The KIDS FIRST! Endorsement category has 1921 titles

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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS
SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13 - 18
Description - An ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage welcomes tenacious loner Snake Eyes after he saves the life of their heir apparent. Upon arrival in Japan, the Arashikage teach him the ways of the ninja warrior while also providing him something he's been longing for: a home. However, when secrets from Snake Eyes' past are revealed, his honor and allegiance get tested -- even if that means losing the trust of those closest to him.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Snake Eyes: G. I. Origins is the thrilling adventure of a lifetime and the perfect origin story to such a beloved character. With motorcycles, swords and a mystical gem - you will be a part of an incredible mission.

The movie is a spin-off around the character of Snake Eyes (Henry Golding). Holding onto the trauma of his father being murdered, Snake Eyes is on the hunt for his father's killer. He trains with the Arashikage clan to become a top ninja. Meanwhile, he makes a deal with some unlikely allies to find his dad's murderer.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is an action-packed movie and is not to be missed. The fight scenes are incredibly filmed, using long one-take shots to capture the film's actors fighting with swords. The cinematography is iconic, with some night scenes shot with bright neon lights and others with a calming, peaceful, bright light. It's so cool to watch modern-day ninjas on motorcycles fighting one another on the streets. This film is perfect for fans all around the world that enjoy amazing battle sequences, especially for G.I. Joe fans. Familiar faces are shown like the Baroness and Kenta. We also see a teaser for Snake Eyes' most popular villain, which leaves the movie open for a very exciting sequel. The film is a wonderful origin story, telling the tale of Snake Eyes, showing just how he became affiliated with the Joes and where he's off to next, while sprinkling in some major plot twists.

The moral of the story is to trust yourself and always do the right thing. Many times Snake Eyes is tempted to kill his father's killer and throughout the film he learns the meaning of honor - to others and yourself - and makes a surprising choice. He also learns how to find inner peace with many of the things he's done and moves on to the next chapter of his life.

I give Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 plus adults. It is available only in theaters July 23, 2021.

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

I like Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins because it has a lot of action. I enjoy watching extreme martial art fight scenes. I like the cool Snake Eyes armor and helmet.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is an origin story for the classic animated series, G.I. Joe. Snake Eyes (Henry Golden) is one of the agents that worked for G.I. Joe, otherwise known as Government Issued Joe. He is known for having the arch nemesis Storm Shadow (Andrew Koji). Throughout the movie we see why these two iconic characters have a sworn hatred for each other. Snake Eyes travels to Japan to join a clan that teaches him how to be a ninja warrior. This Japanese clan provides him a home and a family - two things Snake Eyes was longing for. After he learns the Japanese clan's past and his loyalty is tested, is when the fun and extreme action begins.

My favorite part is when Snake Eyes does the second challenge, because of the special effects. The graphics and digital effects are very good. The snakes look so real. The CGI effects of Snake Eyes' outfit are amazing. The costumes are very accurate in terms of showing where the characters are from. The character's outfits are very traditional Japanese clothing, but nothing can top the infamous Snake Eyes costume. The film incorporates subtitles whenever characters speak in Japanese. The subtitles are made to seem like words from a comic book, which is a clever callback to the animated series. The music is really upbeat when there is a lot of action and works for those scenes exceptionally well. Some very talented actors appear in this film, such as one of my favorite actresses from Money Heist, Ursula Corbero who plays Baroness and Samara Weaving who plays Scarlett, also Haruka Abe as Akiko, Tahehiro Hira as Kenta and Iko Uwais as Hard Master.

The moral of this movie is to have a pure heart. Snake Eyes struggles with opening his heart to people. However when he becomes an honest man and pours his heart out, it actually saves his life. Being loyal and having honor is what makes you pure of heart. You should know that there is a lot of violence and strong language, however there isn't any gore, blood or seeing the characters getting injured.

I give Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins opens in theatres July 23, 2021.

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

When you're looking for an action movie, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is the one. It's another good, typical Marvel superhero-action film that doesn't fail to impress you with its intensity and execution.

Snake Eyes (Henry Golding) wants nothing more than to take revenge on the man that killed his father. After a desperate search to find him, he eventually gives up and ends up taking his anger out on others in fistfights. One day, Snake Eyes is met with a man named Kenta (Takehiro Hira) who claims he has the location of his father's killer. They make a deal - the killer's location for a jewel that holds the power of the sun.

Out of all aspects, the graphics exceeded my expectations the most. In one scene, multiple cobra-type gigantic snakes are circling. I wonder if I am the only one that finds this ironic. Honestly, I nearly screamed when the first snake came out with a bang. I thought it was coming at me and was glad this film isn't in 3D! The vivid and exceptional graphics are a major plus for this film. As to the acting, while Henry Golding delivers a strong performance when it comes to action, but it lacks emotion for someone avenging his father's death. Snake Eyes is a very complex character - experiencing desperation, disappointment, hope and many other emotions. However, the character development was a bit confusing at a few points. While there is a scene explaining exactly what happened to him on the night of his father's death, there are bits of background information not shown, leading to a bit of uncertainty in a few places. There are a few sudden changes of events which are unexplained and leave the audience wondering why or how they happened. Because this is primarily an action movie, those aspects do not play a huge part in the viewer's experience and most audiences will see this film for its excitement and thrill.

The message I took away from this is the portrayal of bravery and perseverance. Though the film keeps its profanity and violence under the bar to keep it PG-13, there is one fight scene at the beginning that is pretty brutal and may be uncomfortable for younger kids. There is also some mild profanity that parents should be aware of.

I give Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters July 23, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 6-18
Description - When LeBron James and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.'s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars as you've never seen them before. It's Tunes versus Goons in the highest-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron's bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Space Jam: A New Legacy, the cartoon sequel, brings the whole Looney Tunes gang back to the court, only this time with the reigning king of basketball, Lebron James. This comedy combines live action with animation and is filled with life lessons, funny catch phrases, loads of glitzy digital effects and a glimpse of Warner Bros. cinematic library.

When LeBron James and his son, Dom (Cedric Joe) get mysteriously sucked into the Warner Bros. digital world by a rogue AI super villain (Don Cheadle), nonsense and chaos ensue. Dom is kidnapped and LeBron is challenged to a high-stakes basketball game by the evil AI. Lebron must form the most winning team to get his son back and, a loss could leave him and all those he loves, stuck in the server-verse forever. Lebron and his Looney Tunes pal Bugs Bunny meet up for a wild adventure through the server-verse. Will he win, or be trapped there forever? Watch to find out.

The writing is clever. It is comedic and zany at some points; at others, it is very wholesome and realistic. The animation is outstanding! The movie combines traditional animation with three-dimensional computer graphics and live action. LeBron's cartoon character is spot on. The tour through the server-verse is so enjoyable. Seeing iconic characters like Yogi Bear, Pennywise, Iron Giant and King Kong is every movie junkie's dream! Eric Bauza plays a very important role in this movie as he voices Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Marvin the Martian and Porky Pig. Jeff Bergman is also instrumental in this film as he voices Bugs Bunny, Sylvester and Yosemite Sam. Both Eric and Jeff voice their characters so well that it's like listening to the original cartoons! Space Jam: New Legacy also features Don Cheadle, who is the rogue AI AL. G. Rhythm. His villainous role features a wide range of emotion and I give him two thumbs up for his outstanding performance. My favorite character is Granny because she is a good-natured, protective, spunky old woman that has some epic moves.

The messages of this movie are that family is everything and there is power in chasing your dreams. Sometimes, we need some loony things in our life to make it better. There is mild language and a lot of action.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It's a great family movie. Fans of the original will love this, too. This movie releases July 16, 2021 in theaters and on HBO Max.

Space Jam: A New Legacy has everything that a big summer blockbuster should have and more! This revamped version of the original 1996 Space Jam starring Michael Jordan, is the perfect blend of old-school characters from favorite cartoons of the past, seamlessly mixed with updated characters, premier digital animation, trendy music, a modern plotline and current big name stars. This feature film packs in so much good stuff that I almost don't even know where to begin with my review!

The starting line-up includes LeBron James, his son Dom James (Cedric Joe) and Bugs Bunny. The two main characters, Lebron and Bugs, must work together to solve a big problem for the all-star athlete. They need to get Lebron's son Dom back from a diabolical computer-generated villain named Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle) and the only way to do it is for LeBron and Bugs to work together to win the most important basketball game of their lives.

The basketball moves on the court are like nothing anyone has ever seen before. One team's players are all Looney Tunes characters from classic Warner Bros cartoons and they play against a squad of elite players from the real world that have been leveled-up by the evil Al-G Rhythm. As expected, Space Jam: A New Legacy is action packed and moves at a quick pace which kept my attention. The music throughout the movie adds energy and tone; the CGI blends animation effortlessly with live action characters and real world settings. The special effects all look so believable and pristine that it is easy for the viewer to get lost inside this cool new world.

In the end, the movie really is just a sweet story about a dad and his son bonding and working through their relationship, which happens at a certain age. It is a touching family film with lessons about the importance of family as well as being true to yourself.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Kids will love the sports and modern look as well as the music. Adults will appreciate the references to the original film and nostalgic cartoon characters from their own childhood. It's the perfect family film. Space Jam: A New Legacy has lots of extras, like new WB merchandise and even its own Xbox video game. It releases in theaters and on HBO Max July 16, 2021

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

Space Jam: A New Legacy is an entertaining and funny movie starring LeBron James. It is the sequel to the first Space Jam movie which starred Michael Jordan. This is a creative film with a mix of animation and live action.

The storyline is a fictional one about basketball player, LeBron James and his son Dom (Cedric Joe). LeBron wants his son to play basketball, but his son wants to do different things like creating video games. Dom gets taken by a computer program into the Warner Brothers' animated world. LeBron then has to beat the computer program in a basketball game to get his son back. LeBron assembles a basketball team with Bugs Bunny and a group of Loony Tunes characters.

The plot is unusual and very creative. They use a ton of Warner Bros' Loony Tunes characters throughout the film including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Lola Bunny and more. I loved seeing all my favorite classic Looney Tunes characters! Other Warner Bros' characters make guest appearances, including King Kong, Harry Potter, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. The effects used in this film are absolutely amazing as they flip between live action, to animation, then back to live action. It is so fun to watch. There are parts where I literally laughed out loud such as a funny moment with Bugs Bunny. The acting is funny, dramatic and very realistic. The special effects are great. The imaginary locations are creative. For example, there are scenes with the characters inside a computer. At other times the setting is inside other Warner Bros' movies, like Batman or The Matrix.

The message of this film is that parents and their kids should do activities together and share with each other cool things they've done or made, like a project.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters and on HBO Max July 16, 2021.

By Conrad W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I like Space Jam: A New Legacy because it has a lot of funny scenes. Plus, I love some of the big actors in this film and the roles they play.

This movie is about Lebron James coaching his son Dom (Cedric Joe) to be a good basketball player. His son would rather play video games, so Lebron tries telling him that he needs to start focusing on the basketball game more. Then, a bad AI named AL G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle) traps them into his digital space and makes them play a game of basketball. They are split up and Lebron James is sent to the tune world where he soon finds Bugs Bunny and asks for help.

My favorite part is how this film brings back so many old characters such as Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, Tweety, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn and more. The Looney Tunes remember their first basketball game from the first Space Jam movie and get real excited when one of them finds Michael Jordan from the stands but their excitement goes away quickly in a really funny way. The graphics and digital effects are amazing. I loved how they made cartoon characters real and Lebron into a cartoon character. This is the first time I seen Lebron act in a movie. He looks like he was born to act. The music is very catchy and appealing to each scene, getting better as the scene gets better.

The moral of this movie is not to give up because Lebron and Team Tunes never give up! Another reminder is to have fun. Lebron learns that he was taking basketball too seriously and learns to have fun again.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters and HBO Max July 16, 2021!

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 6-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CENTAURWORLD
CENTAURWORLD - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 7-18
Description - Centaurworld follows a war horse who is transported from her embattled world to a strange land inhabited by silly, singing centaurs of all species, shapes, and sizes. Desperate to return home, she befriends a group of these magical creatures and embarks on a journey that will test her more than any battle she's ever faced before.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - CentaurWorld is a humorous, animated show geared to older kids and young teens. The plot is definitely its strongest point because each episode has unique storylines episodes despite being an ongoing story. Along with that, the acting, impressive characters and music combine to make an unusual, yet intriguing show.

This ten-episode series follows Horse (Kimiko Glenn), her name representing her appearance. She touches a magical artifact that transports her to a new world, called CentaurWorld, where magic and singing are encouraged. Along the way, they meet many challenges, including facing comedy competitions, a trial that could result in being stuck in jail forever and plants that grant tricky wishes. Can Horse find all parts of the key along the rainbow road to make her way home to Rider (Jessie Mueller)?

CentaurWorld has an incredible storyline. The concept is new and unique. Each episode has an individual story that's carefully written to not be the same as others. The voiceover acting is also magnificent. Josh Radnor, as Durpleton, and Parvesh Cheen, as Zulius, deliver amazing performances. The characters are well developed so the acting and writing make an excellent combination. My favorite part is probably the music, although the other fabulous aspects are great. The songs drew my attention every time; the melodies and lyrics create an emotional environment, shifting with the moods, which always left me in awe. Then there are the impressive singers with their enjoyable resonance and beautiful solos. Their harmonies are perfectly executed and make the songs more enjoyable. The music truly takes the show to the next level.

The message of CentaurWorld is about bravery. Horse and her centaur friends need to find all of the pieces to the key and this journey isn't easy. Oftentimes, Horse encourages her friends to 'be bold,' like when the rainbow road leads them to a hole, going down one side and up the other. Horse shows bravery by jumping down, realizing this is the only way to not give up on their journey. Parents should note that there is some violence and some mildly inappropriate dialogue.

I give CentaurWorld 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 13. CentaurWorld begins streaming on Netflix July 30, 2021.

Reviewed by Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Centaurworld is a creative kids' show with colorful, memorable and funny characters. The show is different from other shows for children, because most of its characters are animals with human attributes. The simple dialogue and colorful characters serve to keep kids' attention.

Centaurworld is about a hardened war horse, named Horse (Kimiko Glenn) that gets separated from her rider (Jessica Mueller). Horse ends up in Centaurland, a land filled with silly, singing unique creatures with both animal and human features. Horse is quickly heralded as their new friend and inspires Wammawink (Meagan Hilty), Zulius (Parvesh Cheena), Durpleton (Josh Radnor), Glendale (Megan Nicole Dong) and Ched (Chris Diamantopoulos) to follow her and explore the area as they try to help Horse get home.

Centaurworld has some fun comedic moments with simple jokes that kids can follow and are age appropriate. In terms of the animation, the series makes good use of its characters and they are quite different from other animated shows. For example, viewers can't help but focus on the big human-looking eyes and human faces of the colorful characters. Another positive is that the show has the unexpected twist of making a horse the main character. This further serves to engage younger audiences. What kid wouldn't be intrigued by a horse that talks and has other talking human/animal hybrid friends? One thing kids may not notice, but adults will, is that, besides being able to speak, Horse doesn't have any other human features. Still, the inhabitants of Centaurland are accepting of her. This is a good lesson on acceptance.

The message of this film is that the world is not always full of war and conflict. It's also filled with friends and memories. Also, it's ok to have some silliness and fun in your life. Plus, don't limit yourself to what you think you know or what you become used to.

I give Centaurworld 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults can enjoy this with their kids. Centaurworld
Juror Recommended Age: 7-13 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FUDGE FATALE: THE MARVELOUS ADVENTURES OF ANNA BELLE
FUDGE FATALE: THE MARVELOUS ADVENTURES OF ANNA BELLE - NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: EBOOK, AGES 8-12
Description - Once you open the door to Anna Belle's bakery, you know that you have entered some place very special. The smell of freshly baked bread; the taste of double chocolate chip cookies; the vision of colorfully decorated birthday cakes and the sound of? Wait! Pastry doesn't have a sound. After you meet Anna Belle, you also know you have met someone quite marvelous. She is creative, full of energy and probably the best detective in town. Join Anna Belle and her feline assistant, Jocko, as they reveal the true identity of the culprit who has been robbing neighbors and end her light finger lifting of precious jewels in Fudge Fatale. https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/fudge-fatale-d-g-stern/1139825376
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The most appealing aspect of Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle is the mystery. The story is comprised of two story lines and sometimes the two intersect, which heightens the overall mystery. The only thing that was unappealing for me is the repetitiveness. Often, chapters repeat the same information. I understand that this is may be intentional so children can grasp the plot easily, but I question whether it is necessary. I believe children will enjoy this e-book because it is easy to envision the characters, and each one is very well developed. For example, Doris, Anna Belle's assistant at the bakery, is zany and eccentric. Her personality compliments Anna Belle's seriousness. Of course the mystery and the funny outcome will also keep children engaged throughout.

Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle is a delightful mystery story intertwined with a fun-filled bake-a-thon. Anna Belle doubles as Pine Meadows' best baker and an investigator trying to solve the community's issue with stolen pearls. The most appealing aspect is the mystery.

The story flows well. The exposition at the beginning is clear and it will definitely be easy for children to comprehend. The middle is also clear when Anna Belle and her friends finally figure out how to prep for the bake-a-thon, and find out that more pearls are being stolen in the community. The end is the resolution of Clyde winning the bake-a-thon, having all their hard word pay off, and discovering that a monkey has stolen the pearls. Although there are some challenging words such as intrepid, crestfallen, modicum and incorrigible, these words are paired with context clues and are balanced with over-explaining other aspects of the plot. There are definitely positive modeling behaviors shown, such as respect. Throughout the story, everyone has a chance to speak and be listened to. It is important for children to recognize at a young age that their opinions are relevant. There are some negative connotations about gender stereotypes. For example, one of the men assumes that no men will participate in the baking competition. At another point, he says something along the lines of "send the pretty bakers to me." Although these are both small, and Anna Belle corrects him both times, I ask whether they are necessary? A strong point is how it teaches children to question everything and, since this story is all about investigation and inquiry, that's critical. Sometimes, one needs to think outside of the realm of possibilities to reach the possibility. This book encourages children to take action on their own aspirations. If they want to be involved in their community, or run events, or be successful in general Anna Belle is a great example to follow. One of the key benefits of the story is that Anna Belle does not put on a fa�ade for the reporters that are getting coverage for the bake-a-thon. She says, "I am going to be who I always am." This is significant for children to learn because it teaches them to never change themselves for others.

This story has multiple little lessons woven into the overall message including how to successfully bake a cake, why people shouldn't eat raw eggs, and that both men and women can participate in baking competitions. The overall message is that Anna Belle does not put on a fa�ade for the reporters when speaking about the bake-a-thon. Seeing Anna Belle, her friends and family all working together to create a fun, successful community event can inspire children to do something similar.

I give rate Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, perhaps older. It gives children the confidence to always question everything and promotes the idea of staying true to oneself.

Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A light yet engaging read, Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle will delight young readers with its lifelike dialogue, vivid details and easy-to-follow storyline.

The book by D.G. Stern follows Anna Belle's story. A talented baker, her sweet treats are to die for. Creative, full of energy and probably the best detective in town, Anna Belle is not to be trifled with. In this installment of The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle, she teams up with her charismatic Uncle Clyde, a police officer, to find the culprit who has been robbing neighbors of their possessions. It's a thrilling story which many will enjoy.

Each of the characters in the book has its own distinct personality. Anna Belle is kind and gentle. Doris is good-natured and a bit eccentric. Uncle Clyde is intelligent and helps keep everyone's spirits up. Sometimes the lines are blurred between the roles of each character. For example, Whiskers (Anna Belle's assistant) seems to have a smaller role than Doris, the store clerk, but is mentioned more at the start of the story. Next, the mystery angle of the story is well-thought-out, but it feels somewhat weakened by the interspersed descriptions of Anna Belle's work at her bakery. Still, he plot is gripping and the 90 page length is perfect for young readers. Finally, there are some extremely long sentences that are a bit confusing. However, they are far and few between.

Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle promotes teamwork, such as when Anna Belle enlists the help of her friends to prepare for the bake-a-thon in three days, having a good work ethic and being curious (the main theme of the book), while discouraging stealing. It's a positive book that will leave you feeling as warm and fuzzy inside as Anna Belle's chocolate chip cookies.

I give Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It is available as an ebook August 15, 2021 so look for it.

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

Baker by day; Secret Undercover Detective by night! Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle is a chapter book that makes a perfect read for young people looking for a simple and exciting adventure.

The storyline follows a small-town baker, Anna Belle, who has a secret identity as the town's undercover detective. Her initial attempt to solve a mystery of disappearing items turns into a thrilling adventure filled with action and sweet treats.

