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Movie Review: Hocus Pocus 2 * Lock Up Your Children – The Wicked Sanderson Sisters Are Back In The Comedic Sequel To The 1993 Film Hocus Pocus

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Movie Review: Hocus Pocus 2 * Lock Up Your Children – The Wicked Sanderson Sisters Are Back In The Comedic Sequel To The 1993 Film Hocus Pocus

A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “Lock up your children and grab some salt just in case! Just in time for Halloween, the wicked Sanderson sisters are back in Hocus Pocus 2, the live-action, comedy sequel to the 1993 film Hocus Pocus. The musical performances in this film are to die for.” See her full review below.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “Lock up your children and grab some salt just in case! Just in time for Halloween, the wicked Sanderson sisters are back in Hocus Pocus 2, the live-action, comedy sequel to the 1993 film Hocus Pocus. The musical performances in this film are to die for.” See her full review below.

Hocus Pocus 2 By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

(L-R): Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson, Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson, and Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson in HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Matt Kennedy. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Lock up your children and grab some salt just in case! Just in time for Halloween, the wicked Sanderson sisters are back in Hocus Pocus 2, the live-action, comedy sequel to the 1993 film Hocus Pocus. The musical performances in this film are to die for.

Hocus Pocus 2 follows the Sanderson sisters — Winifred “Winnie” (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mary (Kathy Najimy), as they seek revenge on the town that cast them away … again. It’s been 29 years since someone lit the Black Flame Candle and resurrected the 17th-century sisters, and they have a spell to settle. Three high-school students accidentally bring back the Sanderson Sisters to modern-day Salem and must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallow’s Eve.

Kathy Najimy as Mary Sanderson, Bette Midler as Winifred Sanderson, and Sarah Jessica Parker as Sarah Sanderson in Disney’s live-action HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Matt Kennedy. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This film is perfect to get you in the Halloween spirit. In this sequel, we finally learn the origin of the Sanderson sisters, which helps us understand why they are who they are, why the sisters were banned from Salem as youngsters, and why they became involved in witchcraft. I love that the original actors who played the sisters reprised their roles here. With this film taking place 29 years later, it makes for hilarious moments watching the sisters get familiar with the “new town,” such as watching them search for new beauty products to become younger and having young fans wanting to take selfies with them. The Sanderson’s spell-bounding rendition and performance of “One Way of Another” (Hocus Pocus 2 Version) they sing to the residents at the festival is entertaining and original.

(L-R): Nina Kitchen as Young Mary, Taylor Henderson as Young Winifred, and Juju Brener as Young Sarah in HOCUS POCUS 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Matt Kennedy. © 2022 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Hocus Pocus 2 is about friendship, sisterhood, and forgiveness. Many of their issues are resolved once the trio realizes what is most important to them and stop holding grudges. Even the high school teenagers have to realize they are better together than apart. This film also highlights the importance of reading labels and ALL of the instructions and spells; otherwise, you may miss an important warning. Parents should be aware of the reference to virgins that have to light the Black Flame Candle (but with a hilarious “parent-like” definition), which will probably have kids asking more questions.

Hocus Pocus 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. I recommend watching the original film, since this one has plenty of references to Hocus Pocus. Hocus Pocus 2 premieres September 30, 2022, exclusively on Disney+.

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Movie Review: For Tomorrow * An Uplifting, Inspiring And Thought-Provoking Portrait Of Human Resilience And Innovation

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Movie Review: For Tomorrow * An Uplifting, Inspiring And Thought-Provoking Portrait Of Human Resilience And Innovation

Follow the journey of grassroots innovators dedicated to fighting some of today’s most pressing sustainability issues. Through actions, big and small, everyday change-makers are tackling local problems and inspiring their communities with ingenuity, resilience and vision. Whether it’s a solar-powered car built from recycled materials by a self-taught engineer to combat air pollution or a line of cleaning products made from food waste by someone with no chemistry training, grassroots solutions are setting the planet on a more sustainable path. But for a real breakthrough, governments, global institutions and the private sector must recognize these innovators and actively seek out their ideas. From the streets of Baku to a farming community in the Andes and the mountains of Northern India, our documentary follows five innovators on their quest for real, actionable change. Their journey to innovation is never simple-how do you keep going when even your husband doesn’t believe in your idea?-but the power of their vision keeps them going. Is the world ready to finally listen to them and change the way it handles and solves global problems?

