The KIDS FIRST! Endorsement category has 1730 titles

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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LITTLE
LITTLE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURES, AGES 8-18
Description - A ruthless tech mogul, Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall) receives the chance to relive the life of her younger self (Marsai Martin) at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much for her to bear after a girl she offended wishes she was little. Jordan receives help from her overworked assistant, April (Issa Rae), to find a way to revert to normal.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Little is a mostly enjoyable romp with its familiar, but unique spin on clich�s. Well-matched talents and a heartfelt script carry this fun, but flawed ride. Families may want to check out this crowd-pleaser.

The comedy centers on woman (Regina Hall) who, when her successes get the best of her, is forced to take the form of her younger self (Marsai Martin). This gives her not just a chance to relive more careless days, but an important lesson pertaining humbleness.

Marsai Martin, as little Jordan, is my favorite character with her introductory film role racking up well to most experienced stars. She translates her great work from Black-ish even more here. She truly plays well off Regina Hall's adult footing. She, as well, nails it with her energetic banter, but rudeness to others, being a center focus. But, all this is not complete without Issa Rae, as April, who sells the chemistry with both actors equally well. This trinity truly sells most of the comedic and heartfelt wonders.

Tina Gordon Chism aptly writes and directs with fresh takes at common plots. It also helps that every joke is well-timed and most end up landing. She really nails more heartfelt moments as the movie's tones remain natural. My favorite scene is the restaurant karaoke, because it is truly a staple of creative and relevant humor. Marsai Martin and Issa Rae really give it their all with their zappy singing being on point. However, many other jokes just don't land. It really falters when the middle school subplot becomes center focus and the talent show finale with its Fortnite dance-off doesn't help anything. It feels uninspired and, with the solid buildup, the whole setting really could have strived for more. All the characters here feel cartoonish and clich�d to a fault. Thankfully, the "friend zone" kids (J.D. McCrary, Tucker Meek, Thalia Tran) are a saving grace with their twee personalities and relatable struggles.

The message of this film is to just be yourself. Sure, it is one simple aphorism to live by, but the movie offers a fresh take by diving into the minds of kids. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, due to some suggestive content and brief language. The movie releases in theaters April 12, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MISSING LINK, THE
MISSING LINK, THE - ANNAPURNA DISTRIBUTION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-15
Description - A movie about a Gay Caveman... When an unexpected outsider arrives in their camp, a microcosmic group of cave men and women find their world turned upside down by this mysterious stranger's evolved ways. When the women decide to leave camp until they receive better treatment, the cave men must turn to the evolved stranger to help them change their ways to get their women back.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Missing Link is a positively charming adventure with a lovable protagonist and fantastic animation.

The story line follows Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman), a daring adventurer with a flair for the dramatic, who stumbles upon a massive discovery. He receives a letter confirming the existence of the Sasquatch and treks off to meets the sender, a Sasquatch named Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis). Mr. Link convinces Frost to help him track down his cousins, the yetis, living up in the Himalayas. Together with Frost's old flame Adalina, they travel the globe in search of Link's distant family.

My favorite character in this film is Mr. Link. He is a big creature with an even bigger heart. Link yearns for family after years of loneliness in the wilderness. Link takes everything very literally which provides the film with some witty gags. Zach Galifianakis's voice work on this film adds an extra layer to this character with his warm, upbeat energy and comedic voice performance.

I really like the character of Sir Lionel Frost also. He is a flawed explorer who has lost his passion for adventure and has gained a desire for success in all the wrong places. It's interesting to see an adventurer who, although good at what he does, isn't as dashing and is more unlikable at the onset of this film than the norm. Frost isn't readymade for the role of hero and earns it as we watch him become a more selfless, kind person during his arc in the film.

I love the animation in this film. With Missing Link, animation studio Laika continues to prove that its animation is getting better and better with each film. Every locale in this film, from India to the Himalayas is colorful and vibrant. These environments and characters are well-crafted and thought out. You sense the work and passion behind what you see on screen and the animation is breathtaking and even unbelievable at times.

Missing Link doesn't overuse the fish-out-of-water trope with the character of Mr. Link. The one flaw with this film is the use of an assassin character named Stenk. This character doesn't add much to the film, other than an action scene every once in a while and comes across as underdeveloped.

I give Missing Link an age rating of 5 to 15 for some scenes of peril and crude humor. I give Missing Link 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend you see this film when it ventures to theaters on April 12, 2019.

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

Missing Link, written and directed by Chris Butler is a heartfelt and funny film. It is a story about adventure and friendship.

It tells the story of monster hunter Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) who is in search of a mysterious creature - the Missing Link. He wants to join an exclusive club and needs this discovery to become a part of it. Soon he goes searching and spots the Missing Link in the woods. Link, who goes by Susan, is played by the hilarious Zack Galifainakis. The two set out on a journey to find Link's home, a land of yetis, so he can finally be part of a family. They are joined by Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana). She is a spunky and fearless woman who helps them on the way. On their way, they encounter villains who are determined to stop Sir Lionel from proving Link's existence.

The movie has outstanding animation and a unique storyline. Because it's a LAIKA studio film, the characters are made out of clay and there are a lot of incredible details that add to the movie. Fans of LAIKA films will enjoy the artistic style of the film. My favorite character is Link (aka Susan) who is funny and lovable. The movie takes the audience on a journey as Link tries to find out who he is and where he belongs. I also enjoyed the character Adelina because she is the motherly figure of the group. Together, Sir Lionel, Link and Adelina are a perfect team. My favorite part of the movie is when the three characters set out on an adventure to find Link's family. It is the first time they work together and they are hopeful.

The film is a story about belonging and friendship. Sir Lionel and Link form a strong bond. They remind me of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. The movie is full of humor and surprises.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 18, as well as adults. It's fun for the whole family. You can find it in theaters on April 12, 2019.
Juror Recommended Age: 5-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PLOEY - 0
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - A plover chick has not learned to fly when his family migrates in autumn. He must survive the arctic winter, vicious enemies and himself in order to be reunited with his beloved one next spring.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ploey, Ploey, Ploey... where do I begin? This is a cute family / love story that dragged until the last 10 minutes of the film. It was very hard for me to stay engaged.

The story is about a little plover chick named Ploey, who has not learned how to fly before his family migrates to the south. He learns about bravery and adventure through the scary winter. Ploey must face his fear of flying, in order to be reunited with his family and his true love Ploveria. Throughout his experience he meets a malicious hawk named Shadow, a creepy cat and a sympathetic big bird named Giron.

My favorite character in this film is Giron. The voice of Giron is played by John Stamos who is well known for his role Jesse on Full House. Giron is amusing, lovable and smart. He comes to Ploey's rescue. My favorite part is when Giron uses Ploey as bait, then accidentally falls asleep in the middle of the trap. I could not stop laughing. Ploey is another favorite character of mine, because he reminds me so much of the adorable Chicken Little. There are several parts in this movie that are not necessary, which causes the film to drag. The music is very mundane and I felt like I was going through the long winter with Ploey. The movie starts to pick up towards the last ten minutes of the film.

The message is to never quit. Everyone learns at their own pace. As long as you keep going and not give-up, you will make it. I give this movie a 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 4 to 11. I do not think adults will enjoy this so much. Ploey opens in theaters in the US on April 26, 2019.

Reviewed by Milika L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 1
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BEST OF ENEMIES
BEST OF ENEMIES - STX FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Civil rights activist Ann Atwater faces off against C.P. Ellis, Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1971 Durham, North Carolina over the issue of school integration.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Best of Enemies has some truly captivating messages and storytelling, but its presentation of the segregation debate can get lost with the lack of background insight. Still, the excellent performances here carry over some of the weaker writing. Anyone interested in docu-dramas might want to check this out.

The film centers on the most unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson), an outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell), a local Ku Klux Klan leader. The two reluctantly battle over the desegregation of schools in Durham, NC during the one of the nation's racially-charged turning points. C.P. slowly feels drawn towards Atwater's commitment to her people and becomes a frenemy. Can love trump hate?

First, Taraji P. Henson, is fantastic as Ann Atwater with her acerbic nature, but heartfelt fight for the poor and oppressed. She respectfully handles the rebellious, yet kind-hearted nature of the real-life figure. But, the drama's center comes from Sam Rockwell, as C.P. Ellis, who is my favorite character despite playing an initially despicable figure. His redemption is naturally done, and the messages never feel forced here. The two really work well off each other, and their chemistry is hilarious to watch. Babou Ceesay, as Bill Riddick, gives another great performance with his contributions to the segregation debate being another interesting learning experience.

Robin Bussell spectacularly writes and directs with the events presented in a clear, chronological order. But the pacing can be lost amongst this, as the film really stalls when juggling multiple real-life figures. It's the individual moments that stick, because she knows how to write human and relatable characters. The racial tension feels real here, as did the moments of unity. My favorite scene is the final verdict as the scene is filmed so well, leaving the audience unnerved at each person's decision. Still, it's C. P.'s monologue that sells the scene, which I just can't spoil. Seeing is believing. However, in addition to many moments of rocky pacing, the movie's focus on other characters, especially Atwater, is quite minimal and scattershot at times. C. P.'s development is forefront and that's understandable given he is the most complex character. I would have loved to see more personal looks at other characters.

The message of this film is that love is the greatest asset in any debate. We can all learn to reconcile our difference and just love each other. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 due to mature themes and racist language. The movie releases in theaters April 5, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

I really enjoyed The Best of Enemies. The movie shows a lot of anger and humor between two enemies who oddly share very common goals in life - family, faith and education. The movie is based on a true story and shows the audience what life might have been like in the 1970s in North Carolina.

Ann Atwater is a poor, black single mother living in Durham, N.C. in 1971. C.P. Ellis is the president of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). When the black children's school is damaged by fire, Ann wants the black children to attend the same school as the white children and learns that the black children are not getting as good of an education. Ann and C.P. then spend their time convincing others to be on their own side.

The acting is terrific. Taraji P. Henson plays Ann Atwater and shows a variety of outstanding emotions from her voice, to her walk. C.P. Ellis is played by Sam Rockwell and his acting is incredible also. I wanted to hate him, but still liked him because he is such a good father, especially to his special-needs son. Ann Atwater is my favorite character because she adds a lot of humorous comments right after saying something really serious. My favorite part of the movie is the ending - but no spoilers here!

The key message of The Best of Enemies is that change is worth fighting for. If you see something that you think is wrong change it, even if it's going to be really hard. The movie has mild profanity, some violence and deals with a very serious topic - the inequality of segregation.

I give the movie a 4 out of 5 stars. It is appropriately rated PG-13 and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. This movie opens in theaters April 5, 2019.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NOAH (2019)
NOAH (2019) - SIGHT & SOUND THEATRES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - With a catastrophic storm on its way, Noah is given a monumental task: build a boat big enough to save mankind from a flood that will cover the entire earth. Seen by more than 5 million people live on stage, Sight & Sound's landmark production sets sail into movie theaters this April for a nationwide Fathom Events presentation. NOAH takes you on history's best-known voyage as you board the enormous ark--along with two of every kind of animal! Filmed before a live audience, NOAH captures the panoramic scope, spectacle and grand scale that are signatures of a Sight & Sound musical production.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Sight and Sound Theatre's NOAH is a stage musical presented as a film and I really like it. Full disclosure, I am not a pious person, but I derived a lot of enjoyment out of this surprisingly entertaining rendition of the story of Noah's Ark. The moment you set your eyes on the stage, you realize just how much budget and coordination went into making this show. It's outstanding. The stage and props are huge with fantastic quality and tremendous variety. It really sets this production apart from other of a similar vein. Similarly, the actors are remarkably multifaceted in their talents. Every one of them seems equally capable of transitioning from deep dramatic moments, to musical numbers, to comedic moments. For the religious and the not-so religious, this is a wonderful stage show with very obviously high production values. The musical numbers are very cute and catchy. Recalling this story from Bible school when I was younger, it was always one of my favorites. This really helps bring Biblical stories to a fun light for younger ages. I recommend this for ages 9 to 14, as well as adults. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Can I say memorable, exciting, truthful, teachable and intriguing? This film takes you on a journey through the perspective of Jesus and Noah. It will keep you interested throughout the whole film. Are you ready for this extraordinary Bible story coming to life on the big screen?

The story follows Noah, a dedicated believer of Jesus, along with his family. One day Jesus speaks to Noah and exclaims there will be a massive flood throughout the land and his family and he will be the only ones to survive because Noah will build a boat. Noah listens right away as his brother, king of non- believers of God, tries to stop him. His brother has little faith in God left. We see the outcome while watching the film.

My favorite part of the film is that this is a physical film which allows me to see the back story that leads up to the ending. I also love that this story is not animated and you are able to see real reactions and actions. My favorite real-life character would have to be Noah. Not only because he is the lead person in the story, but because he stands up for himself throughout the hardest time and he completes a task without any doubt of his own beliefs.

This film shares important messages such as stay strong to your beliefs. We see this important message modeled in the scene which shows everyone except Noah and his family leaving and exclaiming how they didn't care about money. Noah and his family stay strong and happy. Another important message is to always stand up for yourself, no matter the situation.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. I believe the whole family will enjoy it as well. It will play in theaters for three days, April 11, 12 and 13, 2019. Make sure to check it out at your local theaters on these dates.

Reviewed by Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

NOAH is incredibly different and wonderful! It teaches about trust, choice, family and beliefs. Noah believes in God. He stands alone and people are against him because of what he believes in. He has to do what God says and not let anyone change his decision to listen. This is what all of us have to do sometimes, even when we feel alone. Sometimes we know we are right, but everyone says we are wrong. Noah doesn't want to die with everyone else. He wants to save his family, so he builds an ark.

There are lots of lessons and parts when you feel scared to see people that are going to die. God is tired of everyone that does not obey and does not live like God wants them to. So, he tells Noah that he is going to end the world. Noah gets treated badly. It reminds me of school, when people want to pressure you to do bad things and if you don't do them, they will turn on you. Noah has to do the opposite. He has to turn on the people who don't want to do good, in order to save himself. It is hard to say no to peer pressure sometimes.

The film is a recording of a live performance. It is different than other films and seems more real in some ways. We know it is not real because everything happens on the stage, but it made me pay more attention to the characters since there are not different setting or locations like in most films. I liked it. I would not want to watch a lot of movies like this. I prefer seeing plays in person. However, this is good.

I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5-11. It made me proud of what I believe in and that I can trust my family to protect me too! It is playing at select theaters April 11, 12 and 13.

Reviewed by SaniyaRain F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: Web Series


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SHAZAM!
SHAZAM! - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Description - We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson's case, by shouting out one word - SHAZAM! - this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Shazam! keeps up the strong footing of solo DC movies within the Extended Universe. It soars far above other superhero movies buoyed by a unique direction and story. This is a must watch for all.

The story follows street-smart foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel) who turns into an adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi) by yelling "Shazam!" Courtesy of an ancient wizard, Billy revels this adult version of himself alongside foster pal Freddy (Jack Dylan Gratzer). Can he fly? Can he buy beer? Does he have X-Ray vision? Better yet, can he talk to fish? These scenarios are tested to their limits, but seriousness strikes as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) seeks to defeat Shazam and steal his powers. Billy realizes there's more to this than jokes, but also a test to prove what makes a hero.

First, Zachary Levi owns it as Shazam with his natural comedic talent and physical prowess. He looks the part with his Godlike figure, while nailing the childishness with believability. The same goes for Asher Angel, who plays Billy Batson with the similar youthfulness, but nails his quieter heroic actions. The transformation is so seamless that you can truly believe the two are playing off each other. But, the cast's standout comes in Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy who proved his talents in IT, but here he is even better. His conversations with Billy/Shazam are so improvisational and random and they just work. Every line of his lands. The rest of the foster family, played by Faithe Herman (Darla), Ian Chen (Eugene), Jovan Armand (Pedro) and Grace Fulton (Mary) are all incredible with each member having their own unique characteristics. I especially love Darla's innocent goodness and happiness to have Billy around. Mark Strong, as Thaddeus Sivana, is a formidable foe with an apt back story. Still, I would have loved to see Strong saved for a bigger endgame.

David F. Sanberg's direction is superb, especially for his first action movie after a variety of successful horror movies. He even flexes his horror muscles with some truly terrifying designs for Sivana's powers. My favorite scenes are Freddy's training montages as those are a true testament to the film's sense of humor. Scenes like these are so unique in comparison to most superhero films. I also love many of the heartfelt moments within Billy's quest to find family. I wish the film had a bigger budget to make up for its action scenes, which could be far-between and underwhelming. But, in a way that adds to the movie's freshness, giving small scale looks at big fights.

The message of this film is that family is found from loving and genuine experiences, not in a word. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 due to intense action sequences, brief suggestive content and language. The movie opens in theaters April 5, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Shazam! is absolutely amazing. It's entertaining, funny, action packed and engaging. This is maybe the best DC Extended Universe movie so far.

Fourteen-year-old Billy Batson discovers, with the help of an ancient wizard, that he can turn into a Superhero, just by saying the word Shazam! But Billy is not just dressed in a superhero outfit. He looks older and bigger.

Converted into Shazam, Billy, who lives with adopted parents, goes home and tells his friend Freddy that he is Shazam. Freddy loves and knows everything about superheroes. Together they test Shazam's capabilities and, surprise! He is indeed a real superhero. Billy uses his powers for good, but also for fun.

I think Shazam! makes the cinematic world a better place. This is not just a hilarious comedy. It is about finding a family, making true friends and combating bullying.

The acting in this film is amazing. Zachary Levi is the perfect Shazam. He has the charisma and humor to make this hero adorable and he is a big kid. Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer also make this movie very engaging. They are not just funny but also kind hearted. These actors totally carry the film. I think all the actors make it more relatable for younger audiences and new generations. I definitely think this movie is unique, because superhero films are usually more serious and only have a couple jokes, but this one kept my laughing. There's action and emotional moments as well. The amount of comedy is perfect and what makes it so special. The director David F. Sandberg surprised audiences. He's most know for his horror films, but this one turns out to be incredible and enthusiastic.

The message of the film is that we can all be heroes. It only takes a pure heart to have the power and strength to do good deeds, help people and beat the bad guys. The story works perfectly for the whole family, so I recommend it for ages 8 to18. I am a huge fan of this film as it made me laugh and I felt entertained the entire time. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. Shazam! opens in theaters April 5, 2019, so make sure to catch it in theaters!

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Shazam! is a refreshing, rollicking good time with some hilarious comedy and great performances. Shazam! has tons of superhero fun, but also has a warm emotional center.

The story line follows Billy Batson, a 14-year-old foster kid, who moves in with a new family. Billy gains powers from a wizard who chooses him to be his champion against the forces of evil. He can transform into a powerful superhero just by saying the word "shazam." He and his foster brother Freddy test Billy's abilities to figure out the extent of his powers. Billy navigates the ups and downs of being a sudden superhero, while also clashing with Dr. Sivana, who is determined to take Batson's powers to rule the world.

I really like the performances in this film. Jack Dylan Grazer is good as Freddy. Grazer takes a comedic best friend and makes him much more than a one-note sidekick. Zachary Levi is great as the super-powered version of Billy Batson. Levi channels the personality of a teenager very believably. His performance is natural and I don't feel like I'm watching an adult try to play a teen. Mark Strong hams it up as Dr. Sivana, but he's still quite frightening and a real threat to the characters.

I love the tone of this film. It's never self-serious and, rather than making the hero dark and brooding, Shazam! captures its heroes and their powers with a childlike wonder. This film understands that superheroes are people who we can look up to because, even though they are flawed, they always aspire to do the right thing. I love the stakes of this film. It does not rely on apocalyptic proportions to make you care about its characters.

Shazam! starts as an origin story, but ends up doing more than that. Billy has always pushed the idea of family away and is more scared of accepting family than his powers. He has to embrace the idea of family to grow as a person and a hero. He realizes he can't beat Sivana alone and what you gain from having people support and appreciate you. I think this arc is heartwarming and a great direction for this film.

I recommend Shazam! For ages 12 to 18 due to some violence and language. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Although this film sometimes veers into predictable and clich�d territory, I came out of Shazam! with a smile on my face and excited to see what comes next from these characters. I highly recommend you check out this film when it comes out in theaters April 5, 2019

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BREAKTHROUGH
BREAKTHROUGH - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - When he was 14, Smith drowned in Lake Sainte Louis and was dead for nearly an hour. According to reports at the time, CPR was performed 27 minutes to no avail. Then the youth's mother, Joyce Smith, entered the room, praying loudly. Suddenly, there was a pulse, and Smith came around.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Breakthrough is a phenomenal, inspiring film. I was intrigued by this film because of the powerful message it shares.

The film was inspired by a true story that hit the nation with unwavering faith, hope and prayer. John Smith, who the film is about, is played by Marcel Ruiz who grew up in the film industry and both parents are award-winning directors. John Smith, a courageous teen, is Latino who struggled with his identity and learned that love conquers all. John Smith is passionate about basketball and hopes to one day become a professional basketball player. His passion helped him endure this incident to the very end. Due to excruciating events that occur in this film, I realized and appreciate the miracles that I am able to witness and enjoy within my own life.

The film is directed by Roxanne Dawson, a theater arts major from University of California Berkeley who is also known as an actress (Baywatch, Star Trek). Breakthrough was written by Grant Nieporte a screen writer (Seven Pounds).

What I like most about this film is the friendship of family and friends who become family in a tight knit community. They join forces and focus on one major life threatening situation. This film portrays unity, love and compassion.

Another thing that I really enjoyed is when one rescuer, who didn't believe in God, learned that there actually is a God and, from that moment on, it changes his life in many ways. The rescuer later received other signs that led him to believe in God.

John Smith's mother is played by Chrissy Metz (This Is Us, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser) who portrays her in the most believable way. She delivers a powerful message about faith and perseverance. Chrissy builds a relationship with Pastor Jason-Noble (Topher Grace, That '70s Show). In Breakthrough, Pastor Jason-Noble is intricately involved in helping Chrissy deal with the situation and is an inspiration and light to many.

I give this film a 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 and as well as adults. Breakthrough comes out in theaters April 17, 2019 so make sure to look out for this inspirational, educational and motivational film at a theater near you.

Reviewed by Siaki S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: Web Series


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NANCY DREW AND THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE
NANCY DREW AND THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-15
Description - A bit of an outsider struggling to fit into her new surroundings, Nancy and her pals set out to solve a mystery, make new friends, and establish their place in the community.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is very entertaining which is why we go to the movies. Even though I have no nostalgic attachment to the Nancy Drew books, I really enjoyed this film.

The story is about Nancy Drew who has just moved to a small town called River Heights. She meets an elder woman named Flora who claims her house is haunted. Nancy decides to investigate with the help of her friends, George and Bess, and Flora's "mean girl" niece, Helen. My biggest issue with this movie is the mystery. I understand that this movie is aimed at younger kids, yet I feel the mystery is too easy to solve. However, that is my only major problem with this film. Plus, I didn't mind this that much, since even though the mystery is obvious, I mostly let it slide as I enjoyed the characters so much.

One thing I really like about this film is the typical mean girl character, Helen. At first it seems like Helen is just a stereotypical popular girl. Instead, she's only mean for a little bit of the movie. Halfway in she actually goes through a character arc. I really like this as I honestly feel mean girl characters are so overdone at this point. So it is nice to see this character done differently. However, my favorite character is hands down Flora. She is a very funny and so memorable. Everyone needs to have an Aunt Flora in their life. Flora had some of the best lines in the movie.

I really like the cast of this film. Sophia Lillis as Nancy Drew is fantastic. She is very engaging and I hope to see more of her in the future. Linda Lavin as Flora is amazing. She brings so much charisma and humor to every scene she is in. Zoe Renee as George and Mackenzie Graham as Bess are also pretty good supporting characters. I wish they were in the movie more.

