The KIDS FIRST! Endorsement category has 1875 titles

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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FATHER, THE - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A beautifully-made and moving film, The Father depicts dementia in its raw, brutal essence and will surely make an imprint on your soul.

The French-British film centers around aging Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an Englishman who "has his ways," as his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) says. As Anthony develops dementia and his condition worsens, Anne finds it difficult to balance her life with caring for her father. The film traces how the two of them go about their lives together and how the disease progresses. The Father is told in a jumbled manner because our perspective of the film is as Anthony would see it: All out of order. Anne's husband Paul (Rufus Sewell) and another man who Anthony thinks is her husband, a woman, and several caretakers all appear and disappear throughout the film. Even the settings shift, and you're never really sure where you are. Director Florian Zeller and his crew design both Anne and Anthony's apartments to look relatively similar which enhances that perspective of disorientation.

Anthony Hopkins has always played cerebral roles, so this more emotional one is unique in his repertoire. He sheds tears, flies into fits of rage, and immerses himself in the character of a strong-willed man slowly losing his grip on what's happening. The last scene is especially poignant and hard-hitting; no spoilers, though! Olivia Colman's portrayal of Anne is one that many who have dealt with a relative suffering from a progressive mental illness will identify with. It's incredibly realistic, and, at times, you forget that she's an actress playing a character. Anne herself is layered, especially in how she copes with Anthony's dementia, first keeping her emotions bundled up, escalating to emotional breakdowns, and eventually to some scary fantasies. Colman deals with these feelings beautifully, immersing herself much like Hopkins does. Director Florian Zeller isn't actually a director by profession; he's a playwright, and this film was adapted from his play Le P�re. He's a master storyteller, and you couldn't tell this is his first gig as a director. His attention to detail (especially with sets, something I'm sure he took from his career in playwriting), combined with his personal experiences (his grandmother was diagnosed with dementia when Zeller was 12) make this film an earnest yet unsettling project.

The Father cries out to its viewers to enjoy life while they have their senses and to show compassion toward those who have begun to lose (or have already lost) a clear view of the world. It's a sobering portrait of mental illness and yet an empowering film for those coping with their individual struggles. There is some profanity, slight violence (Paul slaps Anthony), and Anthony and Anne's father-daughter relationship gets a bit abusive at times.

I give The Father 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults; younger kids could watch the film if they feel comfortable with themes like mental illness. The Father releases on-demand on March 12, 2021.

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

The Father is an excellent depiction of the reality for many elderly people. This film offers insight into the minds of those that suffer from dementia and how they think. We see how this illness affects not only the patient, but their loved ones.

The Father follows Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an elder suffering from dementia. The motion picture shows how his mind plays tricks on him. He forgets names easily and he sees his daughter differently, as in with a different face. He also imagines people are there that do not exist. All the while, his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) struggles to find her father the perfect caretaker.

This film really is an eye-opener to the reality of dementia. Not only is Anthony forgetful, but his attitude changes rapidly in the blink of an eye. In one scene, he is all happy and jazzy as he converses with a young woman, and then he is angry and demands that he doesn't need a caretaker. He believes that he can outlive his own daughter and even talks about what he would say at her funeral. In another scene, he even forgets his name and calls out for his mother. This film is perfect for the loved ones of dementia patients. The movie offers the perspective, ideas, and confusion the victims go through. It also serves as a guide by showing how Anne deals with her father's outbursts and how her love stands strong to always help him. Not once does she give up on her father, insisting he deserves the best care.

The moral of this film is that love conquers all, even the impossible. With the decline of Anthony's mental health, he always has family by his side. Anne always does what is best for her father, including finding the best caretaker in London. Once Anthony is in a home, his nurse has the patience and love to answer his questions, comfort him and put his needs first. There are warnings that go along with its PG-13 rating. Mild profanity is sprinkled throughout the film, along with realistic depictions of mental illness.

I give The Father 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 17 to 18, plus adults. It premieres on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu February 26, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ARCHIBALDS NEXT BIG THING - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 3-7
Description - Archibald's Next Big Thing is an American animated comedy streaming television series created by Tony Hale for Netflix. The plot revolves around Archibald Strutter, a positive chicken who often goes astray from home, but eventually always finds his way back home. Season 3 debuts on the Peacock Channel.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Archibald's Next Big Thing is a unique animation series filled with adventure and kid-friendly humor.

In this season of Archibald's Next Big Thing, Archibald goes on all kinds of wacky adventures with his siblings, Loy, Finly and Sage. Being a chicken and living in an egg shaped house with neighbors of all different species, Archibald finds himself making multiple mistakes and learning valuable lessons through his experiences. From damaging a doctor's office to body switching and even shrinking himself, you never know what situation Archibald will be in. Now matter what, with the help of his friends and family he is able to solve his problems in unusual ways and also with a happy ending.

Tony Hale's, Archibald's Next Big Thing is the next chapter for Archibald Strutter. Producers Eric Fogel and Tony Hale continue to make Archibald a likable character with a great sense of humor. The talented voice-overs of the lead characters Archibald (Tony Hale), Loy (Chelsea Kane), Finly (Jordan Fisher) and Sage (Adam Fally) make the characters believable and bring life to the series. The music, produced by Matthew Janszen, seamlessly transitions the scenes and creates a silly and fun atmosphere. The art director, Sierra Lewis and visual effects directors, Karla Monterrosa and Jessica Oh, are to be commended for designing an animated series adapted from the book and staying true to the original book. The animated drawings and visual effects easily tell the stories of Archibald's never-ending curiosity while being visually engaging.

This cute series makes it okay to be curious and encourages children to learn from their mistakes. Archibald is far from perfect, but the theme of acceptance and compassion guides him through the process of solving his problems. Being a silly chicken turns out to be a lot of fun.

I rate Archibald's Next Big Thing 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 10. Archibald's Next Big Thing premieres on Peacock February 18, 2021 and can be seen on Netflix as well.

By Calee N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 3-10 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR
BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR - LIONSGATE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT Click to purchase directly from the producer
Series: FEATURE, AGES 15-18
Description - Lifelong friends Barb and Star embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time - ever.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar is comedic genius! Hilarious lines are sprinkled throughout this film while friendships, romances and spies take center stage. Barb and Star really show how age is just a number.

The storyline follows middle-aged best friends Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) who visit Vista Del Mar. On their vacation, they encounter the charming undercover spy Edgar (Jamie Dornan). Edgar, unbeknownst to the women, works for a villain (Kristen Wiig) whose plan is to murder all of Vista Del Mar.

This film shows how Kristen and Annie's comedy is at its peak. The motion picture parodies spy thrillers by exaggerated water spirits, deadly flies and turtle-filled lies. Even though the film pokes fun at action movies, there are serious topics discussed. Both friends are middle aged and believe their prime time has passed; they believe they are unable to have the adventures they've always dreamed of. Throughout the film, they overcome these doubts by falling in love, riding banana boats and fighting an evil super-villain. We also see the villain's backstory. She was born with a rare skin condition which made her vulnerable to bullying at a young age and it was difficult for her to make friends.

The moral of the movie is that no matter how old you are, adventure is out there for you; you just have to go looking for it. Both Barb and Star were hesitant to leave their mid-western hometown, believing that their adventure time had expired. They take a chance and go to Florida. Barb sheds all her fears and rides dirt bikes and walks on burning stones. Star falls in love, even when she thought she would never have another opportunity.

I give Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. It is available on Prime Video and on demand February 12, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MAGIC SCHOOL BUS RIDES AGAIN, THE: ALL ABOUT EARTH
MAGIC SCHOOL BUS RIDES AGAIN, THE: ALL ABOUT EARTH - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 5-13
Description - Bus, do your stuff! Field trips with Ms. Frizzle are wilder than ever, into space, over to the Galapagos Islands even a plunge into the depths of the Sun itself.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Every moment in The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is exciting! The brilliant colors, constant excitement and movement create a fun and fast paced adventure. I love how the action starts right from the beginning. The energy in the characters' voices adds to the enthralling energy of the whole series.

The storyline follows the Magic School Bus taking the class on out of this world field trip adventures. The bus and the class all turn into things to demonstrate firsthand knowledge of science and how things work!

I like that the storyline is repetitive throughout, yet very unique in the individual stories. Kids will love that they won't know what the next adventure will be, but they know it will be an exciting experience on each field trip. The camera shots that give quick close-ups when something exciting is going on make it suspenseful and exciting. The costumes for the kids are brightly colored and still normal for kids of this age. The costumes for Ms. Frizzle, the teacher, are always eccentric and smartly indicative of the current adventure. One constant set that is used in each episode is the magic school bus that takes them on all the adventures. The sets for each episode are unique to that field trip and are always brilliantly colored.

The music is suspenseful, typically fast-paced and captivating. The special effects are limitless since it is animated. The bus turns into anything imaginable. Ms. Fiona Frizzle is played by Kate McKinnon and Lily Tomlin plays professor Frizzle. Both of them give stunning performances.

The message of this show is that "learning can be fun and exciting." My favorite character is Ms. Frizzle. Her colorful character and crazy antics keep the adventure constant.

I give The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12. Younger ones may not entirely understand but the colors and upbeat, fast-paced music will keep them entertained.

Reviewed by Melissa M., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Looking for an entertaining, educational and nostalgic TV series on DVD? Well, then the Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth! is perfect for you. Although it is targeted toward a younger audience, I still found myself attentive and interested in the story lines. Each episode has a fun adventure, mixed with an enthusiastic learning experience. It reminds me of how much I liked reading the original The Magic School Bus books when I was younger.

In the four episodes on this DVD, "Pigs in the Wind," "Hides and Seeks," "The Tales Glaciers Tell," and "Tim and the Talking Trees," the characters learn about the Earth's patterns and ways of communicating and how it's important to take care of the Earth. They also learn about wind patterns, how animals camouflage, how oxygen and carbon is preserved in glaciers for thousands of years and how ecosystems communicate with each other. And they also see many sights from different time periods and places that make amazing field trips.

My favorite episode is "Hides and Seeks," especially when half of the kids get to travel to different geographic locations and study animals camouflaging to report back to the other half of the kids. We see animals in the environmental atmosphere blending in, and in contrast we see the kids in their game of hide and seek. This show is for younger audiences, but some of the concepts are explained too quickly for me to grasp and won't make sense to everyone. A few characters are pretty different from the book, which makes them unique in this TV show. The voicing of the characters is realistic and fitting for their personalities. Although there is some repetition in ideas and story lines, it isn't enough to make the show any less fun to watch. I would definitely watch this show in my free time just for fun.

One of the messages in this series is love the earth and to protect it. This inspires people to preserve the wildlife and habitats. We are also shown that you can always find fun in learning and it's easier to learn when you get an inside look and explore things on your own, instead of read about them in a textbook. Sometimes the kids in the show find themselves in a scary situation, but they are never in grave danger. Apart from some concepts being a little hard to understand this series is pretty kid friendly great for school-aged kids.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 13. Adults and teenagers may enjoy it too. The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth! Is available on DVD now so look for it.

Reviewed by Rosemary K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is a great choice for young kids and schools. Apart from a few minor flaws, these four episodes are well worth your time. Colorful animation, creative incorporation of important messages and nice humor are a few of the things that make is DVD unique Based on the original The Magic School Bus, this collection follows an elementary school class on their field trips and creative experiments that are all about Earth. When a scientific topic needs investigation, Miss Frizzle (Kate McKinnon) and the class jump aboard the magic school bus and get creative to figure out solutions to their problems.

There are many impressive elements in this show - from trees, to animals, to kids, the colorful animation is eye-catching. The animals are also very cute, as are some of the plot points. Humor for all ages, but primarily aimed toward younger kids, is woven throughout and laughs are spread out nicely. Another touch of creativity is the way that these episodes are supremely entertaining, but also very educational. It's seemingly just your normal animated show, and then all of a sudden, you're learning things without even realizing it! With all of this being said, there are a couple aspects that don't quite hold up. This collection has the same characters as the original The Magic School Bus, but most of their personalities don't match too well. Sometimes I find myself wondering if they really are the same characters. This could be disappointing for fans of the original The Magic School Bus series. Also, some things are just not realistic. Besides the school bus's magic, which is clearly fantasized, a lot of events occur that don't make much sense. For example, the students build a tower with hundreds of bricks in a short amount of time.