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “One of my favorite documentaries of the past year, For Tomorrow is an uplifting, inspiring and thought-provoking portrait of human resilience and innovation. With immaculate cinematography and compelling storytelling, young minds will be nourished by this wonderful film. Even the K-pop group BTS thinks so.” See his full review below.

For Tomorrow By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

One of my favorite documentaries of the past year, For Tomorrow is an uplifting, inspiring and thought-provoking portrait of human resilience and innovation. With immaculate cinematography and compelling storytelling, young minds will be nourished by this wonderful film. Even the K-pop group BTS thinks so.

“Minds on the margin are not marginal minds.” This line perfectly sums up For Tomorrow, which, yes, was promoted by the Korean pop band BTS.

Following five grassroots innovators from across the world, this documentary, narrated by Daisy Ridley, strives to go beyond labs, think tanks, and name brands to show the real people making change happen. One, a disability rights activist in Baku, Azerbaijan, fights for the construction of elevators in metro stations to make public transport more accessible for the 620,000 disabled Azerbaijanis. Another change-maker is an inventor in Sierra Leone, working to bring electricity to rural areas and get more solar cars on the roads.

An Tran’s direction elevates this already incredible film, as she creates mini-portraits of each of the innovators featured in the film, showing what their daily lives look like and how they tackle the challenges they face every day, whether that’s mountains of trash outside or water scarcity.

The cinematography is just WOW; it’s clear that production was clearly highly valued. For Tomorrow was produced in association with the acclaimed platform fortomorrow.org and the UN Development Programme; the UN could not have made a better filmed or edited documentary to promote their site. I love how For Tomorrow both intertwines, but also separates, the stories of each change-maker. This makes the film easy to follow and constantly engaging.

For Tomorrow promotes finding unique solutions in, at-times, dire situations and empowers others. The world’s biggest problems won’t be solved with just one person’s effort — collaboration is the key.

I give For Tomorrow 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. ForTomorrow is available Amazon Prime Video September 16, 2022.

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Movie Review: Sidney * An Inspiring Documentary That Will Ensure Generations To Come To Love And Appreciate The Impact Of Sidney Poitier

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Movie Review: Sidney * An Inspiring Documentary That Will Ensure Generations To Come To Love And Appreciate The Impact Of Sidney Poitier

From producer Oprah Winfrey and directed by Academy Award nominee Reginald Hudlin, this revealing documentary honors the legendary Sidney Poitier and his legacy as an iconic actor, filmmaker and activist at the center of Hollywood and the Civil Rights Movement. Featuring candid interviews with Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Robert Redford, Lenny Kravitz, Barbra Streisand, Spike Lee and many more, the film is also produced by Derik Murray, in close collaboration with the Poitier family.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S. comments, “Sidney is an inspiring documentary that will ensure generations to come to love and appreciate the impact of Oscar award-winning actor, Mr. Sidney Poitier…Described by producer Oprah Winfrey as one of the most extraordinary people she’s ever met, Mr. Poitier would be proud of this documentary about his life.” See her full review below.

Sidney By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Sidney is an inspiring documentary that will ensure generations to come to love and appreciate the impact of Oscar award-winning actor, Mr. Sidney Poitier. The techniques used to tell his story, the events shared and the contributions to the film will keep viewers engaged. Described by producer Oprah Winfrey as one of the most extraordinary people she’s ever met, Mr. Poitier would be proud of this documentary about his life.

Sidney reflects on the life and legacy of iconic actor, filmmaker, and activist, Sidney Poitier. Born and raised in the Bahamas, the film shows life for him once he arrived in the USA as a colored man and how he rose to become an icon and the first Black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, despite racism and other obstacles. The documentary creatively tells Poitier’s story in his own words from interviews from Ms. Winfrey’s personal collection. Anecdotes from his family and heavy hitters such as Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Halle Berry, and Oprah Winfrey herself included.

This film is truly a celebration of Mr. Poitier’s legacy, the contributions he made, and a life well-lived. I love how the interview clips from the younger Poitier seamlessly blend together with the elder Poitier picking up the story.

A PATCH OF BLUE, Sidney Poitier, 1965

My favorite part of the documentary is the clip from Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner when he says, “You think of yourself as a colored man. And I think of myself as a man,” because it perfectly summarizes how he felt about himself and how he demanded other people to look at him. For me, this is what enabled him to break so many barriers and pave the way for other actors, including myself. The film does not hold back and includes some of Mr. Poitier’s not-so-proud moments, which really help show the different sides of his complex life.

This film is about perseverance and being confident in who you are despite how the world sees you. I love that Mr. Poitier understood that he was not identified by his color and made sure everyone else knew it too, on and off-screen, even demanding scripts be rewritten to make his character stronger.