Now, it's no secret that Nancy Drew is timeless. The books were first written in 1930 and they have been inspiring women ever since. I believe Nancy Drew is timeless and we all need a little girl power!

I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. This film comes out on March 15, 2019 so look for it.
Juror Recommended Age: 8-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CAPTAIN MARVEL
CAPTAIN MARVEL - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Captain Marvel is an extraterrestrial Kree warrior who finds herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle between her people and the Skrulls. Living on Earth in 1995, she keeps having recurring memories of another life as U.S. Air Force pilot Carol Danvers. With help from Nick Fury, Captain Marvel tries to uncover the secrets of her past while harnessing her special superpowers to end the war with the evil Skrulls. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, "This film makes good use of its 90s setting. There are a lot of jokes involving technology and pop culture from this period that work well. Also, the soundtrack has a nice selection of songs from the 90s that complement the film very well." Arjun N. adds, Captain Marvel is a solid, if slightly flawed entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A talented cast and savvy direction make for a crowd pleaser. Any superhero fan must watch this as the hype for Avengers: Endgame arises."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Captain Marvel is a solid, if slightly flawed entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A talented cast and savvy direction make for a crowd pleaser. Any superhero fan must watch this as the hype for Avengers: Endgame arises.

The story follows Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as she becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes. Set in the 90s, this adventure follows her struggle to regain her past as one mysterious incident created her powers. Amidst this, a galactic war arises between the Kree, her brethren, and the Skrulls, shapeshifting fugitives, as Carol remains the only one powerful enough to end the war. This war takes to Earth, with S.H.I.E.L.D. in its adolescence investigating. With this, Carol must team up with no other than a nascent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as the two investigate all sides to this war.

Brie Larson, as Carol Danvers, surprised me and is my favorite character as she is nothing like what the controversial trailers portrayed - hardened and emotionless. In fact, she is very sassy and witty, like Tony Stark, and even humanizes the character with her relatable struggles. Sure she is stoic and hardened to some extent, but she does everything she needs to, as audiences need to be sold of her importance in not just Avengers: Endgame, but the whole MCU, and that's exactly what we get. Samuel L. Jackson, as Nick Fury, is absolutely incredible, even if certain character decisions from a writing standpoint are very questionable, with one reveal just baffling. The dynamics between Danvers and Fury is one of the movie's best, with a buddy cop feel to it. It is investing to watch the younger, more inexperienced Fury, with certain nods to his future being a neat addition. The same goes to Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson. It is a welcome surprise to see the simpler days of these two. Ben Mendelsohn, as Talos, also gives his all with his Skrull leader a formidable foe and he is more charismatic for it. As twists and turns reveal, he and his race became a sympathetic asset, with their kind being one of the most intriguing amongst the MCU roster. Last but not least, Jude Law, as Yon-Rogg, is interesting in his mentorship of Carol, and the twists regarding his character add for an emotional edge.

Anna Boden and Ryan Fledge aptly direct the film, with a stylish approach somewhat like Thor: Ragnarok. Every scene is well produced, but the style and vision are sometimes lost amongst the craft. The special effects are mostly on standard, but the de-aging effects for Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg rise far above the standard. They don't look fake, and all expressions are truly natural. We are truly in the future of seamless CGI. My favorite scene is when Danvers truly becomes Captain Marvel, unleashing her full power amongst an enemy crew.

The message of this film is to never give up. Danvers takes several hits, to the point of giving up, but she always rises up to the challenge. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 due to some intense violence and language. The movie released in theaters on March 8,, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Captain Marvel is a fun, if sometimes flawed superhero adventure that further develops the cosmic landscape of the Marvel movies with good performances from Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson.

Captain Marvel takes place in 1995 and follows Vers, a Kree warrior with flaming fists on her way to becoming Captain Marvel who finds herself on Earth after a mission gone wrong. She teams up with a detective named Nick Fury to pick apart the secrets of her past. Meanwhile, Vers has to stop the shapeshifting Skrulls from infiltrating the planet and putting an end to the war with the Kree.

I like the performances in this film. Brie Larson is good as Captain Marvel and brings an understated verve to the role. Larson is good at delivering quips, but also has a few pretty powerful moments in her performance that help develop Captain Marvel as a character. Samuel L. Jackson is also good as Nick Fury. This is a different Fury from what we're used to with Jackson offering some nuanced clues about the changes Fury will face in the future. In Larson and Jackson's third onscreen collaboration, the duo brings great chemistry and the scenes with them playing off of each other are easily some of this film's best moments.

This film makes good use of its 90s setting. There are a lot of jokes involving technology and pop culture from this period that work well. Also, the soundtrack has a nice selection of songs from the 90s that complement the film very well. The setting doesn't feels like an attempt to cash in on nostalgia, but the 90s theme gives the film a more pronounced tone and humor. I also really enjoyed the element of mystery that comes with the Skrulls' ability to shapeshift into anyone and its clever use throughout the film.

I do find quite a few flaws with this film. Jude Law's performance as Yon-Ragg, the Kree leader, is disappointing. He feels so self-serious; it's as if he's in a different movie. There is a lot of exposition throughout the first half that, after a while, is a chore to listen to. Action scenes range from well-choreographed to hard to tell what is going on.

I recommend this film for ages 9 to 18, for some sci-fi violence and language and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Captain Marvel falls a bit short of being completely marvelous, but it's enjoyable and well worth the price of admission. I recommend you go see this film when it comes out on March 8, 2019.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SONIC BOOM: HERE COMES THE BOOM
SONIC BOOM: HERE COMES THE BOOM - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 7-11
Description - It's a Sonic you haven't seen before - an ensemble comedy that pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline! Wherever he goes and whatever he's up against, Sonic is aided by his sidekick, Tails, and his friends Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks and, of course, attacked by his arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman. The series is set in a wide-open world, where most of the characters live in and around an unnamed village. Just over the horizon is a vast landscape filled with beaches, jungles, mountains, undersea civilizations, cloud cities, frozen lakes, and more! Includes 8 Action-Packed Episodes!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This DVD is a compilation of episodes from Sonic Boom, an animated (CGI) kids' show based around the Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise. Let me frank, I have seen better kid's shows. That's not to say that it is not a good show, it just isn't as great as the video game that it originates from. Aesthetically, it is a fairly good looking show, certainly above average your standard kiddie show in that regard. The voice acting is pretty good, but I have other concerns. The dialogue seems as if it is intended for preteens or adolescents, but it is not nearly clever or funny enough for that audience. Although it's based on the Sonic franchise, there is not a lot of on-screen action to keep little one's eyes trained on the screen. That said, I believe that any young kid who is a fan of the game will be very excited to see Sonic on screen. I recommend this for ages 7 to 11 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Rachel V., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This action packed series is very educating. The morals taught in the episodes are valuable for the target audience. I love how they are able to teach important lessons in a very entertaining way.

The show follows the characters Sonic, his friends and Dr. Eggman. Sonic and his friends always have some conflict with Dr. Eggman. The different schemes that Dr. Eggman comes up with are amusing and I watched till the end to see if Sonic and his friends were be able to solve the problem.

Mike Pollock voices Dr. Eggman in a very interesting way. Pollock can sound like a villain in one scene and in another he could be your grandfather. Dr. Eggman is a character with two personalities and it is great that Pollock voices both of them.

The characters in this series are unique in their appearance. Sonic and his friends are animals, but they only have a few features that are recognizable as animals. I like that they vary their appearances from other films and series. It keeps the audience interested and intrigued.

My favorite part about this series is that they always find a way to make it humorous and add some plot twists. Every episode is different and that makes the audience want to watch the whole series all at once.

There are many underlying messages in each episode. The ones that stand out are to find the goodness in people and to work together. Sonic and Dr. Eggman will forever be rivals, but they do enjoy each other's company. Sonic realizes that Dr. Eggman is desperate for attention and uses that to his advantage to be able to get to the good side of Dr. Eggman. This is how Sonic is always able to calm Dr. Eggman down and stop him from continuing his crazy, sometimes evil, ideas - for a while. Sonic and his team of superhero friends have to work together to come up with a plan to stop Dr. Eggman. Sometimes, when Sonic leaves, they fight over what to do and who should be the leader. In the end, they resolve their problems and learn the right thing to do for the next time a similar situation arises.

I loved how this DVD teaches valuable lessons that are usually overlooked in other children's shows. I give this series 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 9. Sonic Boom: Here Comes the Boom is out now on DVDs so check it out!

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

I like this show because it has lots of characters from the classic Sonic Video games and TV shows. It shows their personality and fighting techniques. This is a good introduction to the characters to anyone that wants to play the Sonic games. If you want to try Sonic games, but you don't know any of the characters just watch this show.

Sonic Boom - Here Comes the Boom is about Sonic (Roger Craig Smith) and his friends facing challenges usually involving Dr. Eggman (Mike Pollock), where they must work together to either escape a temple or destroy a robot. Sonic can't fight off Dr. Eggman by himself, so he gets help from his friends and sticks the completely wild badger that uses a boomerang as her weapon of choice. Amy Rose is a pink hedgehog who fights with her hammer and keeps everyone at peace. Rounding out the team are Knuckles the echidna with a love of fighting and Tails Sonic's tech-loving fox sidekick that can use his two tails to help him fly around.

My favorite episode in this DVD is "Just a Guy." In this episode, Sonic accidently calls someone "just a guy" and everyone gets angry at him. I like this episode because it is funny and has a good message. That message is "don't stereotype people." Another good episode is "CowBot," which is about when Dr. Eggman sends a robot that looks like a cow after Sonic. After a bit of fighting, Sonic gets the CowBot to go after Dr. Eggman. He goes to save him, but the CowBot is incredibly slow so they do loads of funny stuff while they wait. This episode is hilarious in how they solve the problem in the end.

My favorite character is CuBot because, whenever his partner OrBot says something smart about something he just says the real meaning without knowing what OrBot wants. For example, in the episode "The Meteor." OrBot says, "Perhaps it is time we bid our foes "adieu." CuBot doesn't know what that means so he just says, "No time, we have to leave," which means the same thing. I find these parts funny.

The main message of most of the episodes is, you must work together to complete a challenge. I rate this DVD 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 7 because it has good messages in every episode that younger kids will like.

Reviewed by Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Runtime: 90 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 7-11 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99 Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY
FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY - MGM STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige and her brother Zak are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE. But when only Paige earns a spot in the competitive training program, she must leave her loved ones behind and face this new cutthroat world alone. Paige's journey pushes her to dig deep and ultimately prove to the world that what makes her different is the very thing that can make her a star.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - When I heard about this film, I thought, "What a crazy title!" Well, it is not so crazy; it is enchanting. This film is based on a true story and follows the antics of a former wrestler and his family, as they make a living wrestling in small venues in northern England. The family is in the business, and the kids dream of making it in big in the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).

While wrestling is not my jam and the film is slow at times, it captured my heart with big family values - life lessons about believing in oneself and each member of one's family. The sibling wrestlers Saraya (Florence Pugh) and Zak Knight (Jack Lowden) have trained for the big stage of wrestling since they were young. In fact, Zak reminds us that this was his dream since he was three. When they get the call from a WWE scout named Hutch (Vince Vaughn), it is a dream come true. On the other hand, is it?

Florence Pugh is fantastic and I cheered for her throughout the film. Her family brings a lot of comedy and grit to their roles. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is in all the trailers and has some key scenes. He will definitely help sell tickets! It is great to see Vince Vaughn in a positive and upbeat role.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. The stunts are detailed and outstanding. The choreography is flawless. The casting is great. The costumes are authentic and there are many laugh-out-loud lines. You do not have to be clan of grapplers in Norwich, England to like this film! The film screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and opens in theaters nationwide February 22, 2019. Look for it!

By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fighting with My Family is already one of 2019's best movies. Excellent performances and an apt direction make for not just one of the best wrestling movies but documentaries also. This movie truly has something for all audiences.

This docu-drama follows the incredible story of WWE superstar Paige, or Raya Knight (Florence Pugh). Born into a cheerful wrestling family, Raya and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) get a once in a lifetime opportunity to try out for the WWE. Raya earns the spot, with Zak being left behind, and Raya having to leave her family behind to compete for the spot as Diva. With rigorous coach Hutch (Vince Vaughn), Raya will be pushed to new limits while Zak faces a test moving on from his dreams. These journeys push them to fight for their family and prove what truly makes a star.

Florence Pugh becomes Raya Knight/Paige with her persistence and wit towards any obstacle being very inspirational. She respectfully adapts Paige and her final speech at WrestleMania looks exactly like its real-life counterpart. Jack Lowden does the same with Zak, my favorite character, as his character arc is so relatable with his struggles to move past his dreams of making the WWE, disregarding his own wife and child. Jack shows excellent range presenting Zak's eventual passion for helping others with his family's wrestling service and taking care of his child. Nick Frost and Lena Headey, as Ricky and Julia Knight, complete the family with their uniquely jovial, but lewd attitudes that only want the best for their children and other people in need. Vince Vaughn, as Hutch, is very impressive providing an inspirational mentor for Raya, as well in his real-life friendship with the Rock. Dwayne Johnson plays himself, enough said. In all seriousness, it is very entertaining and informative to watch his real-life impact on Paige.

Stephen Merchant spectacularly writes and directs, with the events presented in clear chronological order. But the real standout comes from his snappy writing, as all the jokes and emotional moments land. He truly knows how to write human and relatable characters. My favorite scene is when The Rock gives Raya's family a surprise call. Dwayne Johnson and Nick Frost truly give their all in the funniest repartee, while also giving the feels with The Rock presenting his admiration and best regards for Raya. Still, with all the positives, I feel that the film doesn't acknowledge all angles to a boxing match and the matches here feel very simplistic at times. However, the film's main intent is to flesh out the family first and then get into the nuances of the sport, so this flaw isn't particularly egregious.

The message of this film is that a person's character doesn't come from the title they hold, but by one's contribution to help others. Zak holds the strongest example of this. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 due to language and sexual references. The movie is in theaters now, so check it out.

Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Arjun N., age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Alita is a creation from an age of despair. Found by the mysterious Dr. Ido while trolling for cyborg parts, Alita becomes a lethal, dangerous being. She cannot remember who she is, or where she came from. But to Dr. Ido, the truth is all too clear. She is the one being who can break the cycle of death and destruction left behind from Tiphares. But to accomplish her true purpose, she must fight and kill. And that is where Alita's true significance comes to bear. She is an angel from heaven. She is an angel of death.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed watching Alita-Battle Angel, a sci-fi, action film with a little romance thrown in. The film mixes action, romance, relationship building and humor in a charming way. This film has excellent computer-generated graphics. I was very impressed with the details of her body parts, which shows how much CGI has come along since Toy Story!

The story line is about a 26th-century cyborg warrior girl assembled from scavenged bits and pieces. Alita (Rosa Salazar) is re-assembled by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christopher Waltz) who reminds me of Dr. Frankenstein. Alita has no memory of who she is and we see her venture out into the world with a child-like curiosity and fearlessness. The story is based on a graphic novel by Yukito Kishiro with a screenplay by James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis and Robert Rodriguez. It is directed by Robert Rodriguez as well.

The action scenes are exciting to watch. To me, it was good to see the fight scenes occasionally interrupted by flashes of Alita's previous life. This helped me to understand what was going on and yet, it did not seem to faze her at all.

My favorite scene is when Alita goes to the hangout of the warrior hunters to unify the efforts to defeat the enemy and the men think she is crazy and cannot possibly fight. She, of course, proves them wrong when she demonstrates her strength and power. I also enjoyed the development of the romantic relationship between Alita and Hugo (Keean Johnson).

I recommend it film for ages 14 to 18 and some adults may enjoy it. I give it 5 out 5 stars. It opens in theaters February 14, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Alita Battle Angel is an epic, action-packed film. It has incredible CGI and accomplishes lots of world-building. It is based on the Manga series Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro.

When Doctor Ido finds a living machine in the scrap yard, he takes it back and calls it Alita. When she wakes up she realizes all her memories have been lost. She finds herself in a crazy world in Pig City, beneath the last floating city. She tries to restore her memory and makes some friends and even more enemies. While it's an interesting story, I feel like it's not the focus of the film. Instead, the focus appears to be the battle scenes, because there are lots of them. While being beautiful and entertaining, I feel many were unnecessary.

I really liked the fight scenes. The unique fighting style used by Alita makes them interesting to watch. The CGI is incredible. I almost forgot Alita is a CGI character because of all the facial detail. The sport Motor Ball is unique and explained quite well. I found the ending left me wanting more. The character design in this film is wonderful. All the different androids are visually impressive. They are so unique. You can tell what they can do just by looking at them. The sets are also very well designed and stick to the theme. The floating city is very intriguing. I enjoyed how they explained little bits of it. However, this movie feels like a long setup for a sequel.

The moral of this film is to not stand by while people are being hurt - to speak up in the face of injustice. Unfortunately, although this message is spoken a few times, it isn't communicated very well throughout the plot of the movie and seems a bit like an afterthought. The music is great. I enjoyed it without being distracted by it. It varies in each scene but keeps to a coherent theme throughout the film.

My favorite scene is when Alita goes into the hunter-warrior bar and tries to recruit people. This scene is very entertaining to watch and is choreographed brilliantly. It also introduces a bunch of interesting hunter-warriors. They all have entirely different fighting styles which makes this scene interesting to watch. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 11 through 16. It opens February 8, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Rohan F, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

This is an extraordinary animation film by James Cameron about a young girl who has forgotten her past and is trying to find herself. This story empowers us young ladies. She is brave, strong through rough times and proves people wrong. I really felt the emotions and turmoil of this coming of age tale of Alita.

This story is set in the future, after terrible devastating world event. It is about two worlds, one above and one below. It is action packed with villains and heroes. Alita is found by a cyborg Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) in a junkyard. He refurbishes her into a cyborg part-human and part-machine. The young Alita is trying to figure out her past. Meanwhile, she discovers her hidden abilities to transform into an elite fighter, athlete and warrior. She never looses heart, as she becomes a young woman and haves to deal with several conflicts.

The film is directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by James Cameron, a creative genius who is known for many other films such as Titanic and Avatar. The lead character, Alita is played by Rosa Salazar. Rosa truly takes you through the emotions of her character. Alita's human sidekick, Hugo, is played by Keean Johnson. He is her teenage first love. The villains are played by Mahershala Ali and Jennifer Connelley. Ed Norton makes a cameo appearance at the end which makes me believe there will be a part two and we will see more of him.

The CGI and F/X in this film are so vivid and realistic. It is hard to tell animation from reality. The cyborgs' transformer bodies are so creative and the costumes really bring light to the characters. The music, lighting and scenes are enhanced by the 3D movie theater experience.

My favorite part is when Alita gets a new robotic body and is better than ever. It suits her. I also like when she decides to start a fighting league of her own. She signs up to be a bounty hunter, then tries to rally other bounty hunters. They do not take her seriously, but they will soon learn she is a force to be reckoned with. The bounty hunter Zapan (Ed Skrein) and the bounty hunter that loves dogs are pretty cool characters.

The message in the film seems to never give up, even when the odds are against you. Never let anyone tell you who you are or who you should become. I really relate to the story line and it made me to want to be the best that I can.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 due to adult language and violence content. Adults will also enjoy this film. This film opens in theaters February 14, 2019. Look for it.

Reviewed by Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I really like this film because, even though Alita is a cyborg, that doesn't stop from her from doing everything she can to make her discover who she actually is. Although she is a machine, she is still treated as if she is a human being.

This amazing film is directed by Robert Rodriguez who also shoots, produces and scores many of his films in Mexico, as well as his home state, Texas. Rodriguez directed the 1992 action film El Mariachi, which was a huge commercial success. The story line here follows the one and only Alita, who is found in the scrap yard and taken to a nearby clinic by Dr. Ido who repairs all cyborg visitors. As Alita awakes, she has no memory of what happened, where she is or even who she truly is. As she explores the world little by little, she has minor memory recall about who she really is.

The more Alita experiences her present life, she meets a lot of people who are just like her. Dr. Ido tries his best to keep her safe from any bad things coming into her life.

The main characters in the film are played by a veritable who's who of talent: Alita is played by Rosa Salazar (Parenthood, American Horror Story). In Rosa's portrayal of Alita, we see that she is more than just a machine; she is also a warrior. Hugo is played by Keean Johnson (Heritage Falls), who really portrays Hugo as being a really cool and trustworthy guy. Dr. Dyson Ido is played by Christoph Waltz (Spectre). Waltz really surprised me in this role which suits him well. Plus, even though he is older, he still has great moves. Chiren is played by Jennifer Connelly (Only the Brave, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Winter's Tale). Connelly shows us what an interesting character Chiren is and contributes to the idea of how she doesn't look bad, but actually is. Mahershala Ali plays Vector. This character is quite different in how he communicates with the headmaster of Iron City, which is why people obey him. Ed Skrein plays Zapan as very intimidating, because of how he roams the streets as a big tough guy. You do not want to mess with him.

The sets are pretty cool. I like the set at the local plaza where Alita first learns to play the game motor ball. I also really love the music in this film because, depending on the scene, the music changes within it and drives the story line alone. The costumes are quite amazing and different. They aren't like the usual bad guy costumes. They are enhanced with CGI, which makes them quite tremendous.

My favorite part of the film is when Dr. Ido comes to find Alita in a bar, where she is challenging hunter-warriors to fight with her if they lose. In between all of the chaos, Dr. Ido shouts "Stop it, Stop it right now!" Yet, no one listens to him until he says, "Or no one gets free repairs!" In less than a second, everyone releases each other from the chaos.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. I think that everyone watching this will enjoy all the good reaction parts as well as jump scares. It opens in theaters February 14, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Siaki S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Alita: Battle Angel has a lot of vision and scope but in the end, sacrifices giving the audience characters they can connect with for building a visually stunning future world.

This film is based on Yukito Kishiro's manga series, which follows Alita, a cyborg who is rebuilt by the caring, but overprotective Dr. Ido who takes her in. She lives in Iron City, a giant factory populated by the less fortunate who work to facilitate the lives of the rich, who live in the sky above. Alita struggles to find out who she is and who she was before. Meanwhile, she is pursued by the ruthless Vector and the multitude of cyborg goons that he sends to hunt her down.

The visuals in Alita are breathtaking. Iron City feels so much more realized and fascinating to explore. The mechanics of the city itself are already interesting, but the vivid detail and rich colors give it a layered, complex nature that draws you in. The CGI plus motion capture for Alita is very impressive and the realistic result is unprecedented.

Rosa Salazar plays a believable Alita and stands out among what are generally undeveloped characters. Salazar imbues the cyborg teen with a warm, but fierce persona that makes her likable, but still a force to be reckoned with. Through all the visuals and CGI, Salazar gives a memorable, emotional performance that really gives the android character a soul.

I still find a few flaws with this film. Alita: Battle Angel doesn't know what it wants to be. It tries to be edgy, futuristic science fiction, but also has elements of a young adult novel adaptation such as Hunger Games or Maze Runner, that fails to gel. Mahershala Ali seems wasted. He is such a good actor, but isn't given enough to work with here. His performance feels muted and bland.

I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18, due to some violence and language. There is some fairly violent action in this film that pushes the envelope of its PG-13 rating and could definitely frighten younger audiences. I think teens and fans of the original manga will enjoy this film.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars, because it left me disappointed and wanting more. I respect the movie's ambition and love its visuals, so I still say see it in theaters where its best qualities shine through. It opens in theaters February 14, 2019.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ARCTIC
ARCTIC - BLEECKER STREET MEDIA
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A man stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This intense dramatic film about survival had me on the edge of my seat the whole time!