The message of this show is that teamwork is necessary to accomplish tasks. Whether it be setting the stage for a play or playing hide and seek, working together is vital. This DVD is terrific for learning science concepts.

I give The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 9, plus adults. This DVD is available now so look for it.

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

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth DVD is the perfect thing to give you a much-needed laugh and a much-needed lesson. While traveling all over the world, the characters in this show learn essential facts that help them with the problems they face. This series is worth the watch!

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth DVD is compilation of episodes from The Magic School Bus: Rides Again, a spinoff of the 90s series, The Magic School Bus. The episodes in this DVD have everything to do with the Earth. Ms. Frizzle (Kate McKinnon) takes her students on epic adventures all around the world, in different time periods, and through various situations. And, of course, this is with the help of their magic school bus. The characters in this show use their smarts and creativity to have a blast, while learning new things about our planet.

When you watch this DVD it's evident that this is a fantastic show. First of all, the facts they learn are very useful, especially because they are related to concepts being learned in school. For instance, if you are learning about plants, then the episode "Tim and the Talking Trees" is perfect for you. It teaches about how the roots in trees and other plants are connected and therefore communicate in order to survive. Even if you're NOT in school when you watch this, it's still great to have the knowledge. Something else that makes this series so intriguing, are the settings. They are all very colorful and have a nice balance. This includes the way the characters are dressed. The colors of the wardrobe complement the backgrounds, context and the personality of each character. There are some flaws, like the comedy. Of course this is a kids' show, however, some of the jokes are a little unsubtle. Also, there are times when the acting seems very scripted, and the pace of the dialogue and interactions seem a little off. I had a high expectation for this show, since I used to watch the original when I was younger. While this show didn't exactly meet my expectation, it could prove to work really well for young kids now.

The message of The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is that exploring and being curious is a good thing, and that curiosity can lead to extraordinary discoveries. The characters aren't afraid of showing how fond they are of exploring and learning new things. This can be uplifting for kids who may get made fun of for being intelligent or inquisitive.

As you can probably already tell, The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is an engaging DVD that you can watch whenever you want to learn something, have a laugh, or just want to watch an entertaining show! I rate it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 10. This is an amazing DVD for parents to watch with their kids, and it provokes discussion afterwards. The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth DVD is available now. So look for it.

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Runtime: 90 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 5-13 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99 Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DOLPHIN ISLAND (2021)
DOLPHIN ISLAND (2021) - ENTERTAINMENT SQUAD
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Description - After losing her parents, fourteen-year-old Annabel Coleridge lives with her fisherman grandfather on a Caribbean island paradise surrounded by an extended family of loving but quirky oddballs and her best friend, a dolphin named Mitzy. Everything changes when her rich maternal grandparents arrive with a shifty lawyer to bring her back to New York. It's up to her grandfather, her friends, Desaray, her new social worker, her charming son, Mateo, and Mitzy to find a way for Anna to stay on the island home she loves so much.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Dolphin Island is a very emotional and different movie. It has some scenes where you can just feel the emotions of the characters coming through the screen.

The story follows a girl named Annabel (Tyler Jade Nixon) who lives with her paternal grandfather Jonah (Peter Woodward). Her best friend is a dolphin named Mitzy. Then, her maternal grandfather (David Raizor) and grandmother (Annette Lovrien Duncan) come to take her back to New York with the help of a shifty lawyer (Bob Bledsoe). Now it is up to Annabel and her island friends and family and Mitzy to find a way to keep her on the island.

Wow, there is a lot to talk about in this film. First of all, there is quite a lot of drama with lots of very emotional scenes and excellent performances from the actors. Second, there is a dolphin in the film named Mitzy. Mitzy does lots of tricks and is a real dolphin. Her training is amazing; she impressed me so much with how she performs in this film. Also, the cast has lots of diversity. I like that, especially since the events of the last year that made us aware of the lack of diversity in movies. Lastly, the sets are remarkable. There are many locations around the island where this takes place, all of which take place on a Caribbean island.

The message of Dolphin Island is that love conquerors all; love is a bond that can't be broken and loved ones will always seek to find each other.

I give Dolphin Island 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to18. Dolphin Island will be available March 2, 2021.

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

Dolphin Island is an interesting movie because of the dynamic between the two characters, Jonah (Peter Woodward) and Annabelle (Tyer Jade Nixon). I enjoy the relationship between the characters and the humanity added to the dolphin is a unique touch. It is interesting to watch Jonah and Annabelle interact with the dolphin. I really love seeing the dolphin perform human tasks and seemingly communicating with Annabelle. This shows how the director, Mike Disa, humanizes the dolphin. Dolphin Island makes me believe the characters enjoy spending time with each other and they truly love one another. The only problem I have with the movie is the title. Calling it Dolphin Island makes me think there's a bunch of dolphins in the movie and they are the focus of the movie. However, the movie is good enough for me to quickly get over that disappointment.

The story is about a 14-year-old girl, Annabelle, whose parents die and who lives in the Bahamas with Jonah, her grandfather. Her best friend is a dolphin named Mitzy. Life is good until Annabelle's maternal grandparents (David Raizor and Annette Lovrien Duncan) show up with a lawyer and demand that Annabelle come to New York to live with them.

At times Dolphin Island can be sad and emotional, especially when it comes to Annabelle and her great loss. The actors portray the emotion you would expect from a family that loses a loved one. Annabelle's character says and does some things that I see myself doing in the same situation, such as treating Mitzy like a person. When Mitzy sprays Jonah, Annabelle says it is because Mitzy is a good judge of humor. Also, Peter Woodward (as Jonah) really seems to have a good relationship with Annabelle. For example, when Jonah says he wants to show Annabelle what it is like to be happy, I really believe his character wants this. Dolphin Island shows us the relationship between some of the people on the island with Annabelle, Mitzy and Jonah. Seeing those relationships makes us see why Annabelle is so happy on the island and how this helps her cope with her parents' death. The story offers a brilliant take on what makes a family a true family - sometimes family is by blood, sometimes by friendships, and sometimes with animals. Dolphin Island presents some unpredictable plot twists you don't expect along with strong character development.

The message of this movie is that family will always be there for you and that love conquers all, even when things are at their worst. Along with that strong message, just like the title suggests, Dolphin Island teaches viewers a little about dolphins and how lovable and smart they really are.

I give Dolphin Island 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Grownups will enjoy it as well. It is releasing March 2, 2021 on most digital platforms. Look for it.

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

Dolphin Island is a very funny and a heartwarming movie. This family friendly film has a cute and well trained dolphin that makes it very amusing to watch.

Dolphin Island follows a young girl, Annabel (Tyler Jade), whose parents are deceased and who lives with her grandfather (Peter Woodward) on a boat. Annabel's best friend is a dolphin named Mitzie who is trained to pick up trash from the sea. One day a social worker comes to inspect Annabel's living situation and later her other grandparents (Annette Duncan and David Raisor) arrive, wanting to take custody of her. Things fall apart and we discover that love wins in the end.

This movie has beautiful scenarios of the ocean and landscapes. The camera work is excellent. The dolphin gives this movie an interesting touch, because it is so well trained and the audience is amazed at what the dolphin is capable of. The storyline is very interesting and relatable. It is the type of life event that some children whose parents have passed, may have to go through. My favorite part is when the grandfather thinks he has lost Annabel, but really she's out swimming with Mitzie. The issue of who Annabel should live with, is central to this film. Annabel, even though she's very young, knows who cares for her most. We see how Annabel's maternal grandparents are trying to trick her into coming with then, saying it's for her own good. But Annabel loves her paternal grandfather and you can see how much she means to him. The dolphin is my favorite actor in the film. After the movie ends there are bloopers showing them training the dolphin and doing tricks with her. I like that this movie is filmed on such a beautiful island.

The moral of this film is to trust a child's judgment when it comes to who they should be living with. Children feel most comfortable with the person that loves them and keeps them safe.

I give Dolphin Island 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18 plus adults. Dolphin Island will be available on March 2, 2021 on many VOD platforms.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS, THE
MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS, THE - AMAZON PRIME
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Two teens who live the same day repeatedly, enabling them to create the titular map. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is an American science fiction romantic comedy-drama film directed by Ian Samuels, from a screenplay by Lev Grossman, based upon his short story of the same name. It stars Kathryn Newton, Kyle Allen, Jermaine Harris, Anna Mikami, Josh Hamilton, Cleo Fraser, and Jorja Fox.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a fun film with amazing stunts, a heart-warming teenage love story, a time loop and even a really cool 4-D cube drawing! The idea in this story of having infinite do-overs to create the perfect day is fascinating. Putting it all together, this film is a great combination of action, light romance, adventure, and comedy.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things features Mark (Kyle Allen) who gets stuck in a time loop and is living the same day over and over again. Every night at midnight, he falls asleep and wakes up with the previous day starting over again. In the mist of the time loop, one day he meets a mysterious girl named Margaret (Kathryn Newton) who is stuck in the same time loop. They end up on an adventure all around the city finding the "tiny things" that make up that one perfect day, while trying to decide if and how to break the time loop.

I enjoyed watching Mark and Margaret's friendship develop and all the wild things they do without suffering consequences since they are in the time loop, like drive a tractor down the street. My favorite part is when they completely trash a model home, knowing the time loop would put it back the way it was. Another part I love is when Mark shows his dad the tattoo he got. It's funny because he shows it to his dad right before he goes back into the time loop so his dad won't remember. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things has some really great stunts in it, too. One stunt I thought was cool was when Mark throws his water bottle at a closing door and makes it through!

The message of this film is that sometimes the most perfect things in life may be the smallest things. One great lesson Mark's character shows is how to care about others. I loved seeing him remember all the ways he can help people in his town each day and spread kindness. A couple of things adults should look out for in this film include places with Margaret drinking and mild cursing.

I rate The Map of Tiny Perfect Things 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 years old. Adults will like it, too. Don't forget to check out The Map of Tiny Perfect Things on Amazon Prime Video, February 12, 2021.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I really like The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, because it has an interesting story line that makes you think differently about life. It teaches viewers a very important life lesson, as well as making you feel something while you're watching. It's simple but complex, and overall just a really cute and enjoyable movie. Plus, it's a good length, not too long or short.

The storyline follows two characters, Mark (Kyle Allen) and Margaret (Kathryn Newton), who are basically trapped in time. The same day repeats over and over again, and they can't ever die due to the fact that time has stopped. When Mark and Margaret finally meet each other, they go around the town looking for the "Tiny Perfect things," hoping this will un-trap them from this time dimension. Throughout their time together, they discover new things about each other, and how special the little things in life really are.

I really enjoyed the film's storylines of the two main characters. They have their own opinions on life. Also, the casting for this is terrific. Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton are both believable as their characters and own their roles. Kathryn's execution of Margaret is impeccable. She really makes the character stand out, and doesn't hold back. We see all the different sides of the character. Margaret makes us look at things from a different perspective. Kyle also has great execution of Mark. You can really feel all of his frustration and anger. It's almost as if we are there with him. They definitely locked me in while I was watching, and my thoughts never wandered. I also enjoyed the special effects, which are perfect for the film. Throughout the movie there are little things that they incorporate that really add to the dimension of the film. For instance, there are multiple scenes where they show us examples of tiny perfect things. This not only contributes to the lesson of the film, but also makes you realize the value of life, and how most of us are just going through the motions. It reminds us how special life really is.

The message of this film is to never take life for granted, and be grateful for the little things in life. You never know when you can encounter a drastic change, so always live life to the fullest while you can. Be aware that this film does have some profanity. However it's pretty mild.

I give The Map of Tiny Perfect Things 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 21, as well as adults. You can watch The Map of Tiny Perfect Things Worldwide starting on February 12, 2021 on Amazon Prime.

Reviewed by Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: Web Series


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LAND
LAND - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 11-18
Description - A bereaved woman seeks out a new life, off the grid in Wyoming.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The upcoming drama film Land, by director Robin Wright, is intriguing, valiant and relatable. I found it astounding knowing Robin Wright also starred in this film as the principal figure Edee. Considering this was Wright's feature film directorial debut, I can't deny that she surpassed my expectations for this film.

