A different way we can live better for longer: regenerating damage, maximizing strength, building resilience, shocking the body, supercharging memory and confronting mortality.
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “This six episode docu-series is entertaining to watch, and, at times, educational – in a very fun way. Limitless With Chris Hemsworth tests the limits of the human body and finds what may lead to a longer life.” See her full review below.
Limitless With Chris Hemsworth By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
This six episode docu-series is entertaining to watch, and, at times, educational – in a very fun way. Limitless With Chris Hemsworth tests the limits of the human body and finds what may lead to a longer life.
Limitless With Chris Hemsworth follows — you guessed it — Chris Hemsworth, occasionally with his friends and family, on a six-episode journey to find ways to boost longevity and quality of life.
It’s fascinating to see some unexpected ways we could achieve longevity and a better life. Of course, not all of these actions can and/or should be imitated by the average person, but there are ways that you can modify what’s in the episodes and apply it to your own life. Examples include fasting for one day a month or turning the shower on cold for the last 30 seconds or spending time in a sauna – these practices can help lead to a longer life. Some of the episodes include Stress-Proof, Memory, and Strength. My favorite episode is Acceptance, where Chris gets to experience firsthand what it’s like to be old and how to accept that. I really found it interesting to watch Chris Hemsworth outside of the MCU and be just himself. It adds something more personal and makes the audience feel connected to him in a new way.
The message of Limitless With Chris Hemsworth is to accept aging because it’s a part of life, and yet there are ways to make life healthier and longer lasting. There are some very risky things done in this show that should not be done without expert supervision.
I give Limitless With Chris Hemsworth 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This series comes out on Disney+ November 16, 2022.
Salvatore: Shoemaker Of Dreams is a portrait of a man whose vision, passion, and craftsmanship made him “shoemaker to the stars,” an architect of Hollywood magic, and an enduring cultural, fashion, and artistic influence.
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Mikella G. comments, “Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams is a striking documentary that’s inspiring and innovative. It welcomes you into a creative world that shaped multiple aspects of life today.” See her full review below.
Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams By Mikella G., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, age 16
Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams is a striking documentary that’s inspiring and innovative. It welcomes you into a creative world that shaped multiple aspects of life today.
Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams follows the life of Salvatore Ferragamo, the incredible shoemaker with insane intellectual talent. By the age of 16 he was off to America where his career exploded as he built a huge reputation in the film business. Although he provided shoes for some of the biggest icons in history, life wasn’t always the easiest for him. However, Salvatore Ferragamo remains one of the most loving, caring and well-known shoemakers to this day.
I really enjoy the storyline of this film; it’s not only extremely inspiring, but educational as well. It shows viewers how you can do anything that you put your mind to. I also appreciate the fact that it includes interviews with people who know Ferragamo and understand his culture. It really emphasizes the importance of his childhood and how that shaped him. Additionally, the structure of the film is really helpful. Using actual video clips from Ferragamo’s life, plus close friends and family members that explain his history is a really nice feature. This allows us to view Ferragamo on a more personal level. Plus, the quality of the more dated clips still have great sound and picture quality, which gives it a modern feeling, while remaining authentic to the time period. I also enjoyed the soundtrack and background music. The music is subtle and really makes a difference. In most of the montages, there is light piano playing in the background which elevates the film and really sets the mood/tone.
The message of Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams is to always follow your heart, passions and dreams.
I give Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams in select theaters November 18, 2022.
The power of love shines in this heartwarming tale of friendship and inspiration between an unlikely duo. Cheryl inadvertently befriends a mourning goose, Honk, while recycling in the local park. As the budding friendship blossoms and Cheryl seeks Honk a new home, he becomes a viral sensation capturing the hearts and minds of millions.
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kyla C. comments, “Honk is a heartwarming tale of a young goose and his journey through an unpredictable and dangerous time. The amazing Cheryl Alison truly brings the film to life, narrating with emotion and editing in news articles and interviews to help tell the story of the beloved Honk.” Eshaan M. adds, “Honk should be required watching for those who feel like they’re losing faith in the goodness of humanity and the beauty of companionship. Beautiful, raw emotion is captured in a mix of videos that were either collected from social media or filmed by the camera team, but beyond the technical bits of the film, the plot is what shines through.” Tiana S. adds, “Stop what you are doing and check out Honk, a powerful, heartwarming story about a loving friendship that developed between an unlikely duo! It’s a story about friendship, understanding and inspiration. Honk will make you see the world around you differently.” See their full reviews below.