The film takes place in the cold, icy mountains of Iceland. A man crash lands in the middle of nowhere, thanks to a snow blizzard. He is very resourceful and does well on his own. Finally, a rescue arrives, but things get out of control. Time is ticking and he needs medical help. He has more difficult times ahead battling mother nature and has to decide to either stay at his makeshift campsite or move to clearer ground in hopes of being rescued.

Written by Joe Penna and Ryan Morrison, the protagonist Overgard is played by Mads Mikkelsen, a Danish actor who has appeared in many American films such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Doctor Strange. He makes you experience the physical and mental emotions of this painstaking survival of the fittest. His rescuer is played by Maria Thelma Smaradottir who does very little in the film because she is on her death bed.

The scenery is mostly snow-covered mountains and the landscape is beautiful. Overgard's costumes look suitable for his role.

I enjoyed this film because it taught me about how unpredictable nature is and how to think through a difficult situation. The scenes with the bear scared me so much, I literary jumped in my seat!

I give this film 4 stars out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18. You should know that there is some adult language in it, including use of the F word. Talking is minimal and it's an excellent film, aside from the profanity. This film opens February 1, 2019 in select theaters so, look for it.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MISS BALA
MISS BALA - COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - Gloria finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength. Based on the Spanish-language film.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Miss Bala, a film of female power, is very exciting and thrilling. It certainly had me on the edge of my seat. Based on the 2011 Mexican hit film by the same name, it centers on Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), a smart, courageous Mexican-American woman who must work for a cartel boss to find her missing friend, Suzu (Cristina Rodlo).

While we don't see a lot of blood, the violence is in our face. You can expect gun battles, an execution- style murder, a car bombing and more. We see a sexual culture that dehumanizes women, which I feel the film clearly does not support. There is unwanted groping and sex, strong language and cursing in Spanish. Characters drink and use drugs.

My favorite scene is when Gloria returns to Tijuana to help her best friend, Suzu enter a beauty contest. At a nightclub, Gloria survives a shootout, but loses sight of Suzu. While trying to find her, Gloria catches the eye of crime boss Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova), who shoots up the club and has plans for her. In order to find her friend and survive, Gloria shows her strength and wisdom to survive the malicious actions of the cartel, corrupt police and DEA agents.

Miss Bala has excellent visual production. I could feel that I was there with Gloria and feeling her fear, yet her bravery and commitment to find her friend no matter what it cost.

The story involves some questionable and illegal activities, but Gloria's intelligence, courage and loyalty drive everything. It's a female-empowerment film.

I recommend this film for ages 14 to 18. You should know that it is not a film for everyone. I give it 5 out 5 stars. Miss Bala opens in theatres Friday, February 1, 2019.

Reviewed by Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Miss Bala is quite a movie! From the friendship that led to a whirlwind of violence and manipulation, to the caring of others, that is the reason behind the storyline. Miss Bala has it all. While watching this film, I definitely had some mixed feelings, but overall I enjoyed the story and found it fun and interesting. If you enjoy being misled through twists and turns, never knowing where the next scene will take you AND you like being scared along the way, you'll love Miss Bala! If you don't like being scared or a fast-paced, violent movie, you may want to stay away.

In this action-packed film, a young woman, Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), returns to her birthplace Tijuana, to visit a close friend. Little does she know that going to enjoy a fun night out would lead her down a path of constant trouble. Gloria gets pulled into a literal turf war between the gang La Estrellas and the Chief of Police (Damian Alcazar) when she witnesses a shooting where her friend also disappears. Luckily, Gloria survives the shooting, but in an effort to locate and rescue her friend, she experiences a number of mishaps with the gang, the DEA, the Police Chief and more. Unbeknownst to Gloria, all of these men are using and manipulating her to get what they need. When all she needs is to find her best friend Suzu (Christina Rodio). Does she rescue her friend? Does she escape the gang's awful manipulations? I guess you'll have to watch it to find out!

There are so many elements of this movie that make it awesome and entertaining! The funny comments, realistic music, beautiful sets and locations, and super cool special effects. Despite this being a live-action film with quite a bit of violence, there are actually some really funny parts and comments, too. Plus, with the help of the music and the costumes, the story flows and makes sense. What I liked and appreciated the most was how perfectly the music changes and is paired to match the feelings of every scene!

The deeper message that this film displays is that we have to be careful with who we put our trust into. In Miss Bala, Gloria puts her trust into the gang and they end up doing things that are not okay and using her. Then, she trusts the DEA and just wait until you see how they treat her. These are not the kind of people we want to trust. Keep in mind that this is a pretty violent movie, even though it's rated PG-13, it has lots of blood, guns and more scary stuff. Also, look out for some partial nudity and profanity. I definitely would never bring anyone under the age of 13 to this movie!

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I'm not giving it 5 stars because I am not a big fan of scary and violent movies, so it was unsettling, for me. I can see, however, that others would really love the action-packed sequences. I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 and adults. That said, I wouldn't even bring a sensitive 13 or 15-year-old who scares easily. This film opens February 1, 2019 all over the USA. If you like action, drama and thrillers, check it out. You'll enjoy it!!!

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
YO-KAI WATCH: SEASON 1, VOLUME 1
YO-KAI WATCH: SEASON 1, VOLUME 1 - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD AGES 4-12
Description - Remember that time you passed gas in that super crowded elevator? Or when you lost your sock in the dryer? That was just bad luck, right? Wrong! That was the work of Yo-kai; the invisible Yo-kai all around us that are the cause of our daily annoyances!! Nate is a just a regular boy struggling to be above average at school. One day when he receives the Yo-kai Watch, he gets the chance to see and communicate with these mischievous Yo-kai. With the Yo-kai Watch on his wrist, Nate starts to form friendships with them and learn of the things that make life so complicated. There's just one problem: they're everywhere and they love to cause mischief!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I feel that Yo-kai Watch definitely owes a good deal of its model to Pokemon. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, mind you. But you'll quickly notice how Yo-kai are collectible creatures who are varied and around virtually every corner. However, unlike Pokemon, these creatures speak an intelligible language and have strong personalities. What are Yo-kai" Well, they are trans-dimensional spirits that travel to the human world in order to make mischief for people. This often manifests in things such as affecting people's mood, pick-pocketing candy and things of that nature - nothing horrible. Also, unlike Pokemon almost no one can actually see these Yo-kai, as they are impossible to see without the titular Yo-kai Watch. The watch is a device that allows a human to both see, AND summon Yo-kai. All of these stories on the DVD are extremely lighthearted and are done with a ton of humor with younger kids in mind. From these episodes, the ideal audience for this anime is around the 5-year-old mark, but I can certainly see even younger kids enjoying the show for its lively art and regular silliness.

This Limited Edition Gift Set comes bundled with an American comic book in digest size. It certainly keeps the tone and art of the series intact and is smaller and more durable than a standard comic book, something that is certainly ideal for its target audience. Though it's not geared at adolescents, I can see some of them enjoying it as well. I recommend this for ages 5 to 10 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I have vague memories of Yo-kai Watch from when it first came to the states. I never beat the first game and I ended up forgetting about it for a few years. However from what I remember, the show reflects the game and the world pretty well.

The story follows a kid named Nate who finds Whisper, a Yo-kai, who gives him the Yo-kai Watch. This watch allows him to see Yo-kai, mischievous spirits that are invisible without the watch. The show mostly follows Nate's adventures as he helps and befriends Yo-kai. This seems to be the main plot of the show. There doesn't appear to be any overarching story or conflict. Remember, these are only a few episodes from the first season. So maybe there eventually is a set goal or conflict. However, there are a lot of positive lessons. So parents, this show is a good one to watch with your kids.

Nate, the protagonist, doesn't seem particularly invested in the world of Yo-kai. He's essentially forced to solve everyone's problems and he seems to reluctantly just accept it. For example, when he first meets Whisper, a literal ghost, he tries to walk away from the conversation three times and he barely seems to care that he is talking to a magical ghost that appears from a capsule machine. That isn't exactly a good way to introduce your main character.

Also, the structure of the show is rather confusing. At first I thought the show had the "two 11 minute stories merged into one 22 minute episode" type of structure that many cartoons have, but no. Sometimes it's one really long story combined with a story that's really short. Sometimes it's THREE stories in one episode. It's really inconsistent. The show also seems oddly inconsistent in its tone. The show is mostly comedic, however one story has no comedy and is entirely serious. It just feels really random, but maybe it ties in with Season 2. It is entertaining overall and a series I would have probably watched when I was younger.

I give this show 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12. This DVD is already out, so look for it.

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

This is a very interesting and cool DVD to watch! It has all the qualities that make a good animated series - interesting plots, vivid and clear animation, a fun mix of humor and action all in one! I really like when the action in the story, because it makes me feel more excited and enthusiastic to watch what is going on in.

The story is about Nate, a normal boy, except he has a Yo-kai Watch which gives the person who has the watch the power to see Yo-kai. Yo-kai are things that cause your daily annoyances such as, when you have bad luck and fall or, you really have to go to the bathroom but there is a really long line, or you have a song stuck in your head that you hate or dislike. The Yo-kai are mischievous and you never know when they might show up or what they might do. Also, the Yo-kai are invisible, so you can't see them unless you have the Yo-kai Watch. This DVD reminds me of Pokemon a bit so, if you like Pokemon I recommend this for you! I am pretty sure the creators of this film got inspired or got the idea from Pokemon.

The show is well produced and made me want to keep watching. Sometimes though, I was a little confused as to what was happening. I wished for more details. For example, the film kept switching to other subjects which are a little confusing about what is happening. Sometimes the story is not so specific. Besides that, I really enjoyed it!

This show does have some mature humor. Even my mom and dad laughed at some of the jokes! But for the most part, the series is really kid-friendly and younger audiences will enjoy it or appreciate this DVD! In my opinion it is a really awesome series for kids!

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, because anyone can enjoy it. This DVD is already available so look for it!

Reviewed by Ava L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I've been a fan of the Yo-Kai franchise for a while, but I had never watched some of the episodes featured on this DVD. Yo-Kai Watch Season 1, Volume 1 is an awesome addition to your collection if you are already a fan of Yo-Kai! And, if you are new to the Yo-Kai stories, then you are in for a treat!

The Yo-Kai are funny little spirits who are responsible for all of life's daily annoyances. Yo-Kai are all over the place, but no one knows they are there. Humans can't see them unless they have the special Yo-Kai watch!

Nate is the main character, along with Whisper who is his Yo-Kai butler and Jibanyan, his Yo-Kai cat. Nate is a kid who seems to be about 13 years old. Whisper is a proud, yet annoying sidekick. And Jibanyan is Nate's playful pet, who helps with his knowledge of Yo-Kai and also brings a comedic element.

In this series, we learn a lot of back story about the Yo-Kai. They are all interesting, but I must say that some of them are a bit dark. After all, these spirit creatures were once alive, which would mean that something happened to them to make them not alive anymore - aka disease.

The animation is classic simple Japanese anime. It's easy to watch. It held my attention from start to finish. The music is catchy and original. The theme song gets stuck in my head all day whenever I hear it!

I give Yo-Kai Watch Season 1, Volume 1, 5 out of 5 stars! This series has so many good episodes. A viewer will probably watch for hours - like me!

In my opinion, this series is good for ages 9 to 18. I don't know if adults would like it. They may get bored or not understand it. But for a kid, it's great! Get it where your favorite DVD's are sold or on Digital. It's available February 26, 2019.
Runtime: 286 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 4-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99 Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WE ARE ONE
WE ARE ONE - ANIMAL FARM MUSIC
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Description - The message of "We Are One" is all about bringing people together through, like Aesop's Fables, the use of animal characters - whether it's something humorous like a baby bat who is afraid of the dark or something more serious like a monkey witnessing deforestation - songs that talk about our shared humanity.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Animal Farm's We are One CD is a musical bouillabaisse of energetic, engaging tunes that will tickle little ears and tantalize the soul and imagination. Fun animal songs abound. The band and arrangements are tight and the songwriting is solid. The electric violin is a standout. Most importantly, this collection scores a hit with its target audience and delivers a seal of approval from...the seals of course, KIDS FIRST! The engaging songs about animals and its kid-friendly concepts are commendable. The style is consistent for the intended age group; the continuity flows well and the structure follows suit. These artists know their key audience and the content is totally appropriate with lots of positive reinforcement on attitude and our association and connection the world around. The artists do not talk down to their intended audience and, in many places, lift them up to learn more about the stories in their songs. The performances are strong and kid friendly. I especially appreciate the electric violin which adds a touch of musical class. Through the use of well-constructed songs with accessible lyrics, this group is able to ...wait for it...edutain their fan base. I believe children are always excited about learning more about animals and there are many songs here that promote that discussion and a fun journey. I give this CD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Reviewed by John Wood, KIDS FIRST! Music Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Animal Farm's, We Are One, is a wonderful CD filled with songs that promote social and emotional learning and self-expression. It uses animal characters to help bring people together. There's great storytelling and really cool beats to help to make this group of educator's and musician's version of Aesop's Fables come to life.

Each track tells a story that makes the listener either feel happy or sad. From shouting out animal noises in Cranky Pants, to learning how to deal with life's challenges in It Always Could Be Worse, children are taught humanity through different mixes of all genres of music including jazz, blues, salsa, afro-pop and more.

We Are One is surprisingly not a CD with songs simply about animals with human-like qualities. It teaches kids creativity and encourages them to use their imaginations to understand real life situations and people. After listening to the chorus of these tracks, you'll find that colorful songs like Awesome Possum and Snow Bird will stick in your head.

I give this CD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 2 to 6. You can stream these songs online at https://animalfarmband.bandcamp.com/album/we-are-one or buy the CD. Thanks for listening, peace out!

Reviewed by Brandon James J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

At a glance, I love the concept of We Are One by Chicago based quartet Animal Farm. In the world we live in now, this refreshing album with the image of planet earth surrounded by a bunch of animal friends makes a great message, because we very much need inclusion and music!

We Are One is a compilation of happy tracks. The music is not the traditional harmonies that we often hear on children's music. It is an eclectic collection of song genres that you can enjoy - rock, country, folk and others. In general, it sounds very American.

In some songs, the ukulele, stands out and in others, the violin. The lyrics are fun and the vibe is very positive. There's a simple, but thoughtful storytelling within all songs.

My favorite tracks are "Cranky Pants," which for some reason sticks in my head, "Two Headed Tortoise," "Screen Time" and "The Abbys," which I love the French prelude because it reminds of Jacques Cousteau's marine explorations. When "Nocturnal Me" starts, it reminds me of the beautiful tune in Kansas' "Dust in the Wind." I may be 10 years old, but I love music from 60s, 70s and 80s).

I also love how, when you listen to this music, it sounds like regular songs and not a typical kids' CD. And, when you listen to the lyrics, they are very funny. When I listen to this album, I think of a family road trip with music in the background that all family members can enjoy and relate to.

Kudos for Animal Farm's musicians, educators and soul up-lifters for creating such terrific material for kids and people of all ages to enjoy.

Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Zoe C., age 10

Animal Farm's fun CD titled We are One is filled with music that give us lessons and things we should always remember. We are kids and kids sometimes don't understand the world. Sometimes we get confused or sad or mad for a lot of different reasons. Sometimes we can react and things that we thought were bad become worse, because we didn't think first. There are so many lessons in these songs plus they are just fun to listen to and sing along!

One of the songs I like best is called Slow Down. It is about a snail watching everyone in the world rush past him, scrambling to get here or to do this or that. He keeps telling people to slow down. I wish the world would slow down too. I wish people had time to sit and relax, talk and have fun. We are always going somewhere or doing something and we don't enjoy it much, because we are rushing to do something else. We should remember to take our time and really enjoy our life by taking time to appreciate everything.

Another song I like is called The Abyss. I had to look up that word. It means a big dark place that has no end or seems like it does. An animal says his house is in the abyss and that everyone is not going to like it because it is not their home, but he likes it because it is his home. We all feel more comfortable at our own home where we eat and talk to our family, sleep and do homework. We are most comfortable there. When we go to someone else's house, even if it is nice, we do not feel as comfortable as we do at home. This song tells kids to be happy that they have a home and to relax and be happy there.

The last song I'll mention is We are One. They saved the best song for last. There is so much bad going on in the world with so many different types of people, some thinking they are better than others. Some people are treated badly if they are handicapped or if they don't fit in. Everyone is different, but we all should be able to get along, be proud or ourselves and be nice to other people. The song talks about how we could all agree that, even if we are different, we are people and should make everyone feel comfortable.

I like this CD and recommend it to ages 5 to 12 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. It's available now, so look for it. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic SaniyaRain F., age 11
Runtime: 46 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 15 Media: AUDIO


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GLASS
GLASS - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film Glass is breathtaking! This unique film is such a great combination of comedy, action, and drama and that's what makes it unique and different. I didn't want to look away during any part of the film, because every second you feel like you want to know more. The way each story is laid out is outstanding. Each character is so unique and all have their own strengths and weaknesses. The film is so extraordinary that you think you have powers.

The storyline is about three people who have amazing gifts that are so unbelievable that they start to believe they are more then just a person with amazing gifts. Then, a doctor finds out about them and takes them in because she doesn't believe that they have extraordinary gifts. She believes they just have mental disabilities from accidents that happened to each of them during their lives. She tries repeatedly to make them believe that they are all normal with a disability, until they decide to do something insane to show her that they are not just a normal people and are special. This film will surely bring chills, smiles, laughter and maybe even tears to those who watch it.

The main characters are: James McAvoy (Kevin W. Crumb/The Beast/Patricia/Barry), Bruce Willis (David Dunn), Samuel L. Jackson (Elijah Price/Mr. Glass), Sarah Paulson (Dr. Ellie Staple), Spencer Treat Clark (Joseph Dunn) Anya Taylor Joy (Casey Cooke), Charalayne Woodard (Elijah's Mother). These actors truly make you believe their characters are real and keep you on the edge of your seat with their performances.

My favorite part is when Anya Joy (as Casey) speaks to Kevin Crumb who has split personalities - good and bad. During this conversation, Casey talks to all of Kevin's various personalities and the love she shows somehow fights off the other personalities. It is heartfelt to watch this scene because it shows how important their friendship is.

The message of this film is that we are all special. All we need to do is express ourselves and not hide. Another message is that it doesn't matter if other people believe in you. As long as you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, including adults. I truly believe that many who watch this film will really enjoy it. This film opens in theaters on January 18, 2018. Look for it!

Reviewed by Nancy F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

This action-packed film, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, puts a unique twist on the classic theme of a superhero movie. As another addition to Unbreakable and Split, this movie ties the series together well and I enjoyed it.

The comic book thriller follows security guard David Dunn, who uses his heroic powers to find a troubled man named Kevin Wendell Crumb, who has a superhuman alter-ego and twenty-four distinct personalities. When the men are captured and taken to a mental institution, they encounter another character, named Mr. Glass. The doctor informs them that she has three days to convince them that superheroes are not real, but she is yet to realize that the three characters are meant to be connected by fate.

This movie puts you into a new perspective, and makes you think differently. The stunt coordinator, Mohammed J. Ali, incredibly incorporated action and fighting into certain scenes. However, the plot is sometimes unclear and characters' roles are unbalanced, so some people receive more attention than others. My favorite scene is when the main characters sit in chairs and are asked to recall moments that make them believe they're superheroes. The doctor tries to convince them that there is a logical explanation behind these events, but as viewers, this is when we know that they have powers.

The movie overall has a deep meaning that there are more complications than good and evil and the idea of superheroes clashes with modern day society. Although the movie contains some mild profanity and violent scenes, it is still a great film to watch.

I rate this production 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, as well as adults. It opens in theaters Friday, January 18, 2019. Look for it!

Reviewed by Jordan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Glass kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time! This film takes the viewer on a rollercoaster of twists and turns. It's very well done with exceptional acting, which is what I like most about it. James McAvoy, Ana Taylor-Joy, Bruce Willis, Sarah Paulson, Samuel L. Jackson all make you feel as if you are inside the movie, living all the intense moments they go through as your own. M. Night Shyamalan's direction is outstanding. Everything is so well set up and all the questions are answered at the end of the film, giving it a suspense that keeps the audience engaged.

Glass is a mixture of narratives of two of standout originals, Unbreakable from Touchstone and Split from Universal in a new comic-book thriller. From Unbreakable, Bruce Willis comes back as David Dunn and Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price or Mr. Glass. From Split comes James McAvoy, replaying his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities that reside within and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only survivor from the Beast. Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb's superhuman figure of The Beast in several events, while the manifestation of Price appears as a mastermind that holds secrets critical to both men. Definitely this concludes the series in an unexpected, yet impressive way.

My favorite part is when Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) switches and acts like his multiple personalities when he is first taken into the mental hospital. For anyone that has seen Split, you get to relive how funny his impressions of the distinct personalities are and remember how much you enjoy them. The whole plot is so tense throughout, that it is good to have moments like these to breathe a little bit before the film goes back to more serious moments of the story.

This is a very entertaining film that perhaps reminds us not to be friends with psychopaths. I recommend it to ages 14 to 18, plus adults and rate it 5 out of 5 stars. It opens in theaters January 18, 2018 so, look for it.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN
REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN - WARNER BROS. ANIMATION
Series: VIDEO, AGES 13-18
Description - After the death of Superman, several new people present themselves as possible successors.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - As a long time DC Comics fan, I love anything DC related. Now, if you combine DC Comics and animation, I'm sold. This movie is great the whole way through and does not disappoint.

Reign of the Supermen is the sequel to the movie The Death of Superman (Oh yeah, by the way, spoiler alert...Superman dies in The Death of Superman). In the wake of Superman's death, four new would-be-heroes take on the Superman name and serve as replacements. However, these new "Supermen" must put their different views aside to work together to defeat a mysterious alien threat.

First off, let's talk about the animation. While the animation looks nice, it feels kind of basic to me. The style is more realistic and so are the colors. The art style emulates the DC Comic style and I like that. I just feel the animation doesn't stand out as much as the story and writing.

Speaking of story, I've watched quite a few of the DC animated movies and, while I like those films, I enjoyed the story in this movie more than any of the other films. This movie is more engrossing. There's something about the mystery of the alien threat and the new Supermen that I find really interesting. I also really like that Lois Lane actually is important to the plot. Even though Lois (Rebecca Romijn) is one of the most well-known DC characters, her entire character has been the damsel in distress since Superman first came out. And even though there are periods of time when she is a superhero, most of them are alternate universes and dreams and, one interpretation made her a hero because the writer of that specific story received accusations of using a misogynistic stereotype. Plus, no one talks about these interpretations. I didn't even know that she has been a superhero until I was researching her for this review. So it really feels like a breath of fresh air for her to be in the spotlight in a way that feels natural. Plus, I like how you can say that journalism is her super power, which makes her stand out.

This movie is pretty funny. An issue that I have with the live action DC movies is that they tend to be too serious for their own good and, when they try comedy, it just doesn't work. However, I laughed a lot at this movie. All the characters are very lively and witty with clear personalities that work well off each other, especially Green Lantern. Kudos to the voice actors.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, and anyone who loves DC Comics. It comes out on digital on January 15, 2019 and on DVD January 29, 2019.