Land shows the raw emotion of a human overcome by grief and follows Edee (Wright) as she manages with unimaginable despondency after the passing of her spouse and child. Edee makes a bold choice to depart from society, seeking out a new life off the grid in Wyoming. Leading up to that moment, she tosses her phone, buys canned merchandise and supplies, and finds an isolated, somewhat-rundown cabin within the Wyoming wild. Throughout the film, you can see how isolated she feels -- once she starts a new life, it's like she's left her old self behind with society.

Edee is certain about her brave decision, and ready to start a new life. However, there is no coordinate for the area's unwavering winter. She is incapable of keeping the fire going to warm her cabin. After a bear continually eats her food, Edee is on the brink of starvation, as well as frail and too cold to stand. Edee is spared by a neighborly hunter/woodsman (Demi�n Bichir) who brings her back to life and instructs her on how to survive living on the land. As Edee starts to construct a new life for herself outside of civilization, she works to manage her past and see toward a bright future.

My favorite part in Land would have to be when Edee was fishing at the nearby lake. As she is struggling to catch a fish, she becomes frustrated. Then, she notices a young man, Miguel (Demi�n Bichir) chasing his young son, Drew (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) She recalls memories of her late spouse and child and follows them from afar as they run through the trees. I enjoyed watching as she relived those precious moments from her past, and it was overall a heartfelt moment in this film.

However, although Land was only 88 minutes, the film felt way longer than that, due to the slow pace. There are many relatable moments within the film, but I felt some scenes dragged and, at some moments, many scenes felt "dry." This film promotes positive social behaviors and shows the true meaning of kindness. What I took away from Land is that it's okay to be not okay. And, sometimes, we need a break from our continuous busy schedule in life and to break free!

I give Land 4 out of 5 stars, with an age recommendation of 11 to 18, plus adults. Land debuts February 12, 2021 in theaters.

By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 11-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GLITCH IN THE MATRIX, A
GLITCH IN THE MATRIX, A - MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - Documentary filmmaker Rodney Ascher tackles this question "are we living in a simulation?" with testimony, philosophical evidence and scientific explanation in his for the answer.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Glitch In The Matrix is a radical, uniquely-presented look at simulation theory in the digital age - specifically, how those who prescribe to the notion that we're all living in a simulation came to those beliefs and how this belief affects their outlook. Dense, but accessible, directed by Rodney Ascher, it's the rare documentary that asks a question it knows it can't answer.

In the late 1970s, famed author Phillip K. Dick, known for his sci-fi stories, gave a talk where he laid out his theory that we are living in a simulation. This becomes the entry point into the maw of simulation theory, its depth only outmatched by its complexity. A Glitch In The Matrix utilizes a famed and celebrated movie as its main frame of reference in exploring its theme -- The Matrix, a film that put simulation theory into the mainstream. Ascher's film investigates where stimulation theory stemmed from, how its tenets and principles have been echoed throughout history by everyone from Plato to Elon Musk to current times.

The conceit of A Glitch In The Matrix can't so much be explored as marveled at, and the possibilities of a simulated reality tinkered with, and so that's exactly what it does. This film boldly depicts this proposed reality entirely through CG animation and clips from popular culture that have dealt with similar ideas. I respect that a film about simulations indulges so heavily in them. For example, many people who speak in the film have their identities shielded by virtual avatars that filter their perspectives, enhancing the feel of a simulation. This method of using simulation techniques in a film about simulation gets very "meta," but, in doing so, adheres to and honors the film's topic and not in a show-offy or self-congratulatory way.

I have respect for any movie that seeks to make you question the world you live in. Socially and politically, A Glitch In The Matrix does that quite literally. If you're looking for a documentary that finds the key to its main topic and deconstructs it bit by bit, this isn't that, but if you're willing to go on a bit of a journey through a school of thought via the lens of a capable filmmaker that challenges what you think about your own reality, sit down, give this a chance and enjoy it. A Glitch In The Matrix is left incomplete almost by design, but somehow that works to its charm.

I give A Glitch In The Matrix 3 out of 5 stars and an age rating of 14 to 18 for some simulated violence and the description of a violent crime. It just premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it will be available in theaters and at home on February 5, 2021.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

We have all questioned our existence one way or another in our lives. Am I real? A Glitch in the Matrix explores this question in the most mysterious and heart-pounding way possible. Documentaries can be dry, yet this film is as thrilling as any action movie.

A Glitch in the Matrix sets the entire premise of simulation theory around a speech by famous author Philip K. Dick. This documentary ponders the highly uncharted theory of simulated reality. With a series of interviews, animated cut scenes and references to the movie The Matrix.

While the eyewitnesses may seem, at first glance, irrelevant, as they don't have any professional credibility, their personal real-world experiences creates a sense of relatability, which is much needed for such an obscure subject. Also, as the eyewitnesses are animated it allows their stories to be animated effectively too, granting visual access to their thoughts and words. A Glitch in the Matrix has no plotline per se; however throughout the entire film you feel literal chills. The sound effects and music by Jonathan Snipes create a feeling of total mystery and sinister experiences. Direction by Rodney Ascher, along with 3D character modeling by Maksim Solonovich really demonstrate creativity in all aspects of the production. My favorite part is when Joshua Cooke describes his experience with simulation theory and The Matrix. His experience is well animated and narrated, allowing me to get a sense of what he felt as he went through with such a heinous act.

The message of this film suggests that many are "alive, yet not living." Meaning that this life is finite, and whether simulated or not we should all live it to the fullest. This film does display explicit language, religious content, animated and descriptive violence, brief sexual content and smoking.

A Glitch in the Matrix gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to mature 14 to 18-year-olds as well as adults. You can watch A Glitch in the Matrix in theatres and everywhere February 5, 2021.

Reviewed by Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

I found myself having a great time while watching A Glitch In The Matrix. This spine-tingling documentary will have you thinking outside the box. The interesting testimonials teemed with well-matching visuals, is a recipe for success. I was pulled in for the entire duration of the film and found myself a tad down when it was over. A Glitch In The Matrix is a truly amazing documentary.

Filmmaker Rodney Ascher directs an amazing documentary with intriguing testimonials from numerous people that believe we are actually living in a simulation. Paul Gude, Jesse Orion and many others share their unique experiences that support the idea of simulation theory. A Glitch In The Matrix raises the question "Are we living in a simulation?"

From the very beginning of this film, I felt very compelled in a chilling and somewhat exciting way. The visuals fit what is being said perfectly. I did not find myself lost at any part, as the documentary is split into well divided sections which helped me understand what they were talking about a little bit more. Another compelling thing are the testimonials from many people. Each of their stories is unique and supports the main message of the film. I started watching this documentary not knowing anything about simulation theory. I surprisingly found myself refreshed and felt like I learned a little bit from watching this film. I loved every second of it. The film had me leaning forward in my seat wanting to watch more.

A Glitch In The Matrix gives the audience a chance to think beyond the normal and challenge them to dive a little deeper into their views of life. Throughout the documentary, you might find yourself drawn into each individual testimonial and eager to know more. Despite the good parts, you should know that there is a small amount of violence and profanity, but there is nothing that is unfitting.

I give A Glitch In The Matrix 4 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. A Glitch In The Matrix is available for rent on Prime Video now.

Reviewed by Hazel A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
OUR TIME MACHINE
OUR TIME MACHINE - 101 STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 15-18
Description - When influential Chinese artist Ma Liang (a.k.a. Maleonn) realizes that his father Ma Ke, an accomplished Peking Opera director, is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, he invites his father to collaborate on his most ambitious project to date - a haunting, magical, autobiographical stage performance featuring life-size mechanical puppets called "Papa's Time Machine". Through the creation of this play, the two men confront their mortality before time runs out and memories are lost forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Our Time Machine offers such an emotional journey about the reality of Alzheimer's disease. This is a documentary about a son doing what he can to show his appreciation toward his father, who is has Alzheimer's disease. This film is beautifully created, with a very emotional tone as we get to the see the production of the play and the hardships it faces, while we also see the father's health declining. It shows the ups and downs in the art world and what a son is capable of doing to express his gratitude and appreciation. A Chinese artist creates the biggest project of his career - an autobiographical play that uses mechanical puppets to tell the story. He struggles with time, money and his father's health, as he becoming more and more ill with Alzheimer's disease.

Our Time Machine is the documented story of Maleonn and his father Ma Ke. Throughout the film, we learn about the background of the family, and how invested they are in the art world. The story really shows the emotions that the son is feeling, as he feels frustrated, sad, emotional, but excited at the same time. It is an emotional journey, as there are father/son moments that are very touching, but also the doctor visits for the father are extremely sad as they show his health degrading. The main parts of the film are how the play is taking direction and its process, and the counterpart of how Ma Ke's health is declining to the point he does not remember the most basic aspects of life.

The camera work is diverse as it moves from scene to scene, depending on the context of the work. There are moments where pictures are shown or celebrations, such as birthdays and anniversaries, take place in real time. The camera moves as the characters move, and capture the complete context of the scenes. The locations vary throughout the film. The flow is very continuous, and everything takes place in different scenarios. The two central sets of the documentary are the parents' house and the place where the play takes life. In addition, locations from the past and present, and even outside the country can be observed.

There is little background music, and it changes from scene to scene. It does not drive the action in the film as much as the conversations between all the characters. That is what gives life to the film. But the sound effects are essential to get the complete message. They vary and are mostly focused to enhance dialogues between the puppet father and the puppet son. They help with the flow of the play and how it is presented in stage. All the visual effects take place in scenes where the son or the father are reminiscing about the past, and in scenes where the son is dreaming and creating his play. They are remarkable, as they are thoughts that are later done exactly how they were intended.

This documentary took around three years to complete, focusing on the artist Maleonn and his family. There are many persons involved in the film, as it shows the family of the protagonist as well as his team and employees that give life to the play.

Everything that Maleonn does in this film has an ultimate goal - to show his appreciation and gratitude to his father before is too late. He does everything he can to make this possible, but time and money are to his disadvantage. Everything that we see and feel during the documentary just highlights the main message: We need to appreciate and embrace every moment with others before it is too late. In this case, the artist tries to do this with his father who is forgetting everything and everyone around him. This is a hard reality for many families around the world, and it is necessary to live and appreciate those good moments before the bad ones that may come in the future. Sometimes those good moments are the ones that give us strength and hope for the hard ones that can come.

You should know that it contains some profanity and behavior. There is a scene where the artist is celebrating his birthday with his colleagues. They are drinking heavily and use some mild language, d*mn and *ss. Also, smoking is a recurrent act throughout the movie. Almost all the main characters can be observed smoking at some point of the film.

What I love about this film is the engineering process of creating every single thought Maleonn has. I was mesmerized by the creativity and the work that took place to create all the pieces of the stage and the mechanical puppets. They are so realistic and so well designed. The scenarios in the play are breathtaking. They recreate a plane from scratch and everything is neat and planned. I was in awe in every single scene where all these elements are shown, as they are incredibly created and structured. The protagonist is Chinese artist Maleonn. His father Ma Ke, is a well renowned Peking Opera director.

I give Our Time Machine 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. This film is beautiful in all areas. It has great production values, a real and emotional storyline, it sends across a valuable message, and the use of art and creativity throughout the documentary is of high quality. It is a rather complex film, as it is intended for older audiences such as older teenagers and adults. Also, it shows the hard reality of a person with Alzheimer's and the emotional toll that takes on the family. This film shows the frustration, the sadness, the rawness of the desperation in the father's face, and that makes it more touching and real. I shed some tears when I saw these scenes, as I could see the impotence of both the father and the son in different moments, and that is what really made me think about my family and how to appreciate every moment I get to share with them.

Reviewed by David O., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer, age 20
Juror Recommended Age: 15-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SOME KIND OF HEAVEN
SOME KIND OF HEAVEN - MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Description - Behind the gates of a palm tree-lined fantasyland, four residents of America's largest retirement community, The Villages, FL, strive to find solace and meaning.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This documentary is very interesting. It has the best cinematography I've ever seen in a documentary and it covers quite a serious subject with respect.

This documentary follows four residents of The Villages, a massive retirement home in Florida - Anne and Reggie, a married couple; Barbara, a widow; and Dennis, a man who doesn't actually live at The Villages. Anne struggles with her marriage, due to Reggie's drug addiction and worsening mental health. Barbara's husband died four months before filming and she is nervous about dating again. Dennis lives in his van, and hangs around The Villages in hopes of finding a wealthy woman in his last few years.