Mystery books are my favorite genre of books to read along with young adult books. If this is the case for you as well, you will definitely enjoy this! The author D.G. Stern is very specific to the point that some of the information is a bit over-the-top. Still sometimes there is very little background context, which is a result of it being part of a series. The names of the characters such as Anna Belle and her feline assistant Whiskers are common names that help give the reader a sort of familiarity. The best part is that the plot twists are absolutely phenomenal. Just following Anna Belle throughout this mystery is exhilarating to read. You won't want to place this book down. While there are very few illustrations, they really help guide your imagination in picturing the events as they unfold. I especially love what a strong female voice the author gives Anna Belle.

This book promotes positive social behavior and encourages young people to think critically and to believe they can accomplish a goal, no matter how big it may seem.

I give Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It is available as an ebook August 15, 2021 so look for it.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 10.99 Media: Book ISBN # 173245518X


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WHO ARE YOU, CHARLIE BROWN
WHO ARE YOU, CHARLIE BROWN - APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, 9-18
Description - Follows interviews with friends, family and more of the iconic comic strip to create a portrait of the late Peanuts creator.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A deeper look into an integral part of American childhood, Who Are You, Charlie Brown? provides viewers with a blast from the past and some intriguing background information about the creation and nuances of the Peanuts comic universe.< p>Packaged in documentary format, the show centers on Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, and his life. Using animated vignettes from Charlie Brown, the viewer learns how Schulz's childhood and many parts of his own life plus the lives of those near and dear to him influenced several prominent characters and motifs in the award-winning Peanuts series. Some examples include the Little Red-Haired Girl, Franklin Armstrong, Lucy and Pig-Pen. Interviews with Schulz's widow, his close acquaintances, famous viewers and the people who brought Charlie Brown to life on-screen help paint an enthralling picture of the pensive and talented Schulz, as well as the context and subtext behind his legendary series.

Who Are You, Charlie Brown? is exactly what a biopic should be. Its length of about 50 minutes is perfect; its storytelling seamless; its animation immaculate. The interviews with people such as Drew Barrymore, a longtime Peanuts lover, and the archival footage and voiceovers of Mr. Schulz himself add great depth and emotion to the film. The sequence with Mr. Schulz, in his last days whilst battling cancer, describes his reaction to the overwhelming love he received for the Charlie Brown cartoons and will certainly make you tear up a bit.

Who Are You, Charlie Brown? has a clear mission - to answer the question posed in its title. This it does with efficiency, thoroughness and liveliness. However, a deeper message is posed in the framing of Schulz as a man who takes inspiration from both high points and low points in his life when creating art. For artists and non-artists, channeling elements of your life, whether happy or sad, positive or negative, to add poignant emotions to your work is an immensely powerful tool.

I give Who Are You, Charlie Brown? 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. Who Are You, Charlie Brown? debuts globally Friday, June 25 on Apple TV+. Check it out!

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 9-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART ONE
BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART ONE - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: ANIMATED SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - It's a dark time in Gotham City. Held hostage by the powerful Falcone crime family, the city is rife with crime and corruption. Adding to the chaos is the mysterious Holiday killer, who has been targeting the underworld and leaving a trail of terror... and body bags. Batman, Lieutenant Gordon and D.A. Harvey Dent race against the calendar as it advances toward the next ill-fated holiday. Based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One begins a twisted chain of events that will forever change the Dark Knight.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One offers a decent take on Batman's early years before Batman evolved into the great detective he is now. Like the other Batman films, Gotham does not appear to be the best place to live. This film stands apart from other animated Batman films because it shows Batman as a novice detective.

The story begins with a brutal murder on Halloween, which prompts Batman (Jensen Ackles) to team up with the two uncorrupt lawmen Police Captain James Gordon (Billy Burke) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel). They team up to take down Roman, the head of the notorious and powerful Falcone Crime Family. As the team works together, something unexpected occurs. There is a string of deaths that occurs on holidays; then the three realize that they are dealing with a holiday killer. After some investigation, with Batman following the clues, he thinks he knows who the holiday killer is, but he discovers the high cost of being wrong.

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One incorporates settings that are typical in a Batman film. Since the film takes a look at Batman in his earlier years, it helps viewers to understand why he feels compelled to over analyze things. The film's lack of transition between holidays, which is integral to the plot, is a little confusing; the story moves swiftly from one holiday to the next and only when something occurs related to the holiday do we know when it is taking place. The animation is reminiscent of Batman the Animated series - nothing too exciting, but workable. The images have lots of straight lines, which gives a different look to the characters, but not so much that it distracts from the plot. Batman is still my favorite character and I like seeing his evolution in the film; as the seasons come and go, he grows.

The message of this film is that sometimes you have to rely on others to help you overcome big problems. Another reminder is to not be afraid to question the evidence before assuming someone is guilty.

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One gets 3 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This is available now on DVD and on demand.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TOMORROW WAR, THE
TOMORROW WAR, THE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - In the thrilling science-fiction action adventure The Tomorrow War, the world is stunned when a group of time travelers arrive from the year 2051 to deliver an urgent message: Thirty years in the future mankind is losing a global war against a deadly alien species. The only hope for survival is for soldiers and civilians from the present to be transported to the future and join the fight. Among those recruited is high school teacher and family man Dan Forester (Chris Pratt). Determined to save the world for his young daughter, Dan teams up with a brilliant military scientist (Yvonne Strahovski) and his estranged father (J.K. Simmons) in a desperate quest to rewrite the fate of the planet.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Tomorrow War is here kicking alien butt, and kicking off the summer movie season with two hours of straight action, complete with a beautifully composed soundtrack. This is a solid sci-fi action film with a fantastic soundtrack. It possesses generic family origins that can be seen in practically any other film and has plenty of gory moments with mild cursing.

The Tomorrow War follows an aspiring scientist/father, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) as his life changes forever. Dan, along with the entire world, learns of a war being fought 30 years in the future. When more people are needed for this future war, a worldwide draft is put in place to send recruits 30 years into the future to fight. Dan is drafted into the war, and must fight to save not only his own life, but the lives of the ones he loves the most.

Chris Pratt continues to prove himself worthy of a wide variety of roles, yet is driven by clich� themes seen in countless other films. The nonstop action is interspersed throughout the film with certain comedic moments to lighten the mood from the major intensity this film brings. Some CGI and effects are mind-blowing initially, but the film reuses them over and over again to the point where it becomes repetitive and the details lose their importance. The soundtrack in The Tomorrow War is exquisite. It embodies the dark and gritty tone of the film perfectly, adding an intense layer pleasing to the ears. The film uses a lot of repetitive techniques that are extremely noticeable. Specifically, slow motion. It's used in tons of unnecessary scenes, really disrupting the proper flow of the film; making it seem bulky in some parts.

The film teaches the moral that relationships can be repaired, and family is forever. The Tomorrow War is rated PG-13 for good reasons. Over the course of the film, many instances of disturbing action are shown along with mild cursing. The action at times can be very gory, which may be a sensitive issue to younger viewers. Sensitive, mature topics present themselves throughout the film, such as family abandonment. At the same time, larger themes like love and kin are shown.

I give The Tomorrow War 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch The Tomorrow War streaming on Amazon Prime Video beginning July 2, 2021.

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

The Tomorrow War is a sci-fi action film with a substantial storyline, as much of the movie takes place 30 years in the future. Films like this that give more backstory about the main character and their life - including family, friends and work always catch my attention. They make me feel as if I really know the character and what motivated them to overcome the obstacles thrown at them.

The Tomorrow War is about a veteran and now biology teacher, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt). Dan, along with others, gets drafted to fight aliens. We quickly learn the war takes place 30 years in the future. The fate of humanity relies on Dan's ability to confront his past and face his present, while fighting in a future war. With the help of his wife, Lilly Gamble (Betty Gilpin) and his daughter Muri (Yvonne Strahovski) and his dad Slade (J.K. Simmons), Dan has a chance to save millions of lives by stopping the future attack from happening.

The Tomorrow War has some strong character development, letting us learn more about Dan by looking at his relationship with his mother, his father, his wife and his daughter. We see how this fuels other important relationships for him. Dan and his daughter's relationship is similar to that of Dan's with his dad. We can see why he tries so hard to be a good dad, especially in his willingness to be weird and silly with her. Unlike some films where spouses have a supporting role, but don't really help with the plot, Dan's wife is smart and integral in figuring out something huge regarding the aliens. Even though much of the film is serious, Chris Pratt's ability to be sarcastically humorous provides some comic relief. There is also some superior level CGI when bringing the aliens to life. That, together with the strong action sequences makes for a good sci-fi, action movie.

The message of the film is about fighting for the people you love. Also, there is the reminder to not forget to let them know you do love them and don't be too proud to explain the reasons for your actions. There's always a second chance and that chance is always worth fighting for.

The Tomorrow War gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to ages 11 to 18, plus adults. It releases on July 2, 2021 on Amazon Prime Video.

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

The Tomorrow War is an action-packed film with everything you can possibly want! Set in the future, with fight sequences, aliens and the world at risk, it'll keep you on the edge of your seat. Get ready for the ride of your life.

This tale begins when beings travel to the present from 28 years in the future and chaos erupts. They are fighting a war against aliens and are losing terribly, so they decide to recruit humans from 2022. Family man Dan (Chris Pratt) is drafted and heads to the year 2050 for the fight of his life. Dan works with scientist Vicki (Yvonne Strahovski) and his father Slade (J.K. Simmons) to save the world.

It is impossible to ignore the chemistry between the actors and their characters. Watching Chris bond with Yvonne is like watching a real father and daughter who are together and yet worlds apart. Vicki's heart wrenching monologue serves as the perfect motivator for Dan. We see his priorities shift from saving the world to saving his daughter, being sure to prevent the war from ever happening when he gets back to his present time. However, The Tomorrow War misses out on a huge opportunity - weaponry. It's hard not to notice the lack of creativity in the weapons used. In 28 years, there have been no upgrades in guns, armament or modes of military transportation; the same 2021 style shotguns and AKs are used in 2050?!. How fun it would have been to see Chris Pratt with futuristic swords or armor. Another missed opportunity is the aliens' appearance. They vaguely remind any Stranger Things viewer of the infamous Demogorgon, with its Venus Fly Trap face. I was hoping to see terrifying beasts that can't be found anywhere else.

The moral of this film is to never take anything for granted. As Dan returns home, he realizes just how important family is and the need to enjoy his time with them, instead of being so caught up in getting a job. He notices how his future self has failed his wife and daughter and vows to never make the same mistakes.

I give The Tomorrow War 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It begins streaming on Amazon Prime July 2, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MIGHTY ONES, THE: SEASON 2
MIGHTY ONES, THE: SEASON 2 - HULU, LLC
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-12
Description - The adventures of a gang of tiny creatures -- a pebble, a strawberry, a twig and a leaf -- who are best friends and live in a terribly unkempt backyard belonging to a trio of equally unkempt humans. This band of diminutive heroes calls themselves the Mighty Ones, and while they may be the smallest things in the yard, they're determined to live big lives.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Our favorite mighty tiny creatures - Very Berry, Leaf, Twig and Rocksy - are back for a new round of adventures in The Mighty Ones Season 2. This animated series is fun and colorful, with a nice mix of hidden educational messages. Each episode presents an obstacle for the Mighty Ones crew, which they usually create themselves, but they always find a way to get out of it. This series is very bubbly and enjoyable!

The Mighty Ones is about a group of four friends: Very Berry (Alex Cazares), Twig (Josh Brener), Leaf (Jimmy Tatro) and Rocksy (Jessica McKenna). They live in a messy backyard of humans that they call giants or gods. The messiness makes for great new adventures on every path. While they are the smallest things in the yard, there is no obstacle they can't overcome because they always work together and have each other's backs.

The main characters are Very Berry, a fun and adventurous strawberry; Leaf, a laid-back and cool leaf; Twig, a smart and nervous stick; and Rocksy, a considerate pebble, who is also the group leader. I love how each character has huge goals and its own personality. My favorite scene is from the "Home Touchers" episode when Rocksy is trapped in the humans' house. Kensington (Janina Gavankar), one of the "giants," is listening to a podcast about murderous ghosts. The show describes the signs of a ghost being in the house and, each time Twig and Berry make that exact noise to capture Rocky's attention, it scares Kensington.

The message of The Mighty Ones is to trust your friends because they have your best interest at heart and you can do more together than alone. There is also a hidden message throughout the series about how humans affect the lives of other living things. The "Mighty Ones" are affected by all the things the humans keep in their backyard, which correlates to how humans affect climate change and the lives of other species.

I give The Mighty Ones 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 8 to 12. You can find Season 2 streaming on Peacock and Hulu beginning July 1, 2021.

Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
OCTONAUTS: SEASON 4
OCTONAUTS: SEASON 4 - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 3-10
Description - The Octonauts are a team of adventurers who explore the world's 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 is educational, adventurous and appealing to younger audiences due to its fun characters and missions. Additionally, the musical score that accompany the action are terrific and help heighten tension when necessary. The educational aspects are hidden well within the adventurous missions. So, while children may think they are watching a fun adventure, they are actually learning. All the episodes are colorful and vibrant, which children will also enjoy. Octonauts is a great series for children that love adventures and helping animals.

The Octonauts are a group of animals that help protect creatures in the ocean or other bodies of water. Their adventures begin with reading or seeing the creatures, and then, if the creatures need help, the whole group of Octonauts assembles to create a plan. They go on adventures all over the world to save creatures.

The structure of the show makes sense and flows well. Each episode begins with Captain Barnacles and other members reading or seeing something associated with the creature they are going to save. Then, the Octonauts assemble and venture off to see that creature and help them resolve their problems. The episodes drew me in since the action occurs fairly quickly. I felt empathy towards the creatures that need help, but also the Octonauts when they struggle during their mission.

The vocabulary and concepts are suitable for the intended audiences. Even if the concept may be challenging to grasp, the Octonauts explain multiple times in different ways exactly what they are doing. For example, they explain what a tidal wave is with graphics on their TV and then other Octonauts join in and explain to one another what a tidal wave is. Repetition is excellent for learning, as is incorporating different learning styles. Visually, the show is vibrant and colorful. The images are definitely easy to identify; the animation is very crisp and clear. The DVD cover design is appropriate and matches with the episodic adventures within.

The viewer can click on individual episodes to watch specific ones, or play them all. Also, it keeps your place and remembers where you left off so you can pick up from there. It is also subtitled in English, which makes it useful for those wanting to learn to read or speak better English. After each episode, Captain Barnacles talks about Creature Reports, which you can find in the main menu. The Creature Reports are adorable; they give a little update on the creatures the Octonauts saved.

One big value to the show is that it involves the viewer in problem-solving. Since all the episodes are based around problem solving and devising plans to help creatures, it definitely encourages children to do the same in their own lives. It also teaches the viewer about different environments. Lastly, is the emphasis to work as a team, which helps you gain insight on problem-solving from another viewpoint.

Octonauts: Season 4 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 3 to 9, perhaps older. Children may find this appealing because the educational aspects are hidden well within the adventurous missions. Not only will this appeal to the younger audience, but Octonauts will also appeal to the parents/guardians that are viewing it as well. Even adults can learn something new about aquatic creatures in each episode. Octonauts is appropriate for ages 3 to 9. The concepts and vocabulary are suitable for younger viewers; even if some concepts or terms may be difficult to comprehend, the team explains them thoroughly.

By Tor R., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The DVD Octonauts: Season 4 is collection of episodes from the colorful, animated series with unique storylines and cleverly imbedded educational information. I would watch a cute scene, go back over it in my head, and realize that I just learned something!

This show, in Season 4, follows Captain Barnacles (Ross Breen) as he teaches some young Octonauts to get their badges, which are earned by completing certain tasks. Some of the episodes revolve around these missions, while others are based on specific characters or events introduced solely for that episode.

Octonauts: Season 4 is similar in quality to previous seasons. It mostly keeps the themes, educational values and entertainment from the past seasons alive. The animation is colorful and bright, which makes the screen an interesting sight and compels you to keep watching. Although the animation and acting may not be quite the level of other animated TV shows, the bright colors, educational aspects and themes are important for young kids and make for an interesting show. One shortcoming is the unrealistic way the characters' mouths move when they talk, with mouths moving differently than the words they are speaking. Some of the more suspenseful parts are less intense because their speech doesn't quite seem real. Besides that, important educational impressions are seamlessly imbedded in the entertaining storylines. In one episode, I learned some interesting facts about sea creatures and their young pups. Whether it is facts about animals, environments, habits or anything else, education is the best part about this show.

The message of Octonauts: Season 4 varies, depending on the theme of each episode. However, the overall themes are about teamwork and kindness.

Octonauts: Season 4 gets 3 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 3 to 6. It is available on DVD now, so go look for it!

Reviewed by Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Octonauts: Season 4 is a very fun and educational show to watch. It allows viewers to have entertainment while learning learn more about animals and become more educated.

This DVD centers around Captain Barnacles (Ross Breen), Kwazii (Rob Rackstraw) and Peso (Paul Pattington), as well as other Octonauts in the series. They go on various adventures exploring the animal kingdom such as saving baby walruses and sea turtles.

Octonauts: Season 4 has a lot of cool things to talk about. First, this show is educational, especially about the animal kingdom. You learn things throughout the show and, at the end; there is a creature report where they teach you more. Second, the creature report. The creature report is a fun part of the show where they sing out facts about an animal and, at the end; they show pictures of that animal in real life to show you what they look like since they don't always look the same when they are animated. Third, the theme songs are another really fun part of the show; there is a theme song playing in the background at the beginning when we first see the Octonauts. There is also a theme song to accompany the Octo Alert. Fourth, the show shows kids how to be kind and caring and help others. In the DVD the Octonauts often help other animals do lots of things; they help them find their moms or get to the ocean safely. This can teach kids how to help each other and how to be kind to others and how to care for the environment.

The message of this show is to always help others when they need it. If you can help, do it and make the world a better place.

Octonauts: Season 4 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 2 to 10. Adults will also enjoy watching it with their little ones. Octonauts: Season 4 is available now on DVD.

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

The beloved children's show, Octonauts is back for its fourth season, now on DVD. This collection of episodes has new creatures, new lessons and new adventures. If you watched this show when you were younger, the nostalgia will come to you immediately. However, if you are a new fan of Octonauts, you're sure to be entertained because Octonauts Season Four is both educational and engaging.

The DVD Octonauts: Season Four follows Captain Barnacles (Ross Breen) and his crew of sailors who live in an Octopod in the ocean. This team's purpose is to find and save ocean animals in need. Each member of the team has a different and unique duty to ensure that everything is in place for their rescue missions and their working together makes each mission successful.

Something that stands out in this show is the approach taken towards its educational aspect. Young children don't want to sit down and watch a show that just states facts about animals. Octonauts Season Four uses a predictable format for each episode that keeps young viewers entertained, while learning new things. For example, "Creature Report" is an upbeat and fun song that plays at the end of each episode and summarizes the events of that rescue mission. During the song, viewers get to see a realistic picture of the animal the storyline is written about. Kids will be learning about these marine animals without even realizing it. This show also has a lot of diversity with the animals on the team, as well as the roles they play. For example, the three leading animals on the team are Captain Barnacles, who is a bear; Kwazzi, who is a kitten; and Peso, who is a penguin. With these characters alone, kids are introduced to three different animals. Additionally, the creators and writers of the show give each of the characters different positions for the missions. Barnacles is the leader; Kwazii is the daredevil who always goes on the quests; Peso is the medic; Dashi is the photographer and overseer at headquarters; Shellington is the scientist; Tweak is the engineer; Inkling is the oceanographer; and Tunip (along with many other Vegimals) is the helper in the Octopod. This showcases the idea that, even in real life, we have different roles to play as we learn to live and work together.

The message of Octonauts Season Four is stated in their motto - explore, rescue, protect. The Octonauts work together, committing their lives to exploring the sea and different environments so that they can help all of the other creatures. This might inspire kids to get creative, stay curious and explore.

I give Octonauts Season Four 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. Octonauts Season Four is the perfect DVD for parents to watch along with their kids. Even I enjoyed watching the team go on new quests. Octonauts Season Four is available on now on DVD so look for it. Make sure you check it out!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Runtime: 90 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 3-10 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
F9: THE FAST SAGA
F9: THE FAST SAGA - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Cipher enlists the help of Jakob, Dom's younger brother to take revenge on Dom and his team.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - After waiting for four years, the adventurous Fast and Furious series continues in the nail-biting thriller, F9: The Fast Saga. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this entire film, and held my attention to the end. Full of action, charge and intensity, this is a movie you do not want to miss.

Starting where the series left off, F9: The Fast Saga starts with a scene showing Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) living a quiet life with their son. However, this does not last for long. The villain they last encountered in The Fate of the Fast and Furious, Cipher (Charlize Theron), is still out there, and now seemingly helping Dominic's younger brother Jakub (John Cena) who shares the Toretto name, but not the same morals. Jakub is out to gain what he never had: a life where he isn't in someone's shadow. The crew sets out to stop him and do what they do best - save the world. This movie creates a new standard on what it truly means to have courage and be a hero.