By Calista Bess, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15
Runtime: 87 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: VIDEO


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
THREE BEARS AND THE PERFECT GIFT, THE
THREE BEARS AND THE PERFECT GIFT, THE - THREE BEARS MOVIE LLC
Series: DVD, AGES 5-10
Description - When Baby Bear steals a turnip from the wicked Boo-Hag's garden - she transforms him into a human. Unless he finds the perfect gift before Christmas morning, he will remain a boy forever and Mother Nature will banish him from the Enchanted forest.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A loving heart can be the greatest gift of all. The Three Bears: The Perfect Gift is sure to be a holiday favorite. It revisits the classic Three Bears story, adding a modern twist filled with suspense and thought provoking circumstances. Can humans, animals and make believe characters find the courage within to help each other on Christmas? We take a journey through an enchanted forest where multiple tragedies take place. Boohag, a wicked witch who lives in a secluded space called black hollow, is to blame. She is a mean old witch that will ruin the lives of anyone that crosses her path. Find out what happens when two loving fathers join forces to rescue their family.

Goldie, Benny the Beaver and Baby Bear travel along an amusing journey of danger, mystery and magic. Most importantly, we find out if spells are cast and if wishes really do come true. Curious children decide to collect gifts on Christmas Eve, but find much more than they bargain for.

I enjoyed the actor's performances, the graphics and the storyline. The message is about learning to be brave and put differences aside to problem solve. I really liked seeing a new version of this childhood classic with a holiday theme that appeals to kids and families. I had to stream the video on a different device because the first one kept pausing. But, once I got it working, it was entertaining and held my attention immediately after the first few minutes. The film progressively gets better. The story is a little predictable, but the ways in which problems occur is unexpected. The costumes are also quite charming.

The production quality is very good, although some scenes and graphics don't match the actual settings. But, all images are clear. The sound is great. I enjoyed the bonus features and bloopers at the end. It gives us a chance to see the actors without their costumes on.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to12. This is available now on DVD so, keep a look out for it, especially for the next holiday season. Reviewed by Elle Stewart, KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really like the adventurous plot, the realistic and detailed costumes and the character personalities in this remake of the class Three Bears story.

This film tells about how Baby Bear sneaks out on Christmas morning to find the perfect gift for his parents, Mama and Papa Bear, only to cross paths with the evil Boo Hag who transforms him into a human. It is the prefect mixture of action, sadness and silliness. It is 100% live action, with the animals being people in costumes instead of being CG.

The characters that stand out the most to me are Bedilia Beaverton (Maile Flanagan) because she's hilarious and Madame Rosa (Elissa Dowling) because I like her accent. They are very realistic and yet they also have human characteristics as well. They are always in one forest or another. My favorite setting is the scene where they are walking through the woods and all of the trees are lit up with Christmas tree lights.

I like the song in the beginning a lot. It reminds me of barn dance music. All of the songs are good, but the singing could have been better. There are only two special effects. One is a kind of scary banshee. The other is a fairy that is a glowing pink orb half of the time.

The message of the film is that a perfect gift doesn't always have to be something big and extravagant. Sometimes, the perfect gift is something small but meaningful. Some things to be aware of are that first, we see Baby Bear, Benny and Goldie sneaking off without telling their parents where they are going and then, they talk to and trust a stranger. There are some scary images that would make it unsuitable for younger kids.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It will be available November 15, 2019 so look for it.

By Kayenta C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 84 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
KID WHO WOULD BE KING, THE
KID WHO WOULD BE KING, THE - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Old school magic meets the modern world in the epic adventure THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING. Alex (Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he's just another nobody, until he stumbles upon the mythical Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and, together with the legendary wizard Merlin (Stewart), take on the wicked enchantress Morgana (Ferguson). With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be. CAST: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Angus Imrie, with Rebecca Ferguson and Patrick Stewart
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed watching The Kid Who Would Be King. It is a family film full of adventure and a very timely version of a classic tale about the famous Excalibur sword of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Writer/Director, Joe Cornish gives us a fresh look at the King Arthur tale.

like that the story is retold using the book given to Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) as the source for his adventure. We see Alex along with his fellow students at school and going about their daily activities as they hear and see negative news about a divided United Kingdom. It is similar to the type of activities we are experiencing in the United States today.

We see Alex defending his friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo), a would-be magician, which leads him to become the target of bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Doris). After running from them, Alex discovers a sword in a stone. He and Bedders deem it to be Excalibur. Alex is reminded by Bedders and his book of King Arthur of his mission to unite and fight the evil of Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) sister of King Arthur.

My favorite scene is when young Merlin (Angus Imrie) appears at the school as a lanky new teen student with an ill-fitting uniform. To me, he steals the scene with his hand actions, clicking and snapping to perform his sorcery. The repetition of his sorcery provides some elements of humor and, at one point, I tried to duplicate his hand actions.

The CGI and other visuals and music are acceptable. Be aware that there is fantasy action violence, scary images with bullying. The Kid Who Would Be King has an important and timely message. We see young people standing up to wrongs and taking on what is right. Age is not a deterrent and a group victory can be achieved.

I recommend this film for ages 8 to 18, and some adults. I give it 5 out 5 stars. This opens in theaters January 25, 2019 so, look for it.

Reviewed by Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is very interesting. I like how it starts with illustrations that look like you are reading a book, then transitions to a live action film. While watching this, it made me think about Harry Potter, although it is very different than other magical and majestic films like the Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts and other fantasy movies.

The film is based in the King Arthur story and retold in a modern way. It's about a boy named Alex (Louis Ashborne Serkis) who finds the Excalibur sword and embarks on an adventure trying to battle bullying and injustice. He teams up with his best friend in his journey to become a great leader. Alex and his enemies conform a group of brave knights to fight monsters and defy great dangers.

In the beginning, Alex and his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) are victims of bullying at their school. They believe they are regular boys, until one day Alex comes across a sword in a big rock. He pulls it out and he shows it to Bedders. Later, they realize that everything that happens to them is similar to what happened in a book Alex's dad gave him with a very special dedicatory. It is a very special book because, despite that his father left, he has feelings for him. He and Bedders go on a quest that replicates in many ways the story of the King Arthur legend. Alex not only discovers his power for being a leader and doing good deeds, it is also a self discovery of loss and acceptance.

This spin on the classic King Arthur tale has a different purpose than other films or interpretations of this classic tale: - to show todays' kids the power of classic tales, the importance of books and to find the good within ourselves by retelling the story in a contemporary way and making it relatable to a new generation.

The film reminds us why books are essential in our education and how they show messages about perseverance and loyalty. In the movie, the main characters face lots of obstacles and some are very scary!

The scenes with the medieval villain Morgana are particularly exiting. I also love the scenes with Merlin, especially the younger one. They are funny and obviously magical. I like that Alex and Beddders team up with their enemies in their journey. I enjoy the sets in London from the landscapes near the city to the beautiful Stonehenge. The sets and costumes are well done. The acting is very good and the special effects believable.

The story flows well, although there are so many scenes that make the film longer than necessary. Another thing that bothered me is that it references so many things we have seen in other films. That makes it not very original. Also, some scenes are a little too over dramatic. I do like how this film shows the classic tale based on someone pulling a sword out of a stone and becoming king.

The message of this film is that nobody is just ordinary. We just have to discover the great powers we have within ourselves. I give The this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 6 to 18. It opens in theaters on January 25, 2019. So look for it.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The Kid Who Would Be King is a heartwarming film about a boy named Alexander who finds out that he is the future king of Britain. Now he, his friends and his enemies, must embark on a quest to defeat a wicked enchantress named Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) before the end of a solar eclipse. This film is based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, including the legend of the magical sword, Excalibur. At night, everyone disappears from the world except for Alex and anyone he has knighted. This way they can take whatever they want and try to defeat all of Morgana's minions. When they are all gone, Alex and his knights stay where they are and everything else returns to normal.

There are lots of cool scenes in this film that involve exciting sword battles. In my interview with Patrick Stewart (Merlin), Rhianna Dorris (Kaye) and Louis Ashbourne Serkis (Alex), I learned that the cast used real swords to train with to learn the real feel and heaviness of medieval swords and armor. However, in the actual film they used realistic plastic swords, because otherwise it would be too dangerous.

My favorite character in this film is Merlin (Angus Imrie/Patrick Stewart). He is serious and gets things done most of the time, but he also does a lot of funny and cool things that are really appealing to watch. For example, when he does his magic, all the stuff around him is flying through the air and all the lights are flickering. That is a really interesting effect.

My favorite scene is when Alexander and a few of his knights are rushing through the woods on horses, while trying to defeat a large army of fire monsters on fire breathing horses who are trying to take Excalibur away from them. This scene is very exciting and has a few funny parts in it too.

The message of this film is that anyone can be a king; you just need to have a good heart and follow the knight's code which says that you must "honor those you love, refrain from wanton offence, speak the truth at all times and persevere in any enterprise until the end."

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, because it is a good combination of an action movie and a heartwarming storyline that gives it a great message. I think adults will enjoy watching this with their kids. This movie opens in theaters on, January 25, 2019. Look for it!

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPSIDE, THE - 0
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - Philip is a disabled white billionaire, who feels that life is not worth living. To help him in his day to day routine, he hires Del, an African American parolee, trying to reconnect with his estranged wife. What begins as a professional relationship develops into a friendship as Del shows his grouchy charge that life is worth living
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Upside is a wonderful, but very contrived remake of the French classic: The Intouchables. The superb main duo makes for a variety of heartfelt and well-found laughs. Anyone looking for a packed "January movie" will find a perfect outing.

Inspired by an incredible true story, the movie follows a recently released ex-convict named Dell (Kevin Hart), as he seeks employment to do right by his family's financial needs and regain their trust. He finds the most unusual employment with an offer to care-take the paralyzed billionaire Phillip (Bryan Cranston). Most don't believe in Dell's capabilities, especially chief executive Yvonne (Nicole Kidman), with Dell failing, but slowly learning to care-take. Amidst this process, Dell and Phillip form an unlikely friendship and journey, bettering themselves.

Kevin Hart, as Dell, is my favorite character, as he steps into newfound dramatic territory and delivers exceptionally. As always, his unique sense of humor remains and he is as better than ever with the amicable chemistry he shares with Bryan Cranston. Bryan Cranston, as Phillip, delivers a gravitas to his character when needed, as his condition make him hopeless. In only a way Cranston can deliver, his journey to regain hope and optimism through Dell is very compelling. It also helps that their unique banter is just so funny and intellectually executed. Nicole Kidman, as Yvonne, is another relatable character, as even she learns to smile from Dell, despite her disagreements. Her long history with Phillip is well sold, as well.

Neil Burger serviceably directs the movie, with a great eye for scenery, even if many scenes fall within a repetitive layout at times. My favorite scene is the haircut scene, as it is a fun rendition of the classic French scene and even has more nuances of its own. The main problem with this movie comes from the fact that, in comparison to its French counterpart, there really isn't much of a difference with a few scenes and characters having some subtleties. At times, its pace even takes a hit and even the newer additions don't fare as well as the original. This can be viewed as a bit of a pro, as sticking with the original does prove to its advantage.

The message of this film is that a friendship is a relationship most valued and will always remain irreplaceable. If we all get along, we will strive towards greatness and a happier mental well-being. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because of some sexual references and brief drug use. The movie releases in theaters on January 11, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STAN & OLLIE
STAN & OLLIE - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURES, AGES 10-18
Description - The true story of Hollywood's greatest comedy double act, Laurel and Hardy, is brought to the big screen for the first time. Starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the inimitable movie icons, Stan and Ollie is the heart-warming story of what would become the pair's triumphant farewell tour. With their golden era long behind them, the pair embark on a variety hall tour of Britain and Ireland. Despite the pressures of a hectic schedule, and with the support of their wives Lucille (Shirley Henderson) and Ida (Nina Arianda) - a formidable double act in their own right - the pair's love of performing, as well as for each other, endures as they secure their place in the hearts of their adoring public.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Stan & Ollie is a superb bio-pic about the famous comedy duo. Spot-on casting and great direction make for a very informative and entertaining romp. Anyone looking for an outstanding bio-pic or a wonderful movie will want to watch this.

The movie follows the famous Laurel & Hardy, as they set out to tour Britain in 1953. However, years have passed since their heyday of being Hollywood comedy kings, and they face an uncertain challenge. They find success obtaining their long-lost charm and even reconnect with their most ardent fans. The tour eventually finds success, until Stan (John C. Reilly) and Ollie (Steve Coogan) can't quite shake their disagreements and Ollie's health starts failing. They are aware that this may very well be their swan song, but amid that they can rediscover just how much their brotherly bond means.

The titular duo, Stan (John C. Reilly) and Ollie (Steve Coogan), remain my favorite characters and bring great heart. The two share great chemistry and bring out the best with their impeccable theater performances. Same with their wives, Lucille Hardy (Shirley Henderson) and Ida Laurel (Nina Arianda), who equally sell their disagreements, but with sisterly love. Shirley, in particular, shines with emotionally charged reactions to her husband's health. Danny Huston, as Hal Roach, embodies the famous producer, and gives us a good look behind the scenes in Laurel & Hardy. His frustrations with the group is also well presented and those provide a most realistic look at the bitter friendship the three had.

Jon S. Baird aptly directs the movie, with a great eye for the duo's on-stage performances. The shifting timeline proves slightly confusing at times, but such moments are few and far between. My favorite scene is the final concluding scene, that proves to be an epic ending to the tour and is very touching. It showcases the true power of friendship and the importance of the duo on comedy history. It is a perfect ending to this poetic tale.

The message of this film is that a friendship can always outweigh any challenges and even the test of time. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, because of brief language and smoking. The movie had a limited release in theaters on December 28, 2018 and is rolling out across the country, so check your local listings.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Stan & Ollie is a fine biopic with great performances, beautiful scenarios and a powerful story about the value of friendship.

I didn't know much about these comedians and this film offers a great introduction to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (affectionately nicknamed Babe), two of the most fascinating entertainers of the Golden Era of Hollywood. I like discovering the roots of filmmaking and physical comedy. The movie shows who they are, their artistic personalities and the dynamics of their friendship.

Directed by Jon S. Baird, the story starts in 1937 when the duo is at the peak of their career. Then it quickly moves to 1953 when their career is not solid anymore and the comedians embark on a trip to Great Britain to reconnect with fans and regain fame. Even though they are famous, there are empty seats at their shows. They have recognition, but not that much money. They return to what they know and love to do - comedy. People thought they retired, but they managed to perform and work hard like they did from the beginning. I like that the film centers in this poignant part of their lives where their friendship is put to a test, while they struggle with aging and loosing popularity. They haven't stopped dreaming and hoped to obtain the financing for a movie project.

I enjoyed their slapstick comedy and noticed how different humor was in the 30s and 50s. I appreciated how committed they were as working actors. Stan and Ollie conformed a unique duo. They shared a strong friendship and were not only business partners, but truly close friends. Their bond was special. They complemented each other in the creative process and on stage with grace and sentiment. They seemed to be in constant collaboration. The film also shows their dynamics outside the stage and with their wives, who were kind of rivals, but they supported each other at the same time. Their love for comedy and performing arts was genuine. They really lived for that. But they didn't always have happy moments. We see them disagree and even break each others' hearts. Despite their different point of views about business, they shared a true love for performing and entertaining.

My favorite scene is the iconic gag where they keep on going in circles to find each other when they are next to each other all the time. I like all the jokes and I really enjoyed them.

The most remarkable aspect of this film are the performances by John C. Reilly (Ollie) and Steve Coogan (Stan). Not only for their impeccable physical resemblance, helped by some awesome make up, but for their interpretations and rapport, which reflect the spirit of the duo. You can feel the actors' admiration for the comedic duo.

The message of the film is that no matter how much you disagree and even fight with your friends, true feelings always endure and true friendship is endless.

I give Stan & Ollie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. Is a great movie for those who are familiar with early Hollywood films and for us who want to discover and connect with the origins of cinema.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ON THE BASIS OF SEX
ON THE BASIS OF SEX - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - The story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights and what she had to overcome in order to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - On the Basis of Sex is such a fun and empowering film. I enjoyed it quite a bit as it was equally entertaining and informative. The characters are well crafted and the aesthetic of the 50s to 70s time period really sets the tone of the movie. It feels real and true, as opposed to the glorified version of the story that some biographical films show. The authenticity and uniqueness of the film really helps it stand out. This is a very important movie for people see.

This film follows the true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a young and gifted lawyer, who struggles to find work simply because she is a woman. In order to prove that the law discriminates on the basis of sex, Ms. Ginsburg has to work harder than she ever has before.

The film is very well written with an immaculate attention to detail, thanks to the writer being Ruth Bader Ginsburg's nephew Daniel Stiepleman, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing. It is full of heart and truth because Justice Ginsburg made sure everything was accurately portrayed. She read all of the drafts of the scripts to make sure that her story told well. It is never boring! I laughed out loud when it was funny and got angry seeing RBG rejected and having doors slammed in her face, due to her gender.

The acting is really great. Both Armie Hammer, who portrays Martin Ginsburg and Cailee Spaeny who portray Jane Ginsburg absolutely blew me away. Armie portrays Martin as a man who really loves and respects his wife in such a heartwarming way. Cailee portrays Jane as a funny and empowered feminist. The relationship between Jane and Ruth is displayed with such honesty and realism. My only complaint about the acting might be that Ruth's accent could have been much stronger.

I rate this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, as well as adults. This film tells such a special and unique story, one that is incredibly important, with equal amounts of heart, humor, turmoil and honesty. This triumphant story really gets you thinking. It opens nationwide in theaters January hits theatres worldwide on January 11, 2019, so do yourself a favor and go watch it.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NEVER-ENDING MAN: HAYAO MIYAZAKI
NEVER-ENDING MAN: HAYAO MIYAZAKI - GKIDS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8 TO 18
Description - A look at famous Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki following his retirement in 2013.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Never Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki is a poignant, revealing portrait of the Oscar�-winning Japanese director, Hayao Miyazaki. Directed by Kaku Arakawa and produced by NHK, this documentary shows Miyazaki's fans what the legendary director is planning for the future, since his decision to retire in 2013. The film uses chapters to title each section of the film, which makes it seem more personal, as if each piece is a part of Miyazaki's thought process. The editing and camera angles are spot on and very cleanly done.

As the film opens, Miyazaki believes that he is too old to continue with hand-drawn, animated, feature films, because they are too emotionally and physically taxing on his aging body. He decides to start focusing the rest of his energy on a less physically intense short film, Boro the Caterpillar. In order for this project to be practical for Miyazaki, he and the remains of his trusted team decide to call upon a more technological, younger CGI team. Miyazaki doesn't trust the younger team at the start because he says they don't capture the essence of emotion and passion in their CGI work. However, he ultimately gets a kick out of learning CGI animation from the younger team and begins to feel more open towards them, because he feeds off the energy of their youth.

During the project, Miyazaki becomes mildly depressed because two of his old animation colleagues pass away and he questions why he didn't go first. Miyazaki says that he would rather die being productive, making his next film than being an ordinary, lazy old man. In fact, the documentary shows how he changes his mind about doing another feature length film. Even though he may die during the making of the next film, he states that he wants "to die with something to live for."

This documentary was somewhat sad for me, because Miyazaki is, by far my favorite director. To see him speak of himself as old and feeble was really hard to watch. I've seen all of his films multiple times and it's really distressing to think that it will all be over after his next film. However, he still appears to be robust and the films ends on a positive note. He states that "self-satisfied people are boring and we have to push hard to surpass ourselves." It's difficult to imagine how Miyazaki can surpass what he's already accomplished.

I recommend Never Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki for ages 13 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars, because it digs deep into the emotional and complicated life cycle of a world-shaping animation director. This film is distributed by Gkids and playing in select screenings through Fathom Events. Do check it out.

Reviewed by Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 19
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
AQUAMAN
AQUAMAN - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Origin stories are always fun. Learning the back-story of a character is a wild ride, especially when discussing Aquaman. The unlikely and forbidden union of a human man and a queen from the depths of the seas resulted in a boy with surreal aquatic skills and knowledge. As the narrator of the film, Aquaman/ Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) tells the tale of his birth and youth in a lovely way - until his Mother Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) is violently swept away by the troops of King Orm (Patrick Wilson), a power-hungry ruthless ruler. Now confused, Arthur is visited by a teacher named Vulko (Willem Dafoe) who teaches him the ways of his people.

As Arthur grows up, he learns he is the heir to Atlantis, an underwater kingdom. The story is told through a series of flashbacks, which teach the audience more about his origin story and how his disinterest in attaining a throne comes to be. Throughout the film, Arthur denies his birthright and refuses to fight for his rightful place as heir to a throne held by his half-brother, King Orm (Patrick Wilson). His betrothed, Princess Mera (Amber Heard) reconsiders her place in the kingdom as the battle for Atlantis ensues.

Throughout his life, Vulko has trained Arthur to educate him about the sea, and the reigning factions. As he is a cross-species being, he must learn how to get along above and below the sea. Arthur lives a history lesson as he learns about the sea Kings and evolution of the Master of the Sea.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend this film for ages 14 to 18, as well as adults. As widely reported, there is a lot of CGI, and violent CGI. The War Of The Seas is scary at times. Conversely, the stunts and special effects are detailed and outstanding. The visuals are beautiful. The costumes are alive with color. Moms will see themselves in the reality of Motherhood self-sacrifice in Queen Atlanna. Hats off to Jason Momoa (swoon. His over-the-top portrayal of Arthur works. He is equally funny and dedicated to the role. Suspend belief and enjoy a wet ride through lands never seen before. This film opens in theaters nationwide December 21, 2018.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really like this film because the message is so powerful. It's about training to be the best you can be. Then, when you are ready, your task is to beat anything that's in your way, with a humble heart because good always wins. Another reason why I like it is because of the action between Arthur and King Orm. These two teach that, no matter what the situation is, violence is never the answer. I also really like the background music because the suspense really moved me and made me want to jump out of my seat with excitement and joy.

This amazing action/adventure film is about the city of Atlantis, which is now an underwater kingdom ruled by the power-hungry king Orm. With his army by his side, King Orm plans to take over the remaining oceanic people to become the King of all oceans better known as the Oceanic Master, then to rule the surface world. Standing in Orm's way is his half-Human, half-Atlantean brother, Aquaman, known as half-breed. With help from Vulko, who is the royal counselor of the throne, Aquaman must retrieve the powerful trident of Atlan to proclaim the title as the protector of the deep blue sea.

The cast includes Arthur/Aquaman (Jason Momoa, Game Of Thrones), Atlanna (Nicole Kidman, Dead Calm), King Atlan (Graham McTavish, Outlander), Mera (Amber Heard, Never Back Down), King Orm (Patrick Wilson, Insidious), Vulko (Willem Dafoe, Spider-Man), Manta (Yahya Abdul-Manteen II, The Greatest Showman).

My favorite part of this film is when Arthur finds out that he has the power to talk to the creatures in the water, in other words echolocation. Following that, Arthur doesn't know how to control the power that he has, which is why King Atlan puts Arthur in the hands of the royal counselor, Vulko, to learn to control his powers. From the training that Artur does with Vulko, Arthur shall use it in the future.

Aside from that, King Orm plans to take things into his own hands and decides to conquer the seven seas to become King Of The Deep Blue Sea, also known as the Oceanic Master. After that, King Orm plans to take apart the surface world to become his treasure for good.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, as well as adults. Truly the whole family will love this film as it has so many funny and good reaction moments. This film also requires very good anthropomorphic qualities in various scenes. Don't miss this amazing action/adventure film directed by James Wan, which is playing in theaters now, to find out what happens at the end.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MORTAL ENGINES
MORTAL ENGINES - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - A mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw, emerges as the only one who can stop a giant, predator city on wheels devouring everything in its path. Feral, and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy, an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang, a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Mortal Engines is a visually incredible movie. Unfortunately, the story is quite hard to follow, and a lot seems to have been cut.

The film is set in a post-apocalyptic future where civilization has been wiped out. What's left of the human race has rebuilt cities as war vehicles designed to destroy and loot other cities. A girl named Hester Shaw tries to revenge her mother and stop London from destroying the shield wall, a wall that protects the peaceful, non-moving cities.