Before this film, I had never heard of The Villages. I found the story of its residents fascinating. The Villages is often referred to as "The Disneyworld for Retirees," and when you hear that, you imagine a perfect place to spend the later part of your life. The problem with utopias is that they're basically impossible. And the goal of the film is to showcase that The Villages is not a perfect utopia. It follows the struggles of these four people and how they can't just escape their pain with tennis or acting classes. One thing I like about this film is that it doesn't come off as malicious. It's not trying to expose The Villages for being a place of fake happiness or mock the residents or anything like that. Instead I got the impression that the director wanted to tell a story about real people trying to cope with their problems and I can respect that.

The cinematography is one of the stand-out aspects of this film. Every shot looks staged, as if they were from a typical fiction movie. There's a surprising amount of close-ups for a documentary. It was to the point that I didn't actually believe I was watching a documentary at first. I'm very impressed with the cinematography - shout-out to David Bolen, the cinematographer.

There is a lot to learn from this film. Life is full of pain and struggles; and, as sad as it may sound, that's inescapable. It's impossible to always be happy, even in the utopic Disney World for Retirees.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It comes out January 15, 2021.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Runtime: 45 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: VIDEO


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HUNGER WARD
HUNGER WARD - 101 STUDIOS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 16-18
Description - HUNGER WARD is the final documentary in a trilogy of films about the global refugee crisis. Filmed from inside two of the most active therapeutic feeding centers in Yemen, HUNGER WARD documents two women health care workers fighting to thwart the spread of starvation against the backdrop of a forgotten war. The film provides an unflinching portrait of Dr. Aida Alsadeeq and Nurse Mekkia Mahdi as they try to save the lives of hunger-stricken children within a population on the brink of famine.

The project builds on Spin Film's previous two films: 50 Feet from Syria and LIFEBOAT. In 2016, 50 Feet from Syria was voted onto the Oscars Shortlist. In 2019, LIFEBOAT was nominated for an Academy Award. The film has also been nominated for a National Emmy for best Current Affairs Documentary. Together the first two films of the Refugee Trilogy have garnered dozens of international awards.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - While many films are created as a means to escape from everyday realities, revolutionary and inspiring filmmakers like Skye Fitzgerald create documentaries that shed light on the horrors of our world. Hunger Ward is an extraordinary short-form documentary that follows the daily tribulations of two astonishingly brave individuals working to combat the hunger crisis in Yemen. This film, painful at times, exemplifies the necessity of nonfiction storytelling in cinema, as it begs for assistance for this struggling nation.

The country of Yemen has experienced many hardships brought about by a multi-sided civil war, and the effects of these struggles are most strongly seen in the children of the nation. Due to the neighboring country's failure to act and Saudi Arabia's constant pressure on the country, Yemen is left helpless. With an embargo on all sea and land imports, the nation has limited access to necessities such as food and medicine. Two inspiring women in separate hunger wards, Dr. Aida Alsadeeq and nurse Mekkia Madhi reveal the bravery found in working to combat the worst humanitarian crisis in our modern world.

Academy and Emmy Award nominee Skye Fitzgerald knew that in order to show audiences the dire need for support in Yemen, he would need to show the beauty that once was there. Through incredible cinematography and camera work, and beautiful aerial shots, audiences see Yemen not as a third world country or charity case, but as a full-fledged country worthy and in need of support. By focusing specifically on certain families and healthcare heroes, Fitzgerald is able to establish a personal connection to each of his subjects, allowing all viewers to feel empathetic for everyone involved.

The message of this film is brought about by the simple question that director Skye Fitzgerald asked when starting the project: how can a child go hungry in 2020? Hunger Ward shows us just how far we have to go as a global society, and how our lawmakers must do better at providing aid to these nations. The short film can be hard to watch for some, as there are graphic videos of bombing sequences, as well as two scenes depicting the loss of a child.

I give Hunger Ward 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 16 and up. An Academy Award contender, this documentary is available at certain festivals worldwide. For more updates about where to watch and for info on how to help the hospitals featured in the film, please visit https://www.hungerward.org/
Juror Recommended Age: 16-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALMOST PARADISE
ALMOST PARADISE - AMAZON PRIME
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 11-18
Description - A former US DEA agent is forced into early retirement and runs a gift shop in the Philippines. Although he tries to leave his past behind him and lead a peaceful life, he is constantly being pulled back into a world of dangerous people and deadly situations.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The chilling and suspenseful action-filled show Almost Paradise manages to keep the viewer at the edge of their seat and kept me there until the credits rolled. One thing I love about the show is how convincing the special effects are, especially the gory makeup. It doesn't feel cheesy or unbelievable and actually shocked me the first time I watched it.

This series revolves around a retired FBI agent who solves crimes. These crimes take place on an island where he lives. He solves crime cases while also battling stress attacks and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome). These cases can vary from murder to drug dealing to sex trafficking.

I love all of the characters on this show, but my favorite has to be Alex Walker (Christian Kane.) Alex is a complex character and is written in a smart way that adds to the story. Another excellent actor is Arthur Acu�a who plays Ernesto, one of the cops who assists Alex in solving cases. Arthur makes this character mysterious in a way that draws the viewer in. Almost Paradise does a lot of things well - the sets are eerie and pleasing to the eye, and they tell the story of what's going on, while adding a creepy touch. I also really like the screenwriting. It makes the show feel natural and realistic and makes you believe what the actors are saying. One of my favorite scenes is an exciting chase scene. Right when I was sure this scene would go one way, it unfolds in a totally different one.

The message of this show is the importance of justice, which is uplifting and inspiring. Every cop on this show has a strong sense of justice by risking their lives for others and showing empathy. Some things to look out for in this show are sexual jokes, adult themes, violence, blood/gore, and heavy emotional topics.

Overall, I give Almost Paradise 4 out of 5 stars. I loved this series. I highly recommend Almost Paradise for an age range of 11 to 18, plus adults. You can find Almost Paradise on YouTube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime.

Reviewed by Samantha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Time to sit back and relax, because today we are talking about the new action-packed show, Almost Paradise! Almost Paradise has everything a crime show lover would enjoy, such as outstanding plot development and fantastic stage combat that makes the fight scenes look extremely real! Unfortunately, the show lacks a strong script and doesn't grab you as much as you might think a show like this would.

Almost Paradise follows a man named Alex Walker (Christian Kane) who is sidelined from being an agent because of health issues. Alex has to stay calm and make sure his heart rate doesn't go too high. He decides to go to an island and take a vacation, and that must be very calming for Alex right? Actually no! As much as Alex wants to have a calming vacation, he can't help but get involved in the local crime scene and start busting crime bosses. Alex has to navigate his way to keep his heart rate down and still manage to keep crime off the streets.

This film has amazing staged combat. I credit the training that Christian Kane (Alex Walker) did to make his character's fight scenes look as if they are real. The show's creator Dean Devlin delivers a show that is different from all the other crime TV shows and puts his own spin on it. Almost Paradise delivers much more than you think it might, but it clearly lacks a strong script. The dialogue is uninspired and basic; it doesn't leave you thinking about the show after it's over, which is a shame.

Along with fantastic stunts and punches, Almost Paradise brings a larger message and multiple themes for the viewers to resonate with. The big message is that, just because you might be restricted by something, find a way to get around it. Don't give up because you might have a minor issue in your way. The show also explores themes like recovery, friendship and perseverance.

Almost Paradise can be very intense at times. The show is rated PG, which I very much disagree with. Some episodes deal with very surreal topics that even I, as a 14-year-old had a hard time watching. Yes the show can be funny and light-hearted at times, but it gets very dark at others. Therefore, I give Almost Paradise 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. If you are under the age of 13 I definitely recommend watching this with a parent or guardian. You can watch Almost Paradise online now, so make sure to check it out!

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 11-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
APOLLO 11: QUARANTINE
APOLLO 11: QUARANTINE - NEON
Series: FEATURE, AGES 11-18
Description - Apollo 11 astronauts spend three weeks in medical quarantine after safely returning to Earth in the summer of 1969.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Apollo 11: Quarantine is a uniquely relatable found-footage style film that is sure to allure space fans, history buffs and everyone else, too! The creators of this film have pieced together parts of old footage from newsfeeds and other sources to tell a grand story of astronauts in quarantine.

Now, more about that story! The film follows the crew of the Apollo 11 spaceflight that first landed humans on the moon (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins) in their 21-day quarantine in the summer of 1969. Scientists weren't sure if they had made contact (and maybe even brought back) dangerous lunar microorganisms like bacteria, so the astronauts had to be contained and swabbed and scrubbed down regularly. But the Apollo 11 crew weren't as isolated as you'd think: they kept contact with the outside world through a pane of thick glass. This film shows the activities that went on during those 21 days and how much patience and emotional strength the astronauts had to show; it took a lot of resilience for the roving moon-explorers, but they pulled through!

To the fun stuff, now! Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins are the lead "characters" in the film. Todd Douglas Miller brilliantly edited together all of the individual incredible clips. Besides the editing, the music and small intercut scenes of footage shot in the 21st century both help create the ambiance for the film. I also have to say that the audio work is quite interesting; I didn't think that audio from the late '60s was surround sound or stereo. I watch the film with headphones on and was surprised that the audio in parts of the film (like when the crew uses walkie-talkies) goes from one ear to the other. Quite modern for the mid-to-late 20th century!

Apollo 11: Quarantine promotes the message of resilience and sticking through anything that comes your way. The film shows exactly how difficult it was for the crew of Apollo 11 to be quarantined for 21 days, interacting with the outside world through a glass pane or capsule. But they pulled through, and President Gerald Ford congratulated them with a proud speech on Day 21 of their quarantine, the last day.

I give Apollo 11: Quarantine 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will enjoy this film as well. Apollo 11: Quarantine will be released exclusively in IMAX� on January 29, 2021, and on Premium On Demand on February 5, 2021.

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Runtime: 30 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: VIDEO


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JURASSIC WORLD: CAMP CRETACEOUS, SEASON 2
JURASSIC WORLD: CAMP CRETACEOUS, SEASON 2 - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Description - Six teens attending an adventure camp on the opposite side of Isla Nublar must band together to survive when dinosaurs wreak havoc on the island.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 2 is an exciting, action-packed, at times funny, animated TV series on Netflix! The series continues building upon the beloved Jurassic World and Jurassic Park franchise. If you are fascinated by dinosaurs (like I am) and you like adventure, you should definitely watch this show. Additionally, if you like the other Jurassic Park or Jurassic World movies, I bet you will love this series. I really enjoyed it!

The story is about six teenagers, Darius (Paul-Mik�l Williams), Brooklyn (Jenna Ortega), Kenji (Ryan Potter), Ben (Sean Giambrone), Yaz (Kausar Mohammed) and Sammy (Raini Rodriguez) who go together to a camp in Jurassic World, called Camp Cretaceous. They have a fun time at the camp, but then all of a sudden all the dinosaurs living in Jurassic World become loose! The teenagers then need to figure out how to survive on an island with wild and crazy dinosaurs that attack the campers. Even though this may sound a little scary, there is humor throughout the episode. There are moments that had me laughing such as when stuff breaks that isn't supposed to, or when the characters say funny things.

In every episode of this series, there are new dinosaurs that pop into the show. The special effects surrounding these dinosaurs are awesome and seem incredibly realistic. The dinosaurs actually seem like they are alive. There is a T-Rex, Raptor, Mosasaurus, Compy, Stegosaurus and other prehistoric creatures. The dinosaurs are, by far, my favorite part of the show. The teenage characters all have different types of traits including: athletic, funny, scared of everything, famous, rich and loving dinosaurs. I enjoyed watching how they all end up working together as a team during the course of the series.

The primary message of the series is about teamwork and collaboration. The characters all end up working as a team.< p>I give Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can find Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 2 on Netflix, available January 22, 2021.

