The KIDS FIRST! Endorsement category has 1894 titles

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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!
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.
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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.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Archibald's Next Big Thing is a unique animation series filled with adventure and kid-friendly humor.

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

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

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

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

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR
BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR - LIONSGATE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT Click to purchase directly from the producer
Series: FEATURE, AGES 15-18
Description - Lifelong friends Barb and Star embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time - ever.
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.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Dolphin Island is a very emotional and different movie. It has some scenes where you can just feel the emotions of the characters coming through the screen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LAND
LAND - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A bereaved woman seeks out a new life, off the grid in Wyoming.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The upcoming drama film Land, by director Robin Wright, is intriguing, valiant and relatable. I found it astounding knowing Robin Wright also starred in this film as the principal figure Edee. Considering this was Wright's feature film directorial debut, I can't deny that she surpassed my expectations for this film.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Land is a poignant story with a harsh American wildness twist. This film is magnificent and has unbearable events to watch. The part I enjoyed most is when Edee (Robin Wright) finally decides to go hunt in the woods instead of starving herself to death. The part I disliked is when she is contemplating taking her life away until she reminisces about her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) tells her something important to remember about her life.

Directed and starring Robin Wright, the storyline is about a desperately sad woman, grieving over the loss of her husband and child, who seeks out a new life away from her family and friends. She is very uncertain about life and goes deep into the mountains of Wyoming to begin a life of solitude and privacy to figure things out. With the help of a nearby hunter Miguel (Demian Bichir) solace in nature may create the best healing path for her.

This film is a compelling piece that captures both the internal and external landscape of Wyoming. The acting is phenomenal, which is critical given that the dialogue is meager. The cinematography and music are breathtaking, showing both the kindness and sacrifice of facing the unexpected in the wildness. This is a must see in the movie theater to appreciate the grandeur of the cinematography and all this movie brings.

The film has a implacable message about believing in yourself. It promotes the idea that hope is all you need to conquer anything. It also emphasizes the importance of being helpful and being supportive of people you care about. Helping others with compassion always comes within your heart.

I give Land 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It will be available on PVOD March 5, 2021 at the theater near you.

By Rosabella P.
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

I give The Marksman 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 for some mild violence and the killing of a dog. The Marksman comes out in theaters on January 15, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
FOUR THIRTY
FOUR THIRTY - MARIANELA DIAZ ROMAN
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 12-16
Description - Manuel and Lucio are friends; however, Lucio always mocks Manuel and calls him a chicken. One early morning, Lucio challenges Manuel to show his courage by throwing wet toilet paper balls to the passing cars from the terrace without awaking Lucio's father. When a car stops violently and the passenger couple looks for the guilty person, the funny situation gets out of control.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What appeals to me the most about Four Thirty (Las Cuartro Y Media) is the storyline. The moral is simple and perfectly relatable for young people. Something that is lacking for me is plot development. When the two children get caught, I did not feel much empathy for them, because the stakes are not high enough. We don't know enough about the back-story of these children or their dad.

The storyline follows two friends, Lucio and Manuel, hanging out at a sleepover. Lucio calls Manuel a chicken because he's scared when watching a movie, so Manuel tries to prove to Lucio that he isn't a chicken.

The relationship between Lucio and Manuel is well established. They seem to be good friends as things do not feel awkward between them. For example, they're comfortable sitting in a room in silence watching a movie together. On the other hand, the father's reaction seems a bit off. I expected him to explode or start a fight with Lucio like he did with the man driving the car. The camera work is quite good. One angle in particular that I like is where the camera is placed at the height of the ground. We see the man whose car was hit by the wet paper ball step out, but only see his shoes. This makes him seem ominous and creates a foreboding feeling that lingers before he is revealed. This angle also makes the viewer feel small and more inferior to the man in the car. The two key influencers in the film are Lucio and Manuel. The two play off of each other very well. Lucio comes off as the cool guy. He seems to keep his emotions hidden and portrays himself with a tough exterior. Manuel, on the other hand, seems to be more timid and weaker. This creates a dynamic distinction between the two. I like when Manuel decides to show the adults that he and Lucio threw the wet paper towel balls.

The messages of the film are: other people's portrayal of you should not affect your behavior, stay true to yourself, anybody has the capability of doing the right thing and following their own path. You should know that it does contain some mild profanity between the two adults when they have a scuffle outside. There is also some disrespect for people's property.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 16, due to the profanity. Adults will enjoy it as well. Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What appeals to me the most about Four Thirty (Las Cuartro Y Media) is the storyline. The moral is simple and perfectly relatable for young people. Something that is lacking for me is plot development. When the two children get caught, I did not feel much empathy for them, because the stakes are not high enough. We don't know enough about the back-story of these children or their dad.

The storyline follows two friends, Lucio and Manuel, hanging out at a sleepover. Lucio calls Manuel a chicken because he's scared when watching a movie, so Manuel tries to prove to Lucio that he isn't a chicken.

The relationship between Lucio and Manuel is well established. They seem to be good friends as things do not feel awkward between them. For example, they're comfortable sitting in a room in silence watching a movie together. On the other hand, the father's reaction seems a bit off. I expected him to explode or start a fight with Lucio like he did with the man driving the car. The camera work is quite good. One angle in particular that I like is where the camera is placed at the height of the ground. We see the man whose car was hit by the wet paper ball step out, but only see his shoes. This makes him seem ominous and creates a foreboding feeling that lingers before he is revealed. This angle also makes the viewer feel small and more inferior to the man in the car. The two key influencers in the film are Lucio and Manuel. The two play off of each other very well. Lucio comes off as the cool guy. He seems to keep his emotions hidden and portrays himself with a tough exterior. Manuel, on the other hand, seems to be more timid and weaker. This creates a dynamic distinction between the two. I like when Manuel decides to show the adults that he and Lucio threw the wet paper towel balls.

The messages of the film are: other people's portrayal of you should not affect your behavior, stay true to yourself, anybody has the capability of doing the right thing and following their own path. You should know that it does contain some mild profanity between the two adults when they have a scuffle outside. There is also some disrespect for people's property.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 16, due to the profanity. Adults will enjoy it as well. Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Juror
Runtime: 10 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 12-16 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: VIDEO


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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