I dislike how fast it moves. There are lots of action scenes and some of them get a bit too fast. On the other hand, these action scenes are well planned out and have lots of moving parts. In almost all of them, the characters are fighting while the city falls apart.

The CGI in this movie is really impressive. The steampunk cities that fill the movie are thought out thoroughly. Shrike, a humanoid robot, is well designed. He looks very realistic, but with lots of sci-fi details. I specifically like how he can hold onto the ground by folding his feet down. This is a unique ability that isn't over or under used. I enjoy Stephen Lang's voice as Shrike. It gives an expected, eerie feeling to his character. The makeup for Hester's scar is great, looking realistic but not too over the top.

The moral of Mortal Engines is that you can accomplish anything if you work as a team. This is shown when Hester refuses to work with her friends until the end, when they must work together to stop London from destroying the shield wall.

The music is often too overpowering. In several scenes, the music actually takes away from what is happening on screen. For example, in the final set it gets so loud that you can't hear what the characters are saying.

My favorite scene is at the beginning, when they show the landscape of this post-apocalyptic future and then, quickly jump into the action with a fun chase scene. This scene is very intense and shows what most of the movie is all about.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 15. It opens in theaters Friday, December 14, 2018 so look for it.

Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Mortal Engines is one of the most creative films I've seen in years. The concept is fresh and imaginative and the storytelling is solid. There are two flaws though. This film tries to create a universe that is deep and rich, but also has many plots going at the same time which makes the film seem jumbled. It seems that they tried to fit too much into one movie.

Mortal Engines' premise is that world's crust is split into hundreds of pieces thanks to a war that lasted 60 minutes. Humans, after the decimation of the earth, made cities and nations built on wheels, because the entire earth became a hunting ground where larger more powerful cities prayed on the less powerful. The film begins with London chasing down one rogue city that tries to escape, but is captured. The city has onboard Hesther Shaw (Hera Hilmar) who has been tracking down London to kill its commander Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), who killed her mother. She attempts to murder him, but gets caught and runs away with another Londoner.

My favorite part is the opening sequence where the smaller city is driving away from London. This is a great way to show off the type of world this is. Also, it shows the pure beauty of the CGI and special effects they use.

This film has some serious star power. Most notably Hugo Weaving who has been in countless movies including The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Matrix. He is a Nigerian born Australian-English film and stage actor. Also Leila George who plays Katherine Valentine and is a stage actor who is also known for her work in The Long Home and The Kid, both to be released in 2019.

The message of this film is that you don't have to do whatever it takes to get your way. I recommend this film to anyone who likes Lord Of The Rings and Mad Max. There plenty of stunts that you don't want to try and lots of drinking so, I recommend this for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. This film hits theatres December 14, 2018.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL
ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - "Fox has been asking for a PG-13 basically since the start in 2006," Ryan Reynolds told Deadline. "I've said no since 2006. Now, this one time, I said 'Yes' on two conditions. First, a portion of the proceeds had to go to charity. Second, I wanted to kidnap Fred Savage. The second condition took some explaining..."Fred Savage will join Reynolds in new scenes for ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL in an homage to Savage's starring role in the 1987 bedtime-story classic THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Fred remarked, "while my participation in this film was anything but voluntary, I am happy to learn that Fudge Cancer will be the beneficiary of this shameless cash grab"
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Deadpool had much attention recently for its fame of being highly mature, but at the same time incredibly entertaining. Once Upon a Deadpool attempts to break that by releasing a PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2 and, while it will make the audience laugh as much as the previous version, it fails to expand the Deadpool audience to younger viewers.

Similar to the original film, the story holds is action-packed with some romance and drama, but always draped with the famous parody feel that creates an entertaining and comedic atmosphere.

Once Upon a Deadpool follows the previous film with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) losing the love of his life, leading to him trying to find ways to stop his grief, eventually ending up with Deadpool trying to save a young mutant boy from becoming a cruel murderer and on the way making a new family. In the PG-13 edition, the entire story is told by Deadpool to Fred Savage as a bedtime story, similar to the style of Princess Bride. While this doesn't truly affect the main plot a lot, the twist leads to much laughter and many comedic moments.

Once Upon a Deadpool delivers the same chaotic, dark and highly mature atmosphere that the previous film did and, despite being marketed as a PG-13 film, it still has the same amount of lewdness and foul language, even if the material merely gets hinted at instead of blatantly shown. While this does technically makes it a less severe rating, the re-cut is far from a family film that everyone can enjoy. Also, at times, the re-cut rearranges scenes and shots very uniquely to avoid showing anything mature. Mostly this works to tell the story, but at times it feels forced, as if the editor had to construct a film from sticks instead of clips, with awkward cuts and sequences.

Aside from this, the film achieves high praise overall. The new cast and old cast hold a great quality in their performances, despite being in many ways a parody film. Of course, being a superhero action, good VFX holds a huge role in the end product. While the CGI throughout has less quality than what you'd see in an Avengers' film, it still mostly looks realistic and could convince anybody that what they see on screen is real.

Some of the funniest scenes come from the method that the film tells its story by having Deadpool read it to Fred Savage as a bedtime story. Most of the scenes breaks the fourth wall and are filled with self-mocking and sarcasm, which makes each time that the two are shown on camera together enjoyable. Savage and Reynolds' on-screen chemistry works perfectly and the conversations and scenes flow smoothly, adding to the enjoyment as the comedy feels natural and real.

Despite being rated PG-13, Once Upon a Deadpool fails to actually expand to the target audience. I recommend this for ages 15 to 18, as well as adults. Parents should be warned that, while the film meets the national standard for a PG-13 rating, many adult-oriented elements are still referenced heavily, making it very mature in many ways. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars for excellent acting and comedy, but lacking in an interesting and unpredictable story and having a strange flow at times due to the numerous edits necessary to achieve the lower rating. This film opens in theaters December 12, 2018 so, check it out.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Miles Morales comes across the long-dead Peter Parker. This Peter Parker is not from his world though; he's from somewhere else in the multiverse. With Parker's guidance, Miles will become Spider-Man: and through that he will become part of the ever-expanding 'Spider-Verse'.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What would you do if you could be a superhero? What if you have no choice? From the very beginning, Spider-Man: Into the Spicer-Verse is very energetic and captures your attention. This animated film has impressive visuals. The music creates a fantastic rhythm. And you just want to watch more.

The story follows a high school student named Miles Morales, who just changed school. He goes into an abandoned subway station with his uncle Erin and gets bitten by a radioactive spider. Ever since that day, Miles starts sticking to everything he touches. Then, he meets Spider-Man (Peter Parker), teams up with some friends from the same dimension and they attempt to save the world from the villain Kingoin.

The story is very original and makes the impossible possible. It takes all the abilities of Spider-Man to far and beyond with its action scenes. The film also shows a very real family atmosphere and the humor is smart. I love the non-traditional characters and how they embrace diversity. And yes! Spider-Man is Latino and surely does speak Spanish! There are also some fun new characters.

With this film, Marvel has created a film that celebrates comics, film and visual arts. Of course, it celebrates Spider-Man and makes this super hero relevant and contemporary. It is absolutely eye-poppingly beautiful and really pushes the boundaries of the genre with its colors, textures and camera movements. There are several different forms of animation in one film. You feel as if you are actually reading a comic book or the comic book is coming to life.

Naturally, the film does a very touching tribute to genius Stan Lee. I feel the filmmakers took some risks bringing new ideas to this iconic character which as been adored for over 50 years. The result is a must-see family movie that is even more appealing to new generations. I also love how this film is animated. It's so different. I've never seen a film like this one. I think it's very unique. Be sure to stay after the credits to see something very special, including another set of credits at the very end.

This film sets a new era in animated movies. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, as well as adults. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and include it in my Oscar predictions as a very possible winner. This is the film parents will love their kids to watch and kids will enjoy in many different ways.

With great power comes great responsibility and we all can be heroes. This is the idea behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - inclusion for all in the vast universe and the idea that we can all be heroes by making the right choices and doing our best helping each other in our everyday life. This film opens nationwide December 14, 2018 at a theater near you. Be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a masterpiece of the superhero and animated genre. Groundbreaking animation and voice talent propel this above any other Spidey movies. Any fan of Marvel or even animation must check out this one-of-a-kind experience.

The story follows Brooklyn teen Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) or the "new Spider-Man," after he is bitten by a radioactive spider. When Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man, dies, Morales realizes he is the only one left to save the city from the grips of Kingpin (Liev Schreiber). Kingpin threatens to risk all space-time continuums, which even brings new Spider-men from other dimensions and timelines. One such is another Peter Parker (Jake Johnston) who serves as Miles' mentor. These Spider-men remain the only ones powerful enough to defeat Fisk and his maniacal experiments.

Shameik Moore, as Miles Morales, is easily the movie's best character and empowers in what is the first depiction of his character in a movie. His coming-of-age brings upmost relatability and his perseverance only makes his origin story as compelling, if not more so as Peter's. Jake Johnston, as Peter Parker, portrays the classic original well, but with neat nuances. His character is one that has suffered many setbacks and devolved to laziness, with his arc being a fun, unexpected diversion. Bryan Tyree Henry, as Jefferson Davis, charges his father-son relationship with much heart as he struggles to bond. His brother Aaron, played by Mahershala Ali, provides another compelling performance, as he remains a key inspiration for why Miles is who he is. The Spider-verse, is complimented by the mysterious Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), anime-inspired Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), Nicolas Cage who shines as the Spider-Man Noir and last, but not least, the wise-cracking anthropomorphic Spider-Ham (John Mullaney). Liev Schreiber brings a deep booming voice in the Kingpin that only adds to his menacing large physique.

Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman are experts in their class with many beautiful and visceral shots commanding the plot. The animation is something to be commended with its own identity taking homage from many comic books. My favorite scene comes from the central scene where Miles becomes one with his powers, as every shot has meaning and flair. It is truly inspiring and mind-blowing from a plot-driven and animated perspective. I could nitpick on the lack of a compelling villain at points or even some very infrequent awkward song placements, but in the end, everything comes into fruition and those are a long gone afterthought.

The message of the movie is about taking leaps of faith as Morales's whole story revolves around just that in his quest to live up to the worthy Spider-Man mantle. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18 because of some intense scenes and themes. The movie releases in theaters on December 14, 2018 so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse surprised me in its ability to create an original piece despite the several renditions of Spider-Man that exist! Spider-Man has been adopted by several films and TV shows in the past decades, yet Into the Spider-Verse is the most creative take on Spider-Man. The animation sets a milestone in the history of animation, for it is the first of its kind. Such aspects bring fresh artistry in animation that is rare in the film industry.

The story follows Miles Morales, a young boy who faces pressure at high school and at home to be the best. However, when a portal to the multi-verse is opened, Miles is tasked with the responsibility of saving his hometown of Brooklyn. Along the way, several Spider-Men and Women meet who align with Miles and they become a close and loving family.

The animation is contemporary and avant-garde, featuring pop art and street art. It is a tribute to the art of comic books, bringing them to life. It has several aspects of a comic book including onomatopoeia like "Pow!" and "Boom!" that are surrounded by colorful borders in several of the action scenes. Another example of the comic book charm occurs when an exciting fight move is taken by one of the Spider characters. At this time the screen splits into three, displaying the happenings in that instant, and adding to the thrill of the moment and overall fight. These small nuances accumulate, making me feel as if I had walked into a comic book.

My favorite part is the way that there are small tributes to the original Spider-Man comic books with different takes on villains such as Dr. Octopus and the Green Goblin. They even made small references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe films that added to the ingenuity and display the directors' attention to detail. The only thing that the film can improve on is the plot, because some of the characters are underdeveloped. Otherwise, the climax and storylines are unpredictable and engaging.

The message of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is that all it takes to be what you want and do what you want is to take a leap of faith. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Be sure to check out Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in theatres nationwide December 14, 2018.

Reviewed by Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MARY POPPINS RETURNS
MARY POPPINS RETURNS - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - In Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, along with Michael's three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This charming musical is not a remake of the original Mary Poppins, like some expected. Rather it is a sequel to the wonderful original, with the children grown and parents themselves. Lin-Manuel Miranda plays the lamp-lighter with his usual panache and flair. I swear, I could watch him on screen forever. He is ever so charming and sprightful. Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins is equally engaging, bringing her own magical fantastic way of problem-solving to the family as it faces economic ruin. Rob Marshall has a way of creating such delightful family friendly films and this one will become a must see for those who love musicals. The singing and dancing are superb. The choreography makes use of lampposts, ladders, bicycles and everything else in the set as the ensemble cast adeptly dances their way across the screen. Really, all the cast is superb and I would be remiss without shouting our Dick Van Dyke's cameo appearance at the end. Seeing this 90 year old icon dance on top of a desk just proves that you're never too old to be young! I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 through 18, as well as adults. My older sister watched this with me and I had to drag her out of the theater afterwards. She loved it! So did my much younger grandson. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Mary Poppins Returns is a charming musical filled to the brim with imagination and whimsy. It is quite entertaining and Emily Blunt is very good as the magical, manners-focused nanny.

The storyline follows the title character as she returns to the Banks' family home, decades later. Siblings Michael and Jane Banks are grown up. Michael, with kids of his own and mourning the loss of his wife, is about to lose the home that they have lived in since they were children. Poppins descends from the London sky, ready to help the Banks' family with their plight and teach Michael's kids to use their imaginations and improve their manners. The bank has given Michael a few days to pay off his house, setting off a countdown for Poppins, the Banks and a lamplighter named Jack to save the home.

The story is interesting. Michael Banks has hit rock bottom. His wife has tragically passed away and he's about to lose the home he has lived in since childhood. The only thing that brings him joy is the comfort and company of his family. It's a sad place to start, but it's a great scenario for Mary Poppins to come to work her magic. The idea of losing your home is pretty realistic and the contrast with such a fantastical protagonist and situation, provides an aspect that I quite enjoyed.

Emily Blunt is very good as Mary Poppins. She puts her own twist on the character, yet you can still trace it back to the earlier onscreen depiction of Poppins. Blunt gives the character a sharper, comedic edge. Her Poppins is much more witty and sarcastic, but still gives a sense of compassion and care for those around her. Blunt really dives into the role and cements her portrayal in a charismatic way. She steals the show in nearly every scene.

I recommend Mary Poppins Returns for ages 5 to 18, due to some dark themes. Adults and fans of the original Mary Poppins will enjoy this film. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. The film has lots of charm and it's great to see Poppins sail back onto the screen once again.

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

The movie, Mary Poppins Returns is a beautiful classic movie. I totally enjoyed it and can't wait to watch it again. However, it is different from what I thought it would be. I thought I was going to see a remake of the original Mary Poppins, you know, the one made famous by the incredible Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. However, Mary Poppins Returns is a sequel.

The story takes place 25 years into the future of the Banks' family and the brother and sister are all grown up now. Mr. Banks has recently lost his wife and is devastated. The family is losing their home because they are behind on payments. Fortunately, for the Banks' family, Mary Poppins (played by the multi-talented Emily Blunt) returns to help the family.

What I really love about this film is that it has a great story, acting, singing, dancing and music. I particularly loved the live action mixed with vibrant colorful animation. There are also golden nuggets of lessons to be learned in life, which I'll share shortly.

One of my favorite parts in the movie is when Mary Poppins makes her grand entrance gliding down from high in the sky with her umbrella. Another awesome scene is when Jack (played the brilliantly talented Lin-Manuel Miranda) uses a ladder to climb the multi-high clock tower. Another really cool scene is when all the characters go down a tub drain and enter a whole new world where they swim and sing.

I love the singing voices of Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. It is great to see a cameo appearance by the amazing Dick Van Dyke (as Mr. Dawes Jr.) who runs the bank. He literally lit up the film when he appears and dances on a desk. Angela Lansbury's cameo as the Balloon Lady was also just perfect. She has one of those voices when you hear one word you know it's her.

The messages of Mary Poppins Returns are important for all of us to remember - never lose hope, try to look at the brighter side of things and don't forget what it is to be or have the heart of a child. I recommend this for ages 5 to 18 and also for adults. This film comes to theatres December 19, 2018 and I think you will love it, too. I joyfully give Mary Poppins Returns 5 out of 5 stars!

Reviewed by Abigail Zoe L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ZOONICORN SING-ALONG SONGS VOL. 1
ZOONICORN SING-ALONG SONGS VOL. 1 - ZOONICORN, LLC
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 2-5
Description - Four Zoonicorns, magical hybrids of zebras and unicorns, take young animals who are facing a real-life challenges on imaginative adventures in the dreamland Zooniverse. Songs introduce the characters and share empowering social-emotional lessons that teach the power to win is always within!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Zoonicorn Sing-Along Songs, Volume 1 is a web series that features 3-D multicolored unicorn characters, My Little Pony-ish, with unique magical strengths that impart through song and story positive and uplifting answers to children's fears and esteem issues. The songs are well-performed and produced, though somewhat repetitive in style. Children will be drawn to the vivid color and texture of the scenery and characters as well as the child-like voices. In addition, children will identify with the trials and tribulations of the little Otter, Pancake, as he learns life lessons with the help of the Zoonicorns. Nicely produced and performed music. Orchestration is particularly well done on the Pancake story. There is definitely value in the positive messages such as: You can do anything if you try. Don't give up. Keep your eyes on the prize. The sample episode and songs follow the uplifting winner approach of this concept and the 3-D visual style works well as a platform. One problem I have with it is that some concepts or particular phrase are over the heads of little target audience such as 'go with the flow' or 'dot your i's and cross your t's'. It teaches children about tools to use to overcome fear or self esteem issues. Recommended for ages 2 to 5. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by John Wood, KIDS FIRST! Music specialist.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Are you ready to listen to the unique, magical and joyful web series that features 3-D multicolored unicorn characters. Get ready to view real-life challenges and imaginative adventures in the dreamland Zooniverse. This colorful masterpiece web series is created and executive produced by Mark Lubratt and directed by Cliff Dew and Ariel Yamus.

The web series follows four Zoonicorns, magical hybrids of zebras and unicorns, taking young animals facing real-life issues on imaginative adventures in the dreamland Zooniverse. The songs introduce the characters and share empowering social-emotional lessons that teach the power to win is always within. When the animals fall asleep, the Zoonicorns appear in their dreams.

The set of songs are well-performed and produced. Along with each song, you will meet seven new colorful, inspiring and adventurous friends as you visit beautiful Zooniverse. The songs provide age appropriate lyrics for which kids can easily sing alone. How fun is this? The music provides positive impact for children to build their vocabulary. No question that every child will be drawn to the vivid colors and texture of the scenery and characters, as well as the child-like voices.

This web series deliveries very powerful messages - for every problem, there is a solution; nothing is impossible, if you just believe in yourself; you can do anything; don't give up! Some of my favorite themes are about showing children to care about themselves, to be creative and to use their imaginations. The Zoonicorns provides lots of positive answers.

I believe the whole family will enjoy this web series and kids will certainly enjoy the catchy tunes This web series launches December 1, 2018 so look for it. Enjoy the fun adventures of the Zoonicorns. I recommend it for ages 2 to 5 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

The Zoonicorns are four mixes of Unicorns and Zebras that help other animals with their problems. When the animals fall asleep, the Zoonicorns appear in their dreams. As the Zoonicorns help others, they sing and their singing provides lyrics for which kids can easily sing along. This singing is great for preschoolers. The Zoonicorns provide answers to problems. The solution they find for every problem is that it comes from within and nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. Teaching a child about caring for themselves, using their imagination and creativity is another part of their message. The sing along builds up and introduces words to help the child expand their vocabulary, understanding new words and learning how to use them. This great web series comes out December 1, 2018. You can find it online so look for it. Enjoy the fun adventures of the Zoonicorns. I recommend it for ages 2 to 6 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. By Cemre C, KIDS FIRST! Youth Reviewer, age 14
Runtime: 17 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 2-5 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: AUDIO


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GETTING GRACE
GETTING GRACE - DANIEL ROEBUCK
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Grace, (newcomer Madelyn Dundon) is a teenage girl dying of cancer, who crashes a funeral home to find out what will happen to her after she dies. Instead, Grace ends up teaching the awkward funeral director, Bill (Daniel Roebuck), how to celebrate life in this critically acclaimed movie for the entire family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is a very emotional ride. I laughed a lot and I teared up. It is so well done, from the writing to the acting. Even though Getting Grace deals with something very sad, it tries to have a positive outlook, which makes it stand out.

The story follows a teenage girl named Grace, who has cancer. She crashes a funeral home to ask the funeral director what happens when someone dies. Most of the film follows her living her life as the clock counts down to her death and shows the way she affects the people around her, especially the funeral director, Bill.

The acting in this movie is fantastic. Some stand out actors are Madelyn Dundon as Grace, Daniel Roebuck as Bill, Marsha Dietlein as Venus and Alexa Mcfillin as Audrey. However, everyone else in the cast also come through, even very small characters. Kudos to the casting directors, Rod Gilkeson and Elaine Nunez. Speaking of the emotional scenes, these are genuinely amazing. Towards the end of the movie, there are some really great performances from Madelyn Dundon, Daniel Roebuck and Marsha Dietlein. But, I don't want to go into much detail because I don't want to spoil it.

Along with the acting, the movie is also carried by the direction. There are lots of really cool scenes in both the beginning and end of the movie. In the beginning, there's a scene where Grace rips off her wig to reveal she's gotten to the point where she's lost her hair. That's one of the many stand out scenes in the film. The foreshadowing! There's some really great foreshadowing in one particular scene, which I won't spoil, but it ends up being really important and really heartbreaking in the end.

I enjoyed the characters in this movie a lot. Grace is very funny and entertaining, but is a very tragic character as well. The way she slowly starts to understand the seriousness of her condition as the story progresses really hurts. There's also a lot of nice character development, particularly with Bill. He first comes off as cold-hearted and a bit emotionless, but he soon develops into a pretty sad, yet complex character. My one issue with the film is that certain scene transitions from a serious scene to a more normal scene kind of kill the tone the previous scene was going for. So there are some editing issues.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. This film is already out so look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99 Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GREEN BOOK
GREEN BOOK - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Dr. Don Shirley is a world-class African-American pianist who's about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip, a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Sometimes being alone means not being accepted. A fact that some have attempted to convey in the art of cinema, but only a few reach the precision and emotional strength of Green Book which shows not only the complex and dark social issues of the 1960s but also demonstrates the power and emotion of feeling truly alone.

This movie contains a massively wide range of emotions. At times, the story is driven by love, romance and family. At other times, the characters live in racism, homophobia and segregation as it directly addresses and shows the darkness of the 60s in the United States. Yet still, the viewer will be surprised by the amount of humor and wonderfully vibrant moments that are portrayed. They will make you laugh in all the right places, without interrupting truly emotional moments.

Taking place in the 1960s, Green Book follows the highly famous and incredibly successful pianist, Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), who takes great risks as an African American man touring through the highly racial deep south. Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) accompanies Shirley going from his driver to savior to eventually, his close friend. As the tour progresses, the audience goes through many parts of the south where not only racism was prevalent against African Americans and Italians, but also acknowledge the severe homophobia that existed so terribly in the 1960s.

Perhaps one of the most lovable aspects of this movie can be attributed to the story itself. Every person in the film has a major character arc in which they become completely reshaped and remolded by the end. The entire cast performs with Oscar-worthy emotional portrayals of their characters. Mahershala once again delivers absolutely heart-wrenching scenes as the audience becomes acquainted with the lonesome and depressed life Don Shirley lives in, despite being unarguably talented and highly intelligent. The complexities in the set design, costume design, and overall tone of the entire world never run out of depth as the entire film feels as if it truly belongs in the 1960s, despite being shot nearly half a century later. Director Peter Farrelly may be seasoned in humoristic comedies, but makes sure his background stays separate for this film. With his lead, the audience experiences bitter reality and, with the help of cinematographer Sean Porter, view a vivid and colorful picture of United States in the 1960s, from up north in New York all the way to down south in Alabama.