F9: The Fast Saga pulses with action from the very start. We only get about ten minutes before the pace picks up, and Dominic is off to start another mission. Even though the action is entertaining, it definitely is not realistic. There are multiple scenes where characters should have died, or at least been seriously injured and aren't. One example is the scene where Dominic and Letty are flying around the edge of a cliff with just a skinny cable keeping them from falling. I understand that the point of action movies is to push the limits of reality, but as Roman (Tyrese Gibson) points out in the movie - none of the crew ever dies or even gets hurt, even after multiple shots have been fired at them. Other than that, I enjoyed this movie. I love the friendships between the characters, especially between Roman and Tej (Ludacris) who have a hilarious, almost brotherly, friendship. They make fun of each other and deliver most of the one liners throughout the film.

The message of this film is to have trust in your friends and family, because even when things are hard, they will have your back. It's always good to have people to lean on, especially when you're saving the world.

I give F9: The Fast Saga 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 17 plus adults. It releases in theatres June 25, 2021.

By Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I like F9: The Fast Saga because it has a lot of action, explosions and fantastic scenes.

In this installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, Dom (Vin Diesel) and his friends go up against his biggest adversary, his own brother Jacob (John Cena) in order to stop a plot to control the world. We get a look into the two brothers' past together and learn a little bit about their history racing cars.

This movie has tons of action sequences with racing stunts never before seen. The characters do things with their cars that are out of this world, like for example, flying a car to space. How crazy is that? This film is packed with so many good actors such as Vin Diesel, John Cena, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, Ludacris, Helen Mirren, Michael Rooker and special guests, Cardie B, Bad Bunny and Bow Wow. My favorite is Tyrese Gibson who adds so many comical scenes to this movie. The graphics are amazing. The cars are super expensive sports cars and supercharged muscle cars. The film takes place in different places all over the world.

The moral of F9: The Fast Saga is that family is everything. Siblings can become rivals, but blood is thicker than water. Be warned that this film contains harsh language and violence.

I'd give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 13 to 18 plus adults. It opens in theaters June 25, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LLAMA LLAMA: FAMILY VACATION - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 3-6
Description - Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep, and Gilroy Goat as they explore their friendly hometown and make childhood memories. It's a vacation of many firsts for Llama Llama.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I find this DVD appealing as an adult because vacationing, traveling and spending time with friends or family are activities that people of all ages can enjoy. Children may enjoy Llama Llama: Llama Family Vacation because it can prepare younger viewers for the ins and outs of traveling, if they are slightly nervous. Other episodes consist of fun adventures with Llama Llama and his friends in their neighborhood where the children use their problem-solving skills to help with issues that arise, so this can inspire to children to do the same.

The episodes follow Llama Llama and his family taking a vacation to Sandy Island. Llama Llama creates new memories with his family and experiences a number of "firsts" such as meeting his cousins, flying on a plane and riding on a boat. Llama Llama learns about life in different towns and how similar or different they are from his life at his home. The remaining episodes in the DVD follow a standard day in the life of Llama Llama and friends.

The episodes follow the same structure beginning with Llama Llama having fun playing with his friends or family and an adult explains the adventure that is going to happen. There is typically an obstacle that Llama Llama needs to conquer, usually with the help of his friends and or family. Llama Llama and the others around him learn a lesson at the end of each episode. Since the DVD is filled with episodes surrounding children and their adventures, the adventures and problems they face are age appropriate and easy concepts to comprehend and utilize suitable vocabulary. For example, some of the episodes include figuring out how to have fun as a child on a family vacation; how to calm down a sibling; or how talk to new neighbors. Nothing detrimental happens in any of the episodes. This is super small, but I want to point out that, if a viewer has an extreme fear of flying, this may make them uncomfortable. Not that the flying scene is shown in a way that is scary or harmful. The animation is clear and the images are vibrant. The music matches the action of each episode. For example, when Llama Llama and his family are riding on the boat, the music has sort of a beach or tiki theme. There is lots of music in each episode, especially when the characters are walking, eating or just hanging out. The DVD cover design is appropriate and appealing to the intended audience. It shows Llama Llama and his family on Sandy Island. The main menu allows the user to choose which episode you want to watch and it remembers where you left off. There are subtitles available, but only in English. The show offers young viewers the opportunity to follow along with him and his friends as they experience problem-solving and working as a team to overcome the obstacles. The show does not touch on looking further into a situation, such as the historical or cultural background, since the episodes show simple day-to-day activities and problems.

There are multiple messages of the program including: Traveling is great because you can create new memories and learn about other places. Capture memories and savor each moment that happens in life. Even if someone is scared about experiencing something for the first time, if they have support given by people that care for them, the experience won't be as scary. The first try is simply a way to learn better for the second, or multiple other tries. The main theme throughout is - You can learn how to get through obstacles that life places in the way by believing in yourself and allow your loved ones to help you when its needed, plus perseverance.

I give Llama Llama: Llama Family Vacation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 10, plus parents who can enjoy watching it with their youngsters.

By Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Llama Llama: Family Vacation is a fun new DVD for the little ones. With animated, talking animals and a special new location, these episodes are sure to excite your toddler for hours as they experience the silly and thrilling life of Llama Llama along with his friends and family.

This DVD is a compilation of episodes from the TV series where Llama Llama is back at having exciting adventures and new friends! He's exploring new things like babysitting Baby Newman, flying on a plane for the first time, and befriending the new kid in the neighborhood, Audrey. With more whimsical music and shenanigans, Llama Llama and his friends are having tons of fun.

The voice acting in this show is exquisite, particularly Jennifer Garner as the voice of Mama Llama. All the other voice actors are equally terrific, such as Islie Hirvonen as Nelly Gnu and Shayle Simons as the voice of Llama Llama. I love the playful music in all the scenes and how it fits the lively plots of this cheerful show. Parents can take a break while their child watches this DVD. Kids can learn about including other people and helping out their friends. Llama Llama is such an inspiration for kids everywhere as he helps out around town, creates Thanks-For-Giving Day and is kind to others. This show has excellent and original plots which make the show all the more exciting! I love the music because it always seems to fit exactly what the scene is about, using light and upbeat music during an adventure or a slower and lower-pitched music for defeat. My favorite part is when Llama Llama learns about how much people around the town do to make the community a better place because he realizes that he can help out too.

This show demonstrates friendship and teamwork. As Llama Llama makes new friends and explores new places, he learns how important these things age.

I give Llama Llama: Family Vacation 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 6. This DVD is available now so look for it.

Reviewed by Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Llama Llama: Family Vacation is a DVD filled with fun experiences as you watch Llama Llama and his friends make childhood memories. They do new things that lead to new adventures. If you enjoy the Llama Llama books, then you should definitely check this out.

In each episode of Llama Llama: Family Vacation, the storyline follows Llama Llama, Mama Llama, and their friends as they go on different quests and try new things along the way. For example, Llama Llama goes on his first airplane ride to visit Sandy Island with Mama Llama and Gram. There he meets his extended family and his cousins for the first time. Llama Llama makes new friends and meets new people, which makes the storylines more enjoyable.

I really like how this DVD introduces more characters in each episode and we get to meet more of Llama Llama and Mama Llama's family. My favorite episode is "Llama Llama Family Vacation" because they add new members of Llama Llama's to the storyline and it shows Mama Llama helping Llama Llama get on the plane for the first time. "New Neighbors" is another episode I enjoyed because they introduce a new character that becomes Llama Llama's new friend, which makes the episode's plot more interesting. The storyline is easy to follow and shows the audience how to handle trying new things and might help them get over their fears. My favorite character is Mama Llama because she teaches Llama Llama and his friends that trying new things helps you learn better and grow. Also, the theme song of the show is fun and upbeat and it helps make this a fun and exciting kids show.

The message of Llama Llama: Family Vacation is: if you try new things you might surprise yourself. This DVD is very kid and family-friendly.

I rate Llama Llama: Family Vacation 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 6. This DVD was released June 15, 2021. Be sure to check it out!

Review by Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Llama Llama: Llama Family Vacation is an educational and entertaining show with lots of good messages and fun stories.

This DVD is about Llama Llama (Shayle Simons), his friends and family who go on fun adventures where they learn and help each other. There are many positive messages in the show. Some of their adventures include going on vacations and helping their mom by being persistent in getting the baby to calm down.

There is some fun stuff to talk about in this DVD. First, the show has many positive messages and teaches kids to not fear new things and be inclusive. Second, is about the music; there are some cool ways they use music here. When it is a calm moment the music is calm; when it's lively, so is the music. They set the theme of each vignette with background music used in that scene. Of course, then there is the theme song. At the beginning of every episode a theme song that summarizes what the show is about is played; it's a fun and catchy song that kids will be singing afterwards. Let's talk about the characters. There are many fun characters in this series that help make the story what it is. There is lots of inclusion when new characters are introduced that send a positive message about being inclusive. Last, I have to talk about the animation, which is clear, attractive and a highlight of the show.

Each episode has a different message, but the overall messages of the show are to be yourself, be inclusive and be kind to everyone and everything.

I give Llama Llama, Llama Family Vacation 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 10, plus adults will find it fun to watch with younger kids. This DVD is available now so look for it.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 100 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 3-6 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99 Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FATHERHOOD
FATHERHOOD - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - Fatherhood is an upcoming American comedy-drama film directed by Paul Weitz from a screenplay by Weitz and Dana Stevens, based on the 2011 memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matthew Logelin. The film stars Kevin Hart, Alfre Woodard, Frankie R. Faison, Lil Rel Howery, DeWanda Wise, Anthony Carrigan, Melody Hurd, and Paul Reiser, and follows a new father who struggles to raise his daughter after the sudden death of his wife.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Expect the unexpected with Kevin Hart's new drama film, Fatherhood! The comedian takes his acting to another level and shows us a more serious side, still with a little humor, while delivering a heartwarming, tear-jerking family film. Fatherhood is based off the 2011 memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matt Logelin and highlights the challenges and triumphs of being a single parent.

In Fatherhood, Matt Logelin (Kevin Hart) and his wife, Liz (Deborah Ayorinde) welcome a baby girl named Maddy (Melody Hurd) into the world. A day after giving birth, Liz passes away from complications, leaving Matt as a single parent raising his daughter. He has no idea where to start, but, with the help of his family and friends along the way, he has to figure out a way to raise her.

The main characters in this film are Matt, Liz, Maddy, Lizzie "Swan" (DeWanda Wise) and Marian (Alfre Woodard). My overall favorite part in this film is how Matt and Maddy's relationship grows as they go along. Usually, the parents are the ones teaching the lessons in life, but it was nice to see Maddy also be able to teach her father. Maddy is actually my favorite character for this reason. I enjoyed seeing her help Matt become a better father throughout the film. Even though this film is a drama, the director, Paul Weitz, uses creative ways to add humor. For example, there is a scene where baby Maddy looks back and forth between two "crazy" people talking and the camera pans back and forth showing us the scene from her perspective.

The message of this film is that you should not be afraid to ask for help when you need it, especially from your family and friends. Matt refuses help because he thinks he can handle everything by himself, even though he has no idea what he is doing. But eventually realizes maybe he does need some help to get him on the right track. Parents need to be aware of adults drinking and mild profanity and themes about death.

Fatherhood is a very uplifting film that will tap into your emotions. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 11 to 18. Adults will enjoy it as well. Fatherhood comes out June 18, 2021 on Netflix.

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

Who doesn't love a good drama film? I know that I definitely do. Fatherhood is such a great one. It has family comedy, portrays a realistic way of life, and the acting is stellar.

The storyline follows a dad, Matthew Logelin (Kevin Hart), who recently lost his wife Liz (Deborah Ayolinde). He must now raise his daughter (Melody Hurd) by himself, even though no one believes he can.

The best parts of this movie are the acting, the comedy and the drama. Kevin Hart really brings every emotion to life - when his wife dies, his crying shows us his grief. The comedy in this movie is subtle and it is frequent enough to make you laugh. I really enjoyed the comedy as it reflects funny family moments that we all go through. And the dramatic parts really show how a single parent, especially a father, might act upon losing his wife. Though the story is a bit slow at times, many may be able to relate to it and find it compelling. Fatherhood is based on a true story of a man who was forced to raise his child on his own following his wife's death.

The message is that there's nothing that a child needs more than family. Be aware that there is quite a lot of profanity used and there are many references to intimacy that makes it inappropriate for younger kids.

I give Fatherhood 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Fatherhood premieres on Netflix on June 18, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PAPER TIGERS, THE
PAPER TIGERS, THE - WELL GO USA INC.
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - Three Kung Fu prodigies have grown into washed-up, middle-aged men, now one kick away from pulling their hamstrings. But when their master is murdered, they must juggle their dead-end jobs, dad duties, and old grudges to avenge his death.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Paper Tigers is such an engaging film with impeccable stunts, feisty characters and plot twists that grab your attention. You'll feel like you've just witnessed these events happening in real life.

The Paper Tigers is about three childhood friends named Danny (Alain Uy), Hing (Ron Yuan) and Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) who, as adults, reunite after their sifu (teacher) dies. As kids, they shared the love of Kung Fu, but after all these years they have moved on to not such bigger or better things. When they hear speculation from an old enemy that their sifu was actually murdered, they try to find the culprit to avenge him.

The Paper Tigers is a movie centered on the martial art of Kung Fu, which means the stunts need to be executed just right for the action scenes to be believable. I found the stunts top notch; the stunt coordinators made the characters look like they are actually fighting. In fact, the entire crew working on this movie clearly put a lot of effort into making it realistic. In the film, Danny, Hing and Jim run into their old nemesis, Carter, and end up making a bet and getting into a brawl to get information about sifu. The guys are not in the best shape and haven't fought a match in years so naturally, they have a tough time defending themselves. When they get hit, you can see blood coming from their faces, which looks scarily real. Kudos to the make-up team for creating such realism. Something else that makes The Paper Tigers unique is its comedic relief. Although the film has a very serious plot and the majority of the scenes are full of tension, the screenwriters added scenes where you can laugh, despite the violence. One of my favorite moments is when the three young disciple impersonators come to sifu's funeral acting foolish. Being embarrassed, Hing says, "Let's take these K-Pop rejects." This sense of humor definitely makes Hing a more likeable character and lightens the mood.

The message of The Paper Tigers is that when you give someone your word, you need to honor it. Even though Danny, Hing and Jim left their master and got separated from each other, when it came down to it, they kept their promise. They gathered the courage to get justice for sifu and be true disciples. Parents should be aware that this film has some adult language and some martial arts violence.

I give The Paper Tigers 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to18 plus adults. Anyone that loves Kung Fu and action will enjoy this film. The Paper Tigers is available in theatres and on digital now, and on Blu-Ray and DVD on June 22, 2021. Make sure you check it out!

By Maica N. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JUST ANOTHER DREAM
JUST ANOTHER DREAM - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - When a fateful injury sparks an ordinary girl to have foretelling dreams, she is forced into a race against time to save her family and prove her sanity....or is it JUST ANOTHER DREAM?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I find Just Another Dream appealing because, on the surface level, this film seems like a fun action drama, but it has a deeper meaning about love transcending time and space. Even platonic love can eventually bring two people back to one another. This film also shows selflessness when Anna sacrifices something significant in her life in order to save another person's life. Young people will enjoy the action sequence where Anna runs around town trying to save her family.

The story follows a child named Anna who has a head injury as a young child and afterwards is able to tell the future through her dreams. She dreams something foreboding about her family and the countdown begins to save them.

The visual quality is the biggest strength of this film. Although there are some parts where the CGI could be rendered better, the overall cinematic shots, color and lighting heighten the visual quality in general. The plot is easy to follow, so kids can enjoy and understand the film. This film displays the three act structure. Act one gives us a background of Anna, her family and her friends. Then, Anna has a dream about a lady being murdered. Act two is the turning point when Anna is admitted to a mental rehabilitation center after having a breakdown due to her dreams. The climax is when Anna has a bad dream about her family and escapes to save them. Act three ties up all loose ends regarding how Josh and Anna's timelines are different. It ends with Anna remembering everything she dreamed while she was unconscious after the baseball and promising herself to find Josh. All the characters, except Josh and Anna, do not believe that Anna can actually tell the future. Little by little, Anna proves them wrong and they develop empathy towards Anna. It drew me in because conflict is created right from the start with the tension between Anna, Josh and the others. I was definitely empathic towards Anna and Josh. We are inclined to side with Anna from the beginning, so it is easy to empathize with her. The concepts would be easy for young people to grasp because everything is explained in the end. Any confusion about the friendship between Anna and Josh is also explained. The vocabulary is suitable for its audience. Even in the metal rehabilitation center, the doctors do not use medical terms and explain everything in lay terms. Since this film is an action-filled drama, the scenes with heightened tension have background music that matches the intensity of the action. At times the CGI does not look realistic, such as the fire scenes. This film makes a viewer think outside the box in terms of alternate realities and time. Regarding culture, there is only one person of color in a lead role, the character Takota played by Eugene Brave Rock. I appreciate that Takota explains the culture and history of the Native American dream-catcher to Anna. Most importantly, this film presents the idea that true love, even platonic love, can transcend space and time and eventually two people will always find their way back to one another. Just Another Dream has very good visual quality, an interesting portrayal of space and time, and displays the idea of sacrificing to save another person.

The message of the film is that sometimes one needs to sacrifice something important in their life to save another person's life. There are definitely some things for parents to be aware of that make this unsuitable for younger children including: a bank robbery, a murder in a bank, shooting a gun at someone in the bank (no blood or gore however), bullying, alcohol use, adults kissing a suggestive way, a drowning, death of a child from fire, use of prescription drugs.

I give Just Another Dream 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Just Another Dream because it is an intense, emotional action film. It constantly surprised me with every scene, and was extremely unpredictable.

This film starts off when the main character Anna (Kayden Bryce) is 8 years old, and takes a pretty bad hit to the head. Ever since then, she cannot stop having these incredibly realistic vivid nightmares. In her most recent dream, someone is murdered at a bank robbery. After scaring her family, claiming that a few days later her exact dream happened in real life, they make the decision to send her to a mental hospital. At this facility, they try to help her understand that her dreams are so vivid, that she doesn't understand what is real and what is only a dream. However, no one believes her except for her best friend. They must work together, to use her power for good.

Something that I really like about this film is the suspense. Every time that I thought I figured out what was going to happen, it surprises me. The movie has a lot of creativity and that makes it even better. Another thing that I like is the incorporation of multiple genres. It could have easily just been an emotional dramatic movie, however it includes many action packed scenes. This really adds to the film, and also allows it to reach multiple types of audiences. This is really great to have, because it has a big factor on how successful the movie is. Lastly, this film gives people a wake-up call on how valuable life can be. You never realize how good you have until you see other people's lives. It also reminds us to trust those you love, and remember that anything is possible.

The message of this film is to always value your life, and realize that you never know what someone else could be going through. This film could be sensitive to younger viewers.

I give Just Another Dream 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, depending on their maturity level. It releases on digital and DVD June 15, 2021.

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

Just Another Dream is a very different movie and I found it a fun movie to watch, because it's about things that we might deem impossible in real life. However, lots of things are different than reality.

The storyline is about Anna Miller (Kayden Bryce) and her dreams. Ever since an accident Anna was in when she was little, she has had very vivid dreams; now those dreams are starting to come true. Only Josh Mason (Copeland Diver) believes her; everyone else thinks she might be crazy. When one of those dreams puts her family's life in danger it is a race against the clock to save her family.

This film definitely has some good points. For one, the location is amazing; it is a beautiful lake and river and we watch Josh and Anna biking it. This lake is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen; I wish I could see it in real life. The second is the quality of the acting. It has spectacular scenes such as one with lots of crying that look very real. Kayden Bryce, who plays Anna, is only 16, but is already very accomplished. For example, her reaction to Anna waking up from a very vivid dream the first time only to find out that it came true, her reaction is so believable. Another key scene is when Anna's mom is worried about her and her vivid dreams. Towards the end there are some very confusing scenes that don't quite make sense until the movie is over. The lightning is impressive and somewhat odd such as a very bright light that comes in from the window behind the actors. You don't know what it is. There are some very loud and dramatic sound effects, mostly at the beginning that really catch your attention. Most of the costumes are regular day clothes but there is one creepy one that is all black and has a black mask. The plot really escalates, especially when it gets personal and Anna's family appears in her dreams. Suddenly, a race against time really takes you to the edge of your seat. Although the race against time kind of drags, it still grabs your attention.

The message of Just Another Dream is to believe in your dreams and you can get anywhere.

