and finds out the local library is in danger of shutting down, she carries out a plan for a Christmas festival as a fundraiser. She meets and falls for tourist Nicolas (Marcus Rosner), who is hiding his true identity of being a prince. They work together to get the festival ready in a short amount of time, with the help of the town.

The film really brings meaning to Christmas. Cassie follows in her mother's footsteps of hosting the yearly Christmas festival, remembering how "Christmas starts with us." Nicolas really learns the importance of family and the holidays, how Christmas is a feeling, not a place. His butler really steals the film! Arthur (Michael Lazarovitch) has the perfect timing with his snarky comments. How he reacts to this town which is completely different than what he's used to. His bewilderment is awesome. The funniest scenes are Arthur and Nicolas talking, with Nicolas switching accents, from Veronian to American. Their friendship is strong, and develops from master and servant to best friends. Along with a great romance between protagonists, there's a great friendship to watch as well.

The phrase "Christmas starts with us" is repeated throughout the movie, which is the message of the film. Nicolas learns from Cassie that Christmas traditions are the ones you make, along with the memories. There are no audience warnings for this film.

I give Christmas with a Crown 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 plus adults. It is available December 1, 2020 on Digital and DVD.

Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BENNET SONG HOLIDAY, A
BENNET SONG HOLIDAY, A - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Description - Mrs. Song is expecting a baby to add to their diverse roster of 14 adopted children and the family will team up to stop a developer who wants to close down the community center. Love, teamwork, and holiday magic are sure to save the day!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A Bennet Song Holiday is a family-friendly movie that revolves around friends and family. The movie also touches on good moral values that you should imbibe as a teenager.

This story is about a family with 14 adopted kids work together to stop a developer that wants to close down the community center and how they work together, aided by a little holiday magic to overcome the situation.

The film is a bit slow paced, but I like that it shows the importance of moral values and gives examples of how kids can take responsible actions, help each other and give back to their community. The story is a bit predictable and sometimes jumps through the scenes without much context. It takes about 30 minutes to completely understand what is going on in the film. Kids may need patience to sit through the first half hour. The screenplay just doesn't quite weave a captivating story. It does show how kids can patiently work through things and how to take responsible steps to help everyone around you. My favorite part is the acting. You can see that the actors (Corbin Bernsen, Dennis Haskins, Calhoun Koenig, Bruce Xavier and more) put in a lot of effort throughout the movie.

It also touches on the topic of racism when an elderly businessman or a couple treats some Asian Americans poorly. We see how the individual tries to tackle the problem with a smile and without retaliation. I was somewhat dissatisfied that it touches on these sensitive topics yet does not address how to deal with the problems or why it is necessary to curb such behavior.

This film definitely uses the right vocabulary for its target audience. And, the music enhances the theme of the film, which really gets to kids.

The message of the film is: Take care of your family and friends and act responsibly.

I give A Bennet Song Holiday 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by Laxmi D., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Bennet Song Holiday is an inspirational movie! It is inspirational because it shows how a few kids can make a difference and it includes a character that is deaf. Also it shows how kids and teens work together to save something and that is meaningful. This movie is very fun and touching.

The story is about a mother and father and their 14 adopted children, plus one uncle who team up to stop a developer from closing down the community center.

There is a group of all girls that shows some real girl power, which is pretty cool. Also, they have a program where they teach ASL (American Sign Language). It's necessary to so that because the uncle who lives with them is deaf. Another cool thing is that the teens actually teach the various subjects such as sign language and music. My favorite part of this film is when the kids have a fundraiser and they made a song about the theme, which is quite catchy. The only thing lacking in this film is the performances of the actors. They don't seem to really embody their characters, for the most part. However, I still liked the film.

The message of this film is that when you get knocked down, get back up and keep trying. This family loves making a difference in other people's lives.

I give A Bennet Song Holiday 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by Saniyarain F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.99 Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SONIC BOOM: ROBOT UPRISING!
SONIC BOOM: ROBOT UPRISING! - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 5-12
Description - It's a Sonic you haven't seen before Wherever he goes and whatever he's up against, Sonic the Hedgehog is aided by his sidekick, Tails, and his friends Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks and, of course, attacked by his arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Sonic is back in Sonic Boom: Robot Uprising with his usual wise-cracking, fast talking...well, fast everything! This DVD includes eight episodes (four of these are parts of one story) and runs for 90 minutes. It begins with the story "Robots from the Sky" in which Sonic and his friends Tails, Knuckles, Sticks and Amy must defend themselves when a past mistake turns into a robot civil war. Robots from Morristown, a robot utopian planet, try to recruit others. Unknown to them, they are infected with malware and are controlled by a vengeance-seeking robot. The robot uprising theme continues in the episode entitled "Strike!" in which Dr. Eggman's robot minions become fed up with their maltreatment and decide to strike until their demands are met. With help from Amy, the robots and their evil overlord come to a compromise...but not necessarily in the way she had hoped. In "Evil Dr. Orbot" Dr. Eggman needs to pass a test to get his evil permit--but forces one of his robot lackeys to take it for him. After Orbot downloads the textbook, he begins devising his own evil plans. Will he replace the evil genius Dr. Eggman? Sonic fans won't be disappointed with these action-packed animated stories. I recommend this for ages 5 to 12 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Christine R., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - You have "got to go fast" in this new action-packed DVD Sonic Boom: Robot Uprising! with everyone's favorite super-powered hedgehog Sonic Boom. This DVD is running with 600 miles per hour speeds, fantastic animation and plenty of action-packed scenes. While it has amazing animation and action-packed scenes, unfortunately, it doesn't have the best dialogue and didn't grip me as much as I thought it would. Sonic Boom: Robot Uprising starts off with our favorite hedgehog team, Sonic (Roger Craig Smith), Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey), Knuckles (Travis Willingham), Rose (Cindy Robinson) and Sticks (Nika Futterman) as they are attacked by everyone's favorite eggtastic villain, Dr. Eggman (Mike Pallok). Later, Sonic and friends encounter a couple of recently crash-landed robots, and the team learns of a mysterious robot world in the sky. One day the robots suddenly go evil! The team must uncover the mystery and save the robots of this world.

I am a long-time fan of Sonic the Hedgehog. I was nervous about viewing this DVD because I have high standards for this character. I was not disappointed. I would like to give major congratulations to the Animation Director Riash Tadeo Shahnawaz for overseeing and creating such beautiful animation with a beautiful set of characters. My criticism of this DVD is with the dialogue. The dialogue is extremely basic and doesn't really go into as much depth. I feel that if the writers took a little more time to work on the script, it would be a lot better.

This DVD is entertaining for children, with comedic action and plenty of jokes that young kids will understand. The characters DVD provide very important examples for children, like the importance of charity, teamwork and more. It also promotes many morals. When something gets in your way, problem-solve and think out of the box to reach your goal!

Sonic Boom: Robot Uprising goes above and beyond Sonic's top speeds, and provides an entertaining, action-packed story that all children will enjoy, but lacks clever and gripping dialogue. I give Sonic Boom: Robot Uprising 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 12. You can find Sonic Boom: Robot Uprising in stores or at your digital retailer. Check it out.

Reviewed by Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

This colorfully animated Sonic Boom: Robot Uprising! DVD is great for young kids! The voice-over actors add silliness and comedy to the scenes, and the theme song and other sound effects are great elements as well. Plus the animation is truly incredible. There isn't much of a story, and the one there is, is a bit difficult to follow with all of repetitive action and combat. This DVD includes (eight) fifteen-minute-long episodes all together. Four of them are part of the same general story. Sonic (Roger Craig Smith) and all of his friends have to decide which robots to befriend, knowing that whomever they don't choose become their enemies. The other four episodes are individual but similar in the way that Dr. Eggman is the Antagonist.

The highlight of this collection of re-released episodes is definitely the animation. It's bright, detailed and full of imagination. It's a little kid's dream world! I applaud the animators, voice-over actors and foley artists on their spectacular work. One thing that definitely has room for improvement is the storyline. The animation and acting are great, but a TV show needs a story, even if just for each individual episode. Most of the time I only see fighting and have no idea what is going on. Although this might be great for younger kids, who are just interested in seeing their favorite characters come to life, older kids will probably get bored after a few minutes. Overall, this the greatest, but also possibly the only flaw of these select episodes.

The message is that teamwork and friendship are important. Sonic and his friend have to use teamwork to face off against Dr. Eggman and his robot bad guys. There are some arguments, but the protagonists work it out and learn their lesson, the way little kids should take away that lesson. This is okay, but I think actually saying the lesson to be learned helps people understand it better. There is only some mild cartoon violence, but nothing inappropriate or extremely violent takes place.

I give Sonic Boom: Robot Uprising! 3 out of 5 stars and recommend the DVD for ages 4 to 7. The DVD is available now so look for it.

Reviewed by Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Runtime: 90 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99 Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HELPSTERS
HELPSTERS - APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 2-5
Description - Cody and the Helpsters are a team of monsters who love to solve problems. Whether it's planning a party or mastering a magic trick, the Helpsters can figure anything out - because everything starts with a plan.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - An entertaining and educational show, Helpsters will keep preschoolers glued to the screen when it is on TV! This Sesame Street-esque live-action show with unique plotlines and lovable characters also teaches kids problem-solving skills and the basics of coding!

Helpsters follows five friendly monsters who love solving problems. They are Cody (Stephanie D'Abruzzo), Heart (Ingrid Hansen), Mr. Primm (Martin Robinson), Scatter (Tim Lagasse), and Jackie (Jennifer Barnhart). Each episode consists of two parts; the Helpsters solve two sets of problems from two sets of people. And everything starts with a plan, as they like to say... or rather, sing! The fun five devise a plan of action and then use sequences (here's where the coding basics begin) and specific, simplified instructions to execute that plan and help their friends, like Astronaut Amrita and Robbie and Rhonda Runner.

As a toddler, I loved puppet-based shows; they seemed so real! And, even as I've grown older, I've grown to recognize the skill of the puppeteers in creating the illusion of life. Sorry if that spoiled the magic for anyone... No, but seriously, the puppeteers behind Helpsters show great prowess. Also, the production value of Helpsters is very high--the sets are intricately designed and the amount of thought that went into something as small as the transition scenes is jaw-dropping. Kudos to Alex Fox, Rachel Lewis, and Michael J. Cargill ! I would lastly like to highlight two superb characters, whose performances I really enjoyed. Heart (Ingrid Hansen), the massive orange monster, is so endearing, despite his massive size. His simple style of speech belies his massive heart -- thus the name, I guess! Scatter (Tim Lagasse), the scatterbrained dude in blue, fulfills his role of comic relief well, and I definitely laughed at several parts. And a third character also entertained me! Cody--the ringleader of the bunch--is super caring and sweet; Stephanie D'Abruzzo channels her inner child in acting the part.

Helpsters is a super cute and, actually, a really educational series! I can guarantee you that your preschooler will definitely learn some great problem-solving skills from this show. Besides its innately educational nature, Helpsters also spreads a message of helping your friends whenever possible and having patience throughout trying times.

I give Helpsters 4.5 out of 5 stars and would recommend this show for ages 2 to 5. Helpsters is coming to Apple TV+ on October 2, 2020.

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 2-5 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GHOSTWRITER: SEASON 2
GHOSTWRITER: SEASON 2 - APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Description - When a ghost haunts a neighborhood bookstore and starts releasing fictional characters into the real world, four kids must team up to solve an exciting mystery surrounding the ghost's unfinished business.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Though it has incredibly intricate plots and will provide children with much knowledge about literature, unfortunately Ghostwriter doesn't hold viewers' attention past a few episodes. I'll explain why very soon... but first--the story!

Ghostwriter follows four middle-schoolers (Ruben, Chevon, Donna, and Curtis) who team up to solve a mystery haunting their neighborhood. The ghost of Ruben's grandmother haunts his grandfather's bookstore; she has some unfinished business and communicates with her grandson and his friends via a typewriter. She releases the characters of several notable books to help them piece together the puzzle of her last wish. And it's up to the group to solve the mystery. That's all fine, but each episode is a part of a story: Episode 1 is Part 1 of "Ghost in Wonderland", Episode 2 is part 2 of that story. Episode 3 is Part 3 ... well, you get the gist. The show consists of three main plotlines which are split into two or three parts by episode. When I watched the show, I felt the script could have been tightened and each storyline could have taken up just one episode; there were parts that dragged on and parts that felt unnecessary to the development of the story. This is the one big drawback that I found in the series.

There were many strong performances. I especially enjoyed the performance of Isaac Arellanes as Ruben and Amadi Chapata as Chevon; Isaac Arellanes is skilled at emoting and delivers his lines clearly. Chevon's character is almost a trope by now--the bookworm who has a super fun personality, but I love the character nevertheless! Amadi Chapata especially shines in high-tension scenes, where she delivers lines naturally and with poise. Also, Neil Patrick Harris is super fun, energetic and entertaining as The White Rabbit! His performance will have you hopping! The music by Erica Procunier and set design by Jef Silver, Mark Jaworski, and Robin Hinter both caught my ear and eye, respectively. The suspenseful, deep intro of the show sets the mood, and the sets provide for an immersive visual experience. There are also some awesome special effects!

Ghostwriter promotes messages of teamwork, learning through exploring fictional worlds, and helping your friends out. There are some things parents should look out for: at two or three points in the film, Curtis yells at his sister Donna. One time, his parents yell at Donna. The topics of parental separation, as well as death, are brought up several times throughout the film. Also, considering the film is called Ghostwriter, there are a lot of ghost-y things in this show, like haunting, invisible forces typing, people roaming attics, and so forth.

I give Ghostwriter 3.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults may enjoy this show as well. Ghostwriter: Season 2 debuted October 9, 2020, Exclusively on Apple TV+
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FARMER AND THE BELLE, THE: SAVING SANTALAND
FARMER AND THE BELLE, THE: SAVING SANTALAND - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Sparks fly between a famous model and a farmer with a young daughter, when she visits her childhood home. The town is in danger of losing their beloved Santaland festival, but miracles can happen with a little love, family, and faith.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland has a positive message in a unique story.

When Belle was a little girl her grandma tried to instill good values into her, giving her a bracelet to remind her of what is important in life. On the other hand, her mother wanted her to focus more on her beauty to become a NYC model. As an adult, when her world starts falling apart, Belle goes back to spend the holiday in a small town that is home to Santaland to try and find her grandma's bracelet she lost there years before. Instead she finds childhood pen pal, Josh who she starts to fall in love with. Belle helps save his Santaland while realizing beauty is much more than skin deep.

The production is well done although at times the storyline seems a bit farfetched even though it is inspired by a true story. Belle Winters is played by Jenn Gotzon and Josh is played by Jim Chandler.

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland shows that beauty is not what is on the outside, it is on the inside and is shown in the things you do. Your value is not based on appearances or the number of social media follows. True love is found when you respect and use your gifts to serve others.

I give The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It will be release on digital and DVD on November 17, 2020.

Reviewed by Angela G., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is a charming, modern Christmas love story. It reinvents the whole true meaning of Christmas and what is truly important. It definitely left me with the Christmas spirit, the belief that true love is possible, and that miracles can happen.

The movie begins when a grandmother gives a young girl, Belle, a charm bracelet with charms that are engraved with inspirational words. One day, she wears the bracelet when she visits her pen pal Josh's farm. While she's there, an incident causes her to become upset and leave. She later realizes she has lost her beloved charm bracelet. Years later, Belle (Jenn Gotzon Chandler) is a successful model who is getting older and worries that her beauty is fading. She remembers the charm bracelet with encouraging words and decides to return to the farm to look for it. She wants to read the words and hopes that it will make her feel beautiful again. She goes back and Josh is still on the farm with his young daughter. She learns that Santaland festival is in danger of closing down forever. Josh (Jim Chandler) and his daughter, Adele (Adele Chandler), try to help her find what she is looking for.

There are several scenes that I found heartwarming and many that are exciting. There are even some surprises. One of my favorite scenes is the one at the Santa Games at the Santaland festival. There is a lot of action and it is hilarious. This makes it very enjoyable for viewers. Jenn Gotzon Chandler really connects with her character, Belle and shows great emotions; she really puts herself into her character's shoes.

This movie leaves viewers with a beautiful message. It shows that true beauty is not about a person's outside appearance. It is what is on the inside that really counts. Looks will fade but beauty on the inside never does. Being kind and giving is what makes a person truly beautiful. This film also teaches the power of forgiveness and how it can lead to happiness.

I give The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Many adults that like holiday movies will also find this film very enjoyable. This film will be available November 17, 2020 by Vision Films. By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

I like The Farmer And The Belle: Saving Santaland because it's a cute romantic story. I love romantic stories because they typically have a happy ending. Who doesn't love a feel-good ending? The acting isn't as strong as the storyline, but I still enjoyed it.