Honk By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Honk is a heartwarming tale of a young goose and his journey through an unpredictable and dangerous time. The amazing Cheryl Alison truly brings the film to life, narrating with emotion and editing in news articles and interviews to help tell the story of the beloved Honk. This documentary will make everyone’s day and empower people to make the right decisions.
This film tells the story of Cheryl Allison’s caretaking of the young Honk through the COVID-19 pandemic. Cheryl portrays herself as a humble, average person who just needed somewhere to go, to escape quarantine’s limits. Along her journey, she discovers the adorable and energetic “Honk The Goose.” Honk forms an attachment to her, and she feels responsible for his well-being. Cheryl and Honk become internet famous, but face many obstacles throughout their time together.
Honk is one of the highest-quality documentaries I’ve seen. Not only is it entertaining and adorable, but it’s also educational. I’ve learned so much about how important each small decision can be. The balance between entertainment and education is excellent, never boring, and always provides the information necessary to understand the events of the documentary. Interviews with experts, shots of Honk and Cheryl’s friendship, and images of news articles help move Honk along. One of my favorite things about this documentary is how Cheryl is using the proceeds of everything she’s doing to raise awareness of geese like Honk and to support places that are making a difference. Honk and Cheryl’s story was, and still is, an inspiration to many. Honk’s Instagram account has over 77,000 followers. Through social media, and through this film, Cheryl hopes to support ducks, geese and other birds. By viewing Honk, you are supporting the Roger Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, which is where Cheryl relocated Honk.
The message of Honk is to realize the consequences of your actions. Leaving a bit of fishing line at a shore, or dropping a plastic bottle, is potentially the difference between life and death for geese, ducks or any other animals. Honk educates people about the difference each person can make in their community and demonstrates the importance of learning about different species and how they live. Friendship and finding ways to bounce back from tough times are displayed throughout the film. This sets a bright mood for the majority of Honk, despite there being some serious and sometimes sad moments. Honk is a perfect family film. In addition, animal lovers, particularly bird lovers, will enjoy this film.
I give Honk 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Honk on major streaming platforms and DVD beginning November 15, 2022. Remember, every view counts!
Honk By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Such a wholesome joy of a film is hard to come by. Honk should be required watching for those who feel like they’re losing faith in the goodness of humanity and the beauty of companionship. Beautiful, raw emotion is captured in a mix of videos that were either collected from social media or filmed by the camera team, but beyond the technical bits of the film, the plot is what shines through. Especially for animal-lovers, this is a great watch.
Honk is a remarkable tale of unlikely companionship. Dallas native Cheryl Allison inadvertently befriends a loud, chatty goose she names Honk; she realizes he is mourning the loss of a loved one and their bond grows deeper. As the friendship blossoms, Cheryl seeks to find Honk a new home and he becomes a viral sensation across nations. The beautiful relationship between the two (not owner and pet but two equal friends) is wonderful to watch.
The direction and editing by Cheryl Allison are beautifully-executed. What’s really nice is that the subject of the documentary is the same person who directs and edits it; this means that she has been able to choose the most moving portions of footage and cut it together. I also love how the choice of music accentuates the mood of the more emotional scenes; the lyrics from the credits — “think about where we have been, the joy we shared with friends who cared, all the things we’ve seen” — were especially touching as they summarized the theme of the film. I like the contrast between the footage taken by the camera team and how formal and traditional it feels compared to the footage taken by Cheryl, which is more fun and informal.
Honk promotes finding those who support you and, in turn, helping others, whether animal or human, in times of difficulty. The compassion exhibited by Cheryl in this film also serves to push the message that we should care for animals, even those we wouldn’t consider domesticated or “pets,” because they too have highs and lows in their lives like we do.
I give Honk 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Honk releases November 15, 2022 on digital and DVD.
Honk By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
HONK! HONK! Stop what you are doing and check out Honk, a powerful, heartwarming story about a loving friendship that developed between an unlikely duo! It’s a story about friendship, understanding and inspiration. Honk will make you see the world around you differently.