I give Just Another Dream 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18 plus adults. This film comes out in select theaters and on DVD June 15, 2021. The burning question is: Did Anna go to Tiko's birthday party?

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

Just Another Dream has great actors, but the storyline it is somewhat confusing. The suspense and plotline that this film meant to create falls a bit short.

The story follows a girl named Anna (Kayden Price) who goes through a series of traumatic events in her early childhood. As a result, she has a side effect of realistic dreams that may come true. She goes on a journey to find out if they are just other dreams.

While the actors are enjoyable to watch, their performances are uninspired and lack emotion in some scenes where that was needed. Throughout the film the camerawork is clear and detailed; it is greatly appreciated when the landscape is so beautiful. I like that the rural setting is realistic and relatable, especially the pond. The beginning is very dramatic and introduces the plotline in such a dramatic way that later, as the plotline is re-introduced, it is very anticlimactic. The audience is left wondering what the story is really about.

The message of Just Another Dream is to never discredit another person's experiences or their feelings about them. Loss and PTSD are both touched on, which are important issues to discuss. Audiences should be aware that there is a violent crime and scenes of bullying.

I give Just Another Dream 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It is available on digital and DVD June 15, 2021.

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

Just Another Dream is a bit confusing and weird at times. The idea isn't bad, but it seems that a lot of time is wasted and, as such, the story falters when it comes to important moments.

The story follows Anna (Kayden Brycee), a girl who has experienced vivid dreams ever since she received an injury to her head. After realizing her dreams tell the future, she must save her family, while also proving her sanity.

In terms of the plot, the story doesn't properly set up the possibility that Anna is mentally unwell. She has a single dream that ends up coming true and her parents immediately send her to a mental hospital. Coupled with the fact it's unclear how much time passed between her dream and her parents' decision, this reaction makes no sense. If she had a bunch of dreams and was struggling to cope with them, I would maybe understand her parents' behavior. As it stands, it feels too forced.

It also takes quite a while for the main storyline - Anna's family being in danger - to actually happen. Most of the movie is spent inside the mental hospital, setting up characters that aren't really very important and reiterating the fact that no one believes Anna. It's somewhat annoying because we, as an audience, know she's right. So, all these scenes feel like a waste, because they don't establish anything new. Although, once the main plot kicks in, I admit that there is some genuine tension. I was actually invested in the safety of Anna's family.

Unfortunately, the acting in this movie is not very impressive. It is acceptable, however I could not connect with Kayden Bruce's portrayal of Anna. She seems perpetually moody and annoyed in every scene, even when she is talking with her best friend and supposedly in a good mood.

The editing also needs to be addressed. There are many instances where the audio quality of a dialogue drops in the middle of a line. Towards the end of the movie, there are a lot of very poor special effects. I can excuse these, depending on the film's budget, but I can't excuse the music choices. There are multiple scenes where the background music does not fit the tone of the scene at all, and it is really jarring.

The message of this film is that you can't change the past, but you can change your future, so it's important to accept where you are right now and move forward. There is a somewhat graphic scene where Anna gets bit by a dog.

I give Just Another Dream 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. It comes out on digital and DVD June 15, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOME BEFORE DARK (SEASON TWO)
HOME BEFORE DARK (SEASON TWO) - APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 14-18
Description - Home Before Dark is a dramatic mystery series inspired by the reporting of a young investigative journalist, Hilde Lysiak. Directed and executive produced by Jon M. Chu, the series follows a young girl named Hilde (Brooklynn Prince) who moves from the city of Brooklyn to the small lakeside town her father left behind. While there, her dogged pursuit of the truth leads her to unearth a cold case that everyone in town, including her own father, tried hard to bury. In season two, when a mysterious explosion hits a local farm, reporter Hilde Lisko begins an investigation that will lead her to fight a powerful and influential corporation - with the health of her family and Erie Harbor in the balance.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Calling all aspiring journalists, and father-daughter duos! This new series Home Before Dark has everything you could possibly want in a show, including a special father-daughter relationship, mystery, action, suspense and even romance.

The second season of Home Before Dark starts off the summer after journalist Hilde Lysko (Brooklyn Prince) uncovers a huge break in the Richie Fife case. Hilde, still haunted by the year before, continues to move forward and continues searching, and you won't believe what she finds.

Hilde Lysko and Matt Lysko (Jim Sturgess) are very special to watch because their father-daughter relationship is very realistic and relatable. As are many other aspects of this show, including the discussion of important topics such as racism. The town of Erie Harbor is seeing new faces, new settings and newly developed characters, which makes the small town a little bigger. Costume designer Kelli Dunsmore creates an entire story in itself with Hilde's wardrobe. My favorite part about Home Before Dark is when both Hilde and Matt have epiphanies about a story they are reporting on. It makes me hold my breath in suspense as I wait for the pieces to unfold and the story to fall into place.

The message of Home Before Dark is, "We are young, but we are not stupid, and we are paying attention." The youth of today are seeing a lot wrong with our current society that we deem needs to be fixed. Do what Hilde Lysko would do and seek the truth. This television series contains some bad language, kidnapping, and other mature themes.

I give Home Before Dark 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 14 to 18 plus adults. You can watch Home Before Dark releases June 11, 2021 on Apple TV+.

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

Home Before Dark is an intriguing series that is filled with twists and unexpected turns. I love that there are multiple storylines following different characters. The characters themselves each have distinct personalities which creates an interesting dynamic that is entertaining to watch.

The storyline is based around a smart, young girl in a small town, named Hilde, who is determined to solve a cold case. She has made major breakthroughs on the case in the past, and published her writing. Hilde's work was awarded and widely praised. Although she had received these rewards, she was not satisfied with the way the case ended. Her parents discourage her from continuing research on the case because of the repeated nightmares Hilde experienced.

Brooklyn Prince fits the role of Hilde Lisko perfectly. She portrays herself in a sophisticated manner and she is very well spoken. She is also able to convey her emotions to the audience through her facial expressions which pulls the audience's attention into each scene. The casting director did well in choosing the characters for the Lisko family, which includes actors Kylie Rogers, Jim Sturgess, Mila Morgan and Pauline Egan. The sisters have some similar features, but still stand out from each other, an analogy for their personalities.

The camerawork in this series is a major factor in establishing the mood of each scene. The camerawork, at times, is breathtaking and beautiful when highlighting the landscape of the town. These nature shots are well executed and create the feeling of peace. Other times, the camera angles add suspense to the scenes. In one scene, I was sitting on the edge of my seat as the camera angle peered down into a dark basement hallway. This frame was left to linger for a couple seconds to give the impression that there was something ominous down there. Overall, I loved the camerawork in this series because of how strategic it is and how effective it is in each scene.

My favorite character of the series is Hilde's sister, Izzy Lisko (Kylie Rogers). Izzy is older than Hilde and was struggling with gaining friendships in school. She is shy and often overthinks about the situations she gets into. Although she has many insecurities, she is such a supportive sister towards Hilde. While Izzy supports and cares for Hilde, Hilde also cares for Izzy. Hilde is constantly helping Izzy find logical solutions to her problems and talking through Izzy's thoughts, simplifying them. They are the perfect duo and I admire their good hearts.

The message I took away from the series is to be resourceful and determined. The series gives the viewers a sense of accomplishment through Hilde, and inspires them to be like her. She works so hard and never gives up on her goals. Hilde is an admirable character that the viewers look up to. My only concern with this is that some of the actions Hilde performs are dangerous for her age, such as visiting abandoned areas and sneaking out of class. As long as children who are around Hilde's age don't imitate her then it is safe.

This series is the perfect mystery, drama show to watch with your family and friends. The plot twists will keep you glued to the screen and excited for the next episode. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for the ages of 13 to 18. Even adults will enjoy this. Season 2 debuts on June 11, 2021 on Apple TV+ so be sure to go check it out!

By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Home Before Dark Season 2 has a storyline filled with many unexpected twists and mysterious happenings this season that will capture viewers' attention. We follow alongside Hilde Lisko (Brooklyn Prince) and her family and friends as they try to discover the secrets of the past. This alluring series will have you mesmerized with surprises you won't see coming.

In season two, the story continues in the town of Erie Harbor where young reporter Hilde Lisko encounters some unexplainable occurrences. Determined to figure out what's going on, she and her friends investigate. With the help of her friends and family, Hilde finds new clues and uncovers dangerous, hidden secrets. Her sister, Izzy (Kylie Rogers) deals with finding new friends while helping her sister in her quest for the truth about what's causing the unexplainable sickness sweeping across the town. They come to discover that searching for the truth could have deadly consequences.

My favorite scene is when Hilde and her friends, along with her dad, Matt (Jim Sturgess), and Lt. Briggs (Michael Weston) venture onto a nearby island to look for more clues. While waiting for Hilde's dad and Lt. Briggs, they decide to use a drone to explore. The drone crashes, and they go into the forest and look for it before the adults come back. It's very eerie and suspenseful because we don't know what or who lurks in those woods. The choices of settings fit well with the scenes, such as the island and the harbor that show life in a small town near the water. The clothing for the characters is modern and goes well with their personalities. Hilde has a more sophisticated look then most kids her age, which goes with her character. It is also nice to see a family that works together and supports each other. Overall, the series is remarkably interesting and entertaining--it is fascinating to see the story unravel in each episode.

The message of Home Before Dark is to never give up, even in times of doubt or uncertainty when you think it's impossible. If you give up there's no chance of succeeding. Stay strong and continue past the roadblocks. Home Before Dark also teaches us about courage. Doing the right thing in the face of danger takes bravery. Warnings include scary scenes that may require parental guidance.

I give Home Before Dark 5 out of 5 stars! I recommend it for ages 14 to 17. Adults will also enjoy it. Season 2 releases June 11, 2021 on Apple TV+.

By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CENSOR
CENSOR - MAGNET RELEASING
Series: FEATURE, AGES 15 - 18
Description - After viewing a strangely familiar video nasty, Enid, a film censor, sets out to solve the past mystery of her sister's disappearance, embarking on a quest that dissolves the line between fiction and reality.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Censor is a unique movie that raises a lot of questions about censorship, the effect that fiction has on people and violence in the media. I really appreciate it for its subtlety; however I feel like the message is a little unclear.

The story follows Enid, a film censor. Her job consists of viewing graphic horror films and deciding what to cut and what to leave in. However, after a particular film reminds her of a traumatic childhood memory, she becomes convinced that there is some connection between her work and the disappearance of her sister.

First off, I want to take a moment to appreciate the atmosphere of this film. The lighting and sound design combine to create an extremely bleak and dreary mood, as if the entire film takes place on an unpleasant foggy day. It fits the constant sense of unease this movie gives off, especially when combined with the uncomfortable subject matter.

Censor has an interesting insight on fiction's effect on reality. I'm very invested in this topic, as someone who loves video games and has constantly heard discussions about how the medium causes violence. Though the film doesn't outright say it, there's an underlying message about how society sometimes draws conclusions that aren't true. At one point, a murder gets connected to a film that Enid allowed to be released. However we later find out the killer didn't even watch the aforementioned film. This leaves you wondering what the truth of the case is. This murder case is never brought up again and, ultimately, is not that important to the plot.

Censor's themes surrounding the idea of censorship, and the way they connect to Enid's past, are genuinely really engaging. Enid claims she does her job to "protect" people, and this perfectly ties into Enid's trauma. A common thing that happens to trauma survivors is that their brain will block out the memories of the event. As such, Enid can't remember the exact details of her trauma. Her brain is essentially censoring itself to protect her. But what exactly is it protecting her from? What is the truth of her past? This connection is so fascinating.

I must warn audiences, though, if you don't like gore or discussions of gore, this movie is not for you. There's a montage at the beginning showing all kinds of graphic violence, and there is more gore later in the film.

I give Censor 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 16 to 18. Censor releases on June 11, 2021.

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 15-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GABBY DURAN & THE UNSITTABLES
GABBY DURAN & THE UNSITTABLES - DISNEY CHANNEL
Series: TV SERIES, 10-15
Description - Disney Channel's out-of-this-world live-action comedy series "Gabby Duran & the Unsittables" has return for a second season on Disney Channel and DisneyNOW. The series stars multitalented actress and musician Kylie Cantrall as Gabby Duran, a teenaged girl who inadvertently lands a job babysitting an unruly group of VIP extraterrestrial children disguised as everyday kids. In season two, a resourceful and courageous Gabby faces even bigger challenges as she continues to protect her alien charges while also navigating the everyday emotional rollercoaster of middle school. The season picks up immediately after a cliffhanger with Gabby's mom, Dina, on the verge of learning Gabby's secret, which the intrepid teen will have to stop in order to avoid catastrophic outcomes. Other adventures this season will include a robot replica Gabby-bot running amok, an alien friend who turns into a "Predator" when she becomes emotional, and a quest to recover Principal Swift's home after it's shrunken down to the size of a dollhouse by an extraterrestrial prankster.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love Gabby Duran and the Unsittables so much because it has an effect that keeps you connected with the show the whole time. It has so many cliff hangers; you're always wondering what will happen next; your always on the edge of your seat. I like that there are so many mysteries in each episode and that something new happens in every episode.

The storyline is about a young girl named Gabby Duran (Kylie Cantrall) who gets picked by Principal Swift (Nathan Lovejoy) who is an alien and wants Gabby to babysit aliens. This job is so important and, if anyone finds out aliens are real, then that would destroy the earth. Principle Swift needs Gabby to keep this a secret from everyone; she can't tell anyone about aliens or her baby sitting job. Keeping that big of a secret might be a little hard for Gabby.

This show is filled with lots of animated characters and other things that aren't there in real life. They use the characters so well, and have amazing ways to incorporate them into the show. It's cool how some aliens that Gabby is babysitting like Jeremy (Callen Farris), Kail (Mia Bella) and Sky (Elle McKinnon) have different powers. This isn't a great sentence. First, avoid using the term "is amazing" as it doesn't tell us anything. I was impressed by how the actors portrayed aliens that are uncertain about how to behave as human impersonators. Considering how young the cast is makes it doubly impressive.

I enjoyed all of the other cast members, especially Coco Christo who plays Olivia Duran, because she's so young and plays her part as Gabby's sister so well. My favorite episode has to be the one with Cry Baby Duran, because it really shows the part of her and her friends being in middle school. The drama really starts to show and gets inside Gabby's head and she is determined to find out who started the rumor. The other thing I found really interesting is how different directors (Joe Nussbaum and Leslie Kolins Small) direct different episodes, which gives the show great variety. For example, Joe Nussbaum directs 9 episodes and it is interesting because it must have been hard to for Kylie Cnatrall to adjust to the different directing styles. Then, Leslie Kolins Small directs 6 episodes and it captured my interest because all the episodes really turned out the same even though they all have different styles of directing, Kylie Cantrall and the directors worked together to make a great show.

The message of this series is that lying isn't a good thing, but when there are lives on the line, you have to do your best to help everyone. Lying can turn into a big mess, so don't let that fool you. This series shows that some people are not worth the risk and people don't always love the idea secrets. Tell them before they find out for themselves.

I give Gabby Duran and the Unsittables 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 14. The new season comes out on Disney + on June 6, 2021.

By Makena P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 10-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPIRIT UNTAMED
SPIRIT UNTAMED - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE FILM AGES 5-15
Description - After moving to a sleepy little town, young Lucky Prescott befriends a wild mustang named Spirit, who shares her rebellious spirit. When a heartless wrangler plans to capture Spirit and his herd, Lucky and her new friends embark on the adventure of a lifetime to rescue the horse that forever changed her life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Adventure awaits in Spirit Untamed, the next chapter in the beloved animated Spirit franchise which is sure to capture a new audience of followers. Spirit Untamed is the story of connection between a girl named Lucky (Isabela Merced) and a wild mustang stallion she names Spirit. Lucky is a spirited girl and has difficulty fitting into the traditional life that her family plans for her. Her Aunt Cora (Julianne Moore) takes her away from social pressure for the summer to the frontier town of Miradero to live with her estranged father Jim Prescott (Jake Gyllenhaal). On the train to Miradero she encounters Spirit and his wild herd. The story evolves as both Lucky and Spirit adapt to new circumstances and learn to embrace change as well as rely on the friendship and support of others.

Lucky is fortunate to find two steadfast friends in Abigail Stone (Mckenna Grace) and Pru Granger (Marsai Martin) who emulate the connection between a girl and her horse that Lucky desires with Spirit. Both girls teach her about equestrian and human connections. I love the fun-loving and spunky character, Abigail, who brings so much humor to the movie which is offset by the sarcasm of Pru. Together these three girls are unstoppable in their efforts to rescue Spirit and his herd from a group of wranglers that threaten their freedom.

Spirit Untamed is from DreamWorks Animation so you know the characters and scenery are going to be depicted flawlessly. I love how this film keeps the feel from the original movie but adds another layer of lush detail under the guidance of Director Elaine Bogan who has a personal connection with horses. My favorite scene is what I call "the tango" between Lucky and Spirit when she is trying to coax him to accept her. The pull of their relationship shows and is enhanced perfectly by the light and playful music composed by Amie Doherty. I really like how the movie incorporates the actors singing with their roles--I love to hear Isabela Merced's beautiful voice and even Jake Gyllenhall trying to sing badly.

The one segment that bothers me is when Lucky first mounts Spirit. The riding is unbelievable for a girl who is just learning and is more akin to a trained circus or stunt rider. Horses are powerful animals, and I hope young viewers will understand that they need guidance around horses and to respect them. I did love the personality that was given to all the horses in Spirit Untamed--each horse had its own lovable character and expressions. Everyone will, of course, love the cuteness overload of the brave baby foal.

What really stands out to me among this film's many underlying messages is the theme of letting go and how hard that can be. I don't want to elaborate further, as it would be a spoiler, but there is one great "letting go" scene with Lucky doing the right thing. Friendship and loyalty are also important themes in Spirit Untamed, as Lucky searches for a place where she belongs.

I rate Spirit Untamed 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12. This movie will be in theaters June 4, 2021, so don't miss this heartwarming story and adventure!

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Spirit Untamed is a fun-filled animated movie that will have you on the edge of your seat with its rollercoaster of emotions. It is full of suspense, humorous moments and scenes showcasing beautiful relationships. Spirit Untamed is one of the most captivating animated films I've seen, with humorous scenes and a great message. Watching this movie on the big screen brings a special kind of magic that draws you in and makes you feel every emotion the characters are feeling. Whether it is a sense of elation, anger, determination or love; I felt it all.

The storyline follows a mischievous girl named Lucky (Isabela Merced) who goes to live with her grandfather after her mother passes away. After pulling too many stunts, her Aunt Cora (Julianne Moore) decides to take her to spend the summer with her father Jim (Jake Gyllenhaal). Lucky wasn't expecting to have any fun or make a connection with anyone there and then she meets a beautiful wild mustang that she names Spirit. When she discovers that a horse wrangler named Hendricks (Walton Goggins) is trying to steal Spirit and his family, she teams up with her new friends Abigail (Mckenna Grace) and Pru (Marsai Martin) to save them.

Although Spirit Untamed is an animated film, it is filled with suspense. Lucky loves to take risks, and that means she is willing to do anything and everything she feels is right. For instance, while Lucky, Abigail and Pru ride their horses through Heck Mountain and over the Ridge of Regret, they are incredibly close to falling off the edge. The way these scenes are designed, and how the events unfold, had me genuinely nervous for the girls. The relationships in the film are well developed. Lucky and Jim's relationship starts out shaky, but gradually grows throughout the movie. By the end of the movie, the father/daughter relationship is made whole. The friendship between Lucky, Pru and Abigail grows throughout the movie as well, which makes the film much more enjoyable. Something else that stands out is the music. The background music adds greatly adds to the suspense and propels the action. The songs highlight the stunning vocals of the talented performers Becky G. who sings "You Belong." Its tempo builds as the excitement in the film builds. This sets the perfect tone for the movie, giving it a sense of hope. The cast is very diverse and featuring people from different backgrounds, which I appreciate as well. Spirit Untamed has it all!

The message of Spirit Untamed is: if you see something that's wrong, speak up and do everything you can to put an end to it. Lucky is aware that it is wrong for Hendricks and his gang to take Spirit and his herd away. No matter what anyone tells her, she doesn't rest until she finds a way to make everything right.

I rate Spirit Untamed 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults Spirit Untamed is available in theatres June 4, 2021. You better hurry; you don't want to miss this!

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

Spirit Untamed is a thrilling and exciting animated film that keeps you entertained throughout the whole movie. It showcases the friendship between humans and horses, has great messages and holds your interest until the end.

The story follows a girl named Lucky Prescott (Isabella Merced) who returned to live with her dad (Jake Gyllenhaal) for the summer. On the way, she meets a wild horse named Spirit that is adventurous and daring, just like her. Since Spirit is wild, he doesn't trust Lucky at first. It takes him some time, but eventually he and Lucky become friends. Lucky comes across horse wranglers that are trying to capture Spirit and his herd. She is determined to do whatever it takes to save Spirit and his family.