The Farmer And The Belle: Saving Santaland is about two pen pals, Belle (Livi Birch) and Josh (Benji Russell), who are really good friends. They both think about becoming farmers when they grow up. However, after they go to the Santaland festival where Josh tells Belle to take photos by the pigs, Belle falls in the mud, loses her bracelet and changes her mind about becoming a farmer. As they grow up, Belle (Jenn Gotzon) becomes a very famous model, while Josh (Jim E. Chandler) is a farmer who has a daughter named Adele (Adele Chandler). They are completely opposite of each other. Belle is selfish, but Josh is nice and kind. They meet again because Belle wants to find her lost bracelet. While Belle is focused on finding the bracelet, Josh is trying to save Santaland. Even though they have different goals and values, they end up helping each other and find out that miracles can truly happen.

The camera angles in this film make you think you are in the room with the characters, so you feel like you are part of the story. The music, especially that by John Schneider, is upbeat and very danceable. I love the inclusion of animals in the film. When the characters go to Santaland, there are pigs, cows, chickens, goats and horses. They are all fun to see, since I don't see many of these animals where I live. My favorite part of the film is when Belle plays the role of a donkey in a nativity play because it is super funny.

The message of the film is that you should be nice to everyone and avoid being selfish. If you are rude to people, most people won't like you. It is important to treat others the way you want to be treated, and to know what is important in life. When Josh, Adele and Belle decorate a Christmas tree together, Belle realizes the importance and the true meaning of Christmas.

I give The Farmer And The Belle: Saving Santaland 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 13. This film is available November 17, 2020.

By Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is an inspirational story with a combination of Christmas, romance, comedy, sadness and family. I like this film because of those elements and because some parts of this movie are based on real life events.

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is about two children who are pen pals named Belle (Livi Birch) and Josh (Benji Russell). Josh lives on a farm named Santaland. Every Christmas, Josh's family opens the farm to the people in town to amuse them with games and music. One Christmas, Belle visited Josh at his farm. Belle shows Josh a beautiful bracelet her grandma gave her with multiple charms which has different messages on each charm. Then Belle sits on a pigpen fence and accidently falls inside the muddy pigpen. The children laugh at her, which hurt's Belle's feelings, so Belle's grandma takes her back home. Belle's mom tells Belle she is beautiful no matter if the children made fun of her because she was covered in mud. She told Belle she was going to be a famous model, then Belle realizes that the bracelet her grandma gave her was missing, that she left it at the farm. Belle had stopped going to Santaland to see Josh and her lost connection, until she feels the need to go back to find her bracelet. That's when miracles start to happen.

The film is very high quality the music and songs are appealing and add a lot to the scenes and storyline. I love the set, which is mostly the farm and the farmhouse. The cast, including the children, are all talented actors. Singer and actor John Schneider and singer Beckah Shaeare part of the cast.

The moral of The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is that true beauty comes from inside of us not from our looks. Is very important to know that having a beautiful heart is much better and more beautiful than how we look or how we dress. Beauty is to help people and make them happy like Belle helped Josh with Santaland. This film's extraordinary message will bring families together, especially around Christmas time.

I give The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland movie 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it to ages 5 to 18, plus adults will enjoy this magnificent film with their children and family as well. The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is coming to select streaming services on November 17, 2020. It is a "must-see" movie!

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

When I saw the movie trailer for The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland, I was hooked! I had to see this movie because I love Christmas and farm animals. The trailer certainly does its job-- I'll tell you that!

The Farmer and The Belle is a Christmas love story between a famous model named Belle (Livi Birch), and a kind farmer named Josh (Benji Russell) who is raising a young daughter named Adele (Adele Chandler). His small town is in danger of losing a longtime tradition called "Santaland Festival" and is hoping a for a miracle to save it. I relate mostly to the character of Adele. She seems happy and comfortable on the farm amongst her animal friends. The supporting characters also include Belle's trusted stylist, Cassidy (Natasha Bure.) There are also musical cameos, and special guests like John Schneider and syndicated radio host, Delilah.

This film is produced by the two lead actors who wanted to make a film based on their own life.

The style is fun, light and warm which makes it the perfect holiday movie! There is a good lesson wrapped inside the story; it doesn't matter if you are beautiful on the outside. It only matters if you are beautiful on the inside.

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is a good movie but incredibly dense. There is a lot going on. The message is a bit repetitive, and it feels a little long. But, overall it's a solid movie which was enjoyable to watch.

I give The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland 3 out of 5 stars. This film is perfect for ages 8 to 18 and adults would like it too. The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland debuts November 2020, just in time for you to make it a Christmas favorite!

By Izzy C., KID FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is a very fascinating movie! I really adore it. Especially how remarkable Belle Winters (Jenn Gotzen) plays her role throughout the entire movie; what an extraordinary actress!

The storyline is about two friends that get disconnected, Belle (Jenn Gotzen) wants to be a model when she is older and Josh (Jim E. Chandler) wants to be a farmer. Belle is given a special bracelet by her grandma wish inspirational quotes. One day while reflecting on memories from the bracelet that she lost when she was young, Belle decides that she wants to return to her hometown to search for it. Once returning home she realizes the real reason why her and Josh got disconnected over the years.

The main character Belle (Jenn Gotzen) is my favorite, because she is a model. When she goes back to Santaland to look for her bracelet she doesn't act like she is better than anyone else. She is very humble and carries herself professionally. The music really drives the movie, I enjoyed how the words of the music matched some of the movie clips. I was also surprised by how abrupt the change of scenes are. Additionally I noted that, over the years, nothing changed in terms of the house, farm or the small town.

The message of the film is to not be so quick to give up on a friendship without knowing a person's back story.

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is a beautiful movie. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. It will be release on digital and DVD on November 17, 2020.

By Deena H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95 Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WAR WITH GRANDPA
WAR WITH GRANDPA - 101 STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Description - Sixth-grader Peter (Oakes Fegley) is pretty much your average kid-he likes gaming, hanging with his friends and his beloved pair of Air Jordans. But when his recently widowed grandfather Ed (Robert De Niro) moves in with Peter's family, the boy is forced to give up his most prized possession of all, his bedroom. Unwilling to let such an injustice stand, Peter devises a series of increasingly elaborate pranks to drive out the interloper, but Grandpa Ed won't go without a fight. Soon, the friendly combatants are engaged in an all-out war with side-splitting consequences.

Based on the award-winning book by Robert Kimmel Smith, The War with Grandpa is a hilarious family comedy featuring an all-star supporting cast: Christopher Walken, Uma Thurman, Rob Riggle, Cheech Marin, Laura Marano and Jane Seymour.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Just when you think you've seen it all, 2020 brings you Robert De Niro flying a drone into Uma Thurman's head in The War with Grandpa. The fantastic film with an all-star cast is sure to become a family favorite! While the story is familiar, familiar fan-favorite actors make it worth the watch.

Tim Hill directs this timeless tale of the importance of family. Robert De Niro plays a set-in-his ways grandfather to Peter, played by Oakes Fegley. When daughter Sally (Uma Thurman) insists her father move in with the family, Ed (Robert De Niro) is hesitant. Peter, once optimistic about the time he can spend with his elder, is quickly startled by the news that his beloved grandfather will be stealing his room. Now, a war ensues as both struggle to realize the good that has come out of this inevitable situation.

I love the cast of this film with Laura Marano as Mia, Oakes Fegley as Peter and scene-stealer Poppy Gagnon as Jennifer - the three children of Uma Thurman and Rob Riggle. Cheech Marin, Jane Seymour and Christopher Walken play friends of Ed that get involved in the prank war. The script includes jokes for the kids and also some fun references for adult viewers. My favorite scenes are those between De Niro and Gagnon, as their granddaughter-grandfather relationship is absolutely adorable!

The message of The War with Grandpa is about the importance of family. While Peter learns this lesson from his grandfather, Ed learns it as well. You should know that there are a few instances for parents to look out for, including nudity references and some language. While there is some minor violence, it isn't anything to make the film unsuitable for children. After all, it is rated PG.

I give The War with Grandpa 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 15, while also being enjoyable for adults. The War with Grandpa opened in theaters October 9, 2020.

Reviewed by Erin M.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Grab your popcorn and sit down for a wild ride because we are talking about the new hit family movie, The War with Grandpa! The War with Grandpa shows off unexpected pranks and comedic scenes, and also displays fantastic character development and a hilarious plot. The film provides an amazing cast you just can't get enough of, and many life lessons/morals presented in unconventional ways. This movie is silly in all the right kinds of ways; however, some dialogue seems a little too immature and completely unnecessary.

The movie starts off by introducing the Decker family, a somewhat crazy family with a daughter who wants to see her boyfriend, a little girl who wants to celebrate Christmas in September, and a middle school boy named Peter (Oakes Fegley) who loves his shoes! When their Grandpa (Robert De Niro) starts to not be able to care for himself, he is forced to move in with his family. There is one problem-- he has to take Peter's room, and Peter is not happy about it. Peter thinks there is only one solution to get his room back.... WAR! Peter and his Grandpa start the ultimate prank battle. You will never see the end coming!

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I was confused. I have such a high standard for Robert De Niro because of all the amazing movies he is in, like Taxi Driver and The Irishman. I initially thought The War with Grandpa would waste talent like his, but I was very wrong. Robert De Niro in this film is outstanding, and it was a breath of fresh air from all the extremely serious movies he has done before. Roe Baker did an outstanding job casting everyone in this movie.

The War with Grandpa really does provide many lessons and morals in unconventional ways. Under all the pranks and silly jokes, this film teaches you that even when you don't want to give up something up you love, think about who it could help if you did. The War with Grandpa is rated PG, for some rude humor and mild language.

As Peter declared war on his Grandpa, I declare a rating for The War with Grandpa of 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend The War with Grandpa for ages 8 to 12. You can find The War with Grandpa in theaters on October 9, 2020.

Reviewed by Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The War with Grandpa is the perfect film for the whole family! It is funny, has great actors and delivers a feel-good message to all of us.

This movie is about a boy named Peter (Oakes Fegley) who is your average sixth grader. But, that all changes when his Grandpa Ed (Robert De Niro) moves in with his family. Neither Grandpa Ed nor Peter like the new living arrangement, because grandpa loses some of his independence and Peter loses his bedroom. A secret "prank war" ensues as Grandpa Ed and Peter try to outdo each other until someone gives up.

This film is based on the best-selling book, The War with Grandpa, by Robert Kimmel Smith. Thanks to Tre Peart, the executive producer, this movie was made. When Tre was in the third grade, he came across the book and suggested to his parents that they should make a movie about it. And here it is! The script is hysterical and takes many lines directly from the book. Also, the amazing cast includes Robert De Niro (Grandpa Ed), who plays a terrific, immature, but loving father and grandfather. Uma Thurman plays a stern, but wonderfully caring mother (Sally), and Oakes Fegley plays Peter, an excellent prankster protagonist. The supporting cast consists of terrific A-list talent including Rob Riggle, playing a "cool dad." Christopher Walken and Cheech Marin team up with Grandpa Ed to make him even more immature. My favorite part of the movie is all the creative ways Peter and Grandpa Ed find to prank each other, and sometimes other members of the family (sorry Sally).

The messages of the movie are about the importance of communication within a family and respecting your elders. Also - trampoline dodgeball solves everything.

I give The War with Grandpa 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 13. Adults will also enjoy this movie. This movie is scheduled to come out in theaters on October 9, 2020.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I just love The War With Grandpa with all the great actors like Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman and others that take it to another level of comedy. I thought this would be a good comedy, but it turned out to be even funnier than I thought it would be. At times like these, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we need more movies like this that are enjoyable, funny and interesting.

The storyline is about a war between Peter (Oakes Fegley) and his grandpa (Robert De Niro). Peter and his grandpa had a really close friendship, but it is tested when grandpa moves into Peter's bedroom. Peter is forced out of his comfy bedroom into the attic, which gives Peter enough of a reason to start a prank war with grandpa. Their pranks are so funny; they had me laughing at the edge of my seat. And the fun part is that Peter's parents had absolutely no idea this war was going on. I can't even get started on Peter's little sister, Jenny (Poppy Gagnon) who is so sweet. She is always so nice to her grandpa. You could say that Jenny is the "Queen of Christmas" because she always wears Christmas shirts and her whole side of the room looks like a Christmas factory.

This film is absolutely amazing. It is definitely a fun family film. Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Rob Riggle make up an impressive cast. The camera work is wonderful and I love the settings.

The primary message of this film is that fighting is never the answer to anything, because you can get yourself hurt or hurt other people. Another massage to not be so attached to your things and learn to share, especially with your grandpa.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters October 9, 2020 so look for it. Reviewed by Sara G., KIDS FIRST!, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CHILDREN OF THE SEA
CHILDREN OF THE SEA - GKIDS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-15
Description - CHILDREN OF THE SEA is the latest feature from Japan's STUDIO4�C (known for Tekkonkinkreet, MFKZ, Mind Game, Animatrix, Batman: Gotham Knight, and others), and is directed by Ayumu Watanabe, with a score by award-winning composer and longtime Studio Ghibli collaborator Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro). CHILDREN OF THE SEA is adapted from the manga of the same name by author Daisuke Igarashi, which won the Excellence Prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival. When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea as she does. Ruka's dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the oceans' fish.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Full of intense imagination and interesting concepts, Children of the Sea is sure to captivate its audience. This Japanese fantasy film offers its viewers a tremendous amount of excitement and appreciation for nature. It's full of exploration and great artistic design. Some of the film's themes are difficult to connect with, yet the Children of the Sea keeps its viewers engaged and curious with its amazing animation.

The film is about a young, somewhat troubled teen named Ruka, who finds herself challenged by the relationships of her peers and her mother. During troubling times, Ruka is drawn to the local aquarium where her dad works -- a place she visited often and found comfort in as a child. Many mysteries of the ocean confuse Ruka over the years but when she meets Umi and Sora, two brothers believed to be raised by dugongs, marine mammals, their knowledge of the ocean seems to shed light on those mysteries. After Ruka spends her summer with Umi and Sora, she discovers that she, too, has this supernatural connection to the sea.

A big "thumbs up" to the animation department in this film for bringing the mystic ocean and its creatures to life! Children of the Sea kept us glued to the screen with its combination of animated drama, fantasy, and mystery, from scene to scene. The detailed and colorful environments of the sea, is by far my favorite part of the film. Although the story is challenging at times to follow, this film is a visual masterpiece.

Children of the Sea contains some deep concepts, and its message is difficult to understand. Mysterious ocean sounds that seem to trigger a global migration of sharks and whales in this film may be the film's best message. These sounds, which are part of the ocean's mystery, could affect the future of all life on Earth. Everything that surrounds us is connected, and we must find balance within the greater universe. Man and nature must live in harmony.

I give Children of the Sea 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Children of the Sea may be more appreciated by adult nature lovers who could better appreciate its message and in-depth concepts. This film can be seen on blue-ray, DVD, and digital streaming.

Reviewed by Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SKY DOG
SKY DOG - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - After a high school senior working on his pilot's license rescues a dog named Oreo, he finds out his mom is a CIA agent who's been captured. He teams up with Oreo and a new friend to find his mother and uncover double agents inside the CIA.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - An enthralling watch, Sky Dog will capture kids' hearts and surely become a fixture feature film in many households. The high production quality, intriguing script and fast-paced action all make for a pleasant viewing experience. In a crowded segment of action/spy films, Sky Dog undoubtedly stands out.

Sky Dog follows the life of Colt Lifestone, a high school senior who has his heart set on getting his pilot's license. After a fateful revelation regarding Colt's mom's job and news of her kidnapping, Lifestone finds himself uprooted from all he knew to be normal, in a new home, new school and with two mysterious guardians. Colt teams up with his new friend Alice to find out what's really going on... and solve some mysteries in the process.

Both the characters of Colt Lifestone (Daniel Knudsen) and Alice Jones (Vickie Lynn Smith), the protagonists of the film, come across as confident and strong. However, Knudsen's shaky or robotic delivery can jerk the reader out of the magic of the story at times. There are many other actors involved in the "above-the-line" element of Sky Dog, and I especially enjoyed the performances of Mimi Sagadin (as Sheila Porter) and Rocco Guirlanda (as Agent Dewitt Porter). They sold their antagonistic roles to me and stirred up emotions in my heart, a difficult feat for many films. Sagadin, specifically, truly commits to her character--her performance seems to me to be the most genuine of all. Now to other talent on the film. Daniel Knudsen and Tim Kaiser directed Sky Dog; Mark Knudsen wrote the script and Kristina Kaylen led the production effort. All of these individuals show exceptional talent, but one member of the production crew shines above all: Samuel Joshua, the mind behind the film's original music score. The musical score would have to be my favorite part of the film. A mix of simple tunes, orchestral pieces and regal John Barry (James Bond films)-esque trumpet fanfares -- the music of Sky Dog adds much to the film and makes the viewing experience that much more enjoyable.

The message of Sky Dog is twofold: always do the right thing, no matter what it takes, and recognize the heroes around us. In terms of an advisory, parents should be aware that Porter mistreats Colt at two or three points in the film. Also, Colt and Alice steal a plane and defy the rules. There are also thematic elements in Sky Dog, such as kidnapping and weapons, that would not be advisable for young children.