By Conrad W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I love Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 2--it's so interesting, and it grabs your attention so well! I also like that season 2 has more action than season 1, which kept me watching the whole time.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Season 2 is an American animated, science-fiction adventure series based on the multi-billionaire Jurassic Park franchise. This awesome series has eight episodes with a duration of approximately 25 minutes each. The computer animation and graphics are neat, and the colorful backgrounds attract the viewer's attention. The voiceovers suit each character, and the music played on every scene is suitable to what is going on. My favorite part is when Darius has a flashback about how he got the dinosaur tooth necklace.

This season starts with a boy named Darius (Paul-Mik�l Williams) who wants to go to Camp Cretaceous like he and his dad planned. Sadly, his dad dies and ever since then Darius has been playing a VR game because the game's winner gets Camp Cretaceous tickets. No one has beat the game yet, until Darius does, and he attends Camp Cretaceous in honor of his dad. This is big for Darius because he is a huge dino nerd and knows so many facts and has dino toys all over his room. He arrives at Camp Cretaceous and meets five other kids: Brooklyn (Jenna Ortega), a famous travel vlogger; Ben (Sean Giambrone), who is scared of everything and a germophobe; Kenji (Ryan Potter), a rich ungrateful kid who likes attention and brags about going to the park six gazillion times. The other kids include Yasmina (Kausar Mohammed), an athlete who sits alone and Sammy (Raini Rodriguez), who likes to talk a lot and makes friends with everyone. All six of the kids embark on a new adventure in every episode.

There are many morals in season 2, but teamwork stands out the most. In season 1, the kids need to find people that work at the camp so they can get saved and, in that process, they work together very well. In season 2, they need to find a beacon and also watch out for a T-rex and its lair. They work together using walkie-talkies.

I'd give Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Season 2, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18 plus adults and to whomever is a dinosaur or Jurassic Park fan. Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Season 2 comes out on January 22, 2021, on Netflix.

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


KIDS FIRST QUALIFIED ENDORSEMENT
MARKSMAN, THE
MARKSMAN, THE - OPEN ROAD PRODUCTIONS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - A rancher on the Arizona border becomes the unlikely defender of a young Mexican boy desperately fleeing the cartel assassins who've pursued him into the U.S.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Marksman is a slower-paced action film set on the road from Texas to Chicago. The film stars Liam Neeson as Jim, a retiree who's seen better days. There is a strong action storyline but those expecting a shoot-em-up adrenaline rush may want to look elsewhere.

Jim's wife has passed away, his finances gutted by the cost of her medical bills, and his decaying ranch adjoining the border to Mexico is under threat since he can't keep up with his rent. Now all he's got is his loyal canine companion and a few days left with his property. On a drive surveying his land, Jim finds a boy named Miguel and his mother Rosa, crossing the border. Members of a drug cartel are hot on their trail, eager to capture the mother and son. A shootout between Jim and their pursuers occurs and Rosa is mortally wounded. As she passes away, Jim makes a promise to get Miguel to their family in Chicago where he'll be safe.

The Marksman is a conundrum as an action movie - as for action, it's sparse, save for a few shootouts here and there where Neeson's character gets a chance to live up to his Marksman moniker. When you hear Liam Neeson and action movie within the same breath, you picture Neeson defiantly doling out revenge to those who have wronged him and the people he cares about, which to some extent is what The Marksman becomes. But it plods along its course, steeping you in the everyday life of Neesons' Jim, before putting into perspective the predicament Miguel faces from the cartel members who killed his mother.

Jim's encounters with the cartel is only mildly suspenseful. So much of The Marksman doesn't fully develop Miguel and Jim's dynamic, either. These characters spend so much time together, but, by the end, they only manage to get each other where they need to go, and nothing more. There's humanity, but there's no spark to it. I don't fault the performances, as much as I do a script with not enough meaningful moments for the central pair's bond to supplant itself deeply in the fabric of the movie.

I give The Marksman 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 for some mild violence and the killing of a dog. The Marksman comes out in theaters on January 15, 2020.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, ages 14
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STALLONE: FRANK, THAT IS
STALLONE: FRANK, THAT IS - BRANDED STUDIOS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Description - Frank Stallone has seen it all. Frank Stallone has done it all. But, who is Frank Stallone? You know the name, now discover the Grammy and Golden Globe nominated singer, songwriter, musician and actor who has been entertaining audiences for over fifty years, all the while living in a giant shadow.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I'm super excited to share my thoughts about the documentary Stallone: Frank, That Is about a Hollywood star that has seen and done it all. I am talking about Frank Stallone who has spent nearly 50 years entertaining us with his platinum and gold albums and his amazing songs that have topped the music charts worldwide. His movie soundtracks for the most iconic films remain familiar throughout many generations. Singer, songwriter, musician and an actor...Frank Stallone is a package deal!

Stallone: Frank, That Is, a documentary written and directed by Derek Wayne Johnson, gives viewers an inside look into the life, career and struggles of a performer who has been dubbed "the most unknown famous entertainer in Hollywood." The film takes us behind the scenes as we follow Frank Stallone's professional journey told in words by Frank himself and people within his life who knew him best. Frank's accomplishments seem so remarkable, however for much of his life he has lived within the shadows of his more famous brother, Sylvester Stallone. Being "Rocky's Brother" may have been the largest hindrance to Frank's career, yet the most beneficial, because Frank's first real break within the industry came from his contributions to the Rocky Film Series. Frank Stallone's story is one of perseverance, inner strength, and a passion for the arts.

Frank's path has been filled with many opportunities and setbacks. Everyone, of course, has heard of Sylvester Stallone, yet, just as talented Frank has remained the Stallone underdog. I believe this documentary is exactly what Frank Stallone needs in order to share with the world exactly who he is, what he's done, and just how talented he actually is. Frank is exceptionally courageous in sharing his deepest inferior feelings and reveals to the world that there is room for more than one Stallone!

I truly enjoyed hearing from Mr. Stallone talk about how difficult his journey has been and how he hurdled so many obstacles to follow his dreams. As a young actor, I know firsthand how frustrating and disheartening it is to try to make it big within the talent world. I can relate to the look on Frank's face when as he discusses the setbacks he has faced. The industry is certainly competitive. What every entertainer needs is a will to push forward and a strong support base. The closest people in Frank Stallone's life offer words of encouragement to this amazing entertainer, which I believe is the message of this perseverant film; lots of support and self-confidence are needed if you are going to succeed within this terribly competitive niche. You need to navigate around your obstacles in order to reach your dreams.

I give Stallone: Frank, That Is 4 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to ages 12 to 18. Adults would especially love this documentary also, as many of them are quite familiar with Frank's music. This documentary will be released January 19, 2021. You can watch it on Video on Demand and Digital Screenings. This is an inspiring film that you don't want to miss.
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NEWS OF THE WORLD
NEWS OF THE WORLD - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Five years after the end of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks), a veteran of three wars, now moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, sharing the news of presidents and queens, glorious feuds, devastating catastrophes, and gripping adventures from the far reaches of the globe. On the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with Johanna (Helena Zengel), a 10-year-old taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own. Johanna, hostile to a world she's never experienced, is being returned to her biological aunt and uncle against her will. Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two will face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place that either can call home.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - News of the World is a classical, character-driven Western amped up by the strength of its lead performances and cinematography.

Directed by Paul Greengrass, News of the World stars Tom Hanks as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a veteran and former newspaper man. He charts course across a divided, post-Civil War America, going from town to town and doling out the news along with hope or despair depending on the headline. It's on these journeys that he finds a corpse in the woods and a toppled buggy, with a lone girl inside and some papers telling her story. She's Johanna, a German orphan adopted by Native Americans who slayed her parents and then taken from them. Kidd takes it upon himself to find her the home she's never really had, undeterred by the challenges ahead of them.

Tom Hanks is a gem, as usual. Hanks plays Kidd as flawed--we know he's done some things he's not proud of prior to the events of the film. He's atoning for those actions with an outstretched hand and caring heart for a person who needs it, a beacon of decency in a world that doesn't always adhere to that standard and the ideal stage for Hanks to work his magic upon. Fortunately, Hanks has a more than capable scene partner throughout in Helena Zengel, who plays Johanna. Her performance is mesmerizing and layered with nuance. She captures a character with a fiery spirit and worldly inner life.

The vistas and wide plains of a Western are catnip to any cinematographer. Dariuz Wolski creates a soft unease amid the ethereal hues of the frontier. There's an air of uncertainty that comes with their arduous journey that clouds over the majesty of the terrain. Wolski's cinematography basks in that majesty, but doesn't let it shake its focus on the characters at the center of it all. You become enveloped in the vastness of Captain Kidd and Johanna's travels, but fearful of what may lie ahead.

Greengrass's film seems primed for the big screen with its wealth of set pieces motivated by scale and environment; however, in the current times, a good portion of the people who watch this movie will watch it at home, and the movie seems as appropriate for that viewing experience with its stripped-down moments in between those grander ones.

I give News of the World 3 out of 5 stars and an age rating of 12 to 18 for some mild violence and moments of peril. You can see it in theaters December 25, 2020, and it will be available for home viewing within a month after its release.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

News of the World has a lot going for it and is full of creativity! While the concept of the film is original and full of potential, once the conflict is established the story doesn't quite live up to its promise.

The story centers on Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks), a Confederate Civil War veteran, and traveling news correspondent, who finds a young girl named Johanna (Helena Zengel) who was taken by Kiowa natives years ago. Kidd agrees to take the girl to her aunt and uncle, despite her protests in a language he does not speak. The pair faces many dangers along the way as they travel the American plains, including thieves, a dust storm, and a workers' riot, but through those challenges, they learn more about each other and how to work together.

The sets are impressive as well as the costumes. The actors are all dressed in outfits that really fit the time period and the region! I especially loved the scenes where Kidd and Johanna are traveling across the open desert because the filming locations are beautiful. My favorite part is how Kidd's and Johanna's relationship develops into one similar to a parent and a child, and the way it changes Kidd's perspective on family. Tom Hanks, as Kidd, is an outstanding actor, but I think his performance is somewhat negatively affected by uninteresting dialogue and character choices. In particular, Kidd's decision to rile the workers and fight against the mine owners while relaying the news seems a bit out of character, since Kidd is much calmer and lenient at the beginning of the movie. In fact, many scenes in the build-up of the main conflict of the story are a bit off-putting because they don't always match up with the familial and touching tone of the beginning and end of the film.

The message behind News of the World is that home is where the people you love are, and that family doesn't always have to be found in blood. The awkward and eventually affectionate interactions between Kidd and Johanna prove that any two people can find a connection. This film is rated PG-13, and parents should watch out for racism, death, implied child harassment, violence including the use of weapons.

I rate News of the World 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. This film can be viewed in theaters on December 25, 2020.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GREENLAND
GREENLAND - STX ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - A family fights for survival as a planet-killing comet races to Earth. John Garrity (Gerard Butler), his estranged wife Allison (Morena Baccarin), and young son Nathan make a perilous journey to their only hope for sanctuary. Amid terrifying news accounts of cities around the world being leveled by the comet's fragments, the Garritys experience the best and worst in humanity while they battle the increasing panic and lawlessness surrounding them. As the countdown to global apocalypse approaches zero, their incredible trek culminates in a desperate and last-minute flight to a possible safe haven.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Are you interested in an adventure? Are you ready for an intense ride of a lifetime? Well if so, Greenland is the movie for you! This film tests the limits of our society and portrays something everyone is scared might happen: The apocalypse. Greenland completely immerses you in its intensity, and also in incredible acting performances and visually stunning scenes.

Greenland starts off following a man named John Garrity (Gerard Butler) who learns of a comet named Clark that will be passing by Earth. Clark seems to be all fun and interesting until it is not! Fragments of Clark begin hitting Earth, wiping out cities, counties, and billions of lives. John discovers a safe haven, and he vows to get his family to it no matter what obstacles they face.

One of the biggest challenges about making a film about the apocalypse is making it look realistic. The visual effects department made everything look as if it was real, especially when it comes to scenes with comet fragments hitting Earth. Director Ric Roman Waugh also set up the story in such a way that it really makes the viewer wonder, how far would I go to protect my family?

Greenland delivers everything you would expect about an apocalypse movie along with stunning visual scenes. My concern with this film is that it lags in the middle making you aware of the two-hour runtime. Some scenes feel not unnecessary, and that the story could work perfectly without them. Also, Greenland pushes the boundaries of a PG-13 film because of the major intensity and gore. Throughout the film--with society on edge and people taking advantage of the crisis--gun violence, murder, and cursing frequently occur. Every child has a different maturity level, but even as a mature 14-year-old, I found some parts of this film difficult to watch at times.