Something that really impresses me about this film is the lip-syncing of the animated characters. Their mouths match exactly what they are saying. The background music sets the mood such as when scenes are intense, the music intensifies, which helps the audience connect with the mood of the scene. My favorite character is Lucky because she is adventurous, curious and fun. The moment she arrives at her father's home, she sets off to explore and which leads her to an adventure right away. Her dad, Jim's character develops the most during the movie. In the beginning, he is afraid something bad is going to happen to Lucky if she gets close to the horses, so he forbids her from being near them. Over time he realizes he can't keep her from everything and learns to let her follow her heart.

The message of Spirit Untamed is "when you trust someone they will learn to trust you." The only warning I have for this film is that in some scenes, ropes are wrapped around the horse's necks.

Spirit Untamed is an amazing film. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14, plus adults. You can watch Spirit Untamed opens in theaters June 4, 2021. Go check it out!

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 5-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HUMAN FACTOR, THE
HUMAN FACTOR, THE - SONY CLASSICAL
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - With unprecedented access to the foremost American negotiators, THE HUMAN FACTOR is the behind-the-scenes story from the last 25 years, of how the United States came within reach of pulling off the impossible - securing peace between Israel and its neighbors. Today, the need to learn from past mistakes couldn't be more urgent.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Human Factor documentary is very informative and will be loved by those that are curious about the negotiators of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict during the Clinton Administration, and their efforts to bring compromise and peace. The one-on-one interview setting makes it easier to understand and grasp basic questions of this foreign political situation. And while the film does provide some context in the beginning, you may want to do a little research on the conflict before watching.

I had an unexpectedly emotional reaction to this documentary. Director Dror Moreh cleverly sets a specific tone that grabs the viewer, and then reveals history in a brilliant way. My favorite parts are with the negotiators and their dialogue about their personal firsthand experience being a part of this crucial stage in history. While it is a foreign conflict, we are shown it from the United States' perspective.

I love the music throughout this film, thanks to composer Eugene Levitas. While a lot of scenes were usually serious due to the political dialogue, some scenes added unusually whimsical music to set a certain mood.

The message of this film is really important to understand, especially in the current political climate of the United States. "People just like to demonize the other side. All that is out is the human side, the animosity for each other. And unless (we) are planning on accepting the other side, there is zero hope for a solution." The challenge of any political conflict is building bridges and crushing barriers, and this conflict is no exception. The Human Factor does contain violence, gore, and scenes that depict warfare.

I give The Human Factor 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 18 as well as adults. You can watch The Human Factor in theatres nationwide on May 7, 2021.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LAUNCHPAD
LAUNCHPAD - DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, 8-18
Description - A collection of 6 short films. Six filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds were selected and provided with the opportunity to share their perspectives and creative visions that will show audiences what it means to be seen.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Launchpad is an emotional and uplifting collection of Disney short films that are great for teens and adults. Every one of the six movies features excellent acting, impressive cinematography, great special effects and storylines with meaningful themes.

Launchpad includes six different shorts, each with its own unique plot. American Eid and The Last of the Chupacabras are both centered around religion; American Eid is about a young girl finding out she has to go to school on the Muslim holiday, Eid. The Last of the Chupacabras is about a lone Mexican-American trying to keep her culture alive. Growing Fangs is a fantasy about a half-human/half-vampire trying to hide her identity from both worlds. Let's Be Tigers is about a young girl, Avalon (Otmara Marrero) trying to process the loss of her mother while she is babysitting for a 4-year-old. Dinner Is Served follows a Chinese student trying out for the top position at a fancy restaurant. The Little Prince(ss) is a story about a young boy who loves ballet and whose best friend's dad comes to talk to his parents about his "girlish behavior."

With emotional and deep storylines, these short films need great acting to convey the strong messages of the films. These actors deliver. Every character is portrayed by a passionate actor that deeply understands their character and performs with passion. Even for films with no dialogue, you can understand what they are thinking and feeling. Otmara Marrero who plays Avalon in Let's Be Tigers, delivers an unforgettable performance as such a sorrowful character. The change as she plays with Noah (Dash McCloud) is visible as the film develops. In American Eid, Jenna Qureshi, who plays Ameena's older sister, Zainab, also delivers a stunning performance, making her teenage, trying-to-be-cool character relatable in every way. The cinematography is equally excellent. The special effects in the fantasy films are wonderful, particularly in Growing Fangs with its vampire effects. Magic is the main component in this one, but there are other effects as well. The stories are all well-written. Some of the shorts are heart-breaking and emotional, while others are more uplifting and creative. There's a variety of wonderful ideas spread throughout.

These shorts have many themes, some overlapping others. A central point for all of them, is to recognize other people for what they are, not for how they appear.>p>I give Launchpad 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. Launchpad can be viewed on Disney Plus beginning May 28, 2021.

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

I appreciate the sophistication involved in the themes and making of Launchpad, A Short Film Collection. I found these lacking in action and the messages are pretty heavy. They are all a good length and cover a wide range of topics (such as). Some are a little repetitive and unclear.

This is a collection of short films, ten to 20 minutes in length, Growing Fangs, American Eid, Let's Be Tigers, Dinner is Served, The Little Prince(ss) and The Last of the Chupacabras. They address issues such as racism and gender stereotyping, and we learn a lot about many different cultures, religions and lifestyles. The films are a good mix of seriousness and funny ways of interpreting problems.

These short films are not typical Disney movies, yet they are really interesting. Many of them have dialogue at least partially in non-English languages and, although they are subtitled, I sometimes felt a bit lost or uninterested because I didn't know the language. There are many young actors in these films that deliver excellent performances. My favorite film is American Eid, which highlights a young Muslim girl who lives in the United States and goes to a school that doesn't give days off for Eid, which is the Muslim holiday following one month of fasting, Ramadan. I like the protagonist's sister, because she realizes by the end that appreciating her family and her culture is more important than being cool, and either way she manages to do both. Growing Fangs is a thrilling story about a girl who is half human and half vampire; she faces the problems of belonging to more than one community and finding acceptance. Let's Be Tigers is about a kid who helps his babysitter get through a rough time. The messages in Dinner is Served are deeper and a bit harder to understand; it covers a Chinese student who tries to follow his dream and goes through a process of realization about his dream. The Little Prince(ss) focuses on gender stereotypes, following a young boy who does ballet and likes the color pink. In The Last of the Chupacabras an elderly woman has a magical adventure with a mythical creature.

The message in these films is about accepting people for who they are. This applies to their religion, culture, gender and age. The only shortcoming is that the messages are sometimes a bit forced and some parts are unrealistic, which I didn't like that much.

I give Launchpad, A Short Film Collection 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to18 and adults and will be premiering on May 28, 2021 on Disney+.

Reviewed by Rosemary K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
P!NK: ALL I KNOW SO FAR
P!NK: ALL I KNOW SO FAR - AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 11-18
Description - This documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at P!NK as she balances family and life on the road, leading up to her first Wembley Stadium performance on 2019's "Beautiful Trauma" world tour. The film follows P!nk as she balances being a performer with her role as a mother, wife and boss. It mixes footage from the road, behind the scenes interviews, and personal material. On the tour, P!nk played 156 shows in 18 countries. The film is produced by Michael Gracey and Isabella Parish, with Luminaries, Silent House and Lefty Paw Print.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I was intrigued by P!nk: All I Know So Far and enjoyed each and every second of it, from its realistic aspect to the behind-the-scenes showing them working on the performances. We see that P!nk loves her family just as much as she loves performing and how she makes time for both. Each and every part of this documentary is amazing.

This documentary gives the audience an inside peek into the life of P!nk as a performer and a mom, while counting down to one of the biggest moments in her life - her 2019 Wembley Stadium performance. This film gives you a taste of all the hard work that P!nk and her team put into every performance. Plus, it shows how she balances her profession with being a mother of two and being absolutely great at both.

The beginning of P!nk: All I Know So Far pulled me in immediately as it gave me the feeling that I was about to see something incredible. And, I was one hundred percent right; I love everything about this documentary. I loved seeing the honest and hardworking P!nk on screen. She conveys how hard being the boss can be, especially as a woman in this industry. In P!nk's case, her team respects her and is committed to perfecting their performance as they practice dance moves and rework blocking to make things easier on P!nk. This film shows you that Pink is just as human as the rest of us. She may be a singer with many hits, but at the end of the day, she is back with her family doing what most people do. She wants to be a great mom and that's the main reason she brings her kids on tour with her. Seeing how much P!nk loves her family brings a calm and heartwarming aspect to the film. I learned a lot about P!nk that I didn't know before and that helped me understand her better. I love seeing P!nk give advice to her younger self as well as to her kids. I found myself learning some things to use in my own life. My favorite thing was, "Lead by example, work hard." She does both as she participates in this beautiful but overwhelming business, while absolutely killing it. You might find yourself learning new things about the pop-star P!nk and you will be inspired by what is on screen.

This film really shows audiences how much hard work P!nk puts into her art. We usually only see the final product of P!nk being on stage. This shows the ups and downs she goes through as a performer and how she deals with everything thrown at her.

I give P!nk: All I Know So Far 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. P!nk: All I Know So Far can be streamed on Amazon Prime now.

Reviewed by Hazel A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

P!nk: All I Know So Far, a new Amazon concert documentary on the singer, by Michael Gracey (The Greatest Showman) highlights the daily struggles and fortunate moments through the eyes of Pink, showcasing how she balances being a wife, woman, Grammy-award winning singer and above all, a mother.

The documentary shows Pink during the summer of 2019 as she travels throughout Europe on her "Beautiful Trauma" world visit with her kids and spouse, Carey Hart, a previously proficient motocross competitor. The opening minutes effectively compare two sides of the artist - the brave entertainer swinging on a chandelier-like structure over a swarmed stadium in a dark sparkle leotard and the active mother taking her family from one city to the next.

Beginning in Amsterdam, Pink talks about the road bumps of life on the road and the new struggles with being a mother of two children. She is not only hoping for a wonderful experience on tour for her fans, but also for the moment of a lifetime for her kids. "The only way I can justify dragging my family all over the world is that we are making memories together," she says. It's truly wonderful to see how passionate and dedicated she is in bringing out her best with every performance. However, it's sad to see how much pressure she is put under and how tough she is on herself.

P!nk: All I Know So Far reveals show rehearsals, bike rides through different cities and unplanned moments. These scenes highlight her family's dynamics, showing her open communication with her kids, and showing Pink's parenting style. Pink works hard to foster an inclusive nurturing environment; she wants her children to stay quirky and fun, and she encourages them to be nothing but themselves. P!nk: All I Know So Far doesn't ever get as raw as promised. The film spends far more time telling rather than showing, and uses lots of explanatory narration. I found that a bit distracting and it didn't hold my interest as much as when we actually got to peek behind the scenes of her life. After all, this is a film, not a short story or novel. My favorite parts are the moments when Pink is hanging out with all her background dancers and seeing their connection with Pink's oldest daughter, Willow and her youngest son, Jameson. Of course, getting to see her practice all her stunts and almost flying through the air is exhilarating. She has so much love for everyone she associates herself with and who supports her. One moment that is extremely heartfelt, is when Pink reads messages from her fans. One woman that shared her story and battles told how Pink's music and 'I don't care' attitude has influenced her and ultimately saved her.

This film shows the true meaning of kindness. What I took away from watching it is: you are perfectly perfect just the way you are. You may appear "weird" and "not normal" to others, but do not let them define who you truly are.

I give P!nk: All I Know So Far 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. It's available now on Amazon Prime Video.
Juror Recommended Age: 11-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
INTRODUCING JODEA
INTRODUCING JODEA - FAIRMONT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13 - 18
Description - A struggling young actress's fortunes change when a world famous movie director drives into the back of her car.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the romantic comedy Introducing Jodea directed by Jon Cohen and written by Chloe Tricos. It is completely entertaining, exciting and humorous. Its light-hearted, humorous plot lines center on romantic ideas, such as how true love is able to surmount most obstacles.

Introducing Jodea is a teen romantic comedy about a struggling young actress, Jodea Maxwell (Chloe Traicos), whose fortunes change when a world famous movie director Zac Kawalsky (Jeff Coppage) drives into the back of her car. Desperate, the actress uses the opportunity to beg Kawalsky for a role in his latest movie, but her audition is woeful to say the least. However Zac's agent Grant tempts him with a bet he can't refuse, the condition being that Zac has one week to make Jodea a brilliant actress.

My favourite character is Chloe Tricos because she never gives up even when she is told that she cannot become an actress because she is ugly and she can't act. Chloe keeps on trying and pushing until she succeeds. My favourite part is when Zac Kawaslky's agent Grant (Kent Hatch) tells Jodea that she is a very bad actress, but Jodea still believes in herself and knows that she can do it, she just needs help.The production design and costume are on point and very well executed. Introducing Jodea is very engaging and intriguing; it is definitely worth checking out. I can see it catching on with audiences.

We all like to feel that dreams can come true and that true love does exist, which is the message of this film - the traditional Cinderella story that'll make you laugh and cry. The idea that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind and soul to it; that you should not give up when you get bad feedback and that you should be resilient and determined.

I give Introducing Jodea 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Introducing Jodea releases in theatres Friday, June 4, 2021. Save the date!
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOLLYWOOD.CON
HOLLYWOOD.CON - REVERIE ONE
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - An actor steals the identity of a producer, and is hurled into Hollywood's next Mayan film. In the jungle of Mexico she is mistaken as a member of a cartel.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Hollywood.con because it is a comedic film that is very informative about Guatemalan culture. It contains a lot of funny scenes and is very entertaining.

This film starts off profiling a struggling actress living in Los Angeles. However, after an unexpected turn of events, the protagonist Mika (Mika Boorem) finds herself in Guatemala, working on her first ever producer job. Throughout her time there she experiences many ups and downs, and eventually finds herself. While in Guatemala, Mika and her team encounter some competition in making their film. They must work together to stay competitive, while learning how to respect the values of other cultures.

Something that I really like about this movie is how they include a mix of genres in one film. Not only is it comedic, but it is also mysterious. I love mysterious films and, including humor, makes it that much better. Another thing that I enjoyed are the fun little special effects that are included every so often. They have the right amount to create a fun dynamic, without making it become a live action film.

The message of this film is to always stay true to yourself, even during competitive times. This film does include some profanity.

I give Hollywood.con 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Hollywood.con is available now on Amazon Prime!
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LA MUSICA
LA MUSICA - WHISTLEFRITZ LLC Click to purchase directly from the producer
Series: DVD, AGES 5-10
Description - Pack your bags--we're going on a musical adventure! Join Mar�a and a playful group of peers as they embark on a fun-filled journey from Spain to Latin America, singing, dancing, and learning Spanish along the way!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - La Musica promotes interactive engagement between the audience and the lessons on screen. This DVD utilizes the concept of language immersion, which means that, instead of simply using words to teach children a new language, it uses visuals and songs to ingrain Spanish words and phrases. The use of animation, and the overall structure of the DVD creates an easy to understand and enjoyable flow.

I find this immersive concept appealing and engaging. When I learned a new language the teacher just wrote the words on the board in English and then in French. Nothing clicked! This DVD is so much more fun, vibrant and personable. I did not know very much Spanish before watching this and now I have learned some new words over the course of 35 minutes.

I think children will enjoy this DVD because of the songs. They have a good beat and, honestly, are very catchy. The way the main instructor, Maria, speaks to the audience makes it extremely personable and it seems as if children will engage with the welcoming environment she creates.

The DVD flows very well. The structure is that Maria talks to the children who are on-camera with her, but also to the audience, about what they are going to discuss. Maria explains it a little bit more and then invites one of her friends to sing a song about it. After each song, she reflects a bit about it and then the process repeats. There is not much connection with the characters, yet it is still enjoyable to watch them sing in Spanish. The material is suitable for the intended age group. There are times when Maria repeats a phrase or word a couple of times in a row to reinforce the Spanish words, but I believe that is important for 4 to 10-year-olds.

This is all shot using either a green screen or animation. The green screen allows the production freedom to travel virtually to Spain and other Spanish speaking countries. Sometimes it is a bit style-less, but I do not think children will notice. The actor that plays Maria is great. The cover of the DVD is very appealing with its border of a rainbow, and showing Maria dressed in her flamenco outfit. This DVD teaches children not only fundamental Spanish words, but also about the Spanish culture. During one song, Ileana sings about where she is from and gives examples of other countries where Spanish is spoken. There is a map behind her showing native animals of these Spanish speaking countries also. There is not much problem-solving, but there is definitely cultural lessons woven throughout the language lessons.

The message of this DVD is about getting children excited to learn about Spanish culture and the language through interactive engagement, song and dance with the guidance of native speakers.

I give La Musica 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 10, plus adults. Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the DVD La Musica because it is very entertaining and makes it easy to learn Spanish. I like how children can interact with this DVD while learning Spanish and having fun at the same time.

This DVD has lively Spanish melodies and it includes both Spanish and English subtitles to make it easier for the audience to follow and learn the language. It includes ten Spanish songs and is approximately 35 minutes filled with fun and learning experiences. The graphics and backgrounds are vibrant and colorful as are the characters. The main character, Maria, takes the audience on a Spanish sing-along adventure around the world with the help of Fritzi the mouse and the rest of the playful cast as they journey from Spain to South America. This DVD includes a lot of singing, dancing, stomping, clapping, solving riddles, helping Maria find Fritzi and figuring out what the next dance will be as you learn the language. The music is very appealing and catchy.

Whistlefritz is creator of this language learning DVD. Their Spanish for Kids DVDs, CDs and lesson plans have received more than 100 national honors and awards from most respected organizations in children's media. My favorite part of La Musica is that it incorporates some songs from the Spanish CD, Buenos D�as! Learning Songs which I had the pleasure to review in 2020. This DVD takes some of the songs from Buenos D�as! And turned them into scenes. My favorite scene is "Se Habla Espa�ol."

La Musica is the latest DVD release in the award-winning Spanish for Kids series. It is an excellent tool for non-Spanish speakers or for young children to learn Spanish as a second language.

I give La Musica 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 3 to 18, plus adults. La Musica DVD is available now in stores and digital download. You can visit the Whistlefritz website at www.whistlefritz.com to keep updated about their DVDs, CDs and other programs.

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

Whistlefritz has done it again with their newest Spanish language DVD, La Musica. La Musica is an exciting journey through the world of music with easy to learn Spanish songs that make you want to get up and dance along! With a fun and diverse cast this DVD is a great next step for kids hoping to become more conversational in Spanish.

Maria (Sara Jerez) and her friends put on an outstanding show as they travel around the world on a Spanish adventure. With catchy songs, a fun cast, native speakers, and fun animated characters, this DVD will keep you watching until the end. All elements of La Musica come together to create a great musical experience along with teaching fundamental Spanish that can be used by teachers, parents and kids themselves. There are English subtitles for those that are just beginning to learn Spanish.

This DVD has a fun and colorful feeling that is sure to keep your children entertained. The colorful background and award-winning music all contribute to a great educational film. With just the right amount of education and amusement, it offers a perfect way to help teach your child conversational Spanish. I love La Musica because its light and exciting theme it is perfect for all ages, not just the younger children. My favorite part is when Maria dances a traditional Flamenco dance, because it is so interesting and fun to watch.

The message of La Musica is that education doesn't need to be boring. This DVD shows that you can lighten it up with songs and dance! Even though it may be difficult to learn a new language, anybody can do it, even children!

I give La Musica 4 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 5 to 10. You can buy this DVD online now.

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

La Musica is a short language learning course for kids in a series by Whistlefritz. Presented entirely in Spanish, La Musica is filled with dancing, singing and more. This educational DVD keeps you moving and humming to its catchy tunes. Kids learn how to say numbers, days of the week and many other words in Spanish thanks to the English subtitles. It's a fun way to learn the language.

This 35 minute conversational course features a cast of kids, teens and a host, Maria, who takes viewers on an entertaining adventure while teaching Spanish words and dances. In one scene Maria flamenco dances and wears a traditional Spanish dress which helps kids learn more about Latin culture. La Musica (The Music) also incorporates animated characters, including Rito the fox and Fritzi the mouse, that help viewers navigate the language. My favorite part is when Rito goes shopping at the grocery store. That scene teaches Spanish words for orange, peach, cookie and other tasty foods.

The excitement is at high levels throughout the lessons, which keep the viewer's attention focused on learning Spanish. The teaching method encourages kids to repeat different words, which are easy to note and understand, based on how they are presented. English subtitles are shown throughout so you can translate while the characters speak. As a beginning Spanish learner, I found that this made it a lot easier for me to understand and found this DVD very newcomer-friendly.