I give the film Sky Dog 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for kids aged 12 to 18. Adults may enjoy the movie as well. Sky Dog is coming to you, online and on DVD October 20, 2020!

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Sky Dog is a very exciting movie and I enjoyed it. This movie keeps you curious about what will happen next. Also, there is a turn of events that keeps you very engaged throughout. Lastly, there is a hero in this movie and everyone loves a hero. This film has all the components to make an absorbing and delightful movie.

This film is about a teenager named Colt Lifestone (Daniel Knudsen), who is just a normal teenager until he discovers that his mom (Jeannine Thompson) is a CIA agent and is in danger. Colt is determined to rescue her with the help of a friend and a small dog.

The mood of this movie is hopeful and suspenseful. This is really a film that teenagers will enjoy. Written by Mark. A Knudsen, this film has an interesting storyline that is filled with emotional, action filled scenes. For example, when the CIA goes on a mission the audience follows along. This part is very intriguing as we watch the mission unfold. The most exhilarating part of the film is the ending, when Colt faces the bad guys. This is when the pieces of the puzzle come together and give the film its final touch. The camerawork is great, especially all the various camera angles. Daniel Knudsen, who plays Josh, is a well-known actor and film director. Daniel Knudsen's acting is very natural, but there is lack of emotion. For instance, when he finds out that his mom is in danger, he doesn't show much concern about it. Moreover, Oreo (Rosie Berryer), is Colt's dog. Oreo is loyal, smart and plays a big part in helping Colt and his friend. In this film, the mom's acting is very expressive. You can really see the emotion in her face and that's what makes her a great actor.

The messages of this film address determination and teamwork. Colt is not one to give up and this really helps him become a hero. The saying "two heads are better than one" is proven in this film. When you work together with others, it is more likely that the outcome will be great.

I give Sky Dog 4.5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Adults will like it as well. You can find this film on Digital and DVD October 20, 2020.

Reviewed by Ginebra Q., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Sky Dog is a great suspenseful movie that lots of kids, especially those that like planes, will like. The film is also fun to watch.

The movie is about a teenage boy who wants to become a pilot and then, rescues a dog named Oreo. When Colt Lifestone (Daniel Knudsen) figures out that his stepdad (Tim Kaiser) and mom (Jeannine Thompson) are CIA agents his life is turned upside down. In one part of the movie, Colt tries to convince his protectors that he might have figured out a way to get back his mom, but do they listen or not?

I like the scene when Colt's teacher talks about what true heroes are and how to be one. The character that I like the most is Alice Jones (Vickie Lynn Smith). She is a good friend and is mostly with Colt when he needs her. She is not an ordinary friend. She always believes in him and what he says. My favorite part of the movie is when Alice and Colt work together to find his mom. They have to deal with some dangerous people but they do not let anything stop them. They work together and come up with smart ideas such as putting a bad guy to sleep by sneaking some sleeping pills to his drink. They then end up getting away with their ideas and go on to find Colt's mom.

The message of the film is that you can be a hero without any special powers.

I give Sky-Dog 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 10. You can find Sky-Dog on October 20, 2020 on digital and DVD.

Reviewed by SaniyaRain F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95 Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CANDY PLANET
CANDY PLANET - SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-8
Description - Getaway for an awesome summer vacation with Rainy and her mom on a faraway rainforest planet made entirely of Candy. When Rainy's mother is accidentally turned into a living-Candy -- it will be up to Rainy to save her mom from a world of outrageous characters in the sweetest places... Candy Planet.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoy the vibrant color scheme of the animated film, Candy Planet. There is a copious amount of neon and bright colors. It visually appealing to me, so I assume it will also be appealing for children. Sometimes there are unnecessary scenes that slow down the pace of the high energy adventure. For example, when the film cross-cuts between the adventure and the residents of candy planet, I know it is necessary to show both places, but it seems as if the candy planet scenes are there to add runtime rather than give the viewer information.

The storyline is about a mysterious robot appearing and zapping Rainie's mother, Eileen, into a piece of candy. Rainie and her friends follow the robot to discover it is trying to take Eileen back to the candy planet. Along the way, Rainie and her friends discover the truth about candy planet's existence and during their adventure, they learn the meaning of friendship.

I like how the viewer is omniscient while the characters are more restricted in their knowledge of the candy planet's ruler, Gordon's true intentions. This technique may reduce the surprise of the "big reveal," but the viewer still experiences tension while the characters discover Gordon's motive. The film starts in the middle of things, which makes the viewer intrigued instantly. Besides the extra added fluff, which can be easily looked over, it's still a good storyline. Everything gets explained thoroughly.

This film is animated and doesn't employ an array of varied camera angles. With the action scenes, of course we receive some medium and close-ups that connect us with specific characters emotions, but other than that the camerawork is fairly simple. The costumes that Rainie's friends wear are ornate and correlate with her friends being from an otherworldly jungle, hence their skin is blue. I like the various different planets and how each one has a specific theme. One is frozen; one has attacking candies which resemble Venus flytraps; one is a molten lava planet. Each planet also presents a different obstacle the characters need to overcome.

The music and sound effects work well. Both appropriately connect to the scenes in which they are paired. The music in the dance scene that Rainie and Gordon share is upbeat; each time they step on a button it beeps to the beat. Fun fact, the character that voices Rainie, Cherami Leigh, is an adult and not a child. Leigh's range in voice-acting is great. The key influencers are the editors and the storyboard creators. With animation, production process is a little wonky due to editors starting towards the beginning of the process rather than the end. Creating storyboards for any film is tedious, but especially with animation, because if someone decides to cut a single second out of the original storyboard, the creators have ultimately wasted time when it is cut. The same idea applies if something is added later.

This is small, but having the main character as a young girl and not a young boy can potentially inspire young girls to lead and embark on their own heroic journeys. One of the simpler messages is of friendship. Working together with people that care for one another, through the good and bad moments, results in a stronger and more loving friendship. An implicit message of this film is karma. Whether that be good or bad, like Gordon reluctantly becoming a piece of food, which he turned people into for years, unwillingly. A positive example of karma is when Rainie's mother explains to her that since she has a kind heart, she'll attract kind people in her life. What you put out in the world, positive or negative affects you, so you might as well make it a positive. One other message is that you can't subdue your emotions or bad experiences. The more you suppress them the bigger it explodes in the end. If Gordon communicated with his brother about how he genuinely felt, Rainie and her friends would have never endured his wrath.

There are a couple of fights, but they are more like tackling between the antagonist and the other characters. There is no graphic violence. My favorite part is the ending because Gordon receives karma. He's turned into a piece of food, which is what he was doing to other people for years. A lot of the characters in this film are voiced by actors with a long list of prior work such as Cam Clarke, Robbie Daymond and Dorothy Elias-Fahn.

I give Candy Planet 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 3 to 10. It is a cute, adventurous film and it actually presents important messages.

Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Candy Planet is an interesting animated movie that younger kids will definitely find entertaining. It is somewhat predictable and some of the characters are kind of strange. The dubbing is very good and lines up pretty well with the animation.

The storyline is about a young girl, Rainie and her mom who go to a magical jungle for a vacation. They find a mysterious present outside their door and discover it is a magical camera that turns people into candy! Rainie's mom turns into a living chocolate bar, and to save her, Rainie and her friends fly to her rescue and get dragged to Candy Planet. There they meet Gordon who is not who he seems. Find out what else happens when you watch Candy Planet.

This movie is aimed at a younger audience, because the humor is basic and the storyline is simple. Even though it is somewhat predictable, it is an original idea, and I appreciate that. The movie's dialogue was initially in Chinese, so it is dubbed in English and it syncs up better than I expected. The animation is well produced. It looks similar to other animated movies, but has a uniqueness of its own. The characters are not very well-developed. There is little background on the characters and you have to guess what their relationships are. Speaking of characters, my favorite is Powderpup, the candy dog that they meet along the way. He is adorably cute.

The primary messages are about friendship and teamwork. Even though this movie is aimed at showing the importance of friendship, Rainie does make rude remarks towards her friends.

I give Candy Planet 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. It is available now on Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNow and other streaming platforms.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Candy Planet is a 3D animated movie with a unique story. It has great animation and lots of bright colors throughout. It is a fun movie with lots of emotion. Due to the short run time of the movie (75 minutes.), it seems very fast paced, but that doesn't stop it from being a good film. I also really like the villain of the movie.

The storyline is about a girl named Rainie (Cherami Leigh) and her friends getting transported to a world inhabited by candy people after her mom gets turned into a candy. Rainie and her friends have to go through tests to turn her mom back into a human. The villain of the movie, Gordon (Todd Haberkorn), is the leader of the candy planet and tries to get Rainie to lose her friends and her belief in friendship. The only complaint I have with this movie is that it's never explained how Rainie became friends with the blue jungle people. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the story.

The voice actors in the film are very good, especially Cherami Leigh who plays Rainie. She gives a fantastic performance, which is probably due to her extensive voice acting experience. I also really liked Robbie Daymond's performance. The voice actors are the best part of the movie as they really stand out. The animation is excellent as well; I really like all the colors in the movie. They make the movie feel more fun and playful. I also really like movies that are 3D animated. My favorite scene is when they're running on different planets, trying to get to the test.

The main theme of the movie is about friendship and how important it is. Throughout the movie, Rainie is tempted by Gordon that she doesn't need her friends and that they slow her down. Although friendship is a strong theme in a lot of animated movies, I think Candy Planet utilizea that theme particularly well. The film doesn't have anything that parents would worry about except a couple of fight scenes, which aren't too bad.

I give this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 10. You can find Candy Planet now on iTunes, Amazon digital, Google Play, Vudu and FandangoNow.

Candy Planet is an animated film that is perfect for younger kids who like a good adventure about friendship.

The storyline follows a girl named Rainie (Cherami Leigh), on vacation with her mother, when a camera comes along and turns her mom (Dorothy Fahn) into a candy and takes her to a planet made entirely of candy. Of course, Rainie and her friends have to save her and due to a slight error in judgment, Rainie ends up having to save her friends along with her mom.

My favorite part of the movie is the beginning when some cute animals are turned into doughnuts and taken to the candy planet. The animals are super cute and act funny. I enjoyed the way Cherami Leigh voices Rainie, because she really takes on her character and her vocal expressions relay her emotions perfectly. The part of the film that sticks with me most is how all the voice actors convey emotion solely through their voices. The way Dorothy Fahn plays Rainie's mother, you can hear the concern for her daughter. There are a few other actors in this movie that stand out to me. For example, Robbie Daymon, as Blue, changes his voice throughout and makes his character come to life. This movie is in 3D animation, which is very well made. The characters are clear and the background doesn't overshadow the characters. The sound effects sound real and make it sound like the cameras are taking pictures. With all the action taking place, the sound effects are important to enhance the story. It is very well paced and keeps the viewer wanting to know how the characters will solve the next problem they face. The music is suspenseful throughout, which adds intrigue to the story development. The colors are all bright and happy, reflecting the candy and making it intriguing to younger viewers. My eyes were drawn all over the place because it is all so bright and exciting.

The message of the film is about trusting your friends and working with them to complete a task. If you don't trust your friends they will stop trusting you.

I recommend Candy Planet for ages 4 to 7 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. You can find it now on Google Play movies, Prime video, Hulu and Netflix.
Juror Recommended Age: 5-8 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99 Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CAMP ARROWHEAD
CAMP ARROWHEAD - SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS
Series: FEATURES, AGES 7-16
Description - 19-year-old Sophie Walker attends a summer camp to help her get over the loss of her mother. She attends as a worker and is initially made fun of by some rich girls at the camp. But when the rich girls realize they need another girl for the archery team, they invite Sophie to join. Meanwhile, Sophie has met a mysterious man in the forest named Percy who claims to be an archery coach. Sophie gets Percy the job as team coach and Percy proceeds to turn the girls into lethal archers. Along the way, Percy also helps Sophie come to terms with the loss of her mother - in an unexpected and magical way.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - From an adult's perspective, I feel Camp Arrowhead tries to tackle a lot of themes including death of a parent, disabilities, religion, sport competitions, a mystery, and more. Maybe children watching wouldn't recognize that, but the film tries to tackle a lot of ideas in a short amount of time, so some ideas don't seem as fleshed out as others. The excellent camerawork makes it much easier to get through.

The story follows Sophie, a teen whose mother has recently passed, who discovers that her father needs to go out of town for work. Not wanting to be sent to her younger cousin's house for her summer vacation, she reluctantly goes to Camp Arrowhead with her friend April to work at the camp that caters to rich teens. Throughout the film Sophie encounters various other characters that influence her and teach her lifelong lessons.

The camerawork is very well done. The lighting always looks great and is never too dark nor too bright; almost every shot looks perfectly balanced. I enjoy the superimposing image of Sophie's face dissolving into the image of the car driving to Camp Arrowhead. This happens at the beginning of the film so it insinuates to the viewer that there is going to be a significant connection between the two. I also like shallow focus shot when Percy sings and Devin's mother is behind her in the shadows and is out of focus. She is in contrast with Devin who is in focus and not in the shadows. It represents how Devin's mother is always lurking behind her and watching her every move to try and control her life. The sets and locations are very relatable and believable. The camp location encapsulates a typical teen camp location that I have seen in many other films. Finding a good location for shooting in the woods is typically hard, but the woods in this film looks great and realistic. The music relates well to each scene. The score used for emotional scenes evokes somberness and the music used for uplifting montages matches the action.

Percy is the character who influences the rest of the cast in certain ways they need to change. For example, Percy helps Tyler realize his strength and how smart he really is. Percy is very all-knowing and guides these characters into their respective changes. The other key influencer is most likely the editor. The editing is seamless and there aren't any awkward cuts. It flows well.

The message, as clich� as it sounds, is about how love, compassion and understanding conquers all. This has a religious theme, that comes in quite unexpectedly. I don't mind it, but feel as if it should have been addressed earlier in the film because it seems to come out of left field. As it is, it is just very abrupt. You should know that there is a death of a parent mentioned, but it is not in any way graphic. There are some typical camp shenanigans throughout the film, but it is just some petty pranks.

What this film reinforces is the idea of understanding others' struggles. We truly do not know what others are going through, such as Devin dealing with her over-controlling mother. As soon as Sophie treated Devin with respect, she experienced a very different side of her. An interesting part is when Sophie's phone message finally is sent to her deceased mom despite saying "undelivered" for months. Utilizing her phone to concretely present the abstract idea of her "sending the message of love" to her deceased mother is clever.

I give Camp Arrowhead 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 9 to 13. I love the cinematography and editing; the production values are great, but the storyline is a bit all over the place.

Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Camp Arrowhead is a heartwarming film with an inspiring message. It is a story about overcoming tragedy and never losing hope. When you have friends and you work together, sometimes miracles happen. It is a fast-paced film with lots of laughter and adventure.

The storyline is about 19-year-old Sophie Walker (Tori Keeth) who recently lost her mother and volunteers at a summer camp to avoid staying with her cousins. A kind and mysterious man named Percy (Donnie William) gives her and her friend archery lessons and they both become ace archers. The camp bully, Devin Dupree (Chloe Lukasiak), really wants to win the archery competition and she is determined to win the competition no matter what. Along the way, Sophie comes to terms with her loss, in an unexpected and magical way.

One of my favorite parts of the film is the talent show scene. The songs are beautifully written and performed. Sophie sings a heartfelt song that touches everyone dearly. The emotions she expresses and the lyrics of the song really pull you in and grab your attention. Percy sings an upbeat song that leaves everyone feeling good and lifts the mood. Other characters also give talented performances. Chloe Lukasiak portrays her role as the bully in a believable way. Jennifer Aquino who plays Candace and Carter Southern who plays Tyler also bring their characters to life. The campground setting is perfect for the film. The natural setting, the camp buildings and the archery equipment really makes it all seem very real. I really enjoyed watching the characters develop and grow while they at camp.

The messages in this film are about forgiveness and love always prevail. Forgiveness allows peace and love and leaves viewers with hope.

I give Camp Arrowhead 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this movie to ages 7 to 16, plus adults. This film is available now on digital channels including iTunes, Amazon digital, Google play, Vudu and FandangoNow.

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

I really enjoyed this fun and adventurous movie! Camp Arrowhead is set in an authentic American summer camp. The actors all give genuine and believable performances. The film delivers a positive emotional message and feel-good factor.

This story follows 19-year-old Sophie (Tori Keeth), whose mother has recently passed away and she hasn't been the same since. She joins her best friend, April (Joy Regullano), to work at Camp Arrowhead as her father thinks it would be a good idea for her to work through her grief. She wanders into the wood and meets an unusual old man who might just offer the help she needs and, when the archery team require some new recruits, Sophie and April are up for the task. They join the archery team and learn about the importance of family, friendship and teamwork.