Cinema about musicians would be blasphemy without an impressive soundtrack to follow suit. From music considered modern and pop for that era, to classical pieces hundreds of years old, Green Book promises a highly wide and diverse soundtrack that highlights itself as one of the greatest this year. Furthermore, the music tells the story as it begins with 1960s music, but slowly goes more and more towards classical and orchestral as the story unfolds and the viewer learns more about the conflicts of pianist Don Shirley. Furthermore, despite being over two hours long, the film keeps you captivated for the entire runtime and leaves you satisfied with a natural and beautiful ending.

Instead of a favorite scene, I would like to talk about several sequences present in the film. Since they're on tour, of course, Shirley and his fellow musicians in his trio are shown playing music. Yet, this varies in emotion, strength and passion as real-life events impact Don Shirley's craft just as the events impact his actual character. The power of his work never dwindles and always leaves you in awe. During the performance scenes, every aspect of the film shines with absolutely masterful cinematographic compositions that seem to isolate the musicians and truly captures the raw emotions such powerful music creates.

Despite the beauty and power that hold true throughout this film, it does have things to concern parents. As previously stated, the film embraces the bitter and blunt reality of the 1960s, from homophobia to racism. This makes it most appropriate for ages 14 to 18, as well as adults. I absolutely give the film 5 out of 5 stars for its powerful portrayal of an inspirational journey that promotes courage, activism and always doing what's right in the world. It opens in theaters November 21, 2018 so, check it out.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - Video game bad guy Ralph and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz must risk it all by traveling to the World Wide Web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope's video game, "Sugar Rush." In way over their heads, Ralph and Vanellope rely on the citizens of the internet -- the netizens -- to help navigate their way, including an entrepreneur named Yesss, who is the head algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making site BuzzzTube.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ralph Breaks the Internet is a colorful, fun-filled adventure that builds on characters and friendships. Going into this movie I thought it was going to be a predictable and boring washed-up sequel. That is not the case. The film builds upon the friendship that Ralph and Venellope have with each other. The climax of the movie is a heartwarming test of their friendship which brings light that friends don't always need to agree on everything.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is about Mr. Litwack installing the Internet to his arcade and his "Sugar Rush" game breaking, which leads to their adventure through the internet. Mr. Litwack orders the parts on eBay, but it costs $200 which is more than the game makes a year. Ralph and Venellope overhear him talking and decide to go on a quest to find the part and save Venellope's game. They travel to the router and get transported to the magical world of the Internet. They awe at the vibrant colors and variety of the internet and go directly go to the search bar where they ask to go to eBay. When they realize they have to bid for the wheel, they bid the highest number they can think of, not realizing they have to pay. This causes them to go on an epic adventure to get $27,001 in under 24 hours or else the item would be re-bid. They find a pop-up ad that shows them how to make money playing video games. They decide to get a car owned by Shank. They race Shank until they get beat by her. She gives them a tip and tells Venellope she races well.

My favorite scene is when they go to the Disney section of the Internet and we see a whole lot of cameos from favorite characters such as Eeyore and Stan Lee. I especially love when Venellope is being chased by Stormtroopers and goes into the princess lounge where she teaches them about modern comforts. I found that hilarious.

This film has huge star power. Ralph is voiced by John C. Reilly, the man behind Step Brothers and The Sisters Brothers. Also, Sarah Silverman plays Venelope who started in SNL and has appeared in The battle of the Sexes.

The message of this movie is that, even if you are best friends with someone that doesn't mean you can't disagree. This movie has nothing be inappropriate for kids. I recommend it for ages 7 to 18 and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is in theaters now so look for it.

Reviewed by Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Ralph Breaks the Internet is an astonishing new film that's full humor and excitement. It is about Ralph aka Wreck it Ralph who goes on a trip with his best friend Vanellope into the internet to buy a steering wheel for Vanellope's game so it doesn't get shut down. The internet is a whole new thing for Ralph and his friends and they walk into some trouble while trying to get the wheel. A few of the inconveniences they run into are not knowing where to go and also not having money. Before Ralph and Vanellope find out they need money, they place a bid of $27,000 on the steering wheel. When they get to checkout and they don't have money, the cashier says they have 24 hours before their bid expires. That's when they embark on their journey through the internet.

All the same characters from the original movie Wreck it Ralph are in this film and there are even some new ones introduced. Nathan Warner, the cinematography director excels at giving the movie a realistic cartoonish look. It really fits in with the whole video game plot and scenery. The theme is that friendships come in all shapes and sizes and that friends are forever.

If you plan on bringing kids under 11 or 12, I strongly recommend that you watch the trailer with them and ask if they would want to see the full movie because there are a lot of puns about Twitter and a lot of jokes that I don't think younger kids will get. I'm not saying that you shouldn't bring younger kids, because they will still understand the majority of what's happening and enjoy the film, but the director geared this film for older audiences such as 12 and above. I recommend this for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. It seemed that the adults were laughing more than the kids during the movie. I give it 4 out of 5 stars because it is a hilarious movie that kept me interested for all two hours.

Make sure you stay for both scenes after the credits. You can find this movie in USA theaters November 21, 2018 and worldwide in the days and weeks after. Put it on your calendar!

Reviewed by Na'im S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS, THE
NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS, THE - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Description - Young Clara needs a magical, one-of-a-kind key to unlock a box that contains a priceless gift. A golden thread leads her to the coveted key, but it soon disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. In that world, she meets a soldier named Phillip, a group of mice and the regents who preside over three realms. Clara and Phillip must now enter a fourth realm to retrieve the key and restore harmony to the unstable land.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Do you remember The Nutcracker ballet? What about Cinderella? As I screened this film, both childhood memories came to mind. Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms has brought the magic of Disney back to the big screen. From the beginning of the film, your senses will be ALIVE! Every set looks edible with color and life. Truly, this live-action Disney film is a breath of fresh air.

While you may know the story of The Nutcracker, your senses will be awakened by the colors, costumes, and scenery in this film. As with most Disney films, there is a theme of loss, yet it is also so alive!

Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is an amazing young protagonist. I found myself drawn to her curious nature and determination to live up to her mother's curious nature. As a young girl, she plays a curious and adventurous spirit, who is also very mechanically inclined. She amazed me by her desire to succeed, and her courage. She walks into dark spaces knowing she is enough, and encounters creatures who challenge her along a path of discovery. She encounters toy soldiers and magical mice - some of whom are not kind! Clara's quick mind and wonderful, kind skills help her get through a lot of sticky situations!

Without giving too much away, the gist of the story is about a gift, presented by her Father, but left to her by her mother at Christmas. Her second gift is from her godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) at his annual holiday party, which leads her to a coveted key - which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. From one world to the next, Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets, Clara and a soldier she meets named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara's key.

The Sugar Plum Fairy Sugar (Keira Knightley), we learn, is not to be trusted and at times, gets annoying with her over the top antics. But in the end, this film has all the feels (and reminds me of so many things) of a Victorian English Christmas, the beloved Russian ballet, lively forest creatures from Disney and the bond of family. Misty Copeland makes a magnificent addition to the film, showcasing her balletic perfection.

Hats off to the costumers and make-up artists! I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18, as well as adults. You should know this film deals with the death of a parent. It opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018. Look for it! You'll be glad you did.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a wondrous, visual experience that is somewhat light on substance. Apt acting and sensational ballet dancing excel and make this something more memorable than the premise might suggest. Any Disney fans will want to check this out. The story follows young Clara (Mackenzie Foy) as she recovers from her mother's death. However, a spark of hope lightens Clara after seeing her late mother's parting gift of a box with a hidden key. This key belongs to a parallel world, unlike anything, to which Clara must travel to obtain the key. With the help of budding soldier Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), Clara learns of all obstacles that await, especially in the form of the menacing Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), leader of the Fourth Realm. Most importantly is a looming war that could preside over the three Realms that are at peace - Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets and are threatened by the Fourth Realm. In the three Realms resides Sugar Plum (Kiera Knightley) who is on same page as Clara and braves her up for the Fourth Realm as the fate of the Realms and her mother's dying wish relies on it.

Mackenzie Foy, as Clara, well presents her character's central struggle to find her inner place amidst all the tragedy, while also being hopeful and cheerful. The end result of this character development is a joy to watch and most definitely the movie's best subplot, amongst all the other slumberous ones. Kiera Knightley, as Sugar Plum Fairy, regales with well-written comedic relief, but the timing of her intervention seems quite random and very over-the-top at times. Regardless, children, most of all, will find enjoyment with all the youthful energy. Jayden Fowora-Knight, as Philip, is my favorite character, despite this being only the second film he has appeared in. His charm and braveness add a relentless vigor to the character that never gets old. Helen Mirren, as Mother Ginger, likewise shines, despite her character suffering from a lack of screen time and character development. With what she is given, she shines with the menacing undertones that could mean good under the entire demeanor. Also, Misty Copeland's cameo is full of entertainment with her ballet proficiency bringing a certain something to the stage without feeling like a forced addition. Instead, it feels more like a celebration of the Nutcracker's roots and remains my favorite scene.

Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston expertly direct the visual flair with clear attention to every nook and cranny of the special effects and sound design. Despite this, the movie has flaws coming from the lack of a compelling story line, aside from Clara's inner struggles. Everything feels introduced way too quickly and without clear meaning. This leaves the movie feeling rather inconsequential and just an excuse to put the Nutcracker on the live screen. Still, the movie delivers an amazing awe to each scene's production.

The message of the movie is to never lose yourself in sorrow and always connect with your family and friends during times of grief. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. The movie releases in theaters on November 2, 2018 so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This live action film is absolutely stunning! The sets are rich and make you enter a fascinating world of four different, colorful realms. It is so beautiful, I did not want to leave the movie theater. I want to see it again. The film is inspired by the original story from German author E.T.A Hoffman, written in 1816 and the ballet by Tchaikovsky (1892).

The story is simple, but powerful in concept. This is the journey of Clara (Mackenzie Foy) who is dealing with the loss of her mother, trying to reconnect with the world and with her family, especially her father. On Christmas Eve, she receives a special gilt from her mother - a mysterious box. But, she is missing the key. With the help of Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman), her godfather, she enters a world of mysteries with characters that will help her find the key. When she first enters, a cute mouse has the key, but is impossible to catch. She meets a Nutcracker soldier, Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) who tells her about the realm of Flowers, the realm of Sweets and the realm of Snowflakes, but warns her about the dangerous fourth realm and Mother Ginger. But, Clara is determined to find the key and will do what it takes to find it.

This film has the power of captivating you. There are moments I was really afraid and others I was delighted and amused, depending on the characters in the scene. It has the power to be frightening, like in the fourth realm, with all kinds of circus characters. All the performances are amazing. Mackenzie Foy conveys innocence and courage at the same time and is just perfect for this role. She has an ethereal look and is a brave actress who did as many of her own stunts as can could. I love that she is a princess and a hero at the same time. Morgan Freeman adds gravitas to his role and a sense of wisdom. Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez is so flamboyant and adds a nice touch to the cast. Keira Knightly is the perfect fairy. She has a special tone in her voice. Helen Mirren is also absolutely believable as Mother Ginger. There's a mystery about her character and, despite her bad reputation, you want to know more about her. Actually, the only thing that bothered me in this film is that we don't know her back story and why she is a villain when we first meet her.

I love the ballet and the fact that the filmmakers decided to incorporate dance into the story. Misty Copeland's dancing is flawless. She is the first African American woman promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theater. Although the story is simple, all the visual and camera work put you in a fascinating world you are exited to be part of. The costumes are beautiful and the art direction and production design deserve an Oscar nomination.

The message of this movie is about embracing your own courage and discovering yourself. I think this is very important for kids to learn and understand the answer to so many questions. So many times we underestimate the power we have to make the world a better place. I give this film 5 of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 4 to 16. Unlock the mystery!

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 1
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love all of the stories and plots from J.K. Rowling. She never fails to amaze me with all the different plot twists that she comes up with. Besides having a wonderful follow up story that leaves the audience wanting more, the CGI is very detailed, yet still realistic. The sound immerses viewers even more into the story.

The story starts off with a very intense scene that starts the conflict and trouble. No spoilers though. After the introduction, it picks up three months after Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them left off. We are introduced to Newt's brother who works for the ministry and his fianc� who had a childhood crush on Newt. We also discover that Jacob gets his memory back!

Eddie Redmayne comes back to play Newt. He embraces Newts' quirky and kind side perfectly. Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol (Jacob and Queenie) come back even closer as a couple. They fight just like a real couple too. Ezra Miller (Credence) is back, but as an older, mature and independent adult. His ability to portray his rage while staying calm is impressive and also intimidating.

The CGI is quite realistic, but at the same time out of this world. All the different creatures are so unique. I love how immersive the entire experience is. The animation combined with the acting, sets and music allows everyone to enter a different world.

My favorite scene is when Credence transforms into his black, floaty form because he is angered. In this form, he tries to attack one of the wizards who killed the person he was trying to get information from. He uses all his might and strength to attack. He even damages the entire building they are in with his force. Even though Credence is very powerful, he is still unable to pierce the wizard's shield. This scene is very intriguing to me because everything is so detailed. From Credence's liquid, black form to the crushing of the building, everything is very realistic.

There are many different underlying messages in this film. One of them is about family. Newt and Theseus (Newt's brother) haven't always been on the best of terms. For a while they worked against each other because of their conflicting views. But inevitably, they ended up on the same side, because they both have good intentions. And even though they might have done some unforgivable things to each other, they still forgive each other.

I love that this film allows you to enter a new world. It is fantastic! I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18. Even adults will enjoy this intriguing film. This film is out now in theaters so go see it!

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

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a serviceable entry in the Harry Potter universe despite its many shortcomings. Fantastic performances and visuals complete some truly great and pivotal plot developments. Any Harry Potter fan might want to check this out, but go with lowered expectations.

The story follows the breakout of influential dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) as he seeks to enlist his army of pure bloods. He starts by manipulating the transformation of Credence (Ezra Miller). All sides are divided by this as many find that killing both will fix the issue and many believe that Grindelwald upholds what is right. All except for the moral Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who believes in stopping both but not killing. As a result, a younger Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists him to work behind the lines as dangerous times approach testing the loyalties and love of all involved.

Eddie Redmayne, as Newt Scamander, is always entertaining with his quirky remarks and unswayable morals. Also, he attempts to reunite with Tina (Katherine Waterston) to humanize his central struggle to find company. Johnny Depp, as Grindelwald, empowers with his powerful voice and fear-inducing actions. His presence holds well even among the likes of Voldemort. Jude Law, as Albus Dumbledore, is my favorite character with a spot-on recreation of a younger Dumbledore even if he's not in it for long. His wise remarks and enthralling character developments only left me wanting more. Zoe Kravitz, as Leta, is one of the most interesting characters with her fair share of story which leaves us craving for more regarding the mysteries of the lore. Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler and Ezra Miller return better than ever with twists and turns further developing their characters, even if a little too much time is spent on their side of the story.

David Yates expertly directs with an eye of awe for each of the magical settings visited. It is always a delight to see the early happenings of events and monuments such as Hogwarts. However, my favorite scene comes from the opening escape which rips and roars with wondrous sound design and sets the precedent for a truly epic villain in Grindelwald. Despite this, the movie comparably falls flat resulting in some boring sections of exposition with forced moments of fan service. The movie feels considerably crowded and in need of a more compelling story in some sections. Despite this, the exceptional first few minutes and last third redeem the story from being a total slump.

The message of the movie is to never lose your morals despite what could benefit you. Newt is a great example of this because he chooses what's right in spite of Grindelwald's powerful way with words. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 because of some intense action and themes. The movie releases in theaters on November 16, 2018 so check it out.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE - THE STORY PIRATES
Series: AUDIO, AGES 5-12
Description - From the creators of the hit Story Pirates Podcast comes an album full of songs for kids that parents will love, too! Nothing Is Impossible features twelve infectious songs, written and performed by the Story Pirates, based entirely on stories written by KIDS! To learn more about the us, visit storypirates.com!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Story Pirates have created a lovely 12 song album based on original stories written by children ages 4 to 11. The imagination is brilliant throughout this project and the performances are impeccable. Each song is based on a different child's original story so each structure is unique to that particular content. You know you're in for a ride when the opening song is "Fart Out Loud Day," written by two sisters from Colorado. I'm sorry, but "Pass Gas Out Loud Day" just doesn't have the same je ne sais quoi - excuse my French. "All Eight Unicorns" are pretentious valley girls and reminded me of the Kardashians - silly unicorns! These are well produced arrangements and performances that are absolutely creatively stimulating for young minds. They are smart songs with a child's sensibility where imagination rules the day and written stories can blossom into something very special. The performances and production are first-rate across the board! Sharing observations and fun, silly ideas with peers can build positive social interaction. I would hope this concept would encourage a child to write down their own stories and observations. This would be a fun activity for the classroom. The hits keep coming and the smiles are plenty, so find your way to this gleaming pot of gold because Nothing Is Impossible! I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 12. It is well produced, entertaining and fun.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Nothing is Impossible is a collection of songs that are impossible to get out of your head (in the best way possible)! These tunes are funny, addicting and creative. Kids and parents alike will love this music. Even as a teenager, I found this album really funny and musically impressive. I really enjoyed listening to each song and felt that I was listening to music that I could show my kids in years to come.

Nothing is Impossible features songs written and sung by the creators of the hit Story Pirates Podcast. It's based entirely on stories written by young children. The influences for these stories include six-year-old Leah from Maryland's story about being in the car (hence the title "In the Car"), a comic made by eleven-year-old Peer from California ("The Guy") and ten-year-old Alex from New York's story about a talking carrot ("Fred the Carrot"). One story that really caught my eye was four-year-old Ethan's from New Jersey. Ethan has heterotaxy, so he has a special heart and battery. He said the reason behind writing his story was that he would "love to run and catch a seagull, but I can't even jump that high so I wrote a story about it." I really want to commend Story Pirates for choosing Ethan's story and allowing him to express himself. It is really heartwarming to listen to that song and read Ethan's artist statement.

Nothing is Impossible is really an awesome album. Kids will laugh hysterically at songs such as "Fart Out Loud Day" and "Fred the Carrot." Even I had to stop myself from chuckling. Some of these song lyrics are really creative, as are the concepts. It's hard to believe that young kids came up with these ideas. The songs promote self-love and positive messages for young kids, such as believing in yourself and being confident and proud. The concept of this collection is an original one. I've never heard of anyone basing songs off of kids' ideas. Kids can be smarter than grown-ups sometimes, so it is really interesting to see all of these cool concepts played out in song form.

I recommend Nothing is Impossible for kids ages 2 to 10 and give it 5 out of 5 stars, because of its creativity and humor. This CD is a fun and entertaining way for young children to enjoy music and life. Thanks to its positivity, it may also boost their spirits and confidence. I really enjoyed this CD and I think younger kids will enjoy it even more.

Reviewed by Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Runtime: 45 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99 Media: AUDIO


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
INSTANT FAMILY
INSTANT FAMILY - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - When Pete and Ellie decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope to take in one small child, but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15-year-old girl, they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight. Now, Pete and Ellie must try to learn the ropes of instant parenthood in the hope of becoming a family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Now, I must admit that I'm a bit biased. My mom has worked with foster kids for 20 years and I've helped out a charity that helps foster kids. So foster children are really important to me and this movie really reflects the truth about this system in an emotional and funny way.

The story follows Pete and Ellie, a couple who feel as though there is something missing in their life. They decide to adopt three siblings from the foster care system. However, they find that raising children is a lot harder than they thought.

This movie deals with a very heavy subject - the foster care system. Foster kids go through a lot of terrible stuff, which greatly affects them psychologically. One thing I really like about this movie is that it doesn't sugar coat the hard reality. It dives straight into the lives of foster kids, without simplifying what they've gone through. I really like this as it breaks the impressions that a lot of people have about raising a foster kid - that it's not as hard as raising your own kid. That is not the case and the movie perfectly shows this. It may seem like the kids are unlikable because of this, however they grow on you. It took quite a while for Pete and Ellie to grow on me however. They're very impatient and annoying for a lot of the movie. And, although they get better over time, it kind of takes a while.

This movie is a comedy. So how is the comedic aspect? Pretty good. However at the beginning, there are lots of jokes about foster kids that feel very forced. While they technically have a purpose. They just weren't funny to me. For example, there is a joke where Pete says one kid looks like she has fetal alcohol syndrome or was chained to a radiator her whole life. While there is a funny pay off, the implications kind of made me uncomfortable and it was part of the reason why I didn't like Pete and Ellie.

I admit that when the film starts to get really emotional, it really hits hard. The acting is really great in the serious scenes, especially from Lizzy (Isabela Moner). Of course, I need to give a shout out to Octavia Spencer who plays Karen, one of the case workers. I really like Octavia Spencer and she makes every scene she's in absolutely outstanding!

I would give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it for ages 13 to 18. I would also recommend this movie for people who are considering becoming foster parents. If you want to mentor foster youth go to your local group home and help out. This movie is out on November 16, 2018 so look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GRINCH, THE
GRINCH, THE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - For their eighth fully animated feature, Illumination and Universal Pictures present The Grinch, based on Dr. Seuss' beloved holiday classic. The Grinch tells the story of a cynical grump who goes on a mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a young girl's generous holiday spirit. Funny, heartwarming, and visually stunning, it's a universal story about the spirit of Christmas and the indomitable power of optimism. Academy Award� nominee Benedict Cumberbatch lends his voice to the infamous Grinch, who lives a solitary life inside a cave on Mt. Crumpet with only his loyal dog, Max, for company. With a cave rigged with inventions and contraptions for his day-to-day needs, the Grinch only sees his neighbors in Whoville when he runs out of food. Each year at Christmas they disrupt his tranquil solitude with their increasingly bigger, brighter, and louder celebrations. When the Whos declare they are going to make Christmas three times bigger this year, the Grinch ...
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Grinch is a cute and funny movie that reminds us of the real spirit of Christmas. This film is based on the famous Dr. Seuss book about the Grinch who hates Christmas so much. He tries to spoil it for everyone in the very Christmassy town he lives in, Whoville. Meanwhile, a small Who child tries to catch Santa, so she can talk to him about something very important that she wants for Christmas. The Grinch is an orphan and never had a family Christmas. He used to sit at his window watching all the Whos playing and celebrating outside. This made him hate Christmas. Years later, he decides to try to stop it. The Whos are a species that are always incredibly jolly around Christmas, so it will be hard to take it away from them.

I like how the music is the same music from How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), but modernized with a hip-hop beat, complements to Danny Elfman. The way the Whos move around the town quickly is quite unique. Instead of roads, the Whos get around get on snowmobiles and sleds. The main characters in this movie are, The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch), the only person that hates Christmas and Cindy Lou, (Cameron Seely), the little-girl that is trying to catch Santa and talk to him.

The Grinch lives in a cave north of Whoville that is full of rooms with inventive passageways and elevators to move between them. It is clear that the Grinch is very inventive. For example, in the music room there is a thin pathway that leads to a massive organ for the Grinch to play and a tiny drum set, for Max, his faithful dog. The Grinch is always telling Max to stop playing because he is ruining the vibe, but eventually gives in. He does this most times Max wants something, showing he is not as mean a character as he pretends.