Honk tells the story of Cheryl Allison, who was cleaning up a park during COVID restrictions in 2020, and encountered a friendly, but lonely goose suffering from a great loss, who started following her around. She realized she couldn’t leave him alone there, so she started visiting daily and eventually they became best friends. The goose loved to make loud noises that sounded like honking, so Cheryl named him “Honk.” Their encounters were so unique and such a breath of fresh air, that Honk became a famous internet sensation once Cheryl posted their videos on social media.
Honk highlights how we should be treating other species in our world today. I enjoyed how this documentary is told through real-life experiences, live streams, Zoom calls and TV broadcasts. It helps give a full picture of Cheryl and Honk’s journey. One unexpected concept in the film is how pollution affects animals and their environments. There is one emotional scene where, after Cheryl finds a fishing line around Honk’s foot, she immediately cleans up the park and Honk’s surroundings to protect him. People don’t consider what happens to litter and how it can affect animals. You will experience different emotions while enjoying this film. It is funny watching Cheryl honking at Honk when she is looking for him. Their bond is so charming that Honk became one of the world’s most famous geese. There should be more “Cheryls” and “Honks” in the world.
Honk starts off being just about the loving bond and companionship between Cheryl and Honk. However, it has so many hidden messages — animal cruelty, pollution, friendship and, of course, kindness. We all have to play a part in taking care of our animals, which includes proper treatment when we can longer take care of them and just taking care of the earth, which then helps protect animals. The film forces you to sit back and think, not just about your day-to-day relationships, but also how you treat the planet.
I Honk 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Honk on major streaming and cable platforms, plus DVD, starting November 8, 2022.
Honk By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17
Honk is a heartwarming documentary that follows the friendship between director and editor, Cheryl Allison, and a lovable goose. She successfully shows viewers how her friendship with a goose impacted her life. At a time when everything was uncertain in the world, this goose was the “honk heard ‘round the world.” He was able to reach out, in spite of social distancing constraints, and spread happiness to others.
This documentary is set during the Covid pandemic, when social distancing regulations were in effect. While on a walk Cheryl notices a goose approaching her. She names him Honk and they become instant friends. Cheryl decides to record her time with Honk and her videos and posts with him go viral on social media. She receives word from her friend, Mary Beth Purdy that Honk is a domestic goose and is in danger. Now Cheryl is on a mission to help save her goose friend from a harmful environment, predators and the new risks that social media has brought to him.
This documentary is touching and beautiful. My favorite scene is when Cheryl goes back to the pond the day after she first meets Honk and records herself calling to him. Honk immediately recognizes her voice and swims to her. She talks to him and he responds with his honking sounds. This shows how attached Honk was to her from the start. The film is a mix of interviews, zoom meetings and videos of Cheryl with Honk. The added footage of her initial recordings with Honk are delightfully entertaining. It gives viewers a better understanding of Cheryl and Honk’s friendship and the bond they create with each other as time progresses. The information about animals in the film, by experts Mary Beth Purdy and Kathy Rogers, is insightful and adds depth to the understanding of caring for these types of animals. In addition, the music at the end of the documentary fits well with the theme.
The message of this film is about love and the connections you make with others. Love and a need for companionship is what drove Honk and Cheryl together. It then drove her to protect him. While watching, we also gain a better understanding of what animals need, the importance of protecting animals, and what we can contribute to help keep these animals safe.
I give Honk 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Honk releases November 15, 2022 on digital platforms and DVD.
At Lowell High School, the top public high school in San Francisco, the seniors are stressed out. As they prepare for the emotionally draining college application process, students are keenly aware of the intense competition for the few open spots in their dream colleges. At Lowell — where cool kids are nerds, nearly everyone has an amazing talent, and most of the student body is Asian American — the things that usually make a person stand out can feel commonplace. With humor and heart, director Debbie Lum captures the reality of the American college application process and the intersection of class, race, and educational opportunity as young adults navigate a quintessential rite of passage.
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ashleigh C. comments, “The college admissions process is one of the most competitive endeavors children in America face every year. As a senior in high school currently going through it, I found this film relatable and eye-opening to the hardships that I and many others are facing.” See her full review and interview below.
By Ashleigh Clyde, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
The college admissions process is one of the most competitive endeavors children in America face every year. As a senior in high school currently going through it, I found this film relatable and eye-opening to the hardships that I and many others are facing.
Try Harder! takes us through the admissions process by following members of the senior class at Lowell High School, a prestigious, nationally ranked school. The students in the film all share the same process, yet different personal experiences which make the process more complex.