I recommend La Musica for ages 5 to 10, but older kids may find it useful as a fast review or study tool. This course is sure to capture your attention and you too will soon be speaking Espanol. This is available from Whistlefritz at www.whistlefritz.com and online wherever DVDs are sold.

By Ava H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Runtime: 35 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.99 Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
P!NK: ALL I KNOW SO FAR
P!NK: ALL I KNOW SO FAR - AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Description - A behind-the-scenes look at P!NK as she balances family and life on the road, leading up to her first Wembley Stadium performance on 2019's "Beautiful Trauma" world tour.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I was intrigued by P!nk: All I Know So Far and enjoyed each and every second of it, from its realistic aspect to the behind-the-scenes showing them working on the performances. We see that P!nk loves her family just as much as she loves performing and how she makes time for both. Each and every part of this documentary is amazing.

This documentary gives the audience an inside peek into the life of P!nk as a performer and a mom, while counting down to one of the biggest moments in her life - her 2019 Wembley Stadium performance. This film gives you a taste of all the hard work that P!nk and her team put into every performance. Plus, it shows how she balances her profession with being a mother of two and being absolutely great at both.

The beginning of P!nk: All I Know So Far pulled me in immediately as it gave me the feeling that I was about to see something incredible. And, I was one hundred percent right; I love everything about this documentary. I loved seeing the honest and hardworking P!nk on screen. She conveys how hard being the boss can be, especially as a woman in this industry. In P!nk's case, her team respects her and is committed to perfecting their performance as they practice dance moves and rework blocking to make things easier on P!nk. This film shows you that Pink is just as human as the rest of us. She may be a singer with many hits, but at the end of the day, she is back with her family doing what most people do. She wants to be a great mom and that's the main reason she brings her kids on tour with her. Seeing how much P!nk loves her family brings a calm and heartwarming aspect to the film. I learned a lot about P!nk that I didn't know before and that helped me understand her better. I love seeing P!nk give advice to her younger self as well as to her kids. I found myself learning some things to use in my own life. My favorite thing was, "Lead by example, work hard." She does both as she participates in this beautiful but overwhelming business, while absolutely killing it. You might find yourself learning new things about the pop-star P!nk and you will be inspired by what is on screen.

This film really shows audiences how much hard work P!nk puts into her art. We usually only see the final product of P!nk being on stage. This shows the ups and downs she goes through as a performer and how she deals with everything thrown at her.

I give P!nk: All I Know So Far 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. P!nk: All I Know So Far can be streamed on Amazon Prime now.

Reviewed by Hazel A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

P!nk: All I Know So Far, a new Amazon concert documentary on the singer, by Michael Gracey (The Greatest Showman) highlights the daily struggles and fortunate moments through the eyes of Pink, showcasing how she balances being a wife, woman, Grammy-award winning singer and above all, a mother.

The documentary shows Pink during the summer of 2019 as she travels throughout Europe on her "Beautiful Trauma" world visit with her kids and spouse, Carey Hart, a previously proficient motocross competitor. The opening minutes effectively compare two sides of the artist - the brave entertainer swinging on a chandelier-like structure over a swarmed stadium in a dark sparkle leotard and the active mother taking her family from one city to the next.

Beginning in Amsterdam, Pink talks about the road bumps of life on the road and the new struggles with being a mother of two children. She is not only hoping for a wonderful experience on tour for her fans, but also for the moment of a lifetime for her kids. "The only way I can justify dragging my family all over the world is that we are making memories together," she says. It's truly wonderful to see how passionate and dedicated she is in bringing out her best with every performance. However, it's sad to see how much pressure she is put under and how tough she is on herself.

P!nk: All I Know So Far reveals show rehearsals, bike rides through different cities and unplanned moments. These scenes highlight her family's dynamics, showing her open communication with her kids, and showing Pink's parenting style. Pink works hard to foster an inclusive nurturing environment; she wants her children to stay quirky and fun, and she encourages them to be nothing but themselves. P!nk: All I Know So Far doesn't ever get as raw as promised. The film spends far more time telling rather than showing, and uses lots of explanatory narration. I found that a bit distracting and it didn't hold my interest as much as when we actually got to peek behind the scenes of her life. After all, this is a film, not a short story or novel. My favorite parts are the moments when Pink is hanging out with all her background dancers and seeing their connection with Pink's oldest daughter, Willow and her youngest son, Jameson. Of course, getting to see her practice all her stunts and almost flying through the air is exhilarating. She has so much love for everyone she associates herself with and who supports her. One moment that is extremely heartfelt, is when Pink reads messages from her fans. One woman that shared her story and battles told how Pink's music and 'I don't care' attitude has influenced her and ultimately saved her.

This film shows the true meaning of kindness. What I took away from watching it is: you are perfectly perfect just the way you are. You may appear "weird" and "not normal" to others, but do not let them define who you truly are.

I give P!nk: All I Know So Far 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. It's available now on Amazon Prime Video.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HERE TODAY
HERE TODAY - STAGE 6 FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13 - 18
Description - When veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz meets New York street singer Emma Payge, they form an unlikely yet hilarious and touching friendship that kicks the generation gap aside and redefines the meaning of love and trust.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Here Today is different from any film I have ever watched before, with lots of humor and scenes more suited for older kids and adults.

When veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz (Billy Crystal) meets New York street singer Emma Payge (Tiffany Haddish) and they form a different and hilarious friendship that is carried throughout the film. It proves that different ages can't stop friendship and makes us believe in love and trust.

There are quite a few amazing things in this film. At the very beginning there is a scene where Charlie is walking all the way to his work. This scene is important because Charlie has Dementia and can't always remember things, so he needs a route with familiar markers so he knows where he is going. This comes into play later when there is a scene where he is told to take a detour and he doesn't know how to get to work that day because he is told to take a different route. There is a church scene with lots of people, which was impressive. The amount of extras needed to make that scene would be tremendous. There are also flashbacks and scenes where we see the past when Charlie is writing. I love the location near the end when they are in a forest. These scenes look like a dream, and their clarity impressed me. One of my favorite scenes is when the company Charlie works for is making a news report and Charlie comes in and says the guy hosting the show is saying all the words wrong and Charlie makes an unintentional comedic remark.

The message of this film is that friendship and love can topple all. Parents should know that there are some inappropriate scenes such as a scene where they stick an EpiPen in and do it wrong and Emma has an allergic reaction she looks kind of creepy which might scare some kids and some profanity.

I give Here Today 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. This film opens in theaters Friday, May 7, 2021. Check it out.

Reviewed by Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
1971: THE YEAR THAT MUISIC CHANGED EVERYTHING
1971: THE YEAR THAT MUISIC CHANGED EVERYTHING - APPLE TV
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - In a tumultuous era, 1971 would be a year of musical innovation and rebirth. Fueled by the political and cultural upheaval of the time, fresh talent exploded onto the scene, stars reached new heights, and boundaries expanded like never before. Watch 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything, now on Apple TV+. This eight-part docuseries will take you back to the birth of the most original artists and songs that we still listen to 50 years later, including never-before-seen footage of The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, and more.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything is a beautiful docuseries capturing the reality of a year that Baby Boomers and members of Generation X lived through. In this series, the blooming of unique soundtracks in a turbulent time is captured gracefully, using archival footage and interviews plus voiceovers from influential and iconic figures of the '70s.

The eight-part docuseries focuses on the musicians and soundtracks that shaped the culture and politics of 1971; featured artists include The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed... and even Ravi Shankar. 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything goes to great depth (each episode lasts from 40 to 60 minutes) to illustrate how these musical icons were influenced by the changing tides of history, including the Vietnam War, and how they used their work to inspire hope and change in their not-always-beautiful world. From politically-tinted songs to dreams of unity, the show runs the gamut of songs and emotions. It's truly a beautifully-executed series, though it tends to drag about three quarters of the way into each episode.

The series comes from a filmmaking team that includes figures from documentaries like the Academy Award-winning 'Amy,' and so you know it's going to be an awesome piece of work. Asif Kapadia is the show's series director and serves as executive producer along with James Gay-Rees, David Joseph, and Universal Music Group's Adam Barker. And this undertaking truly is a team effort; the production team has meticulously picked snippets of interviews, radio broadcasts, film from the recording booth and performances, and more, all from 1971, and pieced them together to tell a beautiful, intricate story. As you watch more and more of the show, you begin to get sucked into the world that is being portrayed on screen, a surefire sign that the minds behind 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything did lots of things right! Despite the show dragging a bit here and there, your eyes will surely be glued to the screen whenever you watch the series.

1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything is about resilience and inspiration, or rather inspiration through resilience. As these incredible musicians weathered the tempest that was the titular year, they funneled their energy toward releasing uplifting and rousing music that would echo with the general populace; they truly seized the opportunity. And I feel that it's a great parallel to 2020 and now 2021; certainly, music has played a major part in getting us through the pandemic, and who knows? Maybe 40 years down the road, we'll see a film about 2020: The Year That Music Changed Everything... Again.

I give 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything 4.5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything releases May 21, 2021, on Apple TV+!

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 14-19 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR 11
JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR 11 - WARNER BRO. HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 11 - 18
Description - The Justice Society of America , a group of heroes aiding the allies in World War 2, acquire an ally from the future who sends them on an adventure that changes history.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What could possibly go above and beyond the Scarlet Speedster himself? Justice Society: WWII! This new action-packed, animated feature film packs much more than a super-sonic punch; showing crazy character development and fascinating emotional exploration. The film relives a classic art style that will not only make you feel nostalgic, but continuously make you feel like you are on the edge of your seat, dying to find out what will happen next. The movie extinguishes any sense of repetitive stories; providing new never seen before action.

Justice Society: WWII follows everyone's favorite speedster, the Flash (Matt Bomer), as he accidentally uses his speed to travel to WWII, finding himself in a cluster of situations. When he meets Wonder Woman (Stana Katic) and proves his loyalty, the Flash must fight his way next to the Justice Society to defeat the Nazis and find his way home. Every character exceeds expectations, yet Black Canary (Elysia Rotaru) and Hawkman (Omid Abtahi) are truly the "scene stealers," demonstrating remarkable chemistry that you will never forget.

Justice Society: WWII pushes the boundaries for modern day 2D animation. The action scenes really display the power of animation and how real it can seem. At times you forget you are even watching a movie because the animation is so immersive and hypnotizing. Another exquisite subtle detail about the movie is the writing. Jeremy Adams and Meghan Fitzmartin wrote a story exploring new angles of these classic characters that we have never seen before. Although the writing is extremely on point; the time period falls short. Throughout the film the WWII time period feels a little sugar-coated and doesn't really demonstrate the impact of the violence during that time. Justice Society: WWII soars faster than Jay Garrick does, checking all the boxes with extravagant character development and extraordinary animation you will never get tired of.

The film has themes of friendship, and the idea that you can do anything you want if you work as a team. It is rated PG-13 for violence and some bloody images. The WWII time period brings with it many sensitive topics, animated violence and some mild curse words. The film can be intense at times, really targeting its viewership to older DC fans.

Justice Society: WWII is clearly one of the best DC animated films, therefore I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find Justice Society: WWII on Blu-Ray or your nearest digital retailer, so make sure to check it out!

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

Justice Society: World War II is a good film because it mixes the superhero genre with real life. The film features some classic heroes like Wonder Woman (Stana Katic), Superman (Darren Criss) and Flash (Matt Bomer) and has them in a real life time period. The animation is a little different from what I expected with Flash appearing older than Superman and Wonder Woman's face not as soft, her voice deeper and her mannerisms more robotic.

The story follows a group called the Justice Society of America aiding the allies during World War II. While on the mission they meet a hero from the future, Flash, from and team up with him in order to end the war and help him return home. As they work to assist the allies and rescue innocent citizens, another unexpected war erupts. This all happens as Steve Trevor keeps proposing to Wonder Woman and she keeps saying no because it is not the right time.

This film has a great idea and introduces some retro characters with an updated plot line to a new generation of DC fans. All of the film's voice over actors are terrific. In addition to Stana Katic, Matt Bomer and Darren Criss, we get Omid Abtahi as Hawkman, Elysia Rotaru as Black Canary, Matthew Mercer as Hourman and Chris Diamantopoulos as Steve Trevor. It helps with continuity of these films when some of the same voice actors are used as they are here, especially when other characters are introduced and those characters mirror ones that we already know. In this film, Flash is my favorite character. It was good to see him in a more serious role, even though he still has some classic Flash silliness. Stana's take on a more "take-charge" Wonder Woman is the star of this film. Since this version of Wonder Woman hasn't been around humans as much, she is a bit more aggressive in her tactics.

The message of this film is to not wait to live your life even when other things are going on in the world. Tomorrow is not promised so don't be afraid to do things that make you happy. You can fight for good causes and live your life at the same time.

Justice Society: World War II gets 3.5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults who love superheroes can watch this as well. Justice Society: World War 11 is available now on digital platforms and Blu-ray/DVD.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CEREBRUM
CEREBRUM - SP DISTRIBUTION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - An artist agrees to help his estranged father work on a memory-transfer technology that would help Alzheimer's patients. However, when his dad dies under mysterious circumstances, he sets out to unravel the truth and further his research.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The new movie Cerebrum is a sci-fi film that gives viewers a sense of what a path to insanity looks like. With an interesting concept, deception and lies, and the pursuit to uncover the truth, Cerebrum will keep your eyes glued to the screen until the end. For thought-provoking, mind-altering entertainment, this is the movie to watch.

Cerebrum is about a man named Tom (Christian James) who returns to his father's home despite their tough, unfavorable relationship. Not long after arriving, Tom finds that his father Kirk (James Russo) is working on creating digital brains so that Alzheimer's patients would never lose their memory. Enticed by a monetary payoff, Tom gives in to his father, agrees to become a guinea pig for this secret, untested procedure, and ends up committing a crime that he can't remember. Working with Chloe (Alexxis Lemire), he has to uncover the truth before it's too late.

This movie has a well-executed tone. The story is chaotic and dangerous, and is complemented by darkness and dusky colors. The setting for most of Cerebrum takes place in a dark and messy lab. This creates tension and gives the movie an eerie feel. Along with the settings, the characters' wardrobe also matches the film's tone. Tom always wears dark colors that match his character's personality and the film's plot. The background music, arranged by Edward Antonio, enhances the sense of conflict. For instance, in one scene where Tom and Andy (Anirudh Pisharody) are fighting outside, the music keeps building and building until the end of their fight. It emphasizes what is going on, which makes the scene more memorable. Although Cerebrum intends to highlight the process of sharing memories between people, the parts of the storyline where people actually exchange minds is somewhat confusing. Even if you are paying close attention, if you miss one thing, you could be thrown off entirely. Despite this, the film kept me interested until the end.

The message of Cerebrum is that the truth will always come out. Even though many people accuse Tom of committing the crime, he still perseveres to uncover what really happened and eventually, others learned the truth as well. There is some profanity, so a parent should be aware of that.

Cerebrum is a captivating film, especially for fans of science fiction. It's definitely unlike anything I've ever seen before. I rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Cerebrum releases to VOD May 4, 2021. Make sure you check it out!

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CRAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
CRAPPY MOTHER'S DAY - UNCORK'D ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Three generations of women come together on Mother's Day. Things don't go as planned.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Crappy Mother's Day is sure to get some laughs out of you and it comes out just in time for Mother's Day.

If you think your family is crazy, think again. When three generations of women, Sarah (Kristen Krak), Totie (Jackie Debatin) and Grandma (Vivien Landau) attempt to celebrate Mother's Day, things go from bad to worse - immediately. From a senile grandmother to whacky uncles to a grandpa who is buried in the backyard, keeping the family together for a single day proves a difficult task, especially when Sarah brings her fianc� into the mix. You don't need to be a master chef to figure out that this is a recipe for a really "Crappy Mother's Day."

Director Dan Karlok lets go of the reins and allows slap stick comedy to insert itself at every turn of the movie. Though the comedy is hilarious, some of the scenes are a bit longer than needed and a bit random. The acting is wonderful, making this family look absolutely wacky and wild. None of the relationships seem normal. Kristen Krak, as Sarah, really appears to be the only normal person in the family. Addison Anderson, as James, plays a very fun character that breaks out of his shell as the movie develops. Bill Rutkoski, the crazed fianc� of Totie, is very believable. I certainly wouldn't want him for a stepdad. Vivien Landau plays the perfect mean, old grandma. John Rutkoski and Mike Rutkoski, as Uncle Lenny and Uncle Donny respectively, nail the Planet of the Apes-obsessed uncles. My favorite characters are Grandma and Aunt Sonny (Marie Lenzie) because they are the most entertaining. They are always arguing and fighting in humorous ways, like two old, senile bats that love tormenting each other.

The message that is your family is the only family you have and, as crazy as you think they might be, they love you. Also, when getting married, be prepared for your newly expanded family and find something in common, even if it's just Planet of the Apes boxers. There is profanity, some mature topics and heavy drinking.

I give Crappy Mother's Day 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. This film releases on VOD May 4, 2021

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TINY WORLD
TINY WORLD - APPLE TV
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Description - A look at the world through the eyes of the tiniest creatures and witness the extraordinary things they do to survive.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Have you ever wondered what if it would be like if you were tiny? Well, the documentary series, Tiny World, explores the world of tiny creatures, some of which live right beneath our feet.

This series takes an unforeseen look into the world of minuscule animals and looks into the advantages and disadvantages of being such a small size in a massive world. Each episode follows the lives of multiple species in the same habitat and what they must do to survive and thrive.

Writers Tom Hugh Jones and Pamela Ribon have created a perfectly comical and intriguing script that Paul Rudd (Ant Man, What If) so ironically narrates. The macro cinematography, shot at such a small scale with such detail, had my mouth down to the floor. All the intricate details are captivating with their up-close perspective along with the sounds of these miniscule critters. My favorite part about this show is when the audience gets a real glimpse of what it is like to be so small! The message of this show suggests that, while you may be small, what makes you unique makes you necessary in this big world. This series is educational and enlightening.

I give Tiny World 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. It is streaming now on AppleTV+.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST!

Are you ready to die of pure cuteness?! The documentary Tiny World is filled with fun and education. It has so many things to see and learn about, while also entertaining the viewer.

This nature documentary showcases tiny creatures, from the desert to the ocean. It features rare footage of tiny animals from all over the planet. Be prepared to be amazed. There are twelve episodes with six in each season.

Tiny World is full of life, excitement and especially color. All the animals are interesting to watch and learn about. It makes you appreciate Earth and its incredible biodiversity. I learned so much about animals I've never heard of. The cinematography will blow your mind. The macro photography is very unique and the quality is the best I have ever seen. For example, there is a scene showing baby crabs that are as small as a single grain of sand; they are as clear as you might see an elephant! It still escapes me how such remarkable camera work can be a thing. Kudos to executive producer, writer and creator Tom Hugh-Jones, cinematographer Simon De Glanville and their team for creating this wonderful show. The music is always cheerful and fits the mood of the various scenes. Paul Rudd narrates and his voice is clear, crisp and calming; he uses simple words, making it easy for the whole family to watch. It's hard to choose a favorite episode, but I really like "Jungle" because it has the cutest little monkeys, called pygmy marmosets, that fit in the palm of your hand.

The message of this show is sometimes the tiniest things have the biggest impact. We should get out and enjoy nature. Even looking in your backyard will amaze you. This show will definitely inspire future explorers.

I give Tiny World 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. This is a great family-friendly show. Both seasons of this show are available now on Apple TV, so look for them!

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EARTH AT NIGHT IN COLOR
EARTH AT NIGHT IN COLOR - APPLE TV
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10-18
Description - The moonlit dramas of animals at night, revealing new insights and never before seen behaviors.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Earth at Night in Color stands apart from many documentary series. The latest camera technologies that are used in this series deliver a documentary with a fresh look at nature.

This show documents the lives of various species across the world in different habitats, during nighttime. However, even in the low light, the cinematography we see is in full color!

The photography and camera team for this series must be commended for their astonishing and brave work filming these dangerous and majestic creatures in the dead of night. All of the habitats are so well colored and clear, to the point that I could not differentiate night to day. Narrated by Tom Hiddleston (Thor, Avengers: Endgame) who adds a youthful and professional voice. My favorite part is at the end of each episode when we get a behind-the-scenes look into how a particular episode was shot in the dark. It leaves the audience no questions about how this was filmed; a question many have after watching documentaries about nature.

The film's message challenges the idea 'there is more than meets the eye." While the dark may seem scary and unpredictable, the sun always shines back in the morning.