The production is very professionally made and the cast are incredible. Chloe Lukasiak (Dance Moms) plays her performance as the stuck-up, posh and snobby brat, Devon Dupree, especially well. Tori Keeth (Henry Danger) takes on the lead role as the heart broken Sophie Walker, with great emotion and feeling. Donnie Williams plays the role of Percy, a character who is mysterious and helpful in a warm and friendly manner. The supporting cast are great and each plays their role to a high standard, adding to the overall performance. The set is very realistic and in keeping with the storyline. I especially love the cabins. They look so warm and cozy. The music helps set the scenes whilst not distracting from the movie, and the character performances. My favorite part is towards the end of the film when Percy leaves a surprise gift, that leads Sophie to a very special place. I don't want to spoil it for you all, so can't say any more than that.

The message of the film is of uplifting friendship, and that time helps to heal emotional pain. We watch the girls struggle through a social divide, initially clashing, then put their differences aside and forming a bond through teamwork. It also teaches us the importance of forgiveness, no matter what you've done.

I give Camp Arrowhead 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 15, plus adults. This film is available now on digital channels including iTunes, Amazon digital, google play, Vudu , and FandangoNow.

Reviewed by Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Camp Arrowhead is a family-friendly film filled with laughs, drama and the hope that you have an open-mind.

With Sophie's dad going away for work all summer long, she decides to work at Camp Arrowhead with her close friend for the summer. Camp life has its challenges, especially since Sophie's mom died just a few months ago. With the help of new friends and a mysterious older man named Percy, Sophie learns the art of competitive archery and the gift of being able to communicate with her mom.

I enjoyed this movie because the plot is unpredictable and has a happy ending. Directors Timothy Armstrong and Fernando De La Cruz created a movie that generates a range of emotions. The magical theme was a surprise and includes some plot twists. Actor Donnie Williams' performance as Percy makes the magical character believable, while at the same time creating a well-loved movie character. Tori Keeth, who plays Sophie, creates a character that you hope will be able to find happiness. With the strong supporting cast you find yourself rooting for multiple people. The cinematographer, Ferguson Sauve-Rogan supports the film's message by creating authentic settings that carry the magical and realistic theme throughout the movie.

A common theme of the movie is to believe in yourself and have faith. Many of the characters in the movie confront and overcome difficult obstacles. Although the movie promotes many positive messages, some subtle racial inequity exists. Most likely this is not what the producers wanted, but it provides a good opportunity to bring awareness to discrimination in films and creates the chance to have an open and honest conversation about racism.

I rate Camp Arrowhead 4.5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14. You can watch Camp Arrowhead now on iTunes, Amazon digital, Google Play, Vudu and FandangoNow.

Reviewed by Calee N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Camp Arrowhead is a new feature film aimed at tween girls about friendship and loss that reminds me of a Disney Channel movie, but falls short. I wanted to like this film, but the pacing feels slow and the writing is awkward. The movie also solves all of its characters' problems too easily.

The storyline is about a 19-year-old girl, Sophie Walker (Tori Keeth), whose mother died a few months ago. She is angry at herself because she argued with her mom before she died and Sophie never had a chance to make up. Her friend is going work at Camp Arrowhead and invites Sophie to join her. At camp she ends up making friends with the rich mean girl campers, finds romance with the camp director's grandson who is in a wheelchair, and makes peace with her mom's death with help from a special friend.

The sets and locations are realistic. The costumes quickly identify teen girls at a summer camp. There are some special effects at the end, but they are not very high tech. My favorite character is Sophie's friend April (Joy Regullano), who is very upbeat and nice to everyone. The other lead character is Devin (Chloe Lukasiak), who is a stereotypical mean rich girl who is under lots of pressure to win at archery from her mean mom. She changes after she invites Sophie and April to join the archery team and they become friends. The movie has a strong moral message that is delivered through an older character, Percy, whom we later learn is not what he first appears to be. My favorite part of the film is the montage where Percy teaches the girls archery.

The message in this film is that kindness and forgiveness (especially of yourself) will make everything better. It feels religious by using symbols such as a cross and angel and talking about heaven. The message is positive. I just don't like that everyone's problems are solved so easily at the end. Most of the negative behavior such as revenge and cheating is handled when characters apologize or have consequences like getting disqualified.

I give this movie 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 through 14. This film is available now on digital channels including iTunes, Amazon digital, google play, Vudu, and FandangoNow.

Reviewed by Sammi B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 7-16 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MAMBO MAN
MAMBO MAN - CORINTH FILMS
Series: FEATURE 14-18
Description - It is the story of a Cuban farmer and music promoter who gambles everything on a deal that appears too good to be true.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Mambo Man is an incredible Cuban flick! One not to be missed, especially for those of the Cuban culture. Relatable and a great family film.

Mambo Man is about a Cuban named JC (Hector Noas) who is both a farmer and a music promoter, popular on the island for his music. When his friend, Roberto (David Parez), appears out of the blue with a business offer JC cannot refuse, JC is left scrambling to find fifty thousand dollars. Throughout the film we see JC and his family struggle with their everyday life. We see how poor the island is and posters of Fidel Castro, whether praising or fearing him. Throughout the film, Cuba is shown in its poverty--overcrowded, with residents looking for work for food and money. Mambo Man doesn't hide Cuba's flaws nor does it glorify the country, but rather shows the day-to-day life of the island's inhabitants.

Another plus is the authenticity: the whole cast is Cuban and the movie is filmed in Cuba. (As a Cuban myself, I enjoyed seeing these shots of where my father grew up.) The entirety of Mambo Man is in Spanish with subtitles, with people rarely speaking English. At times, the subtitles do not match what the dialogue really says. Some lines are changed, sometimes phrases and expressions aren't included. Some of my favorite scenes are those that include music, especially traditional Cuban music made for dancing. The soundtrack includes wonderful songs that many Cubans can recognize. Mambo Man has incredible shots of the countryside of Cuba, too, such as JC's farmland, and when he and his chauffeur, David (Alejandro Palomino) drive through the city and countryside.

Overall, the main plot of the film feels extremely rushed, and the not-so-needed scenes drag on for way too long. For example, at one point, JC's friend steals ten thousand dollars from him. We never meet his friend, Omar, so it seems odd to have a character who is pretty unrelated to the plot steal such a grand amount of money. Also, there are parts in the film where tourists visit JC's farm that are longer than necessary. It would have been much better to meet Omar rather than see tourists that have no effect on the storyline. In another example, JC's wife, Rita (Yudexi De La Torre Mesa) is angry with her husband about how much money he is risking, and then in her next scene she talks about how losing a huge sum of money is no big deal, and that family is what is important. We miss her character development, and it seems peculiar how in one scene she nags JC about almost losing their home and in the next she shrugs it off.

The message of the film is that family is what matters most, not money, as JC learns towards the end. There are many uses of adult language; some shown in subtitles, and some not included but still said in Spanish. Heavy alcohol and tobacco depictions are shown as well.

I give Mambo Man 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. It premieres on virtual cinema on September 11, 2020.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MR. SOUL
MR. SOUL - CRITERION PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Mr. SOUL. Ellis Haizlip ensures the Revolution will be televised with "SOUL!," America's first "Black Tonight Show." From 1968 to 1973, the public-television variety show SOUL!, guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an unfiltered, uncompromising celebration of Black literature, poetry, music, and politics-voices that had few other options for national exposure, and, as a result, found the program an improbable place to call home. The series was among the first to provide expanded images of African Americans on television, shifting the gaze from inner-city poverty and violence to the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. With participants' recollections and a bevy of great archival clips, Mr. SOUL captures a critical moment in culture whose impact continues to resonate.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The documentary Mr. Soul! is entertaining and touching! It is remarkably interesting and makes you want to research more about Ellis Haizlip. He made a huge difference in the way African Americans were shown on television by creating his own show called "SOUL!. This movie focuses on African American music, dance and literature and how Mr. Haizlip used his program to show Black talent in positive ways.

Mr. Soul! is a movie about Ellis Haizlip's life as the creator, co-host and producer of an TV show featuring Black performers called SOUL!. It tells the story of Haizlip, the show, and the talent he showcased. You hear about his life and accomplishments from the performers he had on SOUL! and from his friends. You also see different footage from SOUL!, and pictures from Haizlip's personal life. The documentary also demonstrates how Haizlip went from being the producer of the show to also hosting it.

The main character is Ellis Haizlip. I love how kind he was and how he always made SOUL! fun for everyone. He gave so many different people opportunities to show off their talents on SOUL!. The director, Melissa Haizlip, is a talented storyteller. She uses different elements such as a narrator (Blair Underwood), videos from SOUL!, interviews from the shows' guests, and testimonies from his friends to tell Mr. Haizlip's incredible story. The movie includes great music from different Black culture genres such as Gospel and R&B. There are incredible dance numbers and bands shown that were also on the show. The film has some funny parts, and it will take you through different emotions, which makes it more interesting. I was incredibly surprised to learn that Mr. Haizlip was a television host before Oprah Winfrey and that he was a musician before he became a TV host.

The message of this film is that anything is possible and that sometimes you have to take risks to get where you want to be in life. For example, when Mr. Haizlip's friend decided not to host the show anymore, Mr. Haizlip took a risk and became the host and made history. Parents might need to look out for the use of the "N-word" in the beginning in a short video clip from one of the show's acts and mentions of suicide.

I rate Mr. Soul! 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 13 to 18. Adults will love it as well! Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD, THE
PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD, THE - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - A modern take on Charles Dickens's classic tale of a young orphan who is able to triumph over many obstacles.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This new film adaptation of Charles Dickens's original story David Copperfield is one that nobody should miss! The costumes and sets are superbly designed to take you all the way back to the 1800s. The acting performances and storyline just add to the strengths of The Personal History of David Copperfield. The only weakness is that the plot is somewhat confusing and a bit hard to follow. But otherwise, this film is definitely a must-see.

David Copperfield (Dev Patel) is an orphan whose mother marries an evil man. David is forced to work in a bottle factory and live with poor Mr. Micawber (Peter Capaldi). The plot follows him as he grows up, makes friends, and goes through hard times.

My favorite parts of The Personal History of David Copperfield are the costumes and sets. Every costume that appears fits the time period, character, and suits the storyline. Even the hair styles, hats and shoes are spot on. Dora's (Morfydd Clark) hair style, in particular, matches her personality. A lot of scenes throughout the film take place in England, in locations such as London, Bury St. Edmunds and King's Lynn. The locations and sets also help make the time period clear, and express the general mood of the movie. Another thing that stands out is the acting performances. Tilda Swinton (as Betsey Trotwood) delivers my favorite acting performance, but the film is well-cast and most of the actors are strong in their roles.

One weakness that stands out to me is that the plot is a bit confusing. The storyline has a lot to give if only it could be more clear about what is going on. At times, I am not sure if what is being shown is his imagination, a memory, or if it is actually happening. Younger kids might not understand what is happening and might miss important elements of the story.

The message is to not judge someone by the amount of money they have. For parents to know, there is a little bit of physical fighting but not much. There are also a couple scenes and a bit of the storyline based around alcoholism and being drunk.

I give this comedy- and drama-filled film 4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 11 to 18 and adults. The Personal History of David Copperfield can be found in theaters beginning August 28, 2020.

Reviewed by Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ONE AND ONLY IVAN, THE
ONE AND ONLY IVAN, THE - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Description - A gorilla named Ivan tries to piece together his past with the help of an elephant named Ruby as they hatch a plan to escape from captivity.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - With realistic computer-generated imagery and a profound message, The One and Only Ivan captures its viewers' hearts and minds. Throughout the ninety-four-minute feature, just about anyone will grow rather fond of Ivan and his pals. The film comprises a mix of human characters, settings and assets created with computer graphics that is both believable and intricate. The One and Only Ivan flows magically, and its power-packed message has been perfectly preserved and magnified from its literary inspiration.

The comedic feature film directed by Thea Sharrock is an adaptation of author K.A. Applegate's Newbery Medal-winning book by the same title. The title character, a silverback gorilla, headlines at the Big Top Mall Circus in Atlanta, GA. Ivan enjoys notoriety and popularity far and wide for his fa�ade of ferocity. He lives quite happily with his multi-species troupe of friends, including Mack, the ringleader, Stella and Ruby, the elephants, Henrietta the chicken and Bob, the dog. After experiencing a loss and then a new arrival, things at the Big Top take a turn. Ivan devotes himself to piecing together his past and, in the process, works together with his buddies to hatch a plan to escape from the circus.

Produced by Allison Shearmur, Angelina Jolie and Brigham Taylor, The One and Only Ivan does not disappoint when it comes to star power. Sam Rockwell voice-acts the part of Ivan, Bryan Cranston portrays Mack, and Bob is voiced by Danny DeVito. Sam Rockwell puts forth a compelling performance; his honest and emotional voicing of Ivan made me sympathize with the gorilla and hear his voice on a deeper level. Bryan Cranston puts on an inspiring and enthralling performance as Mack, the slightly hammy ringleader who isn't afraid to take risks. His delivery was on point, as well. And lastly, a veteran in the Hollywood film industry, Danny DeVito - his comic timing, as in his other eighty-nine performances, is impeccable. Bob adds a lighter air to the film, especially at some sad moments. The hilarious script by Mike White, expert cinematography and graceful, powerful music also work together to make the viewing experience even more enjoyable. My favorite part of this film is the final circus performance - you'll have to watch it to see why!

This Disney+ film gives us hope that we can all change the world and make a difference just like Ivan does - not only does he make a difference in his life but also in the life of his young responsibility. The One and Only Ivan is also a great film to show children as it teaches them empathy and promotes kindness and altruism. There is mention of death in The One and Only Ivan, and gunshots are heard.

I rate The One and Only Ivan 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend the film to children ages 8 to 18. The One and Only Ivan is coming to Disney Plus on August 14, 2020!

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FATIMA
FATIMA - PICTUREHOUSE
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Based on historical events, three young shepherds in F�tima, Portugal, report visions of the Virgin Mary, inspiring believers and angering officials of the Church and the government, who try to force them to recant their story.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fatima is a definite must-see film for those of the Catholic faith. A phenomenal period masterpiece that pulls at your heartstrings. A film that should not be missed. Fatima brings light to a true story that many do not know.

Fatima tells the true story of three young children who met the Virgin Mary and were witnesses of "The Miracle of the Sun." The movie opens up with Professor Nichols (Harvey Keitel) as he visits Sister Lucia (Sonia Braga) in a nunnery in 1989. They talk about the happenings from Lucia's past in 1917 Fatima, Portugal. The film goes back and forth between both years. We see a young Lucia (Stephanie Gil) with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto (Jorge Lamelas and Alejandra Howard) meet the Virgin Mary (Joana Ribeiro). After that fateful day, the story breaks out and the children are faced with a harsh reality.

The true standouts of Fatima are its young actors. Stephanie, Jorge and Alejandra show the struggle of being called "liars" when telling the truth. The kids are called out by their parents and are given the cold shoulder by many in the village. This never stops them--they stand by the truth with faith in their hearts. The movie concludes with The Miracle of the Sun which happened on October thirteenth, 1917, followed by actual photos of that day. The makeshift monument that was built in the movie is an exact replica of the monument in the photograph. It is appealing to see how much filmmakers worked on small yet important details such as this one.

The lesson to be learned from the film is to always have faith and believe in your truth. Time and time again, Lucia faces anger from her mother, who believes her daughter is lying about meeting Mary. Not once does Lucia give up, however; and she always prays, standing by her word. The topic of the Catholic faith may disinterest some audiences who do not share the same views. Considering that Fatima features the Virgin Mary, Catholicism is front and center in the movie.

I give Fatima 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18 plus adults. It is available in theaters August 28, 2020.

Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! AMAZING ANIMALS!, THE
CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! AMAZING ANIMALS!, THE - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 3-10
Description - The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! follows the adventures of 6-year-old best friends, Sally and Nick, as they are whisked off on extraordinary voyages of scientific discovery with the Cat in the Hat. Thanks to the Thinga-ma-jigger and our friends, exploring has never been more exciting! So let s go, go, go, go on an adventure, we re flying with The Cat in the Hat today!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Cat in the Hat, Fish, Sally and Nick learn about animals in The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! Amazing Animals! DVD which offers a collection of short episodic adventures. The four friends fly around the world in The Cat's special Thinga-ma-jigger, which allows them to safely travel to different animal's homes. Although the topic of animals and their ecosystems may be a more difficult concept for children to grasp, this series conveys information in a very kid-friendly way.

In one episode, Sally and Nick travel to a bamboo forest after The Cat (Martin Short) hears that they need a surprise birthday present for their stuffed animal, Pammy. Sally and Nick talk to Zhu Zhu, the panda, that lives in the bamboo forest who teaches them about a panda's diet, why pandas eat bamboo and how and why bamboo grows extremely tall.

All the episodes follow the same structure - Sally and Nick are in a predicament, The Cat takes them on an adventure relating to the problem and the children glean how to solve their original problem and also get a snippet of what life is like for various animals.

