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Secrets of Sulphur Springs * Dives Deep Into The Mysteries Of The Unknown With A Chilling Tale Of Mystery And Suspense

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Secrets of Sulphur Springs * Dives Deep Into The Mysteries Of The Unknown With A Chilling Tale Of Mystery And Suspense

Set in the fictional titular town, Secrets of Sulphur Springs follows 12-year-old Griffin Campbell (Preston Oliver), whose world has been upended by his father’s decision to move the family from Chicago to take over an abandoned hotel property, The Tremont. The Campbells, which includes Griffin’s mother and his younger twin siblings, move into The Tremont in hopes of restoring it to the vacation destination it once was. But on his first day at his new school, Griffin hears rumors that the hotel is haunted by the ghost of Savannah (Elle Graham), a girl who disappeared decades ago. Soon, he and his new friend, Harper (Kyliegh Curran), discover a portal that allows them to travel back in time and uncover clues about the town’s biggest mystery.

Secrets of Sulphur Springs
By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

https://youtu.be/GTqgSrTdGFY

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Disney’s new TV series, Secrets of Sulphur Springs, dives deep into the mysteries of the unknown.  The writers of the show weave a chilling tale of mystery and suspense that is brought to life by the cast. It is a show about new friendships and old secrets that will leave you on the edge of your seat, as it did me.

In Secrets of Sulphur Springs, a music-loving middle school boy named Griffin (Preston Oliver) moves into an abandoned hotel called The Tremont that his family plans to restore. The hotel is said to be haunted by a girl named Savannah (Elle Graham) who mysteriously disappeared 30 years ago.  Griffin is missing his old town and old friends, but he finds a new friend named Harper (Kyliegh Curran). Together they are determined to uncover the truth about the hidden secrets of the hotel and find out what happened to Savannah.

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One of my favorite scenes was when Griffin finds out that the old hotel is supposedly haunted—it is very fascinating to see his reaction when others tell him about Savannah haunting it.  Equally interesting is to see how the others react to Griffin when they find out he is living at the old hotel. Griffin has younger twin siblings (Landon Gordon and Madeleine McGraw) and Harper has a brother (Bryant Tardy). The relationships that Griffin and Harper have with their siblings make the characters easy to relate to. The hotel set is decorated to portray that old, abandoned, rustic style which gives it a spooky appearance. The scenes where the set is dark also add to the eerie mood.  The overall creepy setting makes the scenes more believable. The clothing choices are also well thought out, and perfect for the scenes.

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The messages in this TV series are about building friendships and trust. Moving to a new town and having to make new friends at school is not always easy. Being a good friend means being kind, helpful and truthful. It also means working together. Trust is especially important because it’s hard to earn back after it’s lost. Parents may need to know that there are some suspenseful scenes that may be scary for younger viewers.

I give the new TV series, Secrets of Sulphur Springs, 5 out of 5 stars. Every scene kept me captivated and wanting more. I recommend this show for ages 7 to 16. Secrets of Sulphur Springs premieres on the Disney Channel on January 15, 2021.

The United States does not have hate speech laws, since the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that laws criminalizing hate speech violate the guarantee to freedom of speech contained in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[94] There are several categories of speech that are not protected by the First Amendment, such as speech that calls for imminent violence upon a person or group. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that hate speech that does not fall into one of these categories is constitutionally protected

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The United States does not have hate speech laws, since the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that laws criminalizing hate speech violate the guarantee to freedom of speech contained in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[94] There are several categories of speech that are not protected by the First Amendment, such as speech that calls for imminent violence upon a person or group. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that hate speech that does not fall into one of these categories is constitutionally protected

The United States does not have hate speech laws, since the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that laws criminalizing hate speech violate the guarantee to freedom of speech contained in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[94] There are several categories of speech that are not protected by the First Amendment, such as speech that calls for imminent violence upon a person or group. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that hate speech that does not fall into one of these categories is constitutionally protected

A rancher on the Arizona border becomes the unlikely defender of a young Mexican boy desperately fleeing the cartel assassins who’ve pursued him into the U.S. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “The Marksman is a slower-paced action film set on the road from Texas to Chicago.  The film stars Liam Neeson as Jim, a retiree who’s seen better days. There is a strong action storyline but those expecting a shoot-em-up adrenaline rush may want to look elsewhere.” See his full comments below.

The Marksman

Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

https://youtu.be/_Y8kyi6Ku88

The Marksman is a slower-paced action film set on the road from Texas to Chicago.  The film stars Liam Neeson as Jim, a retiree who’s seen better days. There is a strong action storyline but those expecting a shoot-em-up adrenaline rush may want to look elsewhere. Jim’s wife has passed away, his finances gutted by the cost of her medical bills, and his decaying ranch adjoining the border to Mexico is under threat since he can’t keep up with his rent. Now all he’s got is his loyal canine companion and a few days left with his property. On a drive surveying his land, Jim finds a boy named Miguel and his mother Rosa, crossing the border. Members of a drug cartel are hot on their trail, eager to capture the mother and son. A shootout between Jim and their pursuers occurs and Rosa is mortally wounded. As she passes away, Jim makes a promise to get Miguel to their family in Chicago where he’ll be safe.