I give The Earth at Night in Color 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it on AppleTV+ now. By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TRUFFLE HUNTERS, THE
TRUFFLE HUNTERS, THE - SONY CLASSICAL
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Deep in the forests of Piedmont, Italy, a handful of men, seventy or eighty years young, hunt for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle-which to date has resisted all of modern science's efforts at cultivation.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - With all of the chaos in the world, this down-to-earth film, The Truffle Hunters, is perfect to sit down and watch with a bag of popcorn and enjoy. There are dogs, adventure, scandal and more-what's not to like? The Truffle Hunters is a documentary any dog lover will particularly enjoy, as well, since dogs feature prominently in the search for these underground delicacies that mainly grow in woods.

The Truffle Hunters follows four truffle hunters: Carlo Gonella, Sergio Cauda, Aurelio Conterno and Angelo Gagliardi about their work finding truffles along with their dogs. This documentary takes viewers on a journey into the behind-the-scenes process of sniffing out truffles. It is an analytic and emotional exploration of how this indulgent treat is procured. These four truffle hunters are in their older years in life, but still carry an inspirational passion for what they do. Their dogs are no less amazing: Birba, Biri, Charlie, Fiona, Nina and Yari. There are so many elements to this film that make it unique, for example, the cinematography, done by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw. The different camera angles and perspectives allow you to get a bird's eye view from atop a tree of a man and his dog charging on the snowy terrain or you could be seeing from the POV of a dog hunting and sniffing for truffles along with your human. These different perspectives allow audiences to really embody some of the characters.

The Truffle Hunters was really fascinating to me, because I had no idea what truffles taste like, but after watching this documentary I can't help but imagine. Before the truffle ends up in a wealthy person's mouth, we are shown what happens along the way: the unbreakable bond between hunter and dog; the questionable transactions between hunter and seller; the selling itself, and oh-so-much sniffing by wealthy people looking for an expensive treat. My favorite part of The Truffle Hunters is with Carlo, and his loyal dog Titana. Every scene with them in it is sure to pull on your heartstrings.

Perhaps "enjoy the finer and simpler things in life" is what everyone will take away from The Truffle Hunters. Or maybe the message is, "sometimes it is good to stop and smell...the truffles." This documentary does contain some description of mild violence, smoking and drinking.

I give The Truffle Hunters 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
RK/RKAY
RK/RKAY - 101 STUDIOS
Series: FEATURES, AGES 15-18
Description - RK is a filmmaker, making a new film, in which he also plays the lead character of Mahboob. Its a quaint film, like a tribute to the cinema of the sixties. People close to him are not really sure why RK wants to make this film.. Edit begins and RK has a sinking feeling that this film is not going to come together, that this time he has really screwed up. His nightmares warn him of an impending disaster. Sure enough, one afternoon RK gets a call from the edit room- something terrible has happened. Mahboob has run away, run out of the film. Nobody can really understand why would he leave, where would he go. But he is not there anymore in the rushes- missing from the film negative as well. The fact is Mahboob was running away from his killers, and somehow he left the film and arrived in our world. RK finds him, brings him home- but Mahboob has no idea where he is from, or that he is any different from people around him. Slowly, he is told. They must convince him to go back to the film, so that RK can finish his film.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A mind-bending film, RK/RKAY is a multi-layered film, shot and edited with care for small details. You'll be tuned in, trying to figure out where the plot will go next, throughout the duration of the film.

The storyline follows filmmaker RK (Rajat Kapoor) who is in the process of directing and starring in his film. He plays the lead character of Mahboob. The film opens with a nostalgic vignette for 1960s Bollywood films - the clamor on set, a high-maintenance actress as the female lead Gulabo (Mallika Sherawat) and a slight sepia tone. Everything seems to be going just fine when the editing for the film begins, but RK gets a call from the editing room. Mahboob has run out of the film and has somehow entered the real world, fleeing from the film's cartoonish killers when RK finds him and brings him home to sort things out. RK must convince Mahboob to go back into the world of the film, as that is where he belongs.

RK/RKAY is a crowd-funded film, but you cannot tell from the incredible production quality. Director Rajat Kapoor is an experienced short and feature length film director and his expertise, even with a low budget, is evident. I am blown away by the cinematography, script and overall production quality. The film-within-a-film premise requires clear dialogue to avoid confusion, and RK/RKAY delivers. Even though it is a Hindi film, the subtitles are clear and you can easily follow what's happening. I also love the cinematography; the film makes amazing use of light and shadows as well as colors. The film that RK is producing has a bit of a sepia or golden tint to it, as does Mahboob when he enters the real world. Depending on their mood, characters may be placed halfway, completely, or not at all in the shadow. Though the film tends to drag a bit in the second half, the whole production effort is impressive enough that one gets pulled back into the film.

RK/RKAY promotes messages of finding yourself, being dedicated to your projects, and staying true to love.

I give RK/RKAY 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15-18, plus adults. RK/RKAY premieres in the US and Canada on May 14, 2021, in theatres and virtually.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ARLO THE ALLIGATOR BOY - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - Arlo the Alligator Boy is an American 2D animated adventure musical film by Ryan Crego in his directorial debut. Arlo is a young humanoid alligator that travels to the big city in hopes of reuniting with his estranged father and meets a colorful cast of characters along the way.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Arlo the Alligator Boy is a new movie that grabs your attention with fun characters and catchy songs. Talented actors and singers, combined with great writing make this a movie you don't want to miss!

The storyline is about a half-boy/half-alligator named Arlo (Michael J. Woodard), who was abandoned as a baby. He is raised by a woman named Edmee (Annie Potts) that protects him from the world and gives him everything he needs. But as Arlo gets older, he yearns to find his family, and figure out who he really is. So, Arlo sets out on a journey to find his father in the Big Apple (New York City) and meets Bertie (Mary Lambert) and some new friends that help him along the way.

My favorite element of this film is the music. The casting team, led by Ruth Lambert and Robert McGee put together a wonderful cast. I can't tell if they cast good actors that could sing, or good singers that could act, because they are equally talented in both. My favorite song is "Better Life" performed by Ansel (Vincent Rodriguez III). It's upbeat and there are some high notes that make it memorable, really setting it apart from the other songs. All of the characters are very different, each with its own special qualities. The animation has subtle and unsubtle parts for each character. My favorite character is Marcell whose random outbursts and fragmented statements are hilarious and relatable. If I was in the same situations he was in, I would probably respond in similar ways. The voice actors really surprised me with how terrific their performances are. They made this a movie something I would definitely watch more than once.

The message of Arlo the Alligator Boy is that it's okay to let go of whatever is holding you back, and sometimes letting go is the best thing for you. Arlo has to let go of Edmee if he wants to find his dad; and Bertie has to let go of her unfortunate past if she wants to embrace a new, better version of herself. There is some mild violence, but it contributes to the comedic aspects of the film.

Arlo the Alligator Boy is a great movie! I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. Adults will also enjoy watching this with their kids, as it's a great family film. Arlo the Alligator Boy comes out on April 16, 2021 on Netflix worldwide. Check this new movie out, you're in for a treat.

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


Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DAD STOP EMBARRASSING ME
DAD STOP EMBARRASSING ME - NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 14-18
Description - Brian Dixon (Jamie Foxx), successful business owner and bachelor, just became a full-time father to his teenage daughter Sasha (Kyla-Drew). Determined to be the best father he can be, Brian's going to need all the help he can get from his dad (David Alan Grier) and sister (Porscha Coleman) -- and Sasha's going to need all the help she can get learning how to deal with her new, lovingly chaotic. Full of heart and humor, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me is inspired by Foxx's real-life relationship with daughter Corinne Foxx, who also serves as executive producer.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Dad Stop Embarrassing Me is a fun, humorous show for teens, with great sets and talented casting, as well as some endearing imperfections. It's a great show to just kick back and watch, keeping your brain to the side and embracing the madness of the plot.

Speaking of the plot, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me is all about teen Sasha Dixon (Kyla-Drew), who moves back to Atlanta after her mother's passing to spend time with her father, Brian Dixon (Jamie Foxx), who is the heir of the cosmetics empire Bay Beauty. She has to adapt to her father's unique personality and lifestyle, and the show follows the father-daughter-duo as they navigate the complex landscape of their relationship. The show is supplemented by Pops (David Alan Grier), Sasha's happy-go-lucky grandfather, and Manny (Valente Rodriguez), the hilarious handyman. Zia Williams (Miracle Reigns), Sasha's enthusiastic yet comedically bumbling friend; Stacy (Heather Hemmens), Brian's significant other; Johnny (Jonathan Kite), a misfit cop, and Chelsea (Porscha Coleman), Sasha's lively aunt, also play important roles in moving the plot forward.

Dad Stop Embarrassing Me has a multi-camera setup, which aids in providing a great cinematographic experience, with various angles and types of shots. However, there are times where I wish the viewers could see more of the great city of Atlanta, given how much it's hyped up in the first two episodes. The script also takes advantage of the multi-camera setup by allowing characters to break the fourth wall every so often, and speak to the audience directly. This was funny the first few times it happened, but one soon realizes it's used as a comedic device in somewhat not funny scenes. Moving to the cast, I love Jamie Foxx's performance as Brian and Kyla-Drew as Sasha, but the supporting characters really shine. Pops, Chelsea and Stacy especially are strong characters. Grier, Hemmens and Coleman truly show their talent. The most important aspect is that the cast's dynamic is truly like that of a family, and this translates beautifully on screen. Though the show has some hiccups, what is a comedy show if not just that - imperfect? That's what makes it funny, right?

Dad Stop Embarrassing Me promotes positive messages of sticking up for each other, responsibility, resourcefulness, making the most of what you have and being committed. Parents should know there is some mild profanity and some references to drugs and sex. It's rated TV-14, so it's best if you're an older teen watching this show.

I give Dad Stop Embarrassing Me 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. It premieres April 14, 2021 on Netflix.

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! is a humorous TV series for older teens and adults that will make you think about and laugh at all those embarrassing family moments and family members in your life. It combines comedy with different issues facing people today. Each character has its own unique personality that creates a family that many people will relate to. The humor and drama in each episode kept me entertained.

This series is about a girl named Sasha (Kyla-Drew) who comes to live with her dad (Jamie Foxx) who is very overprotective and uptight about his daughter, while she is extremely outgoing and independent. They are always disagreeing with each other and arguing but they still love each other at the end of the day. Her aunt (Porscha Coleman), grandfather (David Alan Grier) and family friends are also a big part of their lives and the show. Each episode tackles a new problem typical of teens and parents today and we see those problems addressed as they work through them as a family.

My favorite scene is when they are all having a cookout where Pops and his siblings compete to see who can prepare the best meal and they keep sabotaging each other's foods. They keep trying to outdo each other to win the competition. Both the lines and the actions are hilarious. This scene had me laughing out loud and anticipating what was going to happen next. I also like how the actors break the fourth wall sometimes by speaking their thoughts out loud into the camera, so we get to see how they feel in that scene. The way the characters dress fits perfectly with their personalities. The dad is a businessman; Sasha is a typical teen; and Pops is a laid-back grandpa. The theme song at the beginning is very catchy and upbeat. The lyrics represent what many teens think. They like their parents, but don't want to be embarrassed. I also like that the show is a modern multi-generational family that is learning to accept each other's differences as the episodes continue.

This show shows us the importance of family and how they're always going to be there for us. Families may not be perfect, but they want what is best for you, even if it may not seem that way in the moment. It also highlights the importance of forgiveness, especially if there are good intentions. You should be aware that there is mild profanity used frequently and there are also some mature topics such as talking about sex and weed.

I give Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! 5 out of 5 stars. It has humor and gripping storylines with current topics that will keep your undivided attention in each episode. I recommend this for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! releases on Netflix April 14, 2021.

By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GIRL WHO BELIEVES IN MIRACLES
GIRL WHO BELIEVES IN MIRACLES - ATLAS ENTERPRISES INC.
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Unlike most people, young Sara Hopkins is willing to take God at His word. So when she hears a preacher say faith can move mountains, she starts praying. What begins with a mysteriously healed bird leads to people suddenly cured of their misery and misfortune all over town. But the overwhelming crush of notoriety and press attention soon takes its toll on Sara. Will her family be able to save their miracle girl before it's too late?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth commens
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Girl Who Believes In Miracles is a lukewarm Christian movie with a weak storyline. The few heartwarming scenes aren't quite enough to keep this film afloat. With a strong performance by the ensemble's youngest actress, the movie does not have enough storytelling to deliver a wholly satisfying movie experience.

The Girl Who Believes In Miracles centers around a little girl named Sarah (Austyn Johnson) who has seen God and can grant miracles. She helps cancer patients, and even blind and paralyzed teens. All the while, Sarah's fame increases, with people knocking on her door to grant miracles. Sarah's health declines, too, but she keeps up her faith.

The movie makes it clear from the beginning that Jesus is praised, and that this is not a modern version of the Messiah's story. It is unclear, though, why Sarah holds this power to grant miracles as she has done nothing significant except have faith. The Girl Who Believes In Miracles is confusing in this way and may leave the audience wondering, "Can anyone be a Messiah?" However, the actors deliver empowering performances. In the scenes in which Sarah's health weakens, her suffering is absolutely heartbreaking. Austyn really has the audience pulling for her. Sarah's grandfather, Sam (Peter Coyote), also has a heartfelt monologue in which he talks to God and says he would rather die than Sarah. His love shines through, along with his pain, creating a tear-jerking scene.

The moral of this film is to always let faith guide you. Even as Sarah's health declines, she never loses her faith. She stands by God and understands that everything happens for a reason, unlike her family who try to fight the ticking clock. As a Christian, I did find the film somewhat offensive in its message that anyone with faith can perform miracles.

I give The Girl Who Believes In Miracles 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters April 2, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPACE DOGS: TROPICAL ADVENTURE
SPACE DOGS: TROPICAL ADVENTURE - EPIC PICTURES
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Description - When a mysterious and dangerous whirlpool appears in the tropics of the Atlantic Ocean, astronauts Belka and Strelka are sent to investigate. With the help of their good friends, Belka and Strelka must once again act heroically and complete a daring mission to save the planet along with the distant home of their new alien friends.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is the final film in the Space Dogs trilogy. It's an eventful and distinctive movie! When I watched it, what I expected to happen didn't happen, but it has a great plot that definitely works well. Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure also represents diversity and has a great message.

Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is about two astronaut dogs named Belka (Maria Antonieta Monge) and Strelka (Mauriett Chayeb-Mendez) who are sent to Earth on a mission to investigate a suspicious anomaly in the Atlantic Ocean. Belka always takes control and is the leader of the missions. But with that, she is constantly getting blamed by the General when things go wrong and is always at fault. Now, both Belka and Strelka have to step up and work together with their friends to solve this mysterious case and save the planet.

One of the factors that makes Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure special is the diversity in the characters. Even though this film is about animated animals, there are many different types of animals that all play a major role. For example, besides the two main dog characters are a rat and a fly. The settings are well detailed. Everything that surrounds the characters emphasizes and gives context to each situation. So when Belka, and Strelka are trapped in the underwater dump, around them you can see pieces of wood, skeletons and trash. My favorite character is Belka because she reminds me of myself. She loves to be the leader, and always ensures that everything goes according to plan. The voice acting was done very well because it suits the characters. However, sometimes the words don't align with the movement of the characters' mouths. Also, if you aren't paying close enough attention, this movie can be a little hard to follow. Aside from these things, Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is pretty fun.

The message of Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is that teamwork can solve any problem. Belka and Strelka repeatedly attempt to complete assignments their own way, with one trying to take control from the other. But this approach never works. When their friends assist them, they finally realize that the only way they will succeed is if they work together. This movie is totally kid-friendly, and there are no red flags.

Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is an interesting movie. I rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 10. Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure releases in theaters on April 2, 2021, and on video on demand on April 6, 2021. If you're having a family movie night, pop some popcorn and check this out!

Reviewed by Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is the third film of the Space Dogs franchise which includes Space Dogs, and Space Dogs: Return to Earth. This is a fun and up-beat film with amazing animation and catchy songs! The cast are incredible and the story is great. The characters are unique, all in their own way.

When the water from the Atlantic Ocean suddenly starts disappearing, Space Dogs Belka and Strelka are sent to investigate. With help from their friends they try to discover the cause of this. Will they figure out where all the water is going? Watch Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure to find out.

Written by Mike Disa and directed by Inna Evlannikove, the characters and cast of this film are incredible. Belka (Katerina Shpitsa, Breakfast at Dad's, Brothel Spites) is the more sensible of the pair of dogs. Belka is very smart and looks before jumping. She always has great plans to get Strelka and herself out of situations. Strelka (Irina Pegova, The Stroll, Super Bobrovs) is a very lovable character. She is funny and definitely jumps before looking. The rat Yenya (Yevgeny Mironov, The Spacewalker, The Idiot) is a very dramatic and funny character. We watch him go on a rollercoaster of emotions, but still come through to help his friends. My favourite character is Thomas the Cricket (R�mulo Bernal). He is Yenya's assistant and is very lovable and brave. He is my favourite for those reasons. He is also smart and has lots of great ideas. My favourite part of the film is when Yenya is expecting his uncle to be a famous sailor, but he turns out just to be a photographer that takes pictures of famous sailors and famous boats. The animation in the film is amazing and the music is very catchy.

The message of the story is that sometimes to find the truth it just takes a little leap of faith.

I give Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12, plus adults. It comes out in theatres on April 2, 2021, and on VOD April 6, 2021.

Reviewed by Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FRANCESCO
FRANCESCO - DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - Through his work on climate change, immigration, religious tolerance and other issues, the Pope has embodied the meaning of inspired leadership.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Francesco is a wonderful and complex film that showcases one of the world's most famous figures. The audience has a clear visual of Pope Francis's thoughts about modern issues. With exclusive interviews and audio recordings, this documentary is not to be missed.

Francesco is a documentary composed of rare videos, interviews, tweets and audio tape recordings about Pope Francis and his ideas about contemporary problems. The issues addressed are refugee camps in Lesbos, migrants and he also talks about his ideas on homosexual marriage.

There's so much to learn from this film. It really gives insight on how the Pope thinks and how he has changed ideas for the Catholic religion. Giving his opinion on homosexual marriage is a huge statement; he believes they are entitled to have a family like any other person. This shows how he has come to embrace everyone with open arms. Pope Francis stands out from popes before him, which is why this documentary is so important. He isn't just a figurehead; this film shows how relatable he is as well. He is well aware of his impact on the world, such as how he helped the Muslim refugees in Greece. The film shows that Pope Francis doesn't see religion, race or sexual orientation as barriers, he just sees people. I loved seeing so many never before seen videos and recordings in this film. We see the Pope in Lesbos helping out whoever he can, and see how a woman thanks him for his help.

This film shows that not everyone is as they first appear to be. The media often portrays the Pope in a godly manner. In this film we see that he does not think that of himself. He seems to be like any other guy, just doing the work of God. There are no triggers for this film, but mature topics discussed include immigration, religion and homosexual marriage.

I give Francesco 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages (13 to) 18 plus adults. It releases on DVD March 28, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CHAOS WALKING
CHAOS WALKING - LIONSGATE FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - In the not-too-distant future, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) discovers Viola (Daisy Ridley), a mysterious girl who crash lands on his planet, where all the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by "the Noise" - a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola's life is threatened - and as Todd vows to protect her, he will have to discover his own inner power and unlock the planet's dark secrets. From the director of The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow and based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland star with Mads Mikkelsen, Demi�n Bichir, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Jonas, Kurt Sutter, and David Oyelowo in Chaos Walking.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Chaos Walking is an amazing film that demonstrates bravery at every corner, has a very intricate and complex plot, and has subtle but amazing dialogue!

The storyline follows a boy, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) who is about to become a man. In his world, he has been brought up to believe that all the women have been killed by the Spackle and all the men are affected by "the Noise" - a force that puts all their thoughts on display. One day, Todd stumbles upon a spaceship that crashed into his village, believing there are no survivors. Little does he know there is one survivor - Viola (Daisy Ridley). Seeing that she does not have the Noise, he tries to protect her, but he isn't the only one that discovers her.

One of the best parts of this film is the graphics. From a tree to a mountain, everything looks so vivid and real. Because this story takes place in a dystopian society, the setting is something imagined to be "foggy." The sets are magnificent and provide a background for every scene exceptionally well. As for talent performances, both Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland are marvelous. Tom's brave face really sold me on his character Todd. With Daisy, her charming smile and presence shows how empathetic, sad, happy and a sometimes flirty she is.

This film demonstrates the true meaning of bravery and what one sometimes goes through in order to be called brave. Although this movie is rated PG-13, it really pushes the rating to its limits. There are frequent uses mild profanity, which are used aggressively and often as name-calling. There is also quite some bad behavior, such as killing animals and there are scenes with violent images, of shooting and stabbing, although nothing is too graphic.