Some younger audiences might struggle with educational shows because sometimes they can be too wordy or complicated. With this series, the educational aspect is not heavy nor draining. Witty, funny dialogue and songs offer a bit of "stealth education" that translates well from the animals to Sally and Nick. This DVD gives children the confidence they need to learn new things and exit their comfort zones while exploring the world around them. I recommend this DVD to ages 5 to 10 give it 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the DVD The Cat in The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Amazing Animals! because all six episodes are super fun and exciting. Every episode features an animal that Cat in the Hat (Martin Short) and his friends, Sally (Alexa Torrington) and Nick (Jacob Ewaniuk), visit. It's interesting to find out what animal they get to meet. At times, the voices of the kids get a little annoying, but that might be because they remind me of my younger siblings. For the most part, the episodes are entertaining, and I think younger kids (the target audience) especially will love this DVD.

The Cat in The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Amazing Animals! is about the adventures that Cat in The Hat goes on with his two best friends, Sally and Nick. In one episode, Nick has trouble finding his yo-yo, so Cat in The Hat brings him and Sally to a red squirrel named Bucky, who teaches them how to find hidden things. Another story is about Sally wanting to learn how to do a somersault. Cat in The Hat comes back with an armadillo named Louie to help. Although the crew of friends needs to figure out a way to surprise Louie, so he can show how he rolls. You'll have to watch this episode to find out how they surprise Louie. You'll enjoy the other episodes as well, since each one teaches you about an animal.

My favorite part is when a fish hops out of the water multiple times and gets mad about it. He keeps getting shaken around and his facial expressions are hilarious. My favorite character in the collection is Cat in The Hat, because he is so funny and has a great personality. The animation is cute and I love how the characters make pretty much everything rhyme.

The message of this DVD is to work together to solve problems. Solving problems with friends is a lot easier than trying to figure them out by yourself. Most likely you'll learn something that you would have never guessed. An example of this is when Nick gets help from the red squirrel named Bucky to find his yo-yo. Bucky is more of an expert on finding and hiding things, so with his help, Jack has an easier time looking for his lost toy.

I give The Cat in The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Amazing Animals! 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 10. Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! The Cat In The Hat Knows a Lot About That! Amazing Animals! is a real treat for kids to watch! On the surface, it looks like seemingly goofy stories filled with silly humor, but when you look deeper, kids can learn a lot about the animals featured and the life lessons hidden within the story. Songs also play a large role and add an extra element of fun to the show. You might catch your child singing along.

Throughout the course of six episodes, viewers are taken on fun adventures with friends Sally, Nick and The Cat In The Hat in his Thinga-ma-jigger. In order to solve problems or learn new things, The Cat takes these kids to places with silly names like bam wama booboo or wobble bobble woods and we meet new animals.

My favorite part of the entire show is the songs. Sally, Nick and The Cat sing a fun go-getter song each time they embark on an adventure and it is so catchy. There is also another song in each episode that relates to the adventure they are on. But the music doesn't stop there. Often times, The Cat will simply sing and rhyme his dialogue, which I enjoy, because it doesn't sound forced like rhyming can sometimes sound. The animation in this show, especially the houses at the beginning of each episode, are really funky, which gives a unique texture that makes them look even more animated but enjoyable for kids. What also makes this show fun is how The Cat often appears from weird places such as a potted plant or a backpack. The fish that accompanies the three on each journey on the Thinga-ma-jigger also brings comedy to the show and one can't forget about Thing 1 and Thing 2 and their mischievousness. All these characters make the show completely entertaining. Honestly, I feel like I am back in my 6-year-old self when I watch this.

The viewer can take away a lot from this show. Each episode teaches something new about a different animal such as how some animals eat, protect their food and themselves or find their way when they are lost. Other life lessons are taught like asking parents for permission before you go on an adventure, being resourceful, finding positive solutions, thanking others when they help you, apologizing for scaring someone and eating vegetables.

I give The Cat In The Hat Knows a Lot About That! Amazing Animals! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to kids ages 5 to 10. This DVD is available now so look for it.

Reviewed by Anokhi L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Runtime: 66 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 3-10 Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99 Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
REBUILDING PARADISE
REBUILDING PARADISE - ABRAMORAMA
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Description - The community of Paradise, California, a town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, attempts to rebuild after devastating wildfires in 2018.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Rebuilding Paradise is a surprisingly engaging documentary about the town of Paradise, California. This film shows the aftermath of a very recent wildfire event, and, maybe it's just because I live in California and vividly remember news about the fires, but I found this film to be quite personal.

The documentary details how Paradise was destroyed by the wildfires in 2018, how it affected the townspeople and their hopes of rebuilding the town. A majority of the runtime is spent following townspeople and the hardships they face due to losing their town. These scenes are very raw and emotional, which is good for a film like this. However, my only problem with this film and how the story is presented is that the documentary doesn't really have a thesis. Initially this didn't bother me, until I realized it is somewhat contradictory to have several scenes showing council meetings and the townspeople speaking out against the government's handling of the situation, yet no clear answer to the presented problems. Towards the end, it feels like they are trying to make viewers forget about all the financial issues and displacement the fires caused, by showing happy scenes of local festivals and high school graduation. Those scenes are then juxtaposed with the segment dedicated to how the destruction led to a poisoned water supply, which has never really been resolved.

Despite this lack of singular point of view, I did genuinely get emotional during a lot of the scenes focusing on the townspeople. I mentioned I live in California and have had to evacuate due to fires. Now, what I experienced was nowhere near as heartbreaking as what Paradise experienced, but it was certainly terrifying and hard to process since it was so sudden. So I truly felt awful for these people. Especially since they go into detail about the history and legacy behind Paradise, even showing old film footage from decades ago, which surprised and also fascinated me.

I also want to discuss the first eight minutes of the movie. It's all just phone call footage and news reports on the fire as it was happening. It truly gives a sense of scale of the event in real time, and puts you in the shoes of the townspeople. It's intense and quite heartbreaking at points, and perfectly sets up the rest of the film.

I give Rebuilding Paradise 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It releases on July 31, 2020.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WIZARDS: TALES OF ARCADIA
WIZARDS: TALES OF ARCADIA - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 10-15
Description - Tales of Arcadia is a trilogy of American computer-animated science fantasy television series created for Netflix by Guillermo del Toro and produced by DreamWorks Animation and Double Dare You. The series comprising the trilogy follows the inhabitants of the small suburban town of Arcadia Oaks, which is secretly home to various supernatural creatures and the young heroes who fight against the forces of evil that lurk in the shadows. Currently, the first two installments of the trilogy, Trollhunters and 3Below, have been released worldwide. A third and final series of the trilogy, Wizards will August 7, 2020 on Netflix.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Guillermo del Toro's new series Tales of Arcadia: Wizards will enrapture its viewers because of its high-quality animation, detailed emotional rollercoaster plot and strong script. The eight-time Emmy award-winning team behind this production creates a whole new fantasy world to dive into with the intricate CGI in this show--the mesmerizing floating castle of Camelot, incredible flying contraptions and futuristic technology complete the look. Designed with the utmost care, the many characters of this show are illustrated with clear lines and realistic coloring for skin, whether human or monstrous, hair, fangs and even fingernails--now that's detail-oriented!

Now to the plot of Tales of Arcadia: Wizards. The main character in this TV show is Hisirdoux or Douxie, our favorite clumsy wizard-in-training. After a stand-off with the Arcane Order - an evil band of magicians led by the wily Morgana - goes wrong, the group of do-gooder wizards (Merlin and Hisirdoux, along with the Guardians of Arcadia: Claire, Toby, and Steve, as well as Archie and Jim) set off on a time-twisting adventure to the times of 12th-century Camelot. The control of magic, the nature of all the supernatural worlds, and Hisirdoux's status in his mentor's eyes all lie in the balance.

The plot is intricate and crafted carefully - there are several plot twists along the way, and all of the characters are nuanced and lifelike. Well, the ones that aren't monsters are lifelike. I found it very hard to peel my eyes away from the screen throughout the ten episodes! Surprisingly, for a fantasy series, I was unable to predict what would happen next!

A highly talented and vaunted figure in television series lore, Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, one of the many executive producers of the film, is well-known for his expertise in the industry. It shows in this TV series as well. Throughout the series, I found myself going through tears of joy and sadness, and cracking a super-wide smile at several parts. The script of Wizards, written by Andie Bolt, Ian Rickett and Lila Scott, was truly feature-film quality.

Colin O'Donoghue plays Hisirdoux; I found "Douxie" to be possibly the most nuanced of all the characters, and O'Donoghue is excellent at portraying all the facets of his personality. Steven Yeun plays Steve on the show, and he portrays the clumsy jock with comedic genius. Lena Headey plays the conflicted Morgana with finesse. Those are my three favorite characters on the show, with Archie as a runner-up - you have to love the cat/dragon's sarcastic commentary and incredible portrayal by Alfred Molina. Toby seems like an accessory character in this show and does not have much importance in lines or scenes.

There are several sweet messages incorporated throughout the show--messages of acceptance, perseverance, camaraderie and believing in yourself. The emotional development and maturing of Hisirdoux surely will cause you to shed a few tears as well, and you can't help but be proud of Callista, a troll with an interesting secret, for stepping up and casting aside what other trolls thought of her.

I rate Tales of Arcadia: Wizards 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it to children aged 10 to 15. Tales of Arcadia: Wizards is coming to Netflix August 7, 2020!

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 10-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS
WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS - ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - After getting expelled at his previous high school, Adam, a teenager diagnosed with schizophrenia who dreams of becoming a chef, strikes up a connection with Maya, who inspires him not to be defined by his condition. With the support of his family and his newfound romance, Adam becomes hopeful that he can be honest about what he struggles with and triumph over the challenges that lie ahead.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Words On Bathroom Walls portrays a wonderful example of schizophrenia in teenagers. It also adds a comedic essence to the illness, but it does not make fun of the disease. This movie is an eye-opener and a powerful phenomenon.

The story follows teenager Adam (Charlie Plummer) who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. He transfers to a Catholic school where he meets Maya (Taylor Russell). The two strike up a friendship immediately, and Maya tutors Adam. However, Adam is struggling with keeping the symptoms of his illness to a minimum.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder in which sometimes the person hears voices and has hallucinations. In Words On Bathroom Walls, we visually see a black cloud that torments Adam's mind. We meet three of the voices in his head which provide comedic relief with their big personalities: Rebecca (AnnaSophia Robb), Joaquin (Devon Bostick), and the Bodyguard (Lobo Sebastian). These comedic voices follow Adam and provide guidance along the way. We also meet Adam's mom and stepfather (Molly Parker and Walton Goggins) who help their son as best as they can.

Words On The Bathroom Walls, in its portrayal of Adam, definitely opens up a conversation that needs to be had amongst society: mental illnesses in teenagers. Adam feels as if there is no escape from his disease and as if he has to choose his sanity over his future. He feels pressured to be a perfect son, student and friend. He converses with his therapist throughout the movie and at one point he compares cancer and schizophrenic patients. He says when you're schizophrenic "people can't wait to make you someone else's problem." Adam feels as though his disease is a burden to himself and to his family.

The standout moral of the film is to not let your disease define you. Adam works hard to become a chef and he becomes frightened that he might not be able to graduate or work as a cook. However, he keeps working and overpowers his schizophrenia. He says that once he "was a bystander in his own life." In the end we see how he does not have any limits and how he now controls his life. Adam does not want to "end up on the bathroom walls," so we see him take the reins on his future. The depiction of this mental disorder might concern some viewers. A mature audience is advised.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Words On Bathroom Walls is available August 21, 2020 in theaters.

Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SUMMER FUN WITH MOLANG
SUMMER FUN WITH MOLANG - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD AGES 5-12
Description - Summer is here! Molang and Piu Piu are ready to make the most of it. From deep-sea diving and discovering underwater wonders, to meeting new friends and travelling in an RV, our two friends will live a summer bursting with fun, surprises and friendship.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - In the Summer Fun with Molang DVD Molang and Piu Piu are having a blast experiencing summer. Molang and friends are put in comical situations with a bunch of surprises during their summer adventures.

The characters in the world of Molang do not speak a distinct language and their adventures are more action-based and visually pleasing. Dialogue boxes that usually contain words, contain pictures instead to help the younger audience more easily understand what they think. The musical scores and beautiful pastel colors heighten the overall viewing experience as well.

On one summer day, Molang and Piu Piu are at a fair. Molang jumps up and down when seeing a unicorn stuffed animal at a carnival game. Piu Piu acknowledges this happy behavior from Molang and Piu Piu's dialogue box shows a picture of a unicorn and a question mark. Molang jumps up and down again and laughs. The younger audience understands that Molang is happy about the unicorn stuffed animal through her body language and giggling. The remaining part follows the two enjoying the rest of their day at the fair.

Sometimes funny mishaps occur during Molang and Piu Piu's adventures, but when sticking with each other they easily reach a solution together. This show is universally friendly in regards to language since it relies on emotion, music, body language and pictures to engage audiences and it does that quite well. I recommend the Summer Fun with Molang DVD to ages 3 through 10 and rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Summer Fun with Molang because the characters are super funny and the animation is the cutest thing ever. I also love all the stories in each of the six episodes on this DVD. I don't like that the characters don't talk and only make noises. Sometimes that can get a little annoying, but younger kids will probably love it. Rather than dialogue, the animation includes little pop-up bubbles that show what the characters are thinking. You can also tell what they are thinking by their expressions and the tone of the sounds they make.

This DVD is about a bunny named Molang and a duck named Piu Piu who have a lot of fun and go on many adventures together. In one episode, Molang and Piu Piu go on a vacation to Hawaii. They meet friends on the way, but one of them gets stuck and when they try to help them, they get stuck on the island too. Luckily they work together to get back to Hawaii, but you'll have to watch it to see what they do. Another adventure has to do with a whale. At first everyone is so scared of it, but then they want to help the whale get back to the ocean. Check out the episode called "The Rescue" to see what happens.

I love the settings of all the episodes because they are mostly the ocean and the sand. I'm not familiar with that because there is only a lake and not an ocean where I live. Lake Superior is beautiful, but I love when I get to hang out on the beach in Los Angeles, California. The animation looks realistic and reminds me of having fun on the coast. My favorite part is when the characters have a hula dance in Hawaii because it's funny and cute.

All of the episodes have their own little messages, but overall the message of this DVD is that if you work together you can get things done quicker and easier. I know my dance group performs far better when we are working together instead of dancing as a group of individuals.

I give Summer Fun with Molang 4 out of 5 years and recommend this DVD for ages 3 to 9. This DVD is available now, so look for it.

By Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I love this DVD, Summer Fun with Molang. It has such adorable animation. Summer is here. A bunny and a chick drive around to find a little fun together and are very cute. The anthropomorphic characters seem to be enjoying summer more than anyone!

The bunny, Molang and chick, Piu Piu are the main characters. There are six episodes on this DVD experiencing summer adventure together. In first episode, Molang and Piu-Piu go underneath the water together to face the sea monster, even though everyone is afraid of it. Even during their scary adventure, they find ways to have fun and share good times together. In another episode, they are together at the fair. Molang sees a unicorn on a shelf and really wants to have one. Molang tries several different games but fails to win. Piu Piu doesn't hesitate to help Molang as a best friend. However, Piu-Piu also fails in all game. Piu Piu doesn't stop there. Piu Piu came up with a brilliant idea. It makes Molang smile. I love Piu Piu's brilliant idea and it makes me smile, too.

Director Marie-Caroline Villand really delivers a super cute animated show. The anthropomorphic bunny and chick do everything together. However, even though they act like humans, their speaking is not like humans. Don't worry! You will find ways to understand them while watching this DVD. They go snorkeling underneath the ocean, tubing around an island, build a sand statue of friendship and drive a RV together. In each episode, the adorable bunny and small friend face new adventure with laugher and joy. It seems like their friendship gets stronger and stronger every second.

The message of this animation is, "Friends are always there for each other."

I give Summer Fun with Molang 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Adults will enjoy it as well. This DVD is available now so look for it!

Reviewed by Alexis J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Runtime: 30 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99 Media: DVD ISBN # ASINB0863TQ3RJ


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LINE DRAWING
LINE DRAWING - STEPHAN LEEPER
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-18
Description - Line Drawing follows the imagination of a young boy as a simple line, drawn on the floor of his bedroom, transports us into a world of creative exploration. The film itself consists of a single charcoal line drawing, recorded, erased, altered, and then recorded again. Viewed in sequence, the multiple recordings of this single drawing transport the viewer from one world into the next with surprising ease.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Fun, short, recommended. Watch it. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5-18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fun, short, recommended. Watch it. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5-18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
Runtime: 1 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: VIDEO

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
AGATHE-CHRISTINE: NEXT DOOR SPY
AGATHE-CHRISTINE: NEXT DOOR SPY - TRICOAST STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-15
Description - Ten-year old Agathe-Christine, or simply AC, prefers to be on her own. AC fancy mysteries, and from the basement in the building, where she has just moved in, she has established a small detective bureau. AC's first mystery appears to be simple to solve, but before long AC finds herself involved in a much more complicated affair, than she could have ever foreseen.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Agathe-Christine: Next Door Spy is totally unique! The different style of this animated film from Denmark is not traditional, so it makes the film stand out. The storyline of the film is not like other animated films, either. Although the movie has some definite faults, it is sure to be a knockout because of its lead character Agathe-Christine (voiced by Simone Edemann Mogelbjerg).