Max is my favorite character in this movie. He goes about his day using Rube Goldberg machines to help the Grinch get ready for his day. My favorite scene is when Cindy Lou is sliding down the hill to get to the postman and crashes into the Grinch. That scene is hilarious and cool at the same time, featuring lots of fast action and comedy. Another good scene is when the Grinch is choosing his clothes. Inside his closet, he has clothes that have tags on them that read, "sad, very sad, miserable, very miserable, Christmas or happy." The happy pants are super clean while the very miserable pants look old and worn. This shows that the Grinch has been extremely sad lately.

The message of this film is that being together with friends and family is the only gift you ever need. Cindy Lou shows this through how forgiving she is, even though he steals their Christmas. I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, because it is a great family Christmas movie with a good message. This movie opens in theaters on November 9, 2018. Be sure to check it out.

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

What a touching moment! This full-length animated film intensely has you gazing at the screen, without a doubt. This enjoyable, wonderstruck, emotional, touching and kid-friendly movie is directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier. Get ready to enjoy this perky piece of family entertainment, just in time for the holidays. It is filled with memorable and touching moments that catch you off guard.

The story follows a mean-spirited, cynical and grumpy Grinch who sets his eye on a mission, with his energetic dog Max, to destroy Christmas for one deplorable reason. The Grinch really hates Christmas, especially the loud, bright celebrations in Whoville. In order to get some peace and quiet, the Grinch disguises himself as Santa Clause and you'll have to wait to see how he steals Christmas from The Who's. He doesn't expect what happens when he meets a young girl names Cindy Lou. The Grinch realizes he is only afraid of one thing that has affected him his whole life.

The lead characters in this film are Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch), Cindy Lou (Cameron Seely), The Mayor of Whoville (Angela Lansbury), Izzy (Scarlett Estevez) and narrator (Pharrell Williams).

My favorite part of the film is when the grumpy and cruel Grinch changes his attitude and action choices. He has a change of heart and experiences his old ways to become happy and respectful as he feels valued (which is what everyone should feel). A quick theory of what happens is the small young girl changes the Grinch heart with a sentence, and that sentence changes everything.

This holiday film will definitely bring lots of laughs and humor. The film certainly provides positive messages about optimism, compassion and generosity. The animation deserves a big round of applause. It is jaw dropping, extraordinary, realistic to the story theme, beautiful and vibrant. The amazing animation is brought to life by Cinzia Angelina (storyboard artist), Sylvia Deboissy (Character Designer/ Development Artist), Patrick Muylken (color designer) and many more.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 16, as well as adults. Truly, the whole family will enjoy the film. It is designed with so much reaction moments. Don't miss this live-action film when it opens nationwide November 9, 2018.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PUPPY STAR CHRISTMAS
PUPPY STAR CHRISTMAS - AIR BUD ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - A song-filled new Air Bud 'Pup Star' movie that introduces four new pups to the family, who stow away on Santa's sleigh and find themselves trapped at the North Pole, trying to save the world's Christmas spirit.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The most amazing thing about the Pup Stars films is how the filmmakers animate the live animals so you actually believe they are talking. After the first 10 minutes, you just accept for what it is and buy into the idea that this parallel universe has talking dogs in it.

This film is the fourth in the Pup Star franchise and it is as cute and charming as the other, with a Christmas theme as its focus. Who can resist a combination of cute dogs with their even cuter puppies, celebrating a favorite holiday. Of course, there has to be a antagonist thrown in, in the form of a pack of evil dogs that want to take over Christmas and commercialize it, making more money than anyone ever imagined.

Most of the original characters have returned, Mackenzie Moss as Lou, David DeLuise as Steven. Most importantly, the voice actors that play the dogs - Kaitlyn Maher as Tiny, Mackenzie Sol as P.U.P., Dillon Fontana as Brody, Oakley Bull as Cindy and Chloe Coleman as Charlie all deserve high fives for their outstanding voice talent.

The moral of the story is one that we can all resonate, that Christmas is really about family, not commercialization. Look for this film on Netflix November 20. It'll make a fun one to watch with your family Thanksgiving weekend and throughout the holiday season. Get grandma and auntie and Uncle Joe to sit down and laugh together watching the antics of these cute pups. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I am not usually a fan of musicals, but this movie is better than some that I've seen. I really like how the dogs are animated in this movie. It really looks as if they are actually talking and dancing. That makes the movie as entertaining as it is.

Puppy Star Christmas is a Christmas themed sequel to Pup Star 2 that follows the Pup Star company making a Christmas special right after Tiny has puppies. The movie follows the pup's parents getting ready for Christmas. It also focuses on the pups as they carry out some crazy ideas and plans that sometimes get them into trouble. For example, the pups decide to go to the North Pole to meet Santa, but while trying to do that, some evil dogs are trying to take over Christmas! Tiny and the Pup Star staff are working on the Christmas special while searching for the missing pups.

The four new members to the Pup Star family are Brody (Dillon Fontana), an adventurous little pup that thinks of something fun to do and his sisters usually follow. Rosie (Vivienne Rutherford) is the pup who always thinks of herself as the star of everything. Cindy (Oakley Bull) is the pup who knows when something will go wrong, but none of her siblings ever listen to her. Last is Charlie (Chloe Coleman), the sarcastic one, who has some of the best lines.

My favorite scene in this movie is when the elves sing "The Worst Christmas Ever," while the villains think they are singing the same thing as they are - "The Best Christmas Ever." Another good scene is when the reindeers bring Roland to the Pup Star stage. The reindeers are doing loop the loops, while going as fast as they can, just to be mean to Roland. My favorite character is Brody, because he is adventurous and he loves to eat, just like me. He also comes up with a bunch of crazy ideas that get him in trouble, but I don't think he will ever learn. For example, in the beginning of the film Brody tries to eat both the turkey and the pumpkin pie. That really gets him into trouble.

The message of this movie is that Christmas isn't just about the gifts, it is about being with family. The pups show that throughout the entire film. I rate this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, because it is an amusing movie that shows the meaning of Christmas in a great way. I think adults will enjoy watching this film with their children. This movie will be available exclusively on Netflix on November 20, 2018 so look for it!

Reviewed by Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

"It is Christmas in the heart, that puts Christmas in the air!" once said W.T Ellis. Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way. Yup, it's Christmas time - presents, cookies, family and vacation time. This astonishing, touching, intriguing, heart-warming, well-intentioned and adorable movie is directed by Robert Vince and written by Pier Rae and Robert Vince.

This film follows Tiny and P.U.P whose four new pups take a trip into the dark night sky with a special guest named Santa Claus. Trouble comes with they find themselves with the evil dog Bark and trapped at the North Pole. The pups get saved, but you'll have to see the movie to know how. This song-filled new Air Bud "Pup Star" movie will have you enjoying the Christmas spirit.

The lead characters in this film are Tiny (voiced by Kaitlyn Maher), P.U.P (voiced by Mackenzie Sol), Lou (Mackenzie Moss), Santa Claus (Richard Riehle), Rosie (voiced by Vivienne Rutherford) and complimented by many more.

My absolute favorite part of this film, without giving anything away, is when the Christmas spirit is saved. I love how the four pups set on a quest to find Santa Claus and recover the true meaning of Christmas with the help of their family. I think this part of the film will charm many because of the huge heart the little pups have!

This film delivers a very special message. It's not about the gifts; it is about being with family. The pups show that meaning in this film. This touching movie will have you singing Christmas songs on your way to school, work and perhaps your Christmas recital.

I give this film a 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14, as well as adults. This film will release exclusively on NETFLIX on November 20, 2018. Make sure to check it out!

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NEW ADVENTURES OF GUMBY, THE: 1980S VOLUME 1, PLUS BENDABLE
NEW ADVENTURES OF GUMBY, THE: 1980S VOLUME 1, PLUS BENDABLE - N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 5-12
Description - Limited edition includes bendable Prickle and Goo figures. Two DVD set. Welcome back Gumby and Pokey in this wild, wacky and inventive collection of '80s episodes. Featuring 50 clay-animated episodes, fully remastered from their original camera rolls and soundtracks. Also making appearances are Prickle, Goo, the Blockheads, Professor Kapp, Dr. Zveegee, the Moon Boggles, and Gumby's parents Gumbo and Gumba. New characters include Gumby's sister Minga, Denali the Mastodon and Tilly the chicken!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This lovely collector's edition comes with two bendable toys that are two new lovable characters from this Gumby DVD. The characters are Prickle, a cute yellow dinosaur/dragon and Goo, a green gooey mermaid. Having been a fan of the original Gumby series, I enjoyed seeing my favorite characters rejuvenated on screen with better film quality and sound. The stories are always so eccentric and fun-loving and this collection is no different. My favorite episode from Vol 1 is Birthday Party in the Middle Ages. During this story, Gumby and friends are invited to King Ott's birthday party from the middle ages book. I love seeing all of these characters brought to life in true Gumby form; the shapes and colors are fantastic. This DVD is captivating for the younger ages. I recommend it for ages 3 to 7 and give it 5 out of 5 stars for its timelessness. Reviewed by Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The New Adventures Of Gumby: The 80's Series is a good show that retains the groundbreaking animation and immense amount of creativity at the forefront of past iterations of Gumby.

This DVD contains over 40 episodes that follow the vivacious chunk of green clay named Gumby and his friends - Pokey, Prickle the little yellow dinosaur and a blue flying mermaid named Goo. Gumby can go anywhere, including inside books, and turn into anything. The crew goes on lots of fantastical and quirky adventures together. One of the things I enjoy about this DVD is its diverse set of characters. This collection has all the favorite characters from the previous series such as The Blockheads and Professor Kapp.

My favorite character from this collection is Gumby. This altruistic do-gooder is a character whose values are something kids can aspire to adopt. Gumby is one of the few characters that, if we all aspired to be, the world would be a better place. He is very likable and consistently fights for the common good. I also really like Gumby's friends. This collection also highlights how pivotal these characters were to the series' success. I really enjoy Gumby as a character, but without Prickle, Goo and Pokey as foils and characters for him to interact with, this series just wouldn't be as good.

I really have to give credit to the animators for using Claymation and not going with another type of animation. When such a specific brand like Gumby is been created and such dynamic characters are established, it's difficult to divert from the Claymation style. The difference here is I can tell that the character models and the environments have improved from the 60s, but the show doesn't lose the charm of the Claymation format.

I recommend The New Adventures Of Gumby: The 80's Series for ages 6 to 8.These are short cartoons that match younger kids' attention spans. The episodes are extremely colorful, but I think kids under age 6 won't understand the jokes. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. I didn't find this collection as compelling as the 60s series, but it carries the torch of the Gumby legacy well. You can find this collection on DVD now.

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

This lovely two DVD set comes with limited edition bendable Prickle and Goo figures. How awesome is that! The 1980s show was a hit when mom was growing up and it bought back so many memories for her. Welcome back Gumby and Pokey in this wild, wacky and inventive collection of 80s episodes, created and written by Joe Clokey.

My favorite character is, by all odds Gumby, because he is always so energetic and happy. I enjoyed watching how Gumby and his genial friend Pokey take an adventure through an Ice Cave. I enjoyed this mirthful episode because it made me laugh. I really enjoyed seeing the characters come to life. The colors also really bring a sense of enjoyment.

The characters in this series are Gumby, Pokey and Prickle, an adorable yellow dinosaur that looks like a dragon. Also making an appearance are Goo, the Blockhead, Professor Kapp, Dr. Zveegee, the Moon Boggles and Gumby's parents Gumbo and Gumba.

I have to tell you about the story behind this release. Did you know that each episode and song was fully re-mastered from the original camera rolls and soundtracks? How cool is that! Here's a chance to see Gumby as it has never been seen before.

I give this DVD 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 7, as well as adults. This series is certainly unique and will definitely bring back memories if you grew up watching Gumby. This DVD is available now so, check it out.

Reviewed by Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

What I like about this collection is that each episode is different and each character is made differently. The clay figurines are all unique and super cute. It is a different type of show than what I am used to seeing. I don't often see animated clay shows like this. The claymation is a little old school, like in my parents' days. In some episodes it seems a little slow moving, but according to my parents, Gumby was a pretty hip and legit cartoon to watch when they were young.

Gumby, Pokey and friends make a major comeback in this re-mastered collection. The characters are all made of clay and delivered in "claymation" on this two disc DVD. You do not want to miss out on this wacky, wild and original 50 episodes. One of my favorite episodes is "Gumby's Circus," where you see this circus almost flip upside down by the Blockheads.

My favorite character is Goo, because she is blue like my favorite color and very cute. I love mermaids and it so happens that Goo plays a mermaid. Her powers are extremely awesome! She has the power to fly and spit balls of clay. Pretty awesome! Girl power!

My favorite part of "Gumby's Circus" is when Gumby allows his sister Ming to be part of his circus show. Gumby's parents, Gumbo and Gumba attend the circus show to check out Gumby and Ming's performances. They are definitely proud of their children.

The message of this show is about Gumby being kind-hearted by allowing his sister to join his circus act. Although the Blockheads try to ruin the circus show, by destroying the tent, they are captured by a Good Samaritan cowboy and put into a cage until authorities arrive. Everyone helps save the circus from becoming a huge disaster.

I give this DVD 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 9, as well as adults. It's great animation for a child starting to recognize persons and things. It's available on DVD now, so check it out.

Reviewed by Sev'n F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Runtime: 250 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 24.99 Media: DVD


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN (2018)
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN (2018) - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is the third installment of the Johnny English comedy series, with Rowan Atkinson returning as the much loved accidental secret agent. The new adventure begins when a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, leaving Johnny English as the Secret Service's last hope. Called out of retirement, English dives head first into action with the mission to find the mastermind hacker. As a man with few skills and analog methods, Johnny English must overcome the challenges of modern technology to make this mission a success.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This entertaining film, written by William Davies and directed by David Kerr, is very funny. The main character, Johnny English is supposed to be a spy, but fails a lot. For example, he accidentally sets things on fire or blows things up. And, when he does things wrong, he pretends that he was trying to do it.

The film is about a cyber attack, which exposes the identities of all of Great Britain's undercover spies. Johnny English is a retired spy, currently working as a teacher, and he comes out of retirement to find the mastermind hacker who did it. When he was a spy, he used old gadgets, but now they use more digital things like tablets and smart phones. Since Johnny doesn't know how to use them, he just throws them at his targets instead.

The actor playing Johnny English, Rowan Atkinson, is very good. Every time he fights someone, it looks quite realistic. He is hilarious when he dances in the middle of the dance floor and doesn't stop the whole night. Also, the gadgets he uses, like his magnetic boots and his exoskeleton suit make the film even more exciting. My favorite part of this film is that Johnny English is a teacher and he teaches the kids how to be spies instead of teaching them normal school subjects.

The soundtrack is excellent and so are the sets. They make it feel as if it's a real spy movie. All of the crazy things that you expect to happen in a spy movie happen here, plus even more. The special effects and stunts make each scene that much more fun to watch.

As fun as this film is, you should know that people are violent with each other and there is one inappropriate scene when Johnny's pants fall down and you see his rear end. The violent parts are not bloody or gory. They are just normal fight scenes like you would see in any funny spy movie. There is some humor that younger kids may not understand or might find disturbing, but I think older kids and adults will definitely be amused. As thrilling as all of the stunts are, they are dangerously unrealistic and not the kind of thing you would want a young child thinking they should try.

I recommend this film for ages 9 to18, as well as adults. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It is available in theaters on October 26, 2018, so look for it.

Reviewed by Leah R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Johnny English Strikes Again is an incredibly humorous film that definitely holds up to the success of the two previous Johnny English films. There isn't a low moment in this movie and I plan to see it again. This is a "cannot miss" film that everyone is sure to love.

The storyline follows the Prime Minister of London (Emma Thompson) who calls Special Agent English (Rowan Atkinson) back into action after cyber-attack leaks the identities of all the undercover agents working for the MI7. English must stop the hacker in order to save the people of London.

My favorite part about this film is when English is practicing his mission using a virtual reality simulation. The simulation is said to be highly "immersive." While English is running through the simulation, he makes his way out of headquarters and into the streets of London, causing havoc for the people of London. I also found it interesting how well Johnny's old fashion ways comes into play numerous times throughout the film.

The director, David Kerr, makes a huge play on irony by making the bad guy a super high-tech professional, with special agent English not tech savvy at all. Luckily for Johnny, his lack of knowledge about technology helps him for the better.

There isn't anything about this film that I didn't like. From its special effects, to props to acting, everything fits together nicely, creating a great film that audiences will enjoy.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, as well as adults. It opens in theaters October 26, 2018, so look for it.

Reviewed by Raquel Y., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 1
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HELLO, GOODBYE, HELLO
HELLO, GOODBYE, HELLO - LIGHTHOUSE RECORDS
Series: MUSIC VIDEO AGES 2-5
Description - This video from Vincent Nunes' 10th CD of original music for children is fun and catchy and introduces early learners to the idea of respecting others even when they are different.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - If a picture is worth a thousand words then Victor Nunes' video of his song Hello, Goodbye, Hello must indeed speak a few thousand more. The simple repeated gesture of multi-ethnic children shaking hands and moving together to the positive lyrics of the title song exemplify love, acceptance and cooperation for the human beings we share this planet, this country, this neighborhood, this school and this life with. Sometimes it is just a song and dance together. The video has children as its focus and the material is uplifting. The song flows well. The continuity of the visuals could be more interesting and less repetitious. The material is right on for the intended age group. I recommend this for ages 5 to 8 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by John Wood, KIDS FIRST! Music specialist.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Runtime: 3 minutes Juror Recommended Age: 2-5 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: VIDEO

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FIRST MAN
FIRST MAN - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - A biopic on the life of the legendary American Astronaut Neil Armstrong from 1961-1969, on his journey to becoming the first human to walk the moon. Exploring the sacrifices and costs on the Nation and Neil himself, during one of the most dangerous missions in the history of space travel.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Easily one of the most famous events in human history is centered around a singular man, Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling). Behind the Apollo Mission that landed the first human on the moon, Neil is a man with conflicts, a man with a history and a man with a mission.

Along with its main focus on the intense, action-packed mission, First Man explores many avenues that include dramatic and intense moments which spawn from the heart-wrenching grief of losing a child to the intricate and beautiful romance with his wife, Janet (Claire Foy). Much of the movie has emotions that are quite far from being out of this world, specifically in its massive focus on the family.

The film begins up close and personal seeing Armstrong in his daring mission on the rocket-propelled plane, the X-15. Immediately, the story shows just how dangerous space exploration can be and how close those who brave exploring the final frontier get to never returning home. It follows Neil and his story intimately from the X-15 mission to the loss of three astronauts (close friends of Neil's) in Apollo 1, the near-lethal mission of Gemini 8 and, of course, the incredibly daring mission of Apollo 11, that landed the first people on the Moon. Throughout these milestones in space exploration, the story pauses to look at the relations and life of Neil, truly unveiling the blueprints showing who he was as a man.

While incredible in revealing a massive side of this well-known historical event, the film attempts to focus so much on a story that has little to tell. The length clocks in at just under two and a half hours, which feels very stretched after the adrenaline of the exciting opening scene wears off. Neil Armstrong is portrayed as a deep man with little visual emotions mixed with dramatic internal conflicts. While this decision allows for excellent character design, it makes him rather boring at times. It seems the writers wished to divide First Man into three stories - one, the story of Neil as a man; two, the story of Neil as a father and three, the story of Neil as an astronaut. All three have their pros and their cons, but mixed together, the film becomes daunting and stretched.

The cinematography sadly could have been better. Only a handful of camera shots do not shake. In most shots, the camera moves constantly or jitters. In the beginning, with the X-15 mission, this effect adds to the entertainment of the film. The audience quickly becomes sucked into the important and lethal mission with dangers at every corner. After two hours of shaky camera shots, that excitement changes to annoyance. While a mix would be ideal, and in more intensive scenes a camera shake would be appropriate, having the entire runtime featuring shakiness as well as many blurry shots, looks amateur and comes off as poor execution of what should be an interesting and captivating story.

However, the film does go beyond the moon in many ways. Predominantly, in the acting. Neil Armstrong has deep faults and that stands as a challenge to any actor. Ryan Gosling nails the role in what turns out as an Oscar�-worthy performance of the famous astronaut. Others, including Claire Foy, also deliver extraordinary performances bringing each character to life. Despite the fact that no one can hear you scream in space, the sound design really belongs out of the world due to the quality and complexity of the sound effects. Much of First Man contains loud, intricate sound effects that vary and cover a massive spectrum. Perhaps more powerful would have been the use of silence in the most dramatic moments, sending chills to the entire audience.

My favorite scene is one of these moments of eerie silence. In this scene, three members of the Apollo 1 mission do a test in the Apollo capsule. It goes horribly wrong and the interior of the capsule catches on fire, sadly, resulting in losing the lives of all three. Yet, the film takes this a step further, as the three fallen heroes are not new in this scene. The viewer gets time to like them, understand them and befriend them - just as Neil did in real life. This makes their sudden and dramatic loss nothing short of shocking and cold, replicating the real-life impact it had on Armstrong.

Although, First Man has a strong beginning, a strong ending and many high points throughout, it also has many mistakes and things that could be improved that simply negate the extraordinary story of this story. For that reason, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. The story is quite intensive and is best suited for older audiences that will understand the impact of the events so I recommend it for ages 12 to 18. This film opens nationwide in theaters on October 12, 2018 so, look for it. If you are a fan of space exploration, it is sure to make an impact, but even if you aren't you will learn something new.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

First Man is a visually stunning and up-close account of the Apollo 11 mission. Excellent acting and innovative directing excel this personal focus, as one of a well-built dramatic journey. Anyone interested in space studies or even cinematic craft must check this out.

The story follows the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) in the 1960s on his journey to becoming the first man to walk on the moon. More so, an exploration of the sacrifices and costs that the journey had upon Armstrong's personal life and the nation itself, during one of the nation's most desperate and dangerous missions.

Ryan Gosling, as Neil Armstrong, is my favorite character with near-perfect representation of Neil's reclusive, yet adventurous self. His struggles to overcome the death of his daughter Karen and fellow crewmates offer the movie's best share of emotions and present a newfound inspirational look into this real-life pioneer. Claire Foy, as Janet Armstrong, excels with her bitter opinions on her husband's involvement in the Apollo program. Her intense wariness effectively presents the instability that the Armstrong family faced during such tough times. Corey Stall, as Buzz Aldrin, respectfully acts out the childlike, but intellectual aspects of his real-life counterpart. Jason Clarke, as Edward Higgins White, impressively presents a good friend in need to Neil, contributing to the success of NASA's missions with his tragic accident being handled all the more respectively.

Damien Chazelle expertly directs the movie with an innovative handheld approach steered by cinematographer Linus Sandgren that captures the paranoia, but wondrous awe of each voyage into space. This approach can become a little disorienting at times and requires an adjustment factor. My favorite scene is the Agena voyage, as it distinguishes itself from the Apollo 11 landing, by focusing on NASA's most miniscule attempts to catch up with the Soviet Union. As a result, the mission comes with its huge share of bumps, which are helped by the cringe-inducing sound design and a self-contained terror within the astronauts involved.

The message of the movie is that success never comes without sacrifice and failure, but most of all, perseverance. Armstrong sets a strong persevering mentality and example towards dealing with any obstacle as he seeks to support his family peacefully and the mission safely. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of infrequent intense scenes and language. The movie releases in theaters on October 12, 2018 so check it out.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN
GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - While collecting junk one day, best friends Sonny and Sam meet Slappy, a mischievous talking dummy from an unpublished "Goosebumps" book by R.L. Stine. Hoping to start his own family, Slappy kidnaps Sonny's mother and brings all of his ghoulish friends back to life -- just in time for Halloween. As the sleepy town becomes overrun with monsters, witches and other mysterious creatures, Sonny joins forces with his sister, Sam and a kindly neighbor to save Sonny's mom and foil Slappy's plan.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is spooky, fun and creative! It is very engaging and entertaining throughout the whole film.