I give Greenland 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18 plus adults because of the intensity and violence. You can find Greenland digitally on December 18, 2020.
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOPE'S LEGACY
HOPE'S LEGACY - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-15
Description - After the death of her grandmother, Lizzie decides to go back into eventing. With the help of past eventor Linda, her fiance James, and her family, Lizzie must learn to stand tall as she is challenged by the planning of her upcoming wedding and by her competitor Bethany. The sequel to Christmas Ranch.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Sequel to Christmas Ranch, Hope's Legacy follows Lizzie's struggle to navigate life and love after her grandmother dies. Grieving, she decides to rekindle something she and her grandmother shared: their love of horseback riding. The rest of the film follows the twists and turns of the endeavor and how her relationships evolve around it.

This film is ideal for teenagers from ages seven to thirteen who are interested in horseback riding and romance. It does not delve into any serious topics, nor does it employ any intricate cinematography or stellar acting. Although romance is a vital part to the plot, Lizzie's relationship with her female trainer, Linda, does take up a healthy amount of screen time. This kind of representation is still rare in today's world and is important for younger female audiences.

Hope's Legacy is family and child friendly. However, it does make an appeal to Christian audiences as the roles of the pastor and ideals of marriage are discussed on occasion. The production level is acceptable and you can enjoy this best, if taken at face value. Young viewers who are interested in horses and romance or are just looking for a lighthearted movie will enjoy it very much. Reviewed by Joy P., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer.

Hope's Legacy is a very sweet story. I like the charm that all the characters hold in their unique personalities. I like the storyline and how multi-dimensional it is.

Following the death of her grandma who loved horses, Lizzie decides to carry on eventing with her horse Legacy. She gets engaged to her fianc�' and tries to plan the wedding while practicing with her horse and problems arise.

The camera shows amazing panorama and crane shots above the beautiful scenery and pans to show emotion on so many loved ones' faces. The cinematography and the music pair to show the serene landscape and accent the dramatic and awesome moments in the film.

The message of this film is that if you want something it may not always be easy, but you must go for it to get what you really want out of life.

I give Hope's Legacy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to18, plus adults. This film will be available on January 5, 2021. Look for it. Reviewed by Melissa M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The movie Hope's Legacy is a motivational film! I absolutely love this movie and thought this is a clear beautiful film. You do not need to be an equestrian or animal fanatic to love this movie. It is entertaining and includes lots of uplifting spirit from the main characters.

The storyline is about a young girl Lizzy (Taylor Lyons), who gets the farm passed down to her after her grandmother's death. Lizzy decides to go back into eventing along with planning her wedding with her fiance James (Allen Williamson). Lizzy needs to learn to stand tall while dealing with her tough competition Bethany (Abigail Reed). At least Lizzy is not alone, she has her mentor Linda Locke (Dyan Cannon).

I absolutely love the horses and pretty backgrounds throughout the film. I enjoyed seeing Lizzy's horse Legacy. It is so stunning to see the action of the horses through the film. Another thing I liked is the music. The background music is inspirational and fits the storyline well. I found the film to be very appealing and adventurous. My favorite character is Bethany because Abigail Reed portrays the antagonist so well. Taylor Lyons really portrays Lizzy so well. I was surprised with the movie, because I did not know what the ending had in store and that kept me engaged. The film takes place on a ranch, with competitions and events. Legacy is a bit corny at first but kept me engaged to the end. This film definitely is one of my favorite movies.

The message of the film is to never give up. Lizzy has to stand up and be brave to overcome the hurtful comments and rumors. She keeps going through this competitive event only to find the best award waiting for her. The film is very motivational and inspiring. You should know that throughout the film there are some adult topics about drugs.

I give Hope's Legacy 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. I think adults and families would enjoy this as well! This movie will be released on DVD and digital January 4, 2021.

Hope's Legacy is a heartfelt movie that gets you thinking, "Do you have enough hope to chase your dreams?" This film combines a great concept with multiple plot twists that leave us watching with anticipation. I thought a few things were going to happen and then something entirely different happens. It's a film that you HAVE to watch!

Hope's Legacy is about a girl named Lizzy (Taylor Lyons), who just lost her beloved grandmother, and is trying to take the lead at the ranch she left her. She just got back from college and wants to start eventing with her horse, Legacy, again. When her boyfriend James (Allen Williamson) pops the big question, she now has a wedding to plan and still train so she and Legacy can win and defeat her nemesis, Bethany (Abigail Reed). With the help of Linda (Dyan Cannon), an ex-horse eventer with a questionable past, she finds a way to get everything she wants.

The actors are the main reason this film has so much potential for success. Taylor Lyons carries the lead role very well because she can bounce around from emotion to emotion in one scene. She goes from sad, to happy, to confused, to angry and back to happy again. This range of emotions gives us a much better understanding of the severity of Lizzy's feelings. Linda is also an important character. She encourages Lizzy to try her best and keep her head in the game when Bethany shakes up her confidence. Without Linda's encouragement, Lizzy might back out of eventing. James tries to understand everything Lizzy is going through however, he is dealing with Bethany, who is looking to ruin his relationship with Lizzy. The audience will really be able to see the tension between the three main characters. My favorite part of Hope's Legacy is when Lizzy and James announce their engagement to their parents. They don't get the response they are expecting because the parents think they are too young. Everyone else thinks so too. This doesn't stop them from planning their wedding, which shows how much they love each other. Another thing I enjoy about this film is the way the background music complements all of the scenes. In the scene when Lizzy is stressing over picking flowers for the wedding, the background music comes through with a humorous tone. This makes me sense that the mood is lighthearted but serious, and that's exactly how I felt.

The message of Hope's Legacy is that hope is where you find it, and you can't let people take that fight inside of you. We can see the fighter inside Lizzy, and she tries her hardest, with the help of her loved ones, not to lose it. There is one scene where Linda and Lizzy are talking about horse steroids, but otherwise it's very kid and family friendly.

Hope's Legacy is a film with a lot of heart. I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults will also enjoy this! I definitely did. Hope's Legacy comes out on January 5, 2021, in theatres and digital. Make sure you check it out!

Reviewed by Avery P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The movie Hope's Legacy is a film that takes movie-watchers through a series of events such as love, marriage and problems with competition. This movie is unpredictable in a way that kept my attention. When I think something is going to happen, it doesn't happen. It's fun, unexpected and definitely a film worth watching.

Hope's Legacy is about a young woman named Lizzy (Taylor Lyons) who needs to take care of her grandmother's farm after her passing. Lizzy and her fiance James (Allen Williamson) are about to get married, but Lizzy is having second thoughts because of her commitment to riding horses again and her suspicions about an old friend of James. Lizzy meets a woman named Linda and her granddaughter Hailey who helps her train for horseback riding events. But James' old friend competes in these events too and that means Lizzy has problems and decisions to make.

Lizzy's stunt work is amazing. It looks like she is on the horse in the riding scenes but she's not. Linda (Dyan Cannon) coaches Lizzy so she can be a better rider. Her acting is believable because she makes me think that she really wants to help Lizzy win cross country. The way James shows his love for Lizzy made me feel like they actually have a relationship with each other in real life. Bethany (Abigail Reed) is really convincing when she tries to sabotage James and Lizzy's relationship. The background music really sets the mood of what is happening in the scenes. There is a bit of a plot hole in this movie. Bethany says that if Lizzy competes in the event and doesn't forfeit, she will get revenge. But, when Lizzy goes through with the competition anyway, Bethany never does anything. She just kicks the fence and walks away.

The message of Hope's Legacy is that you have to believe in yourself no matter what anyone says. There are not anything inappropriate for kids, except that they do talk about drugs and horse steroids. Other than that, this film is very family-friendly.

Hope's Legacy is a delightful movie to watch. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters and digitally January 5, 2021. Look for it!

Reviewed by Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

This is the perfect movie for a person who loves horses. I loved this movie; it has its happy moments as well as sad ones. I loved watching the main character discover what she wants for herself. I loved this movie because throughout the entire movie I could feel the emotions of the characters and what they were going through, I also love horses, so having one of the main characters be a horse made it that much more intriguing to me.

In this movie the plot follows the life of a young woman whose life changed drastically when her grandmother died. Her grandmother owned a ranch where Lizzy (the main character) rode her horse as a teenager. The ranch was left to Lizzy so she is on a journey to find what she really wants out of life. She gets back in the saddle and loves it. Her boyfriend decides to make a big change in their life for the better. This movie is a rollercoaster of emotions, I love that it shows the reality of life, that it is not always perfect but you have to make the best out of a bad situation. My favorite part of the movie was the show jumping competition, I loved this part of the movie because it showed how much Lizzy had grown in how she handles herself and how she and her horse have grown closer and are in sync with one another.

I really liked the performance of Taylor Lyons (Lizzy), I liked her performance because she showed real emotion and it did not look forced. I liked her performance made the whole movie seem more real and because so much had happened to the character I could tell from her expressions that she felt everything crashing down on her world. I also like Allen Williamson's (James) performance, I could see the emotion behind his eyes when he was talking. I loved that the emotion seemed natural.

The message of the film is when you want something, you have to work hard to get it. Lizzy really wanted to do eventing instead of a job, she works hard for what she wants and is able to succeed. She knew what she wanted so she went out and got it, with the help of her family and friends.

What stuck out about this movie most to me was the attention to detail, from the clothes used in riding to the measuring of the bar for the competition. They really did a great job making sure everything in the movie made sense with real life. I think that the little details make all the difference, this movie was well done in that regard.

This movie meets the KIDS FIRST! Guidelines. I would say that the audience for this movie would be people from ages 11-18. I think most people would enjoy it. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars. I loved the attention to detail and the emotion shown.

Reviewed by Lorelei T., KIDS FIRST! Juror, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LILLY'S LIGHT: THE MOVIE
LILLY'S LIGHT: THE MOVIE - 12 PING�INOS S.L
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 512
Description - Lilly is a loving foster mom and the keeper of an enchanted lighthouse. With her spirited crew of kids, their exotic talking pets and zany friends, Lilly uses joy, love, laughter and song as her tools, and shows everyone that "Life is Full of Possibilities!" The adventure begins when two curious members of Lilly's crew discover the Big Book of Little Adventures in the lighthouse basement. Messenger-pelican, Pel Mel, brings news that newly orphaned Daniel and his pot-bellied pig, Oink, need a home. As sisters Peaches, (Mindy Sterling) and Dee, (Philece Sampler) snicker-bicker, Professor Crabbe, perfects the Illiator. Will and Al Patchitt prepare for guests, while Lilly, the kids and Uncle Fitz take Daniel on a musical journey where they meet Sir Oinks A Lot, the Wizard of Hog (Fred Willard). He discovers the secret of the lighthouse and how to turn the imaginary into magical adventure. As the adventure ends, our story returns us to present day in the lighthouse basement, several years later. We are reunited with slightly older yet familiar faces, introduced to a few new crewmembers, including cousin Kenny Patchitt (Rick Cowling), and the next chapter begins with a new spark of light. Lilly's Light is filled with original music, sparkling sets and strong message points to which children can relate. It "shines a light" on the issue of challenges facing foster children. It is an inspiring and uplifting adventure that will capture the hearts and minds of children and adults everywhere.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I find the musical aspect of Lilly's Light: The Movie appealing, especially for a youth audience. The music will keep children engaged and the songs enhance the storyline, as well as support the moral lessons expressed in each scene. Overall, the songs fit well within the context of the film.

The storyline follows Lilly (Sherry Hursey) genuinely, who is separated by her parents on a stormy night at sea, resulting in her becoming an orphan. She does not let this get to her and she still continues to let her light shine through. Her personal experience motivates her to create a home for orphaned children at her lighthouse.