The stereotypes of immigrant parents reign true in this documentary. It considers different viewpoints on the different aspects of the admissions process – from test scores to essays. I love that the film ponders questions we will never get to uncover such as, if you should be humble in writing your essay or not. It questions whether you should check the “I do not wish to disclose” when asked for your race or gender. This film also touches on heavy social issues such as the stereotypes placed on African Americans and their academic abilities, racial discrimination in the admission’s process, and the mental health of students in pressurized households.
One of students in the film mentions a very powerful message applicable to this situation, but also in any difficult situation – “People who apply and don’t work hard, yet still get in, rubs me the wrong way.” This quote exemplifies how, during a competition of any sort, you must work hard and overcome those people making it difficult for you to succeed or to be happy. This film promotes positive social behavior and mentions mental health.
I give Try Harder! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Try Harder! opens in theatres December 3, 2021.
While on vacation in Goa, India, Canadian filmmaker Chris McDonell turns his camera on Shilpa Poojar, a 9-year-old beach hawker hustling tourists to buy clothes and jewelry from her seaside shop. Funny, charming and skilled beyond her years, she is a migrant worker from the unique Banjara people and the primary breadwinner for her family. Forging a connection in this chance encounter, Chris returns 3 times over the next 7 years to capture Shilpa’s story of sacrifice and survival and help her achieve her childhood dream of going to school – a relentless effort that will test them both along the way. See his complete review below.
Queen of the Beach By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
A gritty, honest portrayal of a child laborer’s life and her journey to achieve her dreams, Queen of the Beach is a touching documentary film highlighting a global issue in an emotionally-sensitive, thorough, and unique way.
Christopher McDonell is a Canadian filmmaker on a month-long project in India, following some missionaries from his church on their trip. He makes a quick stop at Anjuna Beach in Goa, where he meets nine-year-old Shilpa, a child laborer who is the sole breadwinner in her family. Tenacious and witty, Shilpa instantly forms a bond with McDonell and he returns three times over the next seven years as Shilpa’s “brother,” visiting her village and learning more about her tribe, the Banjaras’, way of life. He makes it his mission to help Shilpa realize her childhood dream of attending school in her small village in Karnataka; over the course of the film, both Shilpa and Chris must overcome several obstacles to reach this goal.
This is one of the most engaging documentaries that I’ve come across; Shilpa and her friends are vibrant, sweet individuals with layered personalities. Her smile lights up the screen and there’s never a dull moment; McDonnell’s sprightly narration ensures that the pace of the film never drops even when they face some dead-end challenges. Since McDonell poses deep, personal, and tough questions to Shilpa, her friends, and her family, viewers come away from the film feeling like they really know her and her world. Even though the film was shot over the course of seven years, footage taken in 2009 does not feel drastically different from footage taken in 2015; the production quality of this documentary is spectacular throughout the 100 minute duration.
Queen of the Beach is all about making your dreams come true and never giving up even when life throws you a curveball. One thing to watch out for in the film: some mentions of pedophilic activity that occur on the beach at night, and McDonell catches some of this on film. Thematically, this film is for teenage audiences and older as it deals with child labor.
I give Queen of the Beach 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Queen of the Beach premieres August 15 (Indian Independence Day) both on digital and on demand from Under the Milky Way Productions.
A photo of Rita Moreno behind the scenes of WEST SIDE STORY from the film RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT
Courtesy of MGM Media Licensing
Over a 70+ year career, Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a celebrated and beloved actor, one of the rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Award Winners of our time. Born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, Moreno and her seamstress mother immigrated to New York City when Moreno was five years old. After studying dance and performing on Broadway, Moreno was cast as any ethnic minority the Hollywood studios needed filled, be it Polynesian, Native American or Egyptian. Despite becoming the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961), the studios continued to offer Moreno lesser roles as stereotypical ethnic minorities, ignoring her proven talent. Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It illuminates the humor and the grace of Moreno, as well as lesser-known struggles faced on her path to stardom, including pernicious Hollywood sexism and abuse, a toxic relationship with Marlon Brando, and serious depression a year before she emerged an Oscar winner. Moreno’s talent and resilience triumphed over adversity, as she broke barriers, fought for representation and forged the path for new generations of artists. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S. comments, “Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It is the ultimate in-depth documentary about one of Hollywood’s most trailblazing actors. This film is the absolute tear-jerking, hysterical, educational experience of the year.” Ashleigh C. adds, “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It is a trailblazing documentary that will inspire girls across the world who have a dream! Rita Moreno’s life story is a testament to her perseverance and others like her who had a dream and decided to go for it.” See their full reviews and Ashleigh’s interview with director Mariem Perez below.