This film centers around Agathe-Christine, a young girl who recently moved into a new neighborhood. Agathe, however, is not a standard girl of her age (10). She dreams of being a detective. As robberies occur in the town's kiosk, she takes the opportunity to uncover the mystery and prove she is a great detective.

Agathe, or AC, brings wonderful female power to the screen. She's brave and does not let anyone tell her what she can and cannot do. When the going gets tough, she stands strong and continues to prove that she can crack the case. She's very intelligent and creative, not letting her age drag her down. She proves that age is just a number and that the sky's the limit. She's a total powerhouse, and a character every young girl deserves to see in a film.

As for the film's faults, some of the characters are weak--Agathe is really the only strong character. The others are very obnoxious. Her mother is annoying and Agathe's pet, Varanen, is incredibly irritating. Their dialogue is a cookie cutter example of overly-simplified animated films for younger audiences.

The message of the film is to never let anyone give you boundaries, and that you can do anything you set your mind to. Agathe sticks to this message throughout the entire movie.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 15. There are some tiny warnings for this film. A few strong words are used, however, there are not any strong or sensitive topics dealt with. This animated motion picture is child-friendly for the most part. Agathe-Christine: Next Door Spy is available on various digital platforms June 16, 2020.

Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FOUR KIDS AND IT (2020)
FOUR KIDS AND IT (2020) - LIONSGATE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT Click to purchase directly from the producer
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-15
Description - A group of kids on holiday in Cornwall meet a magical creature on the beach with the power to grant wishes.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Inspired by E. Nesbit's 1902 serialized novel called Five Children and It, the movie Four Kids and It is a wonderful fantasy film for all ages that brings the story alive. The CGI seems so real that I believed the Psammead (the creature in the film played by Michael Caine) was actually alive and right there with the actors on the set.

Full of adventure, Four Kids and It is about two families. Each family has two kids and all four kids want their birth parents to get back together. When the two split families meet up for a vacation, the kids find out their parents are dating each other and they absolutely freak out. While being forced to play with each other and to get to know one another, they meet a magical sand creature called a Psammead who tells them that he can grant each of them wishes, but only one a day. Also, the wishes expire at sunset.

Throughout this movie the four kids get to know each other better, become much closer and start to bond more like a real family. There is a man named Tristan Trent (Russell Brand), who lives in a mansion on the island that they all go to for their vacation. For generations, Tristan's family were hunters of rare and unique living creatures on Earth. Tristan and his ancestors have been trying to find the legendary Psammead for decades. When the kids come to the island, he knows that he could use them to track the creature down. If he can lure out and capture the creature, he can finally add it to his family's collection of trophies...and hopefully get in a wish or two as well!

The scenes with the kids each coming up with their own magical wishes and living them out for the day are fun. It also made me wonder what I would wish for if I only had a day to experience a wish.

The message of this film is to be careful what you wish for, but also that sometimes change happens and no matter how bad it seems, that it can offer up new opportunities and maybe create something better than you ever had before.

I give Four Kids and It 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it for ages 6 to 18, and adults will love it too! I know my parents sure did.

The movie will be available on Digital, Blu-Ray, DVD and on-demand, as well as major digital platforms like Amazon Prime, Vudo and others, on June 30, 2020, from Lionsgate Film

Reviewed by Lindalee R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Directed by British filmmaker Andy De Emmony, Four Kids and It is inspired by the novel Four Children and It by Jaqueline Wilson, which is based in the 1902 book Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit.

This new story is modern and follows two families: the divorced parents are dating and the four kids--two from each parent--share a vacation together in Cornwall, England. The kids don't get along at the beginning, and they have to spend time together and accept their parents' relationship. At the beach, they discover a strange creature that emerges from the sand and grant wishes. One wish per day will be conceded to each kid each day. Despite things not necessarily turning out the way they expect, after each adventure, they discover the importance of bonding and family.

Four Kids and It combines fantasy, magic and drama. The plot is entertaining and there are so many beautiful moments but some things, doesn't work that well. Russell Brand plays Tristan Trent, an eccentric owner of a mansion who wishes more wealth and lives by the beach where the kids find the creature. That part of the storyline doesn't flow that well, and the way it intertwines with the main storyline is not that engaging. The talented Brand doesn't shine as usual and his character is not taken fully advantage of in those scenes.

Ashley Aufderheide and Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen carry the film. They play the two older daughters and their characters are pivotal to the story. Their acting is strong and is one of the greatest assets of the film.

As the voice of the creature we have Michael Caine, and the actor gives the creature, Psammead, the tone of elegance and wisdom that characterizes him. I found this creature adorable and the facial expressions mimic the actor's resemblance. The CGI is very well implemented, and all the scenes with Psammead are my favorite scenes.

The landscapes and cinematography are beautiful and the story is overall entertaining with magic, flying scenes and humor.

The message of the film is simple: be careful what you wish for, but, at the same time, show us that our deepest wishes may be granted within our real and simple life in the joy of family and friendship.

This is a great family movie that little kids and parents can enjoy together. I give Four Kids and It 4 out of 5 starts and recommend it to kids 4 to 14. Four Kids and It opens on all digital platforms on June 30, 2020.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 8-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FRANCIS AT THE FARM
FRANCIS AT THE FARM - NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 5-12
Description - Even Francis the Firehouse Mouse needs a vacation every once in a while. He decides to visit his brother, Freddie, who lives on a farm far from the bustling city. There are many chores that have to be done each day: caring for the animals, working in the fields, picking vegetables for the market, and planting new crops to harvest later in the season. It is really different from fighting fires.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Francis at the Farm is a 51-page children's e-book that narrates the story of a mouse that lives in the city and what happens when he decides to visit his brother who lives on a farm. The book touches on the different aspects of living in a city and living on a farm and teaches children about where some common food comes from and explores two different environments - the city and the farm. It positively portrays the farm as a healthy place to live or rest and farming as a hard-working, but very rewarding way of living. The book also does a good job explaining where some things, such as milk, come from and the processes they go through in order to reach their final destination.

I believe children will really like this e-book since children are often attracted to farms, animals, tractors and firefighters, which are all included in this book. The story flows very well and makes use of lots of detail throughout it. I enjoyed how it begins by explaining that the city mouse needs a break and considers the country as a great option for vacationing. I like how the book talks about where certain foods come from, either at the farm or in the city. I believe this helps children identify with their own lives, whether they live in the city or in a rural area. The characters Francis and Freddie are nice for the most part, hard-working, gentle and generous, except when the city mouse eats the pie alone without sharing it with his brother.

The vocabulary used throughout the book could be new for the target age. Words such as "exhausting" or "pasteurized" enrich the vocabulary of young children, especially when they are well demonstrated, which they are here. I also like the collages between real images, objects and designs such as the picture of the train station where Francis arrives. I was not particularly attracted to the appearance of the mice. To me, they look more like otters than mice. Also, I believe the tough look of the firefighter mouse is a bit harsh for a young audience. The look of the farm mouse is very stereotypical, but not in a bad way. The visual quality of the book is quite appealing, aside from the appearances of the mice. The images directly related to the story are clear and easily to identify. The cover is clear, colorful and grabs the attention due to its farm elements.

This book teaches children about the world around them as well as some of the good values one should have and practice. It has great educational content, wonderful collages of real pictures of objects and designs, great vocabulary and stimulates family reading due to its high-level vocabulary.

Based on the vocabulary used throughout the book, I recommend it for ages 8 to 12. For example, words such as "baffled" or "accustomed" would need some explanation to a younger audience. For this reason, I recommend children younger than 10 read this book with the assistance of an adult.

Reviewed by Carolina S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This simple yet charming tale of an inquisitive city mouse is both informative and engaging. It weaves in details of farm life without coming off as dry or lackluster. The story feels timeless and fresh at the same time, similar to a fable. Although its target audience is much younger than me, I can very easily see how someone in that age group would enjoy it.

Francis at the Farm tells the story of its titular character Francis. He works as a firefighter before visiting his brother in the countryside. During his excursion, Francis learns about the responsibilities and perks of living on a farm. Throughout the book, he works to overcome his city upbringing and adjust to country life.

This book features the protagonist Francis and his brother Freddie, who is the owner of the farm. The juxtaposition of realistic backgrounds and illustrated characters is, while slightly jarring, an efficient way to depict life on a farm. The only shortcoming that I see are in the characters' appearances. Both Francis and Freddie's faces remain the same, without consideration of the context. I would have liked a minor change to make them more expressive. The remainder of the story more than makes up for this minute flaw. My favorite part is Francis learning about and adjusting to helping Freddie with the farm. The writer, D.G. Stern manages to portray the acclimation in a way that does not feel condescending or supercilious.

As clich� as it may be, Francis at the Farm bears an essential message. It echoes the idiom "the grass is always greener on the other side." For Francis, visiting the farm is the "grass" - it appears to be perfect and much better than his current situation. However, he soon discovers that is far from the truth. The lesson is applicable to many situations. For its target audience, it may teach them to avoid idealizing adulthood and to expect responsibilities as they age. While the message may not be a pleasant one, it is one that needs to be said. Aside from its meaning, Francis at the Farm promotes healthy behavior. When Francis displays his ineptitude at farming, Freddie does not belittle or otherwise mock him. Instead, he expresses gratitude for his help and gently guides him through the process.

I give Francis at the Farm 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. It is available now online, so look for it.

Reviewed by Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.95 Media: Book


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FEEL THE BEAT (2020)
FEEL THE BEAT (2020) - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - After failing to find success on Broadway, April returns to her hometown and reluctantly is recruited to train a misfit group of young dancers for a big competition.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Feel the Beat is the first feel good movie of the summer! It's a heartwarming light comedy about starting over, life choices, community, ambition and the importance of working together. All in under two hours of entertainment!

Feel the Beat starts when we see April (Sofia Carson) on her way to a Broadway dance audition where the choices she makes impact her future in an unexpected way. We feel her ambition as well as rejection and heartbreak. April leaves her life in New York City to return home to New Hope, Wisconsin. As she tries to hide in her hometown, April is pulled into the local community once again by her old dance instructor Miss Barb (Donna Lynne Champlin) who brings much light and laughter into the movie through her life coaching.

My favorite character is April; Sofia Carson is magical in this role. I love watching her dance throughout this movie as well how she expresses the emotion and humor of her character. My favorite scenes are at the National Dance Finals, but I don't want to spoil the story by disclosing why. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of gentle comedy during the various dance competition scenes throughout the film and the supporting cast of dancers and their parents really add to the comedy and story. April's love interest Nick (Wolfgang Novogratz) is sweet and supportive in his role and together they have great chemistry without embarrassing younger viewers.

Dance is an important character in this movie and Kevin Wilson and Hailee Payne, the choreographers, create some fun scenes in the various dance competitions. Costumes, under the supervision of Carol Wong, add to the depth of story as we see the New Hope Dance Team progress from competition to competition in skill, attire and confidence.

The message of this film is that your imperfections not only make you unique, but spectacular - and what a message that is. The movie also shows the importance of loyalty and commitment as we see April learn and grow throughout her journey.

I rate Feel the Beat 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, and adults will enjoy it as well. This movie is on Netflix starting June 19, 2020.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 6-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES - DOG DETECTIVE TIME TALE
UPTON CHARLES - DOG DETECTIVE TIME TALE - NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: EBOOK, AGES 7-15
Description - A beautiful sailboat suddenly appears at a local ship yard. Upton, his "human" father, Hank, together with Watson, Upton's feline assistant, are asked to find the vessel's owner. By the way, Upton is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), a little white dog, with uncanny canine investigative skills.

Their efforts are interrupted by the appearance of a Navy admiral, who has a very curious interest in the sloop "Sweet Pea" and her builder, August Mayer, a brilliant, but reclusive scientist.

The mystery is intensified because the boat appears to be brand new, but almost 100 years old at the same time. Join Upton, Watson and the rest of the Charles family as they search for the answers in Time Tale.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The book, Upton Charles Dog Detective: Time Tale, is a part of the Upton Charles Dog Detective collection by D.G. Stern and published by Neptune Press LLC. This mystery and adventure chapter book is exemplified through Upton's first person point of view. This perspective adds a great, comedic twist. Aside from the comedic aspect, having Upton as the narrator allows for younger audiences to grasp more difficult concepts since it is told by a young dog. Upton navigates the world and learns in a way similar to that in which a child does.

In this well-paced chapter book, Upton finds himself in the middle of an odd mystery, pertaining to the idea of time travel. Upton and his human family discover a supposed century-old boat, named Sweet Pea, in new, pristine condition at his human father's (Hank Charles), friend's (KJ) boat slip. The characters are curious as to how the boat appeared, who the boat belongs to, and how the whole situation is plausible. The characters collaborate in order to unravel the mystery and encounter some peculiar people that help further their investigation along the way.

Not only is the action of the mystery, adventure and idea of teamwork wonderful for younger children, the underlying message of questioning and being curious is also another great additive of this book. It shows children that it is beneficial to be creative and use their imagination while learning. Other positive messages are sprinkled throughout the book as well which furthers children's thinking.

I recommend the Upton Charles Dog Detective: Time Tale to young readers, ages 7 to 10 and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Even though I am older than the targeted audience, I still found the tale intriguing.

Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale is an engaging mystery novel involving a dog detective and his feline partner which is masterfully suspenseful. It is told from the perspective of Upton, the aforementioned dog detective. The unusual perspective adds an element of originality to an already atypical story. Although I am outside its targeted age group, I still find it to be a rather engrossing book.

This story introduces a detective dog named Upton Charles, usually referred to as "Upton" by his human family. He and the family's cat Watson use their amplified senses to contribute to investigations. Over the course of 22 chapters, they try to solve the mystery of a hundred-year-old sailboat in suspiciously excellent condition. Along the way, they end up uncovering a much larger mystery.

The main characters of this novel are Upton, Watson and the Charles family. The family consists of Mom, Dad and the twins Veronica and Alex. Dad is the main human detective, with the rest of the family playing minor roles. My favorite part is chapter six, when they utilize the Internet in order to help their investigation. It is a small detail, but it showcases their resourcefulness.

While Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale does not have a single easily identifiable message, it contains several smaller messages. One of these is the importance of teamwork. Upton, Watson and Dad all contribute to the investigation in different ways. Instead of the typical rivalry between cats and dogs, Upton and Watson demonstrate their friendship through concern for each other.

I give Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 9. It is available as an e-book so, look for it.

Reviewed by Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

I like the e-book Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale because it is very interesting and full of knowledge. I like how the narrator is a dog named Upton Charles, who is also the main character. I also like how easy it is to read this book and that you can either read or listen to it.

This book is about a Bichon Frise dog named Upton, his loyal assistant cat Watson and their owners The Charles family - Mom, Dad and twins Veronica and Alex. Upton and his family discover an old sailboat at the local shipyard. The father, Mr. Hank, and a friend named KJ try to find out who made the sailboat. A Navy Seal Admiral named Bill says he has an interest in the boat named Sweet Pea. They find out that the boat is over 100 years old, but still haven't found the person who made it. Upton and Watson team up to find the person who built the boat.

D. G. Stern is the author of the award-winning Upton Charles - Dog Detective series for younger readers as well as other children's books. He has also written four adult mysteries including Hot Tea & Cold Case, There's Always Tomorrow, Stabbing Along the Straightaway and Chaos at The Concourse, as well as numerous screenplays. Ginger Marks is the illustrator and Neptune Press is the publisher. I like how the text's font is a combination of Comic Sans MS font and the Georgia font. The book doesn't have that many pictures, but the few pictures it has are hand drawn looking pictures of the main idea in each chapter. This e-book has 102 pages and 22 chapters.

The moral of this story is "don't judge a book by its cover." Hank, Upton, Watson, KJ and Bill are mistaken in who they think is the person that made Sweet Pea and, through their detective work, they figure out who the actual builder is.

I give Upton Charles - Dog Detective Time Tale 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 7 to 18 plus adults. This e-book was released June 1, 2020, so hurry up and look for it!

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I was thoroughly engrossed while reading Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale. This book had me invested in the plot throughout the whole story! While reading this tale you experience mystery, comedy and fun along with our hero, detective Upton Charles.

Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale is a mystery told from the perspective of a three-year-old Bichon Frise pup. The mystery revolves around a curious boat that was brought down to the old boatyard where Upton's human works with no sign of who made it or where it came from. Things get crazy when a Navy Admiral arrives and tells a story about the possible origin of the boat, but it doesn't seem so real as much as science fiction.

The message of this story is that little things can make all the difference when working on something. If Upton, his dad, the twins, KJ and the Navy Admiral (Bill) hadn't all worked together and followed the clues, they wouldn't have solved the mystery. If they hadn't paid attention to the little clues and listened to each other, they definitely wouldn't have solved the mystery.