I like how the story is told non-chronologically. It made me question what was going to happen, or what I was going to discover next. The camera work is well done. Lilly's costumes are delightful! She is very eccentric and her clothes match her character. The best way to describe it is that she dresses like a cool and funky art teacher. I enjoy the location being inside the lighthouse where Lilly's style is prominent as well. The kitchen is painted variations of pastel pinks and mint green. Even the furniture is oddly-shaped and funky and it works well. The walls are painted purple and yellow. The children have beds that suit each one's personality. For example, Katie Lynn's bed is a boat. In general, the lighthouse is very colorful and the d�cor directly correlates to Lilly's personality. Something else to notice is that, in the beginning, Lilly's Lighthouse is very bland and simple. So, the contrast between what Lilly has created for orphaned children is great. I also like the small details like pillowcases are clouds, relating to the saying "head in the clouds" (aka dreaming).

Since this film is a musical, the music definitely drives the action. When there is a plot point or something important happens, the cast breaks out into a song about what just happened. For example, when Daniel is upset about his grandmother, the rest of the kids in the lighthouse describe how they create story books with their imaginations to go on adventures. Their imagination allows them to escape reality for a little bit and come together to bond in creating a story world. I enjoy how the pages in the book look two dimensional at first, then eventually come to life in three dimensions. Sherry Hursey, as Lilly, embodies light with her over-the-top facial expressions. They work well and do not feel awkward, nor forced. You can really see her happiness and love for the kids every time she sings or smiles. With that being said, I would say the actors and the set designers are the key influencers. Even the child actors are great. I love the d�cor and colors of Lilly's lighthouse. It feels fun, safe and welcoming. I love it. Some of my favorite scenes are those with the pigs. They are cute and funny, especially when the pig talks in the kids' imagination world. I also like the costumes that the pigs are dressed in. Children would love those scenes also. This film has some notable talent, including: Sherry Hursey, Mindy Sterling, Brianne Tju, Gregory Paul Martin, Hal B. Klein, Newell Alexander, Fred Willard and Philece Sampler.

There are multiple positive messages in this film: We cannot change the situation, but we can change the way we react to it. People who love you do not need to be your family; they can also be your friends. Be a lighthouse, not a candle flame. With imagination, the possibilities are limitless. Life is full of possibilities. I resonated with many of these messages myself. They are issues that we all have to deal with. You should be aware that it does address the topic of losing a family member, which may be tough for some kids. The film does not go into detail about that and it is not the focus of the film.

I give Lilly's Light: The Movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12, plus adults. The film is engaging and the songs are captivating. The many messages scattered throughout the film will leave children thinking about those messages and morals after viewing. Furthermore, this film speaks favorably about the foster care program. If more foster care homes were ran like Lilly's lighthouse, children would have a more positive outlook on life and connect better with others. Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Lilly's Light: The Movie is a very whimsical film! It is especially creative and has many great messages and entertaining content.

The storyline is about Lilly (Sherry Hursey), who was stranded from her parents at sea and is raised by a fisherman, Uncle Fitz (LeRoy White). Lilly grows up to become a foster mom to three young children. She easily helps others and eventually takes in more kids including Daniel (Vitor Philipe). Lilly reads to her foster kids about all the adventures she has had with other kids.

I enjoyed the fun personalities of all the characters. Everyone is very bubbly. The singing and musical fun is entertaining and lighthearted. The songs are motivating and very catchy. Some songs are a little slow, but for the most part it is upbeat. There are many fun talking animals which is very appealing. I also like the computerized characters that come to life. The background music is magical with lots of sound affects showing off certain moves, songs and games. The film is adventurous and playful. The costuming is especially creative and colorful. There is a point in the film where Lilly and the kids switch to a different time period. The costuming in this era has many medieval renaissance dresses and clothing. The background and setting starts in a colorful, magical lighthouse with has tons of cool inventions. My favorite thing is that the movie promotes imagination and inventions. The film may be a bit long for its intended audience.

There are multiple messages from the film. The recurring message is that life has endless possibilities and you should stay true to yourself. Lilly had to survive and help herself by making a family out of friends. By doing this she has many lessons to teach others. You should know that the film does include topics about orphans and foster kids. You also should know that your child may sing these songs over and over again!

I give Lilly's Light 2.5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. It is currently streaming via Gathr At Home for children and families to watch and sing-a-long together.

Reviewed by Avery P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Lilly's Light: The Movie is a musical that shows people that they always need someone. The characters are fun and the songs have great messages. This film is enchanting and heartwarming.

Lilly's Light: The Movie is about a woman named Lilly, played by Sherry Hursey, who was a foster kid as a child. When Lilly becomes an adult, she uses a lighthouse to create a home for other foster children. A young boy named Daniel, played by Vitor Philipe, just lost his grandmother, his only known family member, making him a foster kid too. Lilly invites him to the family, but he declines and says he doesn't need anyone. But, Lilly and the kids take Daniel's book bag to keep him at the lighthouse long enough to convince him that he needs them after all.

The writers of Lilly's Light: The Movie uses storytelling to tell about the adventures of the foster kids. The scenes switch back and forth between the past and the present as the story is told. The set of the movie is colorful and appealing. For example, the colors of the furniture in the lighthouse give the house an artistic vibe. All of the songs in this film have a positive message. For example, the song "Life Is Full Of Possibilities" gives us the message that anything can happen in life. I like the talking goose, but the part I like the most is when Daniel realizes that he needs Lilly, because even though his grandmother is no longer with him, he has a new family now.

The message of Lilly's Light: The Movie is family isn't just your relatives, but it's the people who love and care for you. There aren't any inappropriate things to look out for in this film. This is actually a family-friendly film.

The music and the message of Lilly's Light: The Movie makes this film worth watching. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 13. Lilly's Light: The Movie is now playing in select theaters and virtually. Be sure to check it out!

Reviewed by Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

I really appreciate that it took a lot of hard work and effort to make Lilly's Light: The Movie. Sherry Hursey co-wrote and produced the film, as well as performs in the lead role. It is very creative and is like no film I've ever seen before and is suitable for young children. However, the storyline and themes may be a bit confusing for them. The film has a lot of wavering fantasies and unrealistic things mixed with realistic, half-funny jokes.

The storyline follows a girl who is raised an orphan, Lilly (Sherry Hursey) who, as an adult, opens a foster care center in a lighthouse where she takes children on wonderful and magnificent journeys and brings joy to everyone's life. She helps a boy find happiness and imagination and takes all the children into an imaginary world that they make a scrapbook of to show people in the future.

Even though I didn't resonate with the storyline, the special effects and animation are well executed. There are beautiful transitions between the scenes and the music is very original and enjoyable. There are speaking animals, which are convincing and really funny. My favorite part is when they are in an imaginary pig-style version of Camelot with talking pigs that make jokes. This part is overall hilarious and ties together the deeper parts of the film. It is a bit corny and some of the dialogue isn't very realistic and doesn't draw you into the story.

The film's message is about joy, bravery and making the best out of what one has.

I give Lilly's Light: The Movie 3 out of 5 stars recommend it for ages 6-13, plus some adults. People who really like unique and out of the ordinary fantasy films will particularly enjoy it. It is currently streaming via Gathr At Home for children and families to watch and sing-a-long together. Reviewed by Rosemary K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The heartfelt film Lilly's Light: The Movie is perfect for young children. I love this movie because of the elements of magic and hope that are embedded throughout. Also, the message is clearly delivered through catchy songs.

This film follows a caring foster mother named Lilly and the keeper of a magical lighthouse. The real fun begins when members of Lilly's crew of children discover The Big Book of Little Adventures in the lighthouse basement. Inside the book, the talking pelican messenger Pel-Mel shows them Daniel, a poor orphan who isn't open to new people in his life. Lilly and her crew take him on a magical adventure where they meet the Wizard of Hog and Sir Oinks A Lot. But will Daniel loosen up and open his heart to new friends?

I really like how the film delivers strong messages through positive, uplifting and inspirational songs. This family-friendly musical is filled with colorful and playful sets that really engage young children. Sherry Hursey who plays Lilly acts with such passion and joy, she is like Mary Poppins in training!

This film conveys many uplifting messages, but the one that spoke to me most is: you have the power to change the way you think.

I give Lilly's Light: The Movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 7 who will absolutely love this film and be begging for a sequel. Lilly's Light: The Movie is currently streaming via Gathr At Home for children and families to watch and sing-a-long together.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WILD MOUNTAIN THYME
WILD MOUNTAIN THYME - BLEECKER STREET MEDIA
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - John Patrick Shanley, who created the classic MOONSTRUCK, brings his sweeping romantic vision to Ireland with Wild Mountain Thyme. The headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt) has her heart set on winning her neighbor Anthony Reilly's love. The problem is Anthony (Jamie Dornan) seems to have inherited a family curse, and remains oblivious to his beautiful admirer. Stung by his father Tony's (Christopher Walken) plans to sell the family farm to his American nephew (Jon Hamm), Anthony is jolted into pursuing his dreams in this comedic, moving and wildly romantic tale.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wild Mountain Thyme is an Irish romantic-comedy. It is set in Ballina, County Mayo, a lush Irish countryside with picturesque farms, impressive coastlines and lovely farm houses. You will enjoy this sweet Irish love story.

This movie follows the story of the farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt). At a young age she is love-struck with her neighbor, Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan). Anthony spends his days ignoring the flirtations of his admirer. Tony Reilly (Christopher Walken) is not convinced his son Anthony is capable of managing the family farm and threatens to sell it to his American nephew, Adam (Jon Hamm). This motivates Anthony and he becomes determined to keep the farm. Rosemary finds herself in an unexpected love-triangle between Anthony and Adam.

Wild Mountain Thyme is directed by John Patrick Shanley and was adapted from his Broadway play Outside Mullingar. The story is based on John Patrick Shanley's own Irish family. Though I really appreciated the story, it might not appeal to many kids my age as much as it might appeal to older teens and adults. I really enjoyed the music in the film, which is composed by Amelia Warner, Jamie Dornan's wife. One of my favorite songs is "Will Ye Go, Lassie Go," also known as "Wild Mountain Thyme." This song plays an important role in this movie. The movie stars several very accomplished actors; Emily Blunt portrays a fiery and independent farm girl, Rosemary. Jon Hamm nicely portrays Adam, a wealthy American bachelor from New York who is on a mission to find an Irish wife. Jamie Dornan plays Anthony as a insecure and awkward farm boy. Christopher Walken role as Tony Reilly, the bickering father brings out his subtle and clever sense of humor. The Irish accents are well executed. I might recommend they add English subtitles though, because it can be hard to decipher what they are saying.

The main messages of the movie are be true to yourself, follow your dreams, squabble less and love more. There is some bad language and some drinking.

I give Wild Mountain Thyme 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. This movie is scheduled to come in theaters December 11, 2020.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: Web Series


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MR. IGLISIAS
MR. IGLISIAS - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 14-18
Description - Mr. Iglesias is an American comedy streaming television series that premiered on Netflix on June 21, 2019. The series stars Gabriel Iglesias who executive produces alongside Kevin Hench, Joe Meloche, and Ron DeBlasio. In August 2019, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on June 17, 2020. Season 3 comes out December 8, 2020.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Mr. Iglesias is a streaming TV series with a great moral message and a lot of potential. The story follows Mr. Iglesias (Gabe Iglesias), a high school teacher who wants nothing more than to help his students thrive. He works to help his students through their interpersonal issues while also working on his own anxieties.

This show is a sitcom, so how is the comedy? To be honest, the comedy is very hit or miss for me. And that's mainly because this show uses a laugh track. I found it a bit annoying and it consistently broke my immersion. I also don't understand why this show needs a laugh track in the first place. It's a very outdated tactic and it makes the show feel outdated as a result. Though, the pop culture references definitely don't help. There are some genuinely funny lines despite this flaw, but it's still something that really bothered me.

The characters are also hit or miss. I like a lot of the students, especially Grace (Gloria Aung) and Marisol (Cree Cicchino) as I felt they have a lot of development throughout the show. However, Mr. Iglesias's co-workers are mostly annoying. Paula (Sherri Shepard) especially bothered me the more episodes I watched, which is unfortunate since Sherri Shepard is a great comedy actor. Her very inappropriate humor feels so jarring and it made me feel uncomfortable at points. Weirdly enough, Carlos (Oscar Nunez) actually grew on me. Despite how comically evil he is at first, once he tones down his hatred for children, he becomes a very entertaining straight man. Mr. Iglesias himself is consistently entertaining. He definitely steals the show most of the time. Despite this, I'm not a fan of the way he is presented in the show. The character version of Gabriel Iglesias is presented with very few flaws, and characters regularly comment on how his biggest flaw is how nice he is. It feels unnatural and too perfect.