I rate Sidney 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Sidney on Apple TV+ starting September 23, 2022.

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Movie Review: Under Wraps 2 * Just The Right Balance Of Halloween Fright, Mummy Madness, Gut-Busting Humor, And Friendship

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Movie Review: Under Wraps 2 * Just The Right Balance Of Halloween Fright, Mummy Madness, Gut-Busting Humor, And Friendship

While Amy is preparing for her father’s Halloween-themed wedding, she, Gilbert and Marshall discover that Harold and Rose may be in danger. An evil mummy is unexpectedly awakened and out for revenge.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Hanadie K. comments, “As a horror film enthusiast, I must admit, I fancy a well-executed spooky comedy. If you are anything like me, Under Wraps 2 is a film to watch. This film really gives viewers just the right balance of Halloween fright, mummy madness, gut-busting humor, and friendship feels.” See her full review and interviews below.

Under Wraps 2 By Hanadie K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 11

As a horror film enthusiast, I must admit, I fancy a well-executed spooky comedy. If you are anything like me, Under Wraps 2 is a film to watch. This film really gives viewers just the right balance of Halloween fright, mummy madness, gut-busting humor, and friendship feels. If eerie films, impromptu dance scenes and happy endings are your thing, don’t deprive yourself of watching this scary, family-friendly fun film.

UNDER WRAPS 2 (Disney/David Bukach) PHIL WRIGHT, RRYLA MCINTOSH

Chaperoned by a kooky and delightful friend, Buzzy (Melanie Brook), best friends Marshall (Malachi Barton), Gilbert (Christian J. Simon), and Amy (Sophia Hammons) prepare to attend the Halloween-inspired wedding of Amy’s father (Claude Knowlton) and his adoring fiance (Anotion Cayonne). Marshall, Gilbert and Amy are soon met with unexpected chaos when they crack a mystery museum burglary. The mystery reveals their best mummy friend, Harold (Phil Wright) and his doting mummy bride Rose (Rryla McIntosh) are in grave danger. These pals will do anything to rescue their ancient companions from harm.

UNDER WRAPS 2 (Disney/David Bukach) CHRISTIAN J. SIMON, MELANIE BROOK, MALACHI BARTON

This spooktacular live action film follows the trio as they race against the clock to save their mummy besties from the spine-chilling, evil mummy named Sobek (T.J. Storm) who was accidentally resurrected, by a naive museum guard, Larry (Jordan Conley). Sobek wants nothing more than to destroy Harold and run away with Rose, and with the help of a hypnotized Larry, he might just get away with it. The director of this film, Alex Zamm hooks viewers in from the beginning. His ability to make horror films fun to watch speaks to his creative genius. The comedic timing of the characters such as Larry and Beuller, the jeweler (Adam Wiley), gives the film a light-hearted element.

UNDER WRAPS 2 (Disney/David Bukach) PHIL WRIGHT, RRYLA MCINTOSH

There are several times throughout the film that viewers experience unanticipated twists that seem to fit perfectly. Under Wraps 2 has remarkable camera work that gives you the illusion that you’re in the film with the actors. Also, the sound effects are so stellar you feel like you’re watching the movie in surround sound. I would be remiss if I did not mention the realistic special effects. The mummy masks and costumes are detailed and frighteningly realistic. My favorite scene in Under Wraps 2 is when Harold and Rose order an astronomical amount of room service and end up in a synchronized dance battle at the town’s Halloween fair. As a close second, there is a scene where a party of people experience a messy chocolate fountain mishap — that is hilarious.

UNDER WRAPS 2 – DisneyÕs ÒUnder Wraps 2Ó stars Malachi Barton as Marshall, Christian J. Simon as Gilbert, Sophia Hammons as Amy, Phil Wright as Harold, Melanie Brook as Buzzy, T.J. Storm as Sobek, and Rryla McIntosh as Rose. (Disney/Brendan Meadows)

Subtly, diversity and inclusion are cleverly wrapped in the fiber of this film, which is overflowing with empowering messages. Under Wraps 2 reminds us of the power of friendship as these besties show us how real friends will go to any length to help one another, even when it means facing your deepest fears. It also reminds us that “love is love” and to never judge others, simply because they are different. You should be aware that there is an LGBTQ+ marriage and same-sex kissing scene.

Under Wraps 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. This is a family fun movie that everyone can enjoy. Under Wraps 2 released on Disney Channel September 25 and will be released on Disney+ September 30, 2002.

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