In this tale, there are many great examples of descriptive writing such as when Upton describes the boat cabin - "The forward portion of the cabin forms a small v-shaped space in which anchors, ropes, and sails are stored. The sides of the cabin are lined with cabinets. A small sink is on the left as you enter the cabin, and a cooking stove is on the right." This type of writing makes it easy and paints a picture in your mind. Speaking of pictures, I especially enjoyed the illustrations throughout the book. The Illustrator, Ginger Marks, made them cartoonish, yet detailed. The only problem in the whole story is when the author, D.G. Stern, mentions Upton wanting to eat chocolate, "Chocolate chip cookies sound good to me." Dogs can't have chocolate. It is very bad for them, especially small dogs where, even a small amount of chocolate, could make them sick or possibly kill them.

I give Upton Charles-Dog Detective Time Tale 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 12. This book is available now, so look for it.

Reviewed by Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Upton Charles Dog Detective Time Tale is a spectacular book for young readers. It's about a Bichon Frise dog named Upton as he uncovers a wild mystery. He is easy to connect to. His personality is amusing which children will love. Upton and Watson are polar opposites, yet make adorable siblings. Upton possesses human qualities which are perfect for the book. He is determined to uncover the case. He's a wonderful character. Throughout the book, when the going gets tough, he works through it and never gives up. The special part about this book is seeing how much he loves his family and how much he wishes to be like humans. By the end of the book, readers will see their pets or animals differently. The descriptions used to describe the boats, locations and setting are wonderful. They are thorough and paint a clear picture for younger readers.

The storyline follows Upton Charles, his owner Hank, and his cat companion, Watson, who find themselves in a mystery. New boats appear at the ship yard, but no one knows where they came from. However the boats seem to be about 100 years old. It is up to Upton to figure out what is going on.

I really like Upton's character. His humanlike mind is adorable as he states things he wishes to do, but being a dog, he cannot do. He wants to go to school, just like his human siblings do and he says, "it's not fair." He wants to do humanlike things but he cannot. So being a detective is difficult for him. Nevertheless, he works on uncovering the case. The moral of the story about working hard until the end. Being a dog never stops Upton from working on this case. I certainly recommend this e-book for families with young children since they will like the cute storyline.

As this is a children's book, no aggressive topics are handled. The characters treat each other kindly. There is no stereotyping, since the main character is a dog. It is unlike most detective stories in that way.

The cover illustration showcase little Upton with his big bushy white fur in full color. Inside the book, the illustrations are in sketch form. On the first page we see him sleeping with his friend Watson. The reader can immediately see the friendship and love which is definitely a positive attribute.

The message is about never giving up, as we see Upton doing. He does not give up, even when the circumstances become difficult.

My favorite parts in the book are in Chapter Four, when Upton describes the ship in perfect detail. It helps young readers easily visualize what kind of ship the characters are on.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 7-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ 7.99 Media: Book


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LLAMA LLAMA'S BEST SUMMER EVER! (2020)
LLAMA LLAMA'S BEST SUMMER EVER! (2020) - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 2-7
Description - Llama Llama springs to life in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their safe, friendly hometown and make childhood memories. On this DVD, join Llama Llama as he camps, boats, floats and swims his way through his BEST summer ever! Adventure and learning awaits with Llama Llama and pals!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Llama Llama Best Summer Ever! DVD is tons of fun and will appeal to kids and families. It's a bright and happy animated series that is based on Anna Dewdney's books about an adventurous llama and his circle of family and friends. This DVD has eight episodes with an option to play all the episodes or select them one at a time at an approximate run time of 90 minutes of lively entertainment. The series employs bright colors, fun animals and engaging story lines that align with the daily activities that many kids are involved in, to capture their interest. The cute story lines deliver positive messages. For example, Llama Llama's kite is torn on the last day of summer and his mom teaches him resourcefulness. There's no need to buy a new one, we can fix this one and it will be better than before. The writing structure is straightforward and geared towards its target audience. The continuity and style reinforce each episode's message, teamwork, resourcefulness and helping others. The series uses vocabulary that appeals to young kids. For example, when Llama Llama's kite is torn his mom states that she will help him make a swirl-o-rama kite!

Through Llama Llama and his friends Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat, kids will learn how to problem-solve, work as part of a team, help others, develop friendship and enjoy their families with awesome summer activities such as making lemonade, camping, boating, swimming and kite flying. The series visually appeals to kids with its bright colors and cute animal friends. The DVD cover is appropriate and appeal as it features Llama Llama and his friends. There is also a listing of each episode included, with a picture next to it representing what the episode is about. There are educational benefits as kids are taught about problem solving and teamwork. For example, Llama Llama wants to help his friend buy a new bike tire, so he opens a lemonade stand to earn the money. His friends help him improve his product and help with marketing it. Additionally, kids are shown that everyone can be included even if they don't do the same things. i.e. Euclid the Sheep shows up when everyone's flying kites. He doesn't have a kite, but he can make calculations on wind, temperature and time to help the other kites fly. There are several messages in this series about teamwork, resourcefulness, friendship, family and helping others. The DVD menu has an option to watch all the episodes or select them one at a time. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 11.

Reviewed by Jennifer V., KIDS FIRST! juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Llama Llama is an animated series full of family values and nature adventures! This heartwarming series is based on the beloved children's books by Anna Dewdney who also illustrated the books. There are eight episodes on the new DVD Llama Llama BEST Summer Ever!

Llama Llama has exciting adventures with his family and friends which include valuable life lessons at the beach, camping and around the town. The series features Jennifer Garner as the voice of the loving Mama Llama. My favorite episode is "Last Day of Summer" where Llama Llama seizes the day with friends and goes to the park to fly kites and ends up using imagination when the weather complicates their plans. Change can be exciting and fun!

The message of this series is to learn from family and friends and to enjoy childhood. Change can be tough but you can always enjoy time with family and friends.

I rate this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 6. The DVD is available now.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Llama Llama's Best Summer Ever! is so entertaining to watch. It has adorable characters, fun animation, great music and lots vibrant content. The short episodes are the perfect length to keep young children entertained.

This DVD is about Llama Llama and his friend having the time of their lives on their summer vacation. Episodes include Let's Go Camping, Beach Day, Boat Float and Last Day of Summer. Wherever Llama Llama goes, there will always be fun.

The Llama Llama animated series is so cool, because they are based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. There are several lovable characters including Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu and Luna Giraffe. This DVD is approximately 90 minutes long with eight episodes. My favorite episode is Last Day of Summer, because it shows that even if the weather is bad you can still have fun indoors during the summer.

There are a lot of positive messages in this DVD including keeping a positive attitude when your plans change unexpectedly and, if you go with the flow and have a positive attitude, the outcome can still be fun. We also learn that a little bit of practice can make you feel more confident and that if you feel as if you are not getting enough attention from your parents, just know that they still love you. This DVD has no bad language and there is nothing risky or dangerous that kids might try to do. However, there are scenes showing jealously.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. This DVD is available now. I totally recommend this DVD for your kids.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I like Llama Llama's Best Summer Ever because it is very entertaining. It is a great tool to entertain young children or kids my age, especially during this pandemic. Each episode is very well illustrated and the script is well written.

This DVD is based off the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. One of Dewdney's of the first books in the series is Llama Llama Red Pajama. Her Llama Llama books have been adapted into an animated television series for Netflix and this DVD is a compilation of episodes about summer. Llama Llama and his friends Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep, Gilroy Goat explore their hometown and have fun at the same time making childhood memories. This is truly the best summer ever for Llama Llama and his friends! Every episode is a new story with a new story line. This DVD includes eight episodes with a duration of approximately 11 minutes each for a total of 90 minutes of fun and adventure.

The animation is neat with bright colors, very detailed and colorful landscaping and excellent voice-overs that match each character. My favorite episode is "Last Day of Summer" which is about Llama Llama going kiting with his mom and friends at the beach, but it starts raining so his mom suggests doing indoor activities. His mom thinks of a fun way to go kiting indoors. They place a sand-looking mat on the floor; turn on a fan and Luna stands on the background to move fake waves made by cardboard. This episode is my favorite because it gives you a very good idea of how to have fun while staying at home during this pandemic.

The moral of this show is to never give up because Llama Llama does not stop trying to sell lemonade and keeps trying till he eventually gets customers. This shows how to keep trying even when things don't work out the way you want them to. It teaches children to be persistent because there is no worse battle than the one you don't fight for. This show also teaches children to be creative and to be resourceful like when they are kiting inside the house.

I'd give Llama Llama's Best Summer Ever 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 5 to 18, plus adults can watch and enjoy this DVD with their children! This DVD is available now so go and look for it! It's perfect for summer and pandemics.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 2-11 Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99 Media: Video and DVD


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
ROOT OF THE PROBLEM - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - When a suburban family inherits a real-life money tree, they have a one-way ticket to easy street. As they lose sight of the things that matter most, the family will be tested to discover that it is better to give than receive.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Root Of The Problem is one of my new favorite films. I planned to watch the first part of the film and the rest later, but the movie was so interesting that I watched it all in one session. I love this movie because one is always eager to know what happens next.

The movie centers around an ordinary man named Paul Campbell (Sergio Di Zio) who lives in Ohio with a wife and two kids. After his wife's uncle passes away, his family is left with a plant. Unbeknownst to Paul, the plant actually grows money. Paul is the first one to discover this and he decides to keep it to himself. Being selfish and greedy, Paul only buys things for himself. Eventually, authorities catch on to his spending habits. Turn of events happen, which lead Paul to reconsider his greed and other life choices. Eventually, Paul regrets all of the choices he has made and vows to right himself.

One of my favorite scenes is when Paul decides to buy a new car, even though he has bought an expensive lawn mower without his wife's permission, which creates a feud between them. It is funny because he has the audacity to do it again, only buying something way more expensive. Sergio Di Zio acts the selfish and greedy Paul Campbell perfectly at the beginning of the movie and follows through with an amazing performance as a changed new man at the end. Di Zio has his best acting when he pours all his emotion out vividly in the scene of Paul showing his genuine remorse after his big mistake later in the film.

One thing that stands out in the movie is the music. The music in the movie fits the tone of the scenes really well. The movie starts out slow and eventually picks up the speed. It could be better if the early part got to the exciting moments more quickly, so as not to lose the younger audience with short attention spans. A number of events in the movie, such as buying a Porsche with cash, a lawn mower costing $5,000 and a tree growing money by itself, are not very plausible in real life. The screenwriter seems to throw these events in for the convenience of developing the plot.

One of the main messages of Root of the Problem is to never be greedy and, when you have a chance, always give back. Root of the Problem without a doubt meets the KIDS FIRST! baseline criteria. This movie is geared towards teenagers because younger children might not understand why certain things happen in the movie, such as the authorities' investigation of Paul. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by Jason Y., KIDS FIRST! reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Root Of The Problem is one of my new favorite films. I planned to watch the first part of the film and the rest later, but the movie was so interesting that I watched it all in one session. I love this movie because one is always eager to know what happens next.

The movie centers around an ordinary man named Paul Campbell (Sergio Di Zio) who lives in Ohio with a wife and two kids. After his wife's uncle passes away, his family is left with a plant. Unbeknownst to Paul, the plant actually grows money. Paul is the first one to discover this and he decides to keep it to himself. Being selfish and greedy, Paul only buys things for himself. Eventually, authorities catch on to his spending habits. Turn of events happen, which lead Paul to reconsider his greed and other life choices. Eventually, Paul regrets all of the choices he has made and vows to right himself.

One of my favorite scenes is when Paul decides to buy a new car, even though he has bought an expensive lawn mower without his wife's permission, which creates a feud between them. It is funny because he has the audacity to do it again, only buying something way more expensive. Sergio Di Zio acts the selfish and greedy Paul Campbell perfectly at the beginning of the movie and follows through with an amazing performance as a changed new man at the end. Di Zio has his best acting when he pours all his emotion out vividly in the scene of Paul showing his genuine remorse after his big mistake later in the film.

One thing that stands out in the movie is the music. The music in the movie fits the tone of the scenes really well. The movie starts out slow and eventually picks up the speed. It could be better if the early part got to the exciting moments more quickly, so as not to lose the younger audience with short attention spans. A number of events in the movie, such as buying a Porsche with cash, a lawn mower costing $5,000 and a tree growing money by itself, are not very plausible in real life. The screenwriter seems to throw these events in for the convenience of developing the plot.

One of the main messages of Root of the Problem is to never be greedy and, when you have a chance, always give back. Root of the Problem without a doubt meets the KIDS FIRST! baseline criteria. This movie is geared towards teenagers because younger children might not understand why certain things happen in the movie, such as the authorities' investigation of Paul. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by Jason Y., KIDS FIRST! reviewer

The Root of the Problem is a film where everything is entirely adequate, but nothing more than that. The cinematography by Scott Corban Sikma guides us through the story beautifully. Though the story itself is rather uninteresting at times, and the acting is uninspiring, the music is certainly a highlight of this film. If you are ever looking for a light-hearted family film, this movie is exactly that.

The Root of the Problem is about a man, Paul Campbell, who inherits a plant from his uncle's will. Paul's family is living like any average income family - frugally and mindful of their money. But when the deceivingly ordinary plant begins to grow hundred-dollar bills, Paul trades family values for cars, machines and other expensive things. All of this causes a rift within the Campbell family.

Cinematography is one of the most important things in a film. The Root of the Problem understands this and delivers a well-shot movie. The screenplay by Francis Damberger and Joanne Sikma is a little on the bland side, though this is minor matter for a children's film. There are emotional scenes, which must be dealt with carefully to keep the viewer engaged and the actors pull it off well. Though there are negatives sides in the cast's performances. For example, Paul Campbell, played by Sergio Di Zio, nails the humor and stress his character feels when given the responsibility of acquiring his uncle's plant. But, when Paul is upset and crying, the actor struggles with being out of control and letting real tears flow freely. This causes the emotional impact of that scene to be reduced. Another thing to note is that the music is very catchy, which sets a cheeky atmosphere every time it plays. All in all, it's a solid film.

The message in The Root of the Problem is that nothing, not even money, is worth giving up your family for. Be generous, selfless and kind-hearted. These are wonderful lessons everyone can learn from.

I rate The Root of the Problem 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 16. This lovely movie comes out on digital and DVD on July 7, 2020!

Reviewed by Joshitha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95 Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HALF OF IT, THE
HALF OF IT, THE - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Bookish introvert Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) is perfectly content with her life: watching old movies with her widowed father and ghostwriting papers for her high school classmates to help pay the bills. But her side gig turns personal when lovelorn jock Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) hires her to craft love notes to Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) -- a smart, popular girl out of both their leagues... and Ellie's own secret crush. Just as the duo's plan begins to work, a new wrinkle emerges: Ellie and Paul have fallen into a deep friendship neither could have anticipated, giving rise to a surprising love triangle. Written and directed by Alice Wu, THE HALF OF IT is a heartfelt comedy-of-errors about searching for perfect love--and finding yourself in the process.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Half of It is certainly a beautiful story about love, friendship and longing. It is a very relatable story about the process of discovering love and what comes with it. The acting is splendid and writer/director Alice Wu is very assertive in both capacities.

The story follows Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), a shy and introverted, straight "A" student, in her senior year, helping a friend, Paul, to capture the attention of the girl of his dreams, Aster. Initially, Ellie writes just one letter, but the story evolves into an exchange of text messages before their first date. During the journey, the characters discover the truth of the stress and challenges of courtship.

The film starts with a beautiful, artsy animation and excellent voice over work, guiding us into the mysteries of love at a very young age. The Half of It is a very well narrated story, keeping you intrigued, making you wanting to know more about the characters and how they will end up. The editing and music are very interconnected and they work in perfect harmony, turning into amazing storytelling.

I enjoyed the acting and the honesty of Leah Lewis' portrayal of a very timid, but determined girl. I love Paul naivet� and his struggle to communicate and show his emotions and how his innocence contrasts with Ellie's intelligence. Despite their differences they become friends, which is one of my favorite aspects of the film. I also love Collin Chou who plays Ellie's dad. He barely speaks English but he's really funny. He portrays a very loving and kind man and wants what's best for his daughter. Ellie's Dad loves classic films and, throughout the movie, there are several references to art in different disciplines like painting and poetry. This makes the film feel very grounded. "The Best Part," as Ellie's Dad refers when interrupted when watching his cinema classics, is when Ellie and Aster are in a secret lake and just talking. The scene itself is beautiful and the acting feels so natural. I love how this scene is shot and found it really relaxing.

The Half of It is not the typical high school movie, because in almost every high school movie there is a popular girl, a shy nerdy girl with lots of clich�s and no substance. But in this movie the characters are real, current and deep.

The message of this film is "be the best version of you." Ellie used to be an artist and one of the things she learns is that "you can have a good painting, but to make it a great one you need to make a bold stroke." I think what she means by "bold stroke" is the best version that you can possibly be of yourself. Also we hear that "love is the journey we pursue with determination."

This film is wonderful! I could watch it a million times and still be entertained. I give The Half of It 5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 12 to 18. The Half of It opens on Netflix May 1, 2020.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Half of It is interesting, however I feel like it could have been much better. I like it, yet I think there is a lot of missed potential.