Mr. Iglesias has a good message and encourages us to realize that teachers are incredibly important to the lives of children-- we should celebrate that importance. The upcoming third season is the best season of the show. Despite fewer episodes, the jokes are a lot funnier, and there's a lot of character development in the third season. So if you are already a fan you will definitely be happy with what's coming next.

I give Mr. Iglesias 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Season 3 comes out December 8, 2020.
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LOUIS VAN BEETHOVEN
LOUIS VAN BEETHOVEN - BETA FILM
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Description - 1779. Eight-year-old Ludwig van Beethoven, called "Louis", is already known as a musical prodigy. He learns to go his own way - much to the dismay of the people around him. Some years later, he meets Mozart during times of political upheaval. The unconventional genius and French Revolution are sparking a fire in Louis' heart; he doesn't want to serve a master - only the arts. Facing times of family tragedies and unrequited love, he almost gives up. However, Louis makes it to Vienna to study under Haydn in 1792, and the rest is history. Who was this man, whose music has since touched countless hearts and minds? At the end of his life, the master is isolated by loss of loved ones and hearing. Surely though, he was way ahead of his times.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The film, Louis Van Beethoven, is well executed and accurately depicts the life of Louis Van Beethoven. It was very interesting to observe how his character was shaped during his early childhood and how different life events helped him make decisions that had enormous results. The performance of all the different actors is exceptional. The film paints a great picture, and it makes the observer appreciate the daily life during Beethoven's time in the late 1700s. The details enhance the movie overall and the music, of course, brings unique touches to the film.

This biographical film focuses on the life of the famous composer Louis Van Beethoven (Colin Putz/Tobias Moretti/Anselm Bresgott). The film mixes the past and present to expose the major events that shaped Beethoven and ultimately led him to become one of the best known musicians in history. Focusing on his passions of music, freedom, and change, this film shines a light on the not very well known part of his story, but a very important one.

There are abrupt changes in time that can be confusing or hard to catch at first when the film switches between the past and present. However, these changes also help the film compare what acts in the past led Beethoven to make decisions in the present. The flow of the movie, its style and overall structure are all well executed. The actors give believable performances. The language and vocabulary may be a challenge for some audiences as some words may be unknown to younger generations, and even to some adults.

The cinematography is high quality and shows beautiful details about the daily life during this time period. The costumes are beautiful and they accurately portray what people wore in the late 1700s. The music is primarily classical pieces and they enhance the overall tone of the film.

This movie explores both the life of the compositor Beethoven and the time period in which he lived. The culture and customs of the people are showed and they can be appreciated, as they are very different from current times. The film focuses mainly in the formative years of Beethoven and how the various aspects he had to endure led him to become the man he is known for now. The film may encourage the viewer to learn more about Beethoven's life and about the other artists during the same era such as Mozart and Haydn. The movie seeks to explore a not very know part of the life of Beethoven. Through his story, it shows how the desire for freedom and wealth, and a fight for love, can have major influences in making decisions. Also, the film shows how family affects the progress of children, and how big an effect that events have on children's development.

Heavy drinking is present throughout the movie, and there are some scenes that depict strong actions (getting smacked, yelling, punching). The only profanity in the movie is the use of the word used to refer the bottom part of a person. There is a scene in which there is a suicide attempt. The only part showed is a gun being pulled to the air and then the man with a bandage in his head (no graphic scene is showed). There is a discussion about this scene after by the characters, in which the language is a little strong for a moment.

I give Louis Van Beethoven 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Due to the length of the film and the fact that the dialogue is in German, with English subtitles, I don't think most younger children would appreciate it. People with a musical background would find this as a great opportunity to learn more about Beethoven's history that is not very known.

Louis Van Beethoven is a film that shows how music and the desire of freedom were the main passions of the famous compositor. The film walks through his early years and it jumps occasionally to the present, which helps to see how one incident relates to another. Beethoven was a gifted musician since early childhood and this biographical film shows how he expressed his gift during his daily life. The film is well directed and executed, as all the performance of the actors are exceptional. The classical music he composed as well as some from other artists such as Mozart, add to the tone of the film. Releasing on virtual cinema, VOD and Digital December 2, 2020.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TIMECRAFTERS: THE TREASURE OF PIRATE'S COVE
TIMECRAFTERS: THE TREASURE OF PIRATE'S COVE - FRONT ROW ENTERTAINMENT
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-14
Description - While searching for lost treasure, time traveling pirates end up in the modern day and do battle with unlikely foes: a group of kids with the latest in techy gadgetry.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirate's Cove is a fun-filled adventurous movie! The cast is spectacular and the sets are very realistic.

The story follows a boy named Josh whose father has been missing for five years when a time machine sends a crew of 18th century pirates flying into the future. Josh and his friends find a map belonging to them which leads them on a secret journey to find the treasure. Join Josh, Chip, Bridget and Hedge on an exciting adventure full of fun, mystery and problem solving with some unusual encounters along the way in their home town of Pirate's Cove.

The cast is incredible and full of familiar faces and some big names. Casey Simpson plays Josh Dare and his emotional performance as he recovers from the loss of his dad is captivating. Denise Richards plays Victoria Dare, a struggling single and very loving mom to Josh. Her devotion to her missing husband is evident throughout. She also shows a comical side to her character when interacting with the pirates. Other cast members include Gavin Magnus, Lucas Jaye, Malcom McDowell and Eric Balfour. Gavin plays Brian the spoilt and not so nice kid. He plays his role exactly as one would expect, which is in stark contrast to his real life persona. Lucas Jaye plays the young and geeky Chip. His performance is as cheeky and goofy as it should be. Eric Balfour and Malcom McDowell give their performances as pirates well, keeping in character at all times, and making me laugh on many occasions.

The sets are awesome and very realistic. I especially love the part in the secret cave where Josh accidentally rides a mining cart like a little train through an underground tunnel to end in a surprising location. It looks like so much fun. My favorite part of the film is when Betsy and Victoria think the real pirates that have just come from the time machine are actual actors for their pirate play and they end up playing along, fighting each other on stage in front of the audience, it is hilarious. I also like the pirate ship tree-house in Josh's back garden. It looks very cute and cozy.

There is an underlying story of good things working out for good people and the film has the usual fun story of good guys versus the bad guys, where everyone else that gets caught in the middle and taken along for the ride.

I give Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirate's Cove 4 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 8 to 14, plus adults. You can find it in select theatres December 12, 2020.

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

Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirates Cove is a sci-fi action film with hilarious pirates and adventures! And--shiver me timbers!-- the special effects used in scenes such as the time travel, storms and flashbacks really help drive the film.

This film is about a group of treasure-hunting kids led by Josh Dare (Casey Simpson), who find a treasure map that was the key to locating the lost treasure of William Kidd that was buried in their town many years ago. At the same, time-traveling pirates wake up 300 years later and realize their treasure map is missing and that the kids have it. The pirates have to try to blend in with the local residents while they try to recover the map before their cover is blown. Coincidentally, the town is putting on a play about pirates and so the worlds collide, and the adventures begin.

The main characters of this film are Josh Dare and his friends, Brigette (McKinley Blehm), Hedge (Connor Cain), and Chip (Lucas Jaye). Josh's mom, Victoria Dare (Denise Richards) and Josh's rival, Byron Beecher (Gavin Magnus) also had important roles in the film. My favorite character was Byron because I enjoyed watching him mature and transform. The pirates' language and costumes were realistic and spot on, representing what pirates might actually look like, say and wear. The film location was in Mendocino, California because of all the beautiful coves there.

The character Josh Dare summed up the message of this film perfectly when he said, "The greatest treasures the world has to offer are the friends and family who sail on the adventure of life." There are a lot of treasures in life like gems, gold, money, artifacts, and other valuable things. But the most important treasures are the friends and family that are always by your side.

I rate Timecrafters: The Treasure of Pirates Cove 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 and up. Adults will like it too. This film comes out in theaters December 12, 2020.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 8-14 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MOSUL
MOSUL - 101 STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 16-18
Description - A police unit from Mosul fight to liberate the Iraqi city from thousands of ISIS militants.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Mosul is a whirlwind of a movie anchored by legitimately visceral sequences throughout and brisk pacing that the film sustains from beginning to end. In an environment where streaming has become the predominant mode of consuming content, it's gratifying to get a movie this immersive, one that never truly lets up and one that will certainly keep you invested in the different directions it goes in.

Based on a New Yorker article from 2017 and produced by the Russo Brothers and the production company AGBO, Mosul takes place in the titular city and follows the exploits of the Nineveh SWAT team which gained their prestige through their clashes against ISIS forces. We meet the team through the eyes of Kawa, a rookie cop who is ushered into team by the steely commander Jasem, after they save Kawa and his seasoned partner mid-ambush. With ISIS on the retreat from the city and the arrival of a new command, the team has gone rogue and decides to carry out one final mission of their own, the details of which are kept from Kawa, but we come to find it's rooted in a far more personal place than the ones they've gone through prior.

Through the absorbing bend much of the film takes, we are put in the heat of battle at every turn, but it's rarely energetic and that becomes an effective element of the film's tone. There is a weariness to each encounter with the enemy as they occur with increasing frequency and over the course of their journey; these soldiers are just trying to survive and here's where Mosul cements its stakes breathlessly and efficiently. It begins to feel inevitable that the Nineveh will lose one of their own nearly every time they make contact with ISIS's opposing forces. What sets Mosul apart from similarly tactical minded flicks is the moments of loss it frequently hammers home. In between the intensity of the action and each waypoint on their venture, there are moments of stillness where we get to witness the fighter's true colors which makes their losses sting with greater severity, sometimes it's commentating over a soap opera on television and at others, it's cruising in a Humvee through the ruins of Mosul, as they're reminded of why they fight and who they're fighting for. The secret sauce that really makes those points of the film work when the team isn't being rained down on by gunfire is that they're still actively pushing the story forward and doing the necessary work to engage us with the characters at the center of the story. Mosul's structure reminds me of that of a video game, with each conflict or objective so to speak, being separated by points of exposition and development, but it works for a mission-focused narrative in this case.

Mosul's scenes of battle can get pretty brutal so I recommend this for ages 16 to 18 for some moments of extreme intensity and some graphic violence at times. Mosul is a raw testament to the heroism of the Nineveh SWAT team with an unexpectedly emotional conclusion and I greatly recommend it. I give Mosul 3.5 out of 5 stars. You can see it when it drops on Netflix on November 26, 2020.

By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST!, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 16-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


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
BENNETT SONG HOLIDAY, A
BENNETT 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. P>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

>A Bennett Song Holiday is a film about a multicultural family where each member has talents and stories. They come together around the holidays and face the oppression of a businessman wanting to take over the building where one of the family members works and which serves the community. Using the main story from the novella "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, this movie highlights how kindness and family can change any unexpected outcome in life.

The movie touches on so many different themes including family, racism, misogyny, pop culture, minorities (deaf, LQTBQ+, POC), adoption, non-traditional families and more. It includes so many themes without going deep into any of them. The main storyline is good and shows the importance of family and coming together in times of adversity, but it wanders.

The movie runs almost two hours, which is a bit lengthy for younger audiences. The music and dancing are definitely attractive, but it's still long. The flow of the scenes is good, but missing is back stories of all the adopted kids. Each one has their own unique qualities, but we know nothing about their past so it's difficult to get a sense of character development.

The film is all about family, togetherness and overcoming unexpected situations in life, however there are two scenes that deal with adult affairs. One turns out to be a misunderstanding, but the other is real as one man discovers his fianc� is having the affair with his brother. That, plus another scene that feels unnecessarily intimate seem unsuitable for younger children. Also, there are racist and misogynistic comments that are never addressed, which is disappointing since those could have led to great lessons.

The locations of the movie are well-chosen and art is one of the main components of the movie - music, dance, and visual artwork. The representation of different cultures and religions is featured, using words such as "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa" to show appreciation for the ways that people of different cultures celebrate the holidays. The movie does show how family is more than just blood and names and that family is defined by those who are with us when we need them most.

I give A Bennett Song Holiday 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by David O., KIDS FIRST! Juror
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



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