Rita Moreno in the film RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Roadside Attractions
Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It is the ultimate in-depth documentary about one of Hollywood’s most trailblazing actors. This film is the absolute tear-jerking, hysterical, educational experience of the year. By the movie’s end, you just want to go for it too.
Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It recounts the life story of critically acclaimed actress Rita Moreno. Rita, who is best known for her roles of Anita in West Side Story and Carmela in The Electric Company, stars in the documentary, along with stars like Whoopie Goldberg, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eva Longoria and more. The film features clips from a large variety of Rita’s films throughout her career as well as from award shows, and photographs and footage from her personal life, including interviews with her friends and family.
This film shines a light on how incredible Rita is, and how human as she leads the way for Puerto Ricans and all Hispanics in the 1960s, stands up for women’s rights and fights to be able to choose which roles she plays. She deals with being type-cast as an island or Hispanic character, and decides and turns down roles that would shove her into a tiny box. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly side of Rita’s life, not just grazing at the surface. It shows how Rita struggled with hating her Hispanic roots, because it limited her as an actress. She tells how she was sexually abused, was forced into an abortion by her then-boyfriend Marlon Brando, and tried to commit suicide. The film shows exactly why Rita is such a beloved actress and person. Despite all she’s been through, she never gives up and learned to value the woman she is. Rita grows into her own person throughout the movie, telling how everything that put her down at the time just made her stronger.
The moral of the film is to stay strong and keep fighting. Rita is not eighty-nine years old and one of 15 EGOT winners (acronym for the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards), just because she gave up. Being a Puerto Rican actress in New York and trying to find your way in the world wasn’t as easy as Moreno makes it look. She has maintained her humbleness and blossomed into a modern woman who fights for human rights and looks great while doing it.
I give Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters June 18, 2021.
Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It
By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 17
Rita Moreno in the United States Senate from the film RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT
Courtesy of Roadside Attractions
Girl Who Decided to Go For It is a trailblazing documentary that will inspire girls across the world who have a dream! Rita Moreno’s life story is a testament to her perseverance and others like her who had a dream and decided to go for it.
This documentary profiles Rita Moreno (West Side Story, One Day at a Time), following her life from its beginnings as a poor Puerto Rican girl to becoming an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) award-winning actress. We see her struggles and trials throughout her life and how she confronts and handles them.
Latina Mariem Perez Riera directs this documentary and brings a great deal of passion to it, making the film very personal and authentic. The film employs stop motion animation, film excerpts to show Moreno’s life as a young woman to a legendary entertainment icon and political activist. Not only are the scenes diverse, so are its features. I particularly enjoyed hearing from Morgan Freeman, Lin- Manuel Miranda and Hector Elizondo. My favorite parts of this documentary are actually the sad parts. So many people in the limelight tend to sugar coat the truth about their troubles, which makes them seem perfect. This film is raw to the point that, even though her life has a Hollywood spin to it, it actually tells a story that many young girls can relate to today.
The message of this documentary is in the title – be a girl (or boy) that goes for your dream. Rita Moreno came from less than many, yet lived a life bigger than most. You can do it! You won’t know unless you try. This film does contain a description of sexual violence and some profanity.
I give Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it only in theatres starting June 18, 2021
In 2012 the Vatican cracked down on American nuns for challenging the hierarchy and focusing on social services and equality, rather than on abortion. Guilty as charged! Our guest Sister Simone Campbell and her organization NETWORK are Catholic sisters committed to awakening social conscience and lobbying for change. The Vatican specifically cited NETWORK, so Simone seized the opportunity to launch a series of tours called the Nuns on the Bus, attracting even more attention to the many social needs American nuns have been addressing. When Pope Francis was elected in 2013, he called on Christians to become revolutionaries caring for the poor and now heâs confronting climate change and our responsibility for it. He also met with representatives of Americaâs nuns and expressed his appreciation. Sounds like an Inner Revolution! Now Simone and two other nuns are the subject of a new documentary called Radical Grace. An activist touched by spirit, sheâs is not alone. Tune in to ‘InsideOut‘ and learn more!
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