The movie follows Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) who makes money by charging other students for essay help. One day, a jock named Paul (Daniel Diemer) asks her for help writing a love letter to his crush Aster (Alexxis Lemire). However, as Ellie continues to help Paul win her over, she ends up also falling for Aster.

A big aspect of this film is the LGBT twist. As someone who cares a lot about representation, this intrigued me. However, I have mixed feelings about the way this movie goes about its representation. I can't elaborate much as that would lead to spoilers, but let's just say the actual LGBT romance is a little lackluster and mostly overshadowed by the straight romance. This isn't really an issue for most of the film, however this heavily affected my opinion on the ending. I usually try not to compare pieces of media, however I want to compare this film to Love, Simon. An issue I've noticed when it comes to LGBT representation is the prevalence of tragedies and dramatic stories. Either that, or stories where the LGBT character doesn't have a happy ending. This is why Love, Simon was such a hit with the LGBT audience, because it is a wholesome, romantic comedy that embraces its gay representation. And considering The Half of It is also pushing the gay aspect in marketing, it could have been a lot better. The Half of It is far from the worst when it comes to unsatisfying representation, but it definitely has room for improvement.

However, the representation is not the only aspect of the film. As this is a comedy, how is the humor in this movie? Honestly, I really like a lot of the comedy in this film. I like the way Ellie and Paul play off each other and there's many well executed visual gags and recurring bits. I also really like the friendship between Ellie and Paul. Despite the fact that they're technically romantic rivals, you really buy their friendship as they have a great chemistry and you want them both to be happy in the end.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. It comes out on May 1, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The Half Of It is a film that virtually anyone can enjoy. It's hilarious, unique, and has many intersecting relationships that keep you guessing what will happen in the future. The small-town setting helps the story feel more relatable. The personalities of the characters blend well and the progression of the plot makes sense.

Netflix's The Half Of It takes place in a small town by the name of Squahamish, following a girl named Ellie Chu. Ellie is in high school and has a way with words. Although she is talented, she is made fun of frequently. One day, Ellie is riding her bike and her classmate, Paul Munsky, asks her to write his crush, Aster, a love letter. Ellie is skeptical and annoyed, but she agrees to help him out. Little does she know that she will become his friend and fall for his crush at the same time.

Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) and Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) make a great cast of main characters. Paul and Ellie (despite their differences) make a great team when trying to impress Aster. I love so many parts of this movie, however I have to choose a favorite! The acting really is something else. The cast is really amazing and, when you watch it, you feel an emotional connection to them. There is one specific person from the cast who does an exceptional job - Leah Lewis. She embodies the role of a reserved and skeptical-of-everything teenager very well.

The lesson from this film is that acting like your true self is for more valuable than the person you may want others to perceive you as. This way, others can love you for just being you. The movie is most definitely successful in portraying this. It is a very positive and uplifting message. This movie promotes the positive social behaviors of friendship and helping other people. However, there is quite a bit of bullying towards the main protagonist, Ellie, that occurs. There is a slight bit of swearing, but nothing too severe, and some alcohol use is shown.

I give The Half Of It 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find The Half Of It on Netflix in May.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HIDDEN ORCHARD MYSTERIES: THE CASE OF THE AIR B&B ROBBERY
HIDDEN ORCHARD MYSTERIES: THE CASE OF THE AIR B&B ROBBERY - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - When a home robbery occurs in neighborhood, two junior detectives looking for adventure attempt to discover the culprit. Their closest neighbors are the most likely suspects and their investigation digs up bigger secrets than they expected.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery because of how the two girls are best friends and they work together to figure things out. The beginning is a little boring because there's not much adventure, but once the film gets going, I like the mystery.

The film begins with someone stealing some jewelry in total darkness and the camera shows pictures of people in frames. Two girls, who are best friends, see that there is a problem at the neighbor's house. They start working on discovering who this thief could be. They make a plan that they are going to start the next morning. I like the breakfast scene because it shows how Lulu (Ja'ness Tate) helps her friend, Gabby (Gabriella Pastore), who doesn't like her new mom because she think she is trying to replace her biological mother, feel more comfortable with her new mom. It is nice to see how the friends support each other. They start going to all the neighbors' houses one by one and they get confused sometimes, but they get some good clues. They also go to the librarian (Diane Cater), who tells them two neighbors might be having an affair. The two best friends work together to find the truth.

The actors are amazing because they portray their characters well through their facial expressions and body language. I also think the camera angles by Frazer Lockhart (Director of Photography) are great because it really feels as if you're in the same room with the characters. My favorite part of the film is when the two girls are eating cupcakes at a caf�. They are just pounding them down. Cupcakes are one of my favorite desserts, so that's probably why I like that scene so much.

The message of the film is to go with your gut, and if you work together a lot can happen in a good way. When I work on a project with my best friend, it's not only more fun, but also is easier to do. One warning is that the characters occasionally say some bad words and there is a gun involved, which might not be appropriate for younger children. But those are the only things that might concern parents.

I give Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 17. Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B&B Robbery can be found online and on DVD June 16, 2020.

Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I really enjoyed Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B & B Robbery because it shows very funny and inspiring scenes. The movie is entertaining and, at the same time, teaches a life learning lesson.

This film is about a small, upper class, mostly black community name Hidden Orchard, where a robbery has occurred in one of the houses whose owners, The Parkers, have turned it into an AirB&B. Two teenage girls, Gaby and Lulu, who live in this community, start an investigation to find out which of the neighbors robbed the Parker's house. They interview each neighbor, especially a young guy nicknamed Dayday. Daydady is a scrawny, young black man who returned to the neighborhood after being away for some mysterious situation he got involved in. Both girls are suspicious of Dayday, because of his appearance and because of his mysterious disappearance when he went away before.

My favorite scene is when Gaby and Lulu meet the owners of a bakery who are a very funny couple. Gaby and Lulu convince the couple to be their partners in crime by sending one of the owners across the street with cupcakes, because Mrs. Parker was mysteriously meeting with Mr. Patricks, an insurance broker for the Hidden Orchard community. The film's scenery is very beautiful, especially the landscaping and the houses. The music is not that appealing. Some scenes are a bit boring, too long or lack a purpose in the story line. The main actors are pretty good, but some of the others are not.

The moral of this film is to not to judge a book by its cover and that not everything that shines is gold. Gaby and Lulu are convinced Dayday had something to do with the robbery, because of his appearance and his past. This film teaches you to have better judgment, to be kind and that everyone deserves a second chance. Also, it points out that things are not what they appear to be.

I give Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B & B Robbery 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This film comes out on Digital and DVD June 16, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HORSE CAMP: A LOVE TAIL
HORSE CAMP: A LOVE TAIL - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - It's a new year at horse-riding camp and everything changes when the ranch hand has a crush on the riding instructor! The campers put competition aside and rally together to help him win her over her while building new friendships.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Horse Camp: A Love Tail is a fun movie about life lessons learned at a horse ranch. The horses and ranch serve as the backdrop for the characters to learn about kindness and true friendship. Together they learn how to be better riders and people.

It's a new summer at Black River Farm and Ranch and their camp has a lot of changes this summer. New faces and returning campers, as well as staff changes, create an interesting social environment. Campers and staff are divided until Jerry (Richard Karn), the ranch hand, develops an awkward crush on Bonnie (Teri Lee) the new head riding instructor. The campers are familiar with new love and social awkwardness and come together to help Jerry gain Bonnie's notice and affection.

The beginning of the movie during the opening credits which shows trick riding is my favorite scene. Unfortunately, we don't get to see any more of this type of footage in the movie. I really like the storyline, but the writing and characters seem very immature. Jerry's shyness and dialogue is extremely awkward and unbelievable. Luckily, Bonnie is able to see his kind heart and value rather than focusing on his behavior and speech. The one scene where he expresses his anger which is due to jealousy is really over the top.

My favorite character is Stacey Vanderbelt (Kristen Ryda), a former camper who was supposed to be the head riding instructor this camp session, but is replaced with newcomer Bonnie Lightyear who becomes Jerry's love interest. Stacey's transformation in the movie as a rider, teacher and a person is really inspiring and I enjoyed watching her change from a self-absorbed popular girl to a kind person who improves herself and others. Life lessons are abundant throughout this film and there is a lot to take away from watching this movie.

The message of this film is that kindness matters and that you can build self-confidence without bringing down others. Being popular has a limited time in the spotlight, but making and supporting friends can last a lifetime.

I rate Horse Camp: A Love Tail 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. Movie releases to digital and DVD May 15, 2020. Watch for it.
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
VAST OF NIGHT, THE
VAST OF NIGHT, THE - AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - In the twilight of the 1950s, on one fateful night in New Mexico, a young switchboard operator Fay and charismatic radio DJ Everett discover a strange audio frequency that could change their small town and the future forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Vast of Night was somewhat disappointing. The film has an interesting set up but it feels underdeveloped and a waste of potential.

The story is a very clear parody of shows such as The Twilight Zone, to the point where the story is framed as if it was an episode of The Twilight Zone. The plot follows two high schoolers named Everett and Fay, who run a radio show together in the 1950s. One night, Fay hears a strange frequency through the radio and she investigates it with Everett.

To start off, I want to talk about my biggest problem with this movie, which is the pace. There are many scenes in this movie that go on for way too long and, as a result, completely kill the atmosphere and investment. The worst of these is the scene near the beginning in which Fay first hears the frequency. She calls a bunch of other people to ask them about it, and this takes around ten minutes. There is no justifiable reason that this scene needs to be so long. It barely establishes anything and, at most, reestablishes the same thing. It's not entertaining and is incredibly boring. But what makes this scene even more tedious is that, for ten minutes, there is not a single cut. It's the same frame and same shot of Fay, for the entire ten minutes. I'm usually not one to talk about cinematography and editing, but this combination is a recipe for boredom. However, props to Sierra McCormick, the actress who plays Fay, for being able to pull this scene off. I'm sure this scene was difficult to do. Unfortunately, it's not enough to save this major flaw. In actuality, this film is pretty short, but it feels like an eternity.

Aside from the pacing and poor editing, the mystery of the frequency is ultimately confusing and unsatisfying. And as an homage to The Twilight Zone, it's not eerie or unique enough and honestly it feels like a gimmick. The fact that the story takes place in the 50s rarely comes up other than the old technology, which is a bit disappointing to me, since I really like the 50s aesthetic.

I give this film 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It comes out May 15, 2020 and on Prime Video May 29, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This movie is so creepy and bone chilling! From start to finish, audiences are kept at the edge of their seats. The eerie feeling is present throughout the film and the ending is unexpected and a shocker.

The Vast Of Night centers around a radio DJ Everett (Jake Horowitz) and his younger friend Fay Crocker (Sierra McCormick) as they investigate a peculiar radio frequency. Set in the 1950s, the movie starts out as a show, imitating the Twilight Zone. Throughout the film, we switch from watching the television set, to watching the actual episode.

The acting by both central characters is phenomenal! Jake and Sierra have wonderful onscreen chemistry. The casting for both of their characters is superb. Their friendship is comedic. Jake's character, Everett, is sarcastic and hilarious. Even in dark times, we need humor. The storyline is super freaky and very mysterious. The ending is one that is completely unpredictable. Writers James Montague and Craig W. Sanger really create movie magic with their unique plot. Following these characters throughout their eventful night is an amazing adventure.

The lesson of the film is to always stay curious and always investigate. The moment Fay and Everett discover there is something wrong they immediately go in search of the problem. They gather all the clues to save their town. There is a tiny amount of adult language and several tobacco depictions.

I give this excellent motion picture 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. The Vast of Night is available on Amazon Prime May 29th, 2020.

Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
I STILL BELIEVE
I STILL BELIEVE - LIONSGATE FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-14
Description - The true-life story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp and his journey of love and loss that looks to prove there is always hope.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I Still Believe is a sincere and true love story, held down by clich�d dialogue and plot development. The subtle messages and radiant leads stick their landing without feeling preachy. Adults and kids will admire this faith-based tale, perhaps in a matinee and a box of tissues.

This story brings the true-life story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp (KJ Apa) and his remarkable journey with his wife Melissa (Britt Robertson). Their faith in God is tested when Melissa is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Still, Jeremy believes there is always hope and a faith worth sharing through his music and memories.

The two leads share great chemistry allowing for a believable relationship. KJ Apa, as Jeremy Camp, steps into the shoes of the Christian music singer, through his original music and devotion towards his wife Melissa. Speaking of which, Britt Robertson, as Melissa, is the best performance nailing the emotional gravitas of the real-life counterpart's plight. She fares much better in emotional scenes, and while KJ has great screen presence, he could improve his emotional chops. Both characters absolutely deliver a heart-warming dynamic that makes the ending all the more tragic, but also reminiscing. Nathan Dean, as Jean-Luc, adds a love-triangle dynamic that feels more at home in a CW show than a dramatic real-life story. Still, his character is charismatic and relatable in his struggles. Gary Sinise, as Tom, is Jeremy's father, adding more heart to Jeremy's unwavering love and choices.

Directors Andrew and Jon Erwin return after directing the Christian film I Can Only Imagine. The Erwins have a good grasp on not being preachy and instead, focus on the human relationships that bind. However, this film's first half panders with one instance of egregious product placement, unbecoming of its more mature second half. It feels tonally inconsistent in spite of KJ and Britt's natural chemistry. There's a scene involving a broken jar of pickles where the film becomes thoughtfully complacent about its conflicts. This is where the film began to click, and it ends up being moving and lyrically heartwarming.

The message of this film is to always keep the faith and stay close to those you love. They make us for who we are, and unfortunately, tragic things can happen. It's best that we stay close and not waste any day with them.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 due to strong thematic material. The movie releases in theaters March 13, 2020, so check it out.

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
Juror Recommended Age: 8-14 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BLOODSHOT
BLOODSHOT - COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Ray Garrison, an elite soldier who was killed in battle, is brought back to life by an advanced technology that gives him the ability of super human strength and fast healing. With his new abilities, he goes after the man who killed his wife, or at least, who he believes killed his wife. He soon comes to learn that not everything he learns can be trusted. The true question his: Can he even trust himself?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments`
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Bloodshot because it has a unique storyline, awesome action and great stunt scenes. This film keep your attention throughout the entire movie.

Bloodshot is about a solider named Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) who gets killed in action and is brought back to life by an innovative scientist named Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce), who fixes wounded soldiers by augmenting what the soldier lost in battle. One soldier, named Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan), lost his legs in battle so Dr. Harting gave him robotic legs. Ray lost his life and Dr. Harting replaced all of his blood with nanites, which can rebuild any part of his injured body.

My favorite part is the elevator shaft fight scene when Ray, Jimmy and Tibbs (Alex Hernandez) are fighting on top of the elevator. The digital effects are awesome, like how the nanites heal Ray every time he gets hurt. The graphics are perfect. The costumes look like army gear with special devices attached. There is some foul language and violence. The cast fits each character, especially Vin Diesel who perfectly playa Ray Garrison.

The moral of this movie is that not everything is what it seems. You have to see the film in order to understand the moral.

I give Bloodshot 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Bloodshot comes out in theaters March 13, 2020. Go watch it.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CRITICAL THINKING
CRITICAL THINKING - CQCM - CARIBBEAN CHAPTER
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - CRITICAL THINKING is based on the story of the 1998 Miami Jackson Senior High School chess team that defied the odds and overcame incredible adversity to become the first urban high school to win the U.S. Chess National Championship. John Leguizamo stars as Mario Martinez, the determined high school teacher who's unwavering belief in his students set in motion the rise of the Miami Jackson chess team from the city streets of1998 Miami, to the spotlight as national champions.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Critical Thinking is a film with incredible, fleshed out characters in an emotional story which surprises you at every turn. It gets you to connect with the characters quickly and made me actually feel bad for them when things go wrong.

Critical Thinking tells the true story of the lives of members of the Miami Jackson High School chess team during the U.S. National Chess Championship. It goes into the motivations behind the members and their team supervisor, Mr. Martinez, as they struggle to get out of a system that doesn't value them via the chess tournament. It follows their journey from the start, raising money to get to the tournaments, and the events that occur during the tournaments, as well as all the problems throughout. The film also goes into specific details of the members' personal lives to show their daily struggles.

The characters are developed incredibly well, making you feel as if you know the characters. It makes even the most insignificant characters interesting. They are all real people who make real choices about their lives, for better or worse. I really enjoyed the way they show the players develop during the competitions. They play like real people and make mistakes like them too. There are very complicated relationships between the characters that help them develop their abilities and personalities.

The score is subtle and matches the film. There was never a point when I noticed that the score was practically good or bad, but it fits the themes and changes when necessary. My favorite scene is the final chess match. Marcel takes risks which make sense for his character. The other members of his team appear genuinely nervous, because they don't know who is going to win. They put Marcel under a lot of pressure, and it is unclear if he is going to break because of it. There is one point when an offer is made to him and it is unclear if he would be willing to abandon his team for personal gain.

The film delivers a message that people who come from different places can still accomplish incredible things. It also addresses the problems with the school systems' view on people of color.

I give Critical Thinking 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 18, because it covers some very mature topics. Critical Thinking will be released summer 2020.

Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm



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