I give Chaos Walking 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Chaos Walking premieres digitally March 5, 2021.
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
COURIER, THE
COURIER, THE - LIONSGATE FILMS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 14-18
Description - The true story of a British businessman unwittingly recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. Forming an unlikely partnership with a Soviet officer hoping to prevent a nuclear confrontation, the two men work together to provide the crucial intelligence used to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I absolutely love the movie The Courier directed by Dominic Cooke. It focuses on the efforts of the detective, private investigator or amateur sleuth to solve the mysterious circumstances of an issue by means of clues, investigation, and clever deduction. I really enjoyed watching The Courier, and, as my first time watching a true-life spy thriller, I found it very interesting.

The Courier is a true-life spy thriller, the story of an unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. At the behest of the United Kingdom's MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), Greville forms a covert, dangerous partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This is a slow-burning film about the friendship that then blossoms between these two men as they routinely risk their lives for the greater good. There's an earnest, well-intentioned message about wider political change starting on a smaller scale, too. It's a timely concept, but the underdeveloped bond between Greville and Alex failed to grab me with quite the force that the filmmakers intended, given where the plot takes them and us. Greville Wynne is my favorite character because he is a hero, and a humble one at that. Although the thrills and intrigue of his story aren't that remarkable, it's the time he spends in a Russian prison accused of spying for the West that sets him back. Greville Wayne is perfect for the mission: He's fleet but not flashy, charming but not memorable, and dependable but unremarkable in every way. Benedict Cumberbatch proves yet again he's a star, and Merab Ninidze is equally brilliant at his Russian counterpart. That's not always an easy balance to strike, but it makes The Courier incredibly entertaining while not losing sight of the real people who risked their lives in the Cold War. It's definitely worth checking out, and I can see it catching on with audiences. The production design, costumes and cinematography are on point and very well executed.

This film tells the kind of true story that filmmakers crave, the kind that exists on the periphery of a major historical event, switching its focus to a more human angle. Its closest sibling would be Spielberg's Bridge of Spies. The story at its center is a fascinating one that theatre director Dominic Cooke steers credibly.

I give The Courier 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this thriller movie for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. The Courier will be available on Netflix beginning Friday, March 19, 2021. Save the date!< p>By Josephine M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The Courier is a historical fiction movie that perfectly captures the events of the threat of a nuclear weapon attack that took place back in the 1960s. While this is based on a real event that happened, the people that worked on this movie used their creative license to their advantage resulting in a riveting film.

The Courier is about a British businessman named Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is enlisted to go undercover to get intelligence on a nuclear missile attack that's being plotted against Cuba. Under the leadership of Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan) and Dickie Franks (Angus Wright), he forms an alliance with Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze). Together, they try to stop the planned nuclear weapon attacks.

The Courier is a very unique film that really dives deep into the topic it's discussing, the threat of nuclear attacks on Cuba. It is based on an actual historical event, known as the "Cuban Missile Crisis." When I looked up the historical images of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky I was surprised that Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze look so similar to them. Major props to Alena Garetovskaya, Lucy Amos and the rest of the casting team. Although there are points in the film where I couldn't make out what they were saying, the emotional impact of what is going on is definitely clear. For instance, the scenes towards the end where Greville is in jail and has a conversation with his wife Sheila (Jessie Buckley). Benedict and Jessie both convey their disappointment and tiny ray of hope that both of their characters have. The setting of this film, which is dark and grey, makes the story seem very authentic, because the topic is very dark and dangerous with almost an ominous feel. My favorite part of this film is when Oleg and Greville go see the ballet, Swan Lake. Greville is obviously very moved by the performance to the point that he is crying. The Courier is supposed to be a serious and momentous film and for the most part, it is, but that scene made me laugh.

The message of The Courier is to never stop fighting for what you believe in, no matter who tries to tell you otherwise. Oleg knew that he would be arrested and executed if he got caught learning and transporting information about the attack. Greville knew that leaving Oleg to take all the fault and retribution wasn't the right thing to do. Everyone told them that these weren't good ideas and that they would be in too deep. But did that stop them? No. They decided to do what they knew was right, and take the risk. There are some mature and gory scenes along with suggestive language in this film, which explains its PG-13 rating.

I rate The Courier 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. The Courier is opens in theaters March 19, 2021. If you love learning about history, and love a good thriller, hurry and get your tickets!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
I'M FINE (THANKS FOR ASKING)
I'M FINE (THANKS FOR ASKING) - TO BE DETERMINED
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - When a recently widowed mother becomes houseless, she convinces her 8-year-old daughter that they are only camping for fun while working to get them off of the streets.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) is a fantastic film that sheds a new light on the struggles of poverty and the virtues of being a single mother. Director, writer and star of the film, Kelley Kali, creates an excellent, heart-wrenching story that captures the turmoil and strife that people are currently facing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The film features Danny (Kelley Kali), a recently widowed mother who is struggling to make ends meet. She convinces her eight-year-old daughter, Wes (Wesley Moss), that they are camping while they live in a tent. After promising her daughter that they will have a home by the end of the day Danny skates around Los Angeles trying to find different ways to make enough money to secure an apartment.

My favorite part of this movie is the acting. Each character is distinguishable and genuine. The large variety of filming locations stands out as well. It showcases the marginalized communities in Los Angeles, a city that is often associated with glamor and success, which can also be tied back to Danny who tries to constantly make things look better than they truly are. Although Danny makes several poor decisions, it is difficult not to sympathize with her struggles. The direction of this film is especially admirable because of the emotion the directors, Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina, elicit from viewers as they watch Danny go around town pleading for help and toiling to keep her and her daughter's head above water.

This movie addresses issues that are often neglected in overlooked communities. I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) successfully conveys the gravity of the difficult decisions people encounter when destitute. Although the subject matter is rather dark, the message is still inspiring and thought-provoking. Parents should know there is some mature content such as death, strong language, drug use, violence and blood.

I rate I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. This film is premiering at the SXSW 2021 Film Festival from March 17, 2021.

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

I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking), directed by Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina, is an incredibly enlightening film about hardship. Everything, from the cinematography to the heartfelt dialogue to the acting, is top tier. This film is well made and sheds light on an important topic .

I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) is about a widowed mother that convinces her daughter they're camping to hide that they're homeless. This movie represents the struggle of many single parents, especially when juggling their financial responsibilities while trying to parent as well.

Right off the bat, I must mention that Kelley Kali's emotionally driven character is so well acted that she honestly steals the show and my heart. By making the mother so likable, the audience can't help but root for her! Also, the cinematography for the ocean scene is just breathtaking; the build-up for it is masterfully scripted so that when we see Kali scream underwater it hits us that much harder. Another thing worth mentioning is that the plot is very realistic - there is no magical element that whisks them away when life gets too tough to deal with.

The message of this film is that, no matter what happens, you have to put one foot in front of the other, because there is light at the end of the tunnel and it's not an option to give up. You should know that there is some profanity and sexual references in the film. So it is best suited for older teens and adults. In telling the story this way, the truthful message we take away sticks with us.

I rate I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 16 to 18, plus adults. This film premieres at the SXSW Film Festival on March 17, 2021, so catch it there.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON - WALT DISNEY ANIMATED STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. However, when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it's up to a lone warrior to track down the last dragon and stop the Druun for good.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - In terms of world-building, Raya and the Last Dragon is probably one of Disney's best. This animated film has a fascinating setting and mythology; however the story falters a little.

This film takes place in Kumandra, a world comprising five divided nations. When an evil force known as The Druun sends Kumandra into a state of despair, Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) sets out on a journey to find the last dragon, and defeat The Druun for good.

First, the animation in this film is strong and very realistic; perhaps a little too realistic to the point where some shots look like photographs. This might be a pet peeve of mine, because I don't like ultra-realistic animation. Sure, it is impressive, technologically speaking, but I find stylized animation to be much more striking and memorable. Aside from that, it's very beautiful. I really like the colors, and how each location is so visually distinct.

Raya and the Last Dragon feels a lot more dramatic and serious in tone than most other Disney films. On the one hand, I really enjoy this as I believe we need more serious kids' movies. However, I'm assuming the producers were concerned about this film being "too dark for kids" because there is a lot of really unfunny comedy in the beginning. This comedy mostly comes from Sisu (Awkwafina), the last dragon. And while I'm usually a fan of Awkwafina and her comedic timing, she's just not given any good material here. The jokes don't fit with the setting or tone, and they really bog down Sisu's first few scenes. Yet once the comedy slows down, she becomes a more dramatic character which I enjoyed.

I have a few concerns with the themes of Raya and the Last Dragon. The message that, instead of being divided, we need to come together and stand united is fine. However the execution of that message is a bit questionable. No spoilers, but let's just say a certain character really deserved some repercussions for all the problems they caused. I do understand that the moral is that we should learn to trust each other, but I feel like that message is used as an excuse to not properly redeem a character.

I give Raya and The Last Dragon 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It comes out on March 5, 2021 in theaters and on Disney+ with Premiere Access.

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

A groundbreaking film for representation, storytelling, and world-building, Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon is a must-watch for viewers of all ages. This is Disney's first film with a Southeast Asian female lead - YAY!

Raya and the Last Dragon is an absolutely enrapturing film! The film is set in the realm of Kumandra, where humans and dragons used to live together until a force called the Druun attacked, a miserable, swirly, "mindless" plague "born of human discord" (much like any modern issue). The Druun turns humans into stone and breaks Kumandra into warring factions. The dragon-protectors, who were the leaders of the dragons in ancient Kumandra, all added bits of their powers to a single, Infinity Stone-esque blue gem, which, thanks to the actions of Raya (Kelly Marie Tran), princess of the land of Heart, is scattered in pieces across all the realms. Six years later, we catch up with Raya (whose father has been turned into stone) and her crew of interesting companions on her mission to retrieve all of the gemstones. Her most significant companion is the sassy dragon-protector Sisu (Awkwafina). Sisu grows closer to Raya throughout the film, becoming her BFF, confidant, life coach, comic relief, sounding board, and more. Raya has to face off against her frenemy Namaari (Gemma Chan), who goes way back in Raya's life, and there are deep fractures in their relationship.

Raya and the Last Dragon has a sufficiently intricate world inspired by various Southeast Asian cultures, and its beauty lies in that characterization: simple yet imaginative. The animation is... okay. It's certainly up to Disney standard but nothing extremely new in the wheelhouse for this project. Tuktuk, Raya's interesting armadillo-like vehicle of choice, is probably the most inventive creation of animation in the film. Yes, that's including the dragons. I was hoping for a little less Mushu and more Hookfang; Sisu and her dragon siblings look pretty meek and kind of like characters we've seen before. As far as the voice acting goes, Awkwafina's portrayal of Sisu steals the show; it almost makes up for the animation! Her sarcastic humor, smooth delivery, and superb comic timing all work perfectly for the role. As for Raya, and the power and individuality with which Kelly Marie Tran dealt with the role also are wondrous.

Raya and the Last Dragon teaches teamwork and perseverance. There's some action, violence, and certain thematic elements to watch out for, but, overall, a lovely family watch!

I give Raya and the Last Dragon 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Raya and the Last Dragon is out now on Disney+ and in theatres! Go watch it!

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

Trust me; you don't want to miss Raya and the Last Dragon from Walt Disney Animation Studios. This movie is a sweeping adventure of magical proportions and an emotional journey that touches your heart as you join the characters on their quest.

Raya and the Last Dragon is a story of a legendary kingdom known as Kumandra, where people and dragons live peacefully until an evil force overcomes them. The dragons sacrifice themselves to save humanity and the kingdom is divided. Raya's family protects the legacy of the mystical dragon gem and, when evil returns Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) is called upon to search for the last dragon Sisu (Awkwafina). There is treachery and mistrust between the fractured kingdoms and they must learn to trust each other again to unite and conquer evil.

Awkwafina plays the dragon Sisu and her eccentric personality provides a great deal of humor and playfulness, as well as emotion, in the story. A powerful performance is given by Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and, her breadth of character, adds to the intensity of emotion and majesty in the film. The music is dramatic and drives the epic feel of the story with an original score written by James Newton Howard.

The making of this movie came about from over 400 individual homes of talented artists at Walt Disney Animation Studios and was a completely unprecedented production experience based on story ideas by Bradley Raymond. The film is directed by Don Hall (Big Hero 6) and Carlos Lopez Estrada (Blindspotting) and is visually as magical as you would expect. Larry Wu (Big Hero 6, Frozen II), as Head of Environments created sumptuously detailed background for the five various kingdoms, which I loved!

The message of this film is that combined trust and faith empowers people. It is only through the teamwork of Raya's unlikely companions that band together to defeat evil and the kingdoms are united once again. Raya learns that she must take the first step in some situations, even before she may be ready. Forgiveness and redemption are also a theme in this story.

I rate Raya and the Last Dragon 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 15, plus adults. Raya and the Last Dragon opens in theaters and on Disney+ for Premiere Access March 5, 2021. Don't miss this heartwarming story and adventure!

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ORPHANAGE, THE
ORPHANAGE, THE - 1844 ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - A 15-year-old ticket scalper in Kabul dreams of Bollywood until the Soviets force him into a state facility.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Orphanage is a stellar film conveying the need for true heartfelt cinematic experiences. Beautiful cinematography creates a transcendent movie experience, with a script based on the unpublished diaries of Anwar Hashim, who plays a supporting role in the film. Acclaimed director Shahrbanoo Sadat uses personal experiences to convey an uplifting message.

Wolf and Sheep, the prequel to The Orphanage, premiered in 2016. Like its predecessor, The Orphanage is based on real life experiences in Afghanistan. The movie chronicles the main character, Qodrat (Qodratollah Qadiri), who spends his days trying to survive by illegally selling overpriced movie tickets and key rings. He is then brought to a Russian-operated orphanage along with other teenage boys, where he is given the opportunity to get an education alongside his peers. The Orphanage details his experiences in the orphanage and how the quarrels between roommates of the dorms are dealt with by the director Anwar (Anwar Hashimi). All throughout a war torn country in 1989, Qodrat remains hopeful, through fantasy sequences shared with the audience.

The cinematography is what truly stands out in this film. Directory of photography, Virginie Surdej captures the beauty of the country while adding to the heartbreaking story. My favorite part of this movie is the performances by the young people, including Qodratollah Qadiri, who gives rare insight into real life in Afghanistan, as they are all natives of the country.

The message of this film is about the importance of hope, despite all circumstances. The protagonist, Qodrat, remains hopeful and looks for positive routes of escapism throughout his struggles of growing up without a family, and his struggles at the orphanage. You should be aware that the film contains strong language and minor adult content. There are also two graphic descriptions of war and violence. There is also some references to sex and pornographic images (very far away from the screen, but still visible) that are unsuitable for younger kids.

I give The Orphanage 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. This film is available March 2, 2021 on Amazon Prime.

By Erin M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: Web Series


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WALKING WITH HERB
WALKING WITH HERB - PURE FLIX ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Sixty-five-year-old Joe Amable-Amo thinks nothing much in his background distinguishes him from other guys his age. He is struggling with his faith after tragedy hits. As the former amateur golfer's life continues to unfold, Joe is besieged with his marriage, working as a bank executive, and gearing up for retirement. But as he is about to discover, life has a way of throwing a curveball that changes everything. Joe is working at his desk when he receives a message from God on his computer screen that tells him he has been chosen to deliver an inspirational message to the world that the seemingly impossible is possible. God tells Joe he is going to play in World Entire golf championship, and if his faith is strong enough, he will win. As Joe embarks on a spiritual journey along with God's personal messenger and motorcyclist, Herb, Joe learns to make a difference, he must learn to face his fears, have confidence in his abilities, and commit to God before he can succeed.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Walking With Herb shows how sports movies can convey powerful messages. One of my favorite parts of this film is when Herb (George Lopez) tries to restore Joe's (Edward James Olmos) faith through golf. I also really enjoyed the acting, and how all of the actors convey the message of faith in a realistic and natural way without being preachy.

The storyline follows Joe, a 65-year-old amateur golf champion, and bank executive, who experiences deep personal loss causing a crisis in his faith in God. His wife (Kathleen Quinlan) is also frustrated that he hasn't been attentive to fixing things around the house and especially in their garden. His daughter's business is also failing. I appreciate that this storyline is rich and complex.

Walking With Herb really excels in its portrayal of characters who are quite complicated. One of my favorites is Edward James Olmos's (Stand and Deliver, Battlestar Galactica) portrayal of Joe. Joe's character experiences significant personal growth over the course of the film. The dialog in this film feels natural and realistic, especially during the emotional scenes. It doesn't feel overly melodramatic at all. Through Joe's friendship with Herb, he is able to overcome his grief and make peace with his religion. My favorite scene is when he wakes his wife to show her a beautiful surprise outside. The cinematography in Walking With Herb is beautiful in how it uses different angles and lighting as well as close-ups depending on the actor on screen.

The message of Walking With Herb is about maintaining your faith in God despite challenges and hardships you may experience in your life. You should know that it does have heavy religious themes.

I give Walking with Herb 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters April 30, May 1 and May 3 through Fathom Events.

By Samantha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Full of faith, belief and second chances comes the new indie film Walking With Herb. This movie will make you laugh, cry, and will take your breath away with each heartfelt second. If you've ever wondered about what's going on in the world above the clouds, Walking With Herb is the movie for you.

Walking With Herb is about Joe Amable-Amo (Edward James Olmos), who is a bank executive and former golfer. He struggles with his faith after a terrible event takes place. Faced with doubts about himself and his belief in God, Joe is stunned when God tells him that he's been chosen to play in a world championship golf tournament. As he is guided by Herb, God's special personal messenger, Joe learns that all you need to do is have faith.

While I was watching Walking With Herb, I noticed a lot of creativity in the storyline. I don't know how anyone connected God to winning a golf tournament, but somehow the director, Ross Kagan Marks, found a way to make the whole story seem logical. Even though the story works, I didn't enjoy that the film seems a bit rushed. I understand that you only have so much time when making a movie, but I would've enjoyed seeing a bit more development of the emotional arc of the characters other than Joe. It also almost felt like the story was on a straight line once Joe received the message from God. There are no plot twists or turns until the end. Lastly, I love the relationship between Joe and his wife, Sheila (Kathleen Quinlan.) The relationship between the two actors feels very genuine and real. Their conversations flow, and they have the sass of an older married couple.

The message of Walking With Herb is to continue to always have faith, no matter what. This message is shown throughout the movie as Joe turns back to God, even after all that happens to him and his family. His faith is also what leads Joe to do so well in the Golf tournament. If he did not believe in God and himself, he wouldn't have been able to go from not golfing for years to one of the world's best golfers.

I give Walking With Herb 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. This film will be released in theaters April 12, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FATHER, THE
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

The Father is practically a psychological horror movie, depicting the decaying psyche of an old man, battered by dementia. Yes, The Father tends to be pretty grim, but its excellent lead performance from Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins and the film's structural fluidity set it apart from similarly bleak dramas about the deteriorating mental functions of a senior citizen.

The story follows Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) who, at first glance, is an ordinary elderly man in the waning years of his life, pacing around his apartment, awaiting his daughter's arrival (Olivia Colman) to discuss her new living arrangements. This all serves as a prelude to the mental and emotional fireworks to follow. From there, everything becomes a lot less concrete. Faces of loved ones morph; the layout of Anthony's apartment shifts; Anne gains a husband; and Anthony is introduced to an in-home care person who bears a striking resemblance to his youngest daughter who may or may not be dead. As dementia wreaks havoc on his brain and mind, Anthony's only attachment to reality becomes a watch he keeps misplacing, an almost perfect metaphor for Anthony's spiraling-out-of-control sense of reality.

The Father commits itself to depicting dementia through often surreal ripples in the consciousness of its protagonist. The first sign that things are amiss in Anthony's flat is a quite alarming moment and so, so well-executed. What happens is a slight, but perceptible alteration to what we've been told by Anthony's daughter about why she's come to see her father, that becomes a dire sign for what's to come. A miniscule shift in our perception of events, as filtered through Anthony, balloons into far more concerning and substantial lapses in memory that we witness through Anthony's point of view.

Anthony Hopkins' performance is a consistently surprising lead performance, representative of a film that is just as unpredictable. He doesn't play it too big, even in the very erratic and sporadic launches between an almost effortless effervescence and the prickly, defensive edge that comes to the surface whenever his self-sufficiency comes into question. Hopkins not only has to channel a frequently changing demeanor, but also a changing frame of mind. He goes from distant--resigned in his cloud of seemingly eternal confusion--to "in-your-face," saying truly cruel things to his daughter to finding himself reduced to tears, calling out for his mother. Hopkins' performance stays in line even in its frequent transformations in his mind and mood. Everything feels of a piece with that character and what we know about him. And he is just as compelling when he putters down a hallway as when he explodes at his daughter, the person who cares for him most.

I give The Father 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18 for some language. You can see The Father in theaters March 12, 2021, and it will be available on Video On Demand platforms starting March 26th.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ARCHIBALDS NEXT BIG THING
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.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
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.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
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.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
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



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