The story is about a young boy, Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and his best friend, Sam (Caleel Harris) who finds a book. When they open it, a doll called Slappy comes out! The boys lose the book, but keep Slappy. The friends are very surprised and a bit scared when they discover that the doll can talk. He seems nice at the beginning. He wants to have a family. But later, the boy, his sister Sarah (Madison Iseman) and his best friend realize he is strange and don't want him to be part of their family anymore. Slappy has his own personal agenda and decides to create his own family. He makes Halloween come to life as he invades the whole town with monsters and all the creatures as allies. This is a very scary Halloween for the town of Wardenclyffe, where the story takes place, as all creatures make real chaos. Sonny, Sam and Sarah team up with neighbor Mr. Chu (Ken Jeong) to find the book that Slappy from to figure out how to stop him. They discover that the book can suck up monsters and they are determined to save the city.

The story is based on R.L Stine's books. This is where Jack Black comes in as he reprises his role from the 2015 film, playing the writer who came to help. His performance as the author is excellent. I love him.

The movie is funny and spooky in equal amounts. There is mystery and discovery all combined in the storytelling. There's kind of a homage to horror films, as we see some classic monsters. My favorite scenes are the ones with the Halloween decorations coming to life in the store and the fight with the gummy bears that become real and attack Sonny and Sam.

The effects are very well done. This story focuses on the 3 main characters and the actors did a good job carrying the film. There's a tribute to the books and literature. There's a beautiful metaphor with the blank pages in the book which is powerful. It is so interesting and kind of reminded me that reality is scarier than fantasy and there will be more stories to be written. The message of this film is, "when we face our own fears we learn how not to be scared."

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween opens October 12, 2018 and is the perfect movie for kids this Halloween. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 6 to 13 and grown ups as well.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Boo! Trick or treat! Who is ready for a perky piece of family entertainment? Giant spiders made of balloons, pumpkin-headed scarecrows, witches with glowing heads are the factual stars of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. Who's ready to pop some popcorn with a fresh drink and enjoy the film?

This very funny, energetic, colorful and well-crafted film is directed by Ari Sandel. The film follows best friends Sonny and Sam, who meets Slappy, a frisky talking dummy from an unpublished "Goosebumps " book by R.L. Stine. Slappy hopes to start a family of his own. Well you will see how that unfolds. Slappy kidnaps Sonny's mother and brings all of his frightening friends back to life, literally bringing Halloween back to life! Just in time for Halloween. As the Slappy town becomes infested with monsters, witches and other shadowy creatures, Sonny joins powers with his sister, Sam and a concerned neighbor to save Sonny's mom and stop Slappy's strategy.

The lead characters are Kathy Quinn (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Sarah Quinn (Madison Iseman), Mr. Chu (Ken Jeong), Sonny Quinn (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Sam Carter (Bryce Cass) and Slappy (Mick Wingert).

My favorite part of the movie is pretty much, the whole movie. This movie is one of those sequels where it gets restated in a new way, greater and sillier than before. I love how Slappy uses his magical powers to bring typical "Goosebumps" monsters to life.

Wow! Can I say the music in this film is surprising? Composer Dominic Lewis creates a perfect match to the Halloween theme. Every action coordinates with perfect music accompaniment. The music provides escalating emotions and had me jumping out of my seat a few times - in a good way, not a super spooky way. The animation has lively, attractive colors and put me in the spirit for Halloween.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 16, as well as adults. I believe the whole family will enjoy this film. The film is designed with so much fun reaction moments. It delivers on what Goosebumps fans have come to expect. Don't miss this live-action film when it opens nationwide October 12, 2018.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
VENOM
VENOM - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Journalist Eddie Brock is trying to take down Carlton Drake, the notorious and brilliant founder of the Life Foundation. While investigating one of Drake's experiments, Eddie's body merges with the alien Venom -- leaving him with superhuman strength and power. Twisted, dark and fueled by rage, Venom tries to control the new and dangerous abilities that Eddie finds so intoxicating.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Venom is a somewhat entertaining comic book-based movie watch. The acting and directing provide for serviceable entertainment amid some of the movie's ill-fated attempts. Fans of superhero movies may want to check it out.

The story follows former investigative and maverick journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) after he attempts a comeback following a scandal that left him jobless, despite good intentions. Eddie's life furthermore takes on more complications, after accidentally becoming the host of an alien symbiote, giving him the carnivorous alter ego, Venom. Soon, he must rely on and master his newfound powers to protect the world from the shadowy organization he so sought to destroy, because of their involvement in experimenting with other symbiotes, before it's too late.

Tom Hardy, as Eddie Brock, is my favorite character and absolutely lives up to the hype surrounding his performance, even if a few of his deliveries come across as random, due to an inconsistent script. Also, he further sells the voice of Venom, delivering numerous nuances underneath the carnivorous savage. Michelle Williams, as Anne Weying, does the best she can with an uninspired script, that doesn't do her character justice, as Anne comes across as a stereotypical love interest. Despite this, she adds nuances to her characters' emotions and occasional comedic remarks. Once again, Riz Ahmed, as Carlton Drake, suffers from the same issue, but presents just enough threat to make his foe a formidable one. Still, his plotline involving the main lab corporation, remains one of the movie's stalling points as it remains nothing more than a disinteresting evil lair. Jenny Slate, as Dora Skirth, fares better as the script provides more material to go around. Her vibrant expressions and remarks make her one of the movie's most memorable assets.

Ruben Fleischer aptly directs the movie with an effective grasp on understanding the Venom character, which is the movie's saving grace. The mix of horror, adrenaline-fueled action and black comedy provides for a unique experience, unlike any other superhero movie, despite not being as polished as most. My favorite scene is the SWAT action scene, as it is a great showcase of special effects and unique sound design. The choreography further sells the excellent pace towards Venom's attacks. The other main flaw stems from the sub-par script, as it doesn't compliment the all-star cast's talents well. Aside from Eddie, every character is stereotypical and not as interesting to watch, with stilted dialogue further adding unintentional awkwardness to the characters' relationships. At times, the movie's plot progression becomes littered with holes and doesn't match the brisk pace that the many action scenes provide. In fact, any of the movie's plot, not involving the Venom symbiote, is met with a gruelingly slow pace, leaving us waiting for Venom to show up.

The message of this movie to always stand up for what's right and be careful about it, in spite of anyone in your way. Eddie's brutally honest responses to evil and the Venom alter-ego support this with a positive example. I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because of intense action and language. The movie releases in theaters October 5, 2018, so check it out.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FRANCIS THE FIREHOUSE MOUSE
FRANCIS THE FIREHOUSE MOUSE - NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: EBOOK, AGES 5-12
Description - My name is Francis. As you can see, I am a mouse, but I am not an ordinary mouse. From the time I was very young, I was bigger than all the other mice - and I always wanted to be a firefighter. Being a firefighter is a very rewarding job. You get to help put out lots of different kinds of fires and sometimes save people and even animals.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I feel this picture book will truly be a hit with younger children, because it is engaging and educational. The combination of cartoonlike and realistic illustrations really bring the story to life. Francis is a likable hero, because he is a firefighter. I loved the quote by Tom Hanks in the beginning: "A hero is somebody who voluntarily walks into the unknown." The storyline is simple, with vocabulary that children will understand. This story flows quite well and it does make sense. It is a simple, fun picture book that teaches about firefighters. It shows how firefighters help others, put out fires and rescue people and animals. Young children will learn what firefighters do besides put out fires. I give this 4.5 stars out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 7. I believe this story will entertain young children and includes many pro-social social and educational benefits. Many young readers may want to visit a fire station or learn even more about these amazing heroes after reading this book. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.95 Media: Book

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STAR WARS RESISTANCE
STAR WARS RESISTANCE - DISNEY CHANNEL
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - Kazuda Xiono, a young pilot for the Resistance, is tasked with a top secret mission to investigate the First Order, a growing threat in the galaxy.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Get ready for a high-flying adventure. Star Wars Resistance is back - the animated TV version, that is. I am beyond excited! Who doesn't love Star Wars? Disney's newest series is inspired by Japanese anime. This astounding, well-intentioned, well-crafted and powerful series is executive produced by renowned Lucasfilm animation veterans Dave Filoni, Brandon Auman, Athena Yvette Portillo and Justin Ridge with Art Direction by Amy Beth Christensen.

The series centers on Kazuda (Kaz) Xiono (Christopher Sean), a young pilot with big dreams, adventurous and a bit overconfident, who is recruited by Poe Dameron to join the resistance and spy on the forthcoming threat of the First Order. Kaz is the son of a wealthy senator from New Republic and also serves in the New Republic military. The time period for the show is set just months before the events of The Force Awakens, so the First Order hasn't shown their destructive power yet and General Leia Organa's resistance is helping to secure the galaxy.

The lead characters are Kazuda Xiono (Christopher Sean), Tam Ryvora (Suzie McGrath), Jared Yeager (Scott Lawrence), Hype Fazon (Donald Faison), Jim Rash (Bobby Moynihan) and Torrance Dona (Myrna Velasco).

My favorite character is definitely Kazuda Xiono. He is the new character who has this fierce attitude dealing out some serious damage. Christopher Sean makes a great protagonist. He brings out his character by showing his passion for flying and his confidence in his own skills as a pilot. I absolutely love his determination.

The animation in Star Wars Resistance is extremely beautiful, vibrant, engaging colors and charming. The visuals provide clear and effective impressions. I also fell in love with the music. As a fan, it brings a feeling that draws me in and made me enjoy the first two episodes that I watched. Lucasfilm Animation has excelled in creating a real organic 3D world that looks undoubtedly like the galaxy. It looks so modern and fresh and definitely makes a great impression with its outstanding visual effects.

I give episodes one and two 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this series for ages 6 to 18, as well as adults. The series far delivers what fans have come to expect from Disney in terms of the humor and style of art. You don't want to miss it! You can find this series on the Disney Chanel, DisneyNOW and Disney Channel VOD. Streaming airings will also be available on Disney XD. The next how airs October 14, 2018. Look for it!

Reviewed by Nathalia Marie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: TV


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
RACK PACK, THE - 0
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-12
Description - A children's storybook author reminisces about his childhood adventures with his brothers and friends. In a time before kids spent hours watching television, on the computer, playing video games and texting, they went to the park to play with their friends. As military brats, these kids lived their own adventures. They lived a different sort of childhood that challenged their imaginations to soar to a different level. Following in their parents footsteps, they pretended to be soldiers as they played army in the woods. Life seemed simpler back then, until danger came to town. In our story, a cynical man comes across a Civil War General's old map that may lead to long lost treasure buried deep in a mining tunnel. The kids come across the man and his team and learn about the treasure. Our heroes come up with a plan to try to find it first. ?Things take a serious turn when the kids are discovered. The thieves up their status and become kidnappers as they take one of the children's fathers hostage. The kids, in full army gear, set out for a rescue mission. As they learn more about each other they form a bond of brotherhood and friendship called ...THE RACK PACK.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Rack Pack is a funny film that pays respect to our military, all while expressing independence for the youth. I appreciate the diversity and persistence of these school-aged children. Yes, some rules are broken, pranks occur and sometimes a skunk just needs to let one rip. But, overall this movie makes your inner child smile. One of the most appealing things is finding out who the pack includes and why they were given this name. I like that there's a bit of rebellious behavior, taking charge of adults and how the humor is all kid-friendly.

The film flows well. I like seeing the diversity in both race and genders, when it comes to forming a team - on both the child and adult side. I was drawn in from the beginning to the end.

There are various characters and scenes that involve bullying. Some of that goes unresolved or are dealt with retaliation. There are moments when kids get revenge on adult thieves, but it is handled in a more imaginary and comedic way.

As a viewer, I wanted to see how the kids would find the villain and recover the treasure. The way the kids handle the situation lines up with what a tween or young teen would do if they were trying to confront a thief.

I found the production value of this film above average for a lower budget film. I watched an online screener which included bonus footage showing bloopers and behind the scenes content on which was enjoyable.

The message of this film is that children can join forces and fight for not only their community, but for being respectful human beings. Children of all types can be their own advocates and fight for what they believe in. I think those are compelling messages to learn.

I love action films. There's something about being covered in dirt and playing outdoors or "members only" zone where you can just let loose and be yourself. There is a specific message about the fight, that not only stems from its military theme, but also from inside the minds of each character. Whether characters are labeled good or bad, they fight for what they value. Self evaluation, action and adventures are a big part of this film. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 14. I do suggest parental guidance since there are some mild examples of fighting and weapons. Reviewed by Elle S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Rack Pack makes fun of its goofy 80s vibe, but ultimately falls a bit flat with its underdeveloped plot. However, the acting and cohesive script provide vibrant energy. This is sure to be a enjoyable watch for anyone looking for that nostalgic 80s goodness.

The story follows the adventures of military nerd brothers Darrell (Nico Ford), Gerald (Hunter Lee Manning), and Loren (Wyatt Walter). Their escapades take a dangerous turn when they come under the contact of a Civil War treasure map. To compete, the cynical duo Ted (C. Thomas Howell) and DJ (Nick Vernon) race to obtain the map and sell it to criminals. However, the boys slip themselves to the thieves leading to their own dad (David Schifter) getting involved and kidnapped. In a race against time, the boys must save both their dad and map all while earning the legendary name The Rack Pack.

Nico Ford, as Darrell, excels with his sharp, yet reckless thinking. His banter with Tammy also add one of the movie's funniest dynamics as she continuously dupes him. Hunter Lee Manning, as Gerald, sells the eldest brother dynamic with his wise mentorship even if he can come across as disloyal. As well as Wyatt Walter, as Loren, who wonderfully presents his cute youngest brother self always following his elders into trouble. David Schfiter, as Mr. Rackley, excels with his fatherly presence as he holds the family together through tough times and is always willing to take risks to save lives. C. Thomas Howell and Nick Vernon, as Ted and DJ, allow for a charismatic villainous presence, with DJ being my favorite character as his comedic timing was perfectly handled. Last but not least, Cece Kelly, as Tammy, accelerates a fun side-plot as her biting remarks never got old.

Thomas J. Churchill talentedly directs the movie with great 80s gags and adventure with the Goonies being a big influence. My favorite scene is when the boys attempt to stop the duo's perilous plans which result in some truly hilarious scenes as they rely on outsmarting than violent means. However, my problems with this movie stem from the plot of the movie in general which feels devoid of any emotional appeal or development. At times, it feels like there is zero plot. Thankfully, the movie's quirky characters are able to hold attention as their wise cracks always bring something new to the table.

The message of the movie to always trust in your team as the Rack Pack always powers through and fights for what is right. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 10 as some scenes can come across as intense. The movie is available on DVD, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 7-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: Web Series


KIDS FIRST QUALIFIED ENDORSEMENT
NIGHT SCHOOL
NIGHT SCHOOL - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A group of troublemakers are forced to attend night school in hope that they'll pass the GED exam to finish high school.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Mom always said, stay in school. Well, this cast of troublemakers did not. Night School is their effort to obtain their GED and matriculate back into productive society. I am not going to lie, the sophomoric approach to telling this tale did not light me up. I struggled to stay engaged with the themes of the film, as well as all the female stereotypes, racial stereotypes, schmaltzy, slap-stick and crude behavior.

Kevin Hart wrote and stars in Night School. He plays Teddy Walker, a successful sales man who blows up his one success and returns to night school to better his career choices. At times disjointed, I often felt the multiple story lines and activities of the cast do not coalesce into a coherent film or story. Fans of Kevin Hart's comedy shows will likely love the film, as there are a few good belly laughs.

Tiffany Haddish plays Carrie, the night school teacher and the leader of the pack. She plays a tough teacher, who also adds tough love to the mix as she corrals a ragtag group of students. The character contributes to a theme of second chances, which is the best part of this film. If you loved Tiffany Haddish's role in Girls Trip, do not look for the same comedic success here. She plays a more serious role in Night School and I venture she is much stronger in a pure comedic role.

I give this film of 3 out of 5 stars for lack of consistent story and character development. This is the most disjointed film I have watched in a long time.

This film will appeal to ages 13 to 18 as well as some adults. I caution younger viewing due to sexual references, crude language, drug use and reference, adult themes and violent scenes, which are inappropriate for younger children.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Night School is a mostly enjoyable watch with no shortage of humor and heart. The acting and writing perfectly encapsulate the fast-paced comedic delivery. This is sure to be an enjoyable watch for anyone looking for a serviceably hilarious time.

The story follows street-smart, but academically dull-witted Teddy (Kevin Hart) as he fails to pass his GED college admissions test. Even still, he finds success as a grill salesman with a financially successful, yet unaware fianc� Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke). However, when disaster arises with the accidental destruction of his workplace, Teddy must search elsewhere to support Lisa and hide his school failure from her as the GED is the only way out. With a determined teacher, Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) and a group of misfits by his side, Teddy must test his mental and physical boundaries to power past his setbacks to pass the GED if there is any chance of him supporting himself and Lisa.

Kevin Hart, as Teddy, brings his signature style, as his exaggerated reactions and loud mouth continue to entertain. His character's inspiring attempts to change through hard work and perseverance provide for newfound nuances in his performance. Tiffany Haddish, as Carrie, shines alongside Teddy providing great amounts of sharp banter which truly bring out some of the movie's funniest scenes. Megalyn Echikunwoke, as Lisa, is great in her support of Teddy despite all his misfortunes. Taren Killam, as Stewart, presents a relatable, yet ruthless threat for Teddy as he threatens to damage his relationship with Lisa for the bullying he suffered. Mary Lynn Rajskub, Rob Riggle, Romany Malco, Anne Winters and Al Madrigal round out the all-star cast, as the rest of the night school students, with each providing a uniquely hilarious persona. Romany Malcom shines as my favorite character, with his overdrawn reasoning providing for the movie's best jokes.

Malcolm D. Lee directs the movie with an effective grasp on character and comedic situations as there is never a dull moment. My favorite scene is the heist scene as its parody on heist movies is smartly done and the end gag leaves you breathlessly laughing. However, many of the movie's jokes don't land due to an overreliance on crass bodily humor, which come across as overly done for laughs. At times, much of it comes across as derivative of other school-based comedies, leaving much of the gags feeling unmemorable. Despite this, a good amount of smart deliveries and fun character work help balance it above many comedies that have failed to garner laughs.

The message of the movie to never give up, in spite of any obstacles as with proper rigor, we will succeed and learn the most. Teddy's disabilities and determined attempts to combat that compliment this message with a touching underdog story. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 because of sexual references and language. The movie releases in theaters on September 28, 2018, so check it out.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS, THE
HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS, THE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Lewis Barnavelt, after losing his parents, is sent to Michigan to live with his uncle Jonathan. He discovers his uncle is a warlock, and enters a world of magic and sorcery. But this power is not limited to good people: Lewis learns of Isaac Izard, an evil wizard who wanted to cause the Apocalypse so that he could see what happened afterwards. To do this, he constructed a magical clock with black magic, as long as it exists it will keep ticking, counting down to doomsday. He died before he could finish the clock, but he hid the clock in his house, where Uncle Jonathan now lives. Now Lewis and Jonathan must find the clock before it's too late, and before Isaac's wife, Selena, gets to it.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Gather around and get ready to travel to a land of magic adventure and mystery, where things come to life before your eyes and people and places are different, because they are filled with magic and beauty. In this land we shall meet new people and see fabulous things that have never been seen before, such as talking couches, Griffins and much more. So come with me and you will see all the magical things that lie inside the world of The House with a Clock in Its Walls.

Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) is a wonderful warlock. As a mater a fact, he is my favorite warlock throughout the entirety of this film, because he grows during his adventures and becomes a better warlock, friend and family member. As he becomes a better person, we see him learn magic with the help of a few friends and family members. These scenes are just adorable.

Jonathan Barnavelt (Jack Black) and Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) are the two best magic teachers in all the land. After all, they have an entire enchanted house which they use to teach magic and they also know how to be great family members when you stay with them. These two characters have totally different personalities and that is what makes them the perfect couple. Jonathan Barnavelt is very funny and acts just like the person who portrays him, Jack Black. While Florence Zimmerman is very serious and kind, she is a lady and acts like it too. She is the perfect replica of Cate Blanchett who portrays her perfectly.

Isaac Izard (Kyle MacLachlan) and Selena Izard (Ren�e Elise Goldsberry) are the villains we love to hate. I have to say that their plan for world domination is actually very scary. They make this film perfect for Halloween by adding scary little trick and treats up their sleeves that gets us into the mood for this special holiday that comes once a year.

The best scene in this film is when Lewis Barnavelt taps a water fountain and makes plants come to life as he taps it. I found my eyes lighting up, just like the stars as I watched the plants pass me by in the blink of an eye. Also, I like that it has so many different plants and that the cast interacts with them by juggling them and bouncing them on top of their heads.

I love the graphics because they not only look lifelike, but they act as if they are real, not just computerized graphics. This is one of the many reasons why I love the Griffin, the Couch and the Glass Mural. Each and every one of them has a personality and they act like people, not just old abandoned furniture that you might see in an old house such as the one that Jonathan Barnavelt and Florence Zimmerman live in.

Since this film has some scary aspects such as ventriloquist dolls, live pumpkins with faces, demons, the devil, witches, warlocks and many more, I recommend that your kids know that they are all fake and not real. As long as they know this, then they are okay and will enjoy the movie with no problems. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18 and give this film 5 out of 5 stars.

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

This is an amazing live-action film. It is funny, exciting and a little spooky. I don't usually like scary movies, but this one has just the perfect amount of scary. This film is based on a novel of the same name from 1973 from writer John Bellairs. I haven't seen too many movies with Jack Black in it, but I can tell you Jack Black has usually played funnier roles. This time he plays a more serious character. Cate Blanchett is the perfect addition for this cast. I think the editing is very well done. The sound effects and the film effects are also really good and create an enchanting atmosphere. This story is a classic tale about self discovery in a beautiful magical set up, just like a good old magic trick.

The movie is directed by Eli Roth who is better known as a producer, but has directed a few films with some dark content. This is actually the director's first film not rated R.

The storyline follows a 10-year-old boy, Lewis (Owen Baccaro) who lost his parents and goes to live with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) in a very old house with a peculiar thinking heart. His uncle is quite mysterious. He is a warlock and his neighbor, Florence is a good witch (Cate Blanchett). A warlock is basically a boy witch and Jonathan is not a very good one, but he is sweet and has the best intentions. Florence's spells do not always come out right, but she is very caring.

Lewis wants a normal life, but he soon discovers some strange forces dormant within the house. His new home is magical, because a long time ago, a man named Isaac (Kyle McLachlan) lived there with his wife Selena (Ren�e Elise Goldsberry) and they constructed and hid a powerful clock to bring the world into apocalypse. One day, he was doing a spell that accidentally killed himself and his unfinished purpose was hidden in the house with a clock in its walls. Lewis tries to adapt to his new strange home and school. He tries to make new friends and impress the popular boy in the school. By doing so, he releases Isaac and Selena from the tomb on Halloween night, causing chaos in the old pacific town. Lewis goes through an incredible journey in order to have the life he wants.

The story is very engaging at the beginning, but loses a bit of interest as it progresses. The actors are very good. The cinematography and production design are beautiful and immerse the audience in a fantastic world. The music and sound effects are my favorite technical aspects. To me, they become a character themselves.

I definitely give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommended from ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. The message is that things happen and you can't really change them, but magic and great things are always within our hearts. This film opens in theaters September 21, 2018.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media: FeatureFilm



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