The Marksman is a conundrum as an action movie – as for action, it’s sparse, save for a few shootouts here and there where Neeson’s character gets a chance to live up to his Marksman moniker. When you hear Liam Neeson and action movie within the same breath, you picture Neeson defiantly doling out revenge to those who have wronged him and the people he cares about, which to some extent is what The Marksman becomes.  But it plods along its course, steeping you in the everyday life of Neesons’ Jim, before putting into perspective the predicament Miguel faces from the cartel members who killed his mother.Jim’s encounters with the cartel are only mildly suspenseful. So much of The Marksman doesn’t fully develop Miguel and Jim’s dynamic, either. These characters spend so much time together, but, by the end, they only manage to get each other where they need to go, and nothing more. There’s humanity, but there’s no spark to it. I don’t fault the performances, as much as I do a script with not enough meaningful moments for the central pair’s bond to supplant itself deeply in the fabric of the movie.

I give The Marksman 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 for some mild violence and the killing of a dog. The Marksman comes out in theaters on January 15, 2020.

News of the World * Classical, character-driven Western, amped up by performances by Tom Hanks and Henena Zengel

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News of the World * Classical, character-driven Western, amped up by performances by Tom Hanks and Henena Zengel

A Civil War veteran agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, against her will. They travel hundreds of miles and face grave dangers as they search for a place that either can call home. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “News of the World is a classical, character-driven Western amped up by the strength of its lead performances and cinematography. The vistas and wide plains of a Western are catnip to any cinematographer.  Dariuz Wolski creates a soft unease amid the ethereal hues of the frontier. There’s an air of uncertainty that comes with their arduous journey that clouds over the majesty of the terrain. Wolski’s cinematography basks in that majesty, but doesn’t let it shake its focus on the characters at the center of it all. You become enveloped in the vastness of Captain Kidd and Johanna’s travels, but fearful of what may lie ahead.” Abigail L. adds, “News of the World has a lot going for it and is full of creativity! While the concept of the film is original and full of potential, once the conflict is established the story doesn’t quite live up to its promise.” See their full reviews below.

(from left) Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) and Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) in News of the World, co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass.

News of the World

Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

News of the World is a classical, character-driven Western amped up by the strength of its lead performances and cinematography.

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

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

The vistas and wide plains of a Western are catnip to any cinematographer.  Dariuz Wolski creates a soft unease amid the ethereal hues of the frontier. There’s an air of uncertainty that comes with their arduous journey that clouds over the majesty of the terrain. Wolski’s cinematography basks in that majesty, but doesn’t let it shake its focus on the characters at the center of it all. You become enveloped in the vastness of Captain Kidd and Johanna’s travels, but fearful of what may lie ahead.Greengrass’s film seems primed for the big screen with its wealth of set pieces motivated by scale and environment; however, in the current times, a good portion of the people who watch this movie will watch it at home, and the movie seems as appropriate for that viewing experience with its stripped-down moments in between those grander ones.

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

News of the World

By Abigail Liu, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

(from left) Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) in News of the World, co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass.

News of the World has a lot going for it and is full of creativity! While the concept of the film is original and full of potential, once the conflict is established the story doesn’t quite live up to its promise.The story centers on Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks), a Confederate Civil War veteran, and traveling news correspondent, who finds a young girl named Johanna (Helena Zengel) who was taken by Kiowa natives years ago. Kidd agrees to take the girl to her aunt and uncle, despite her protests in a language he does not speak. The pair faces many dangers along the way as they travel the American plains, including thieves, a dust storm, and a workers’ riot, but through those challenges, they learn more about each other and how to work together.

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

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

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

Wonder Woman 1984 * Magnificent Costumes, Sets, Performances. Excellent Sequel

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Wonder Woman 1984 * Magnificent Costumes, Sets, Performances. Excellent Sequel

Rewind to the 1980s as Wonder Woman’s next big screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “I love Wonder Woman 1984! The costumes and sets are magnificent! And it has original music that fits perfectly with every scene! I am happy to report that this movie has a “satisfying” ending, but no spoilers here. Knowing that this movie is a sequel, I would recommend watching the first one because it sets up Wonder Woman’s backstory and other characters from the first movie. Zoe C. adds, “The greatest assets in Wonder Woman 1984 are Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig). Their characters are rich and enjoyable to watch, and they each portray a wide range of emotions. Gal Gadot as Diana Prince shines again in a role that seems tailor-made for her. She is the greatest princess: fierce, elegant and full of humanity.” See their complete reviews below.

 

Wonder Woman 1984

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I love Wonder Woman 1984! The costumes and sets are magnificent! And it has original music that fits perfectly with every scene!Wonder Woman 1984 takes place in 1984 (hence the name), 66 years after the original movie, Wonder Woman. Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is living among the mortals and working at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. While there, the museum receives a mysterious stone that can grant one wish per person. Diana wishes to bring her long lost love, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), back from the dead. Subsequently, she discovers the true power of the stone, and what would happen if it falls into the wrong hands.

 

I am happy to report that this movie has a “satisfying” ending, but no spoilers here. Knowing that this movie is a sequel, I would recommend watching the first one because it sets up Wonder Woman’s backstory and other characters from the first movie. One thing that really stands out to me is the attention to detail. All of the costumes, sets and dialogue are very well executed and accurate to the 80s, or so my parents tell me! I especially like Wonder Woman’s golden armor. Kudos to Lindy Hemming (costume designer) and Aline Bonetto (production designer) for the realistic look. All of the actors are strong, but the ones that stand out the most are Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig. Pedro Pascal (Maxwell Lord) really personifies the bad guy, a con man always wanting more. And as you watch Kristen Wiig’s character, Barbara Minerva, evolve during the movie, you can see the contrast between her two personalities emerge.

 

The main messages of this movie are to be careful about what you wish for, truth overcomes lies, and of course, girl power. There is some bad language and a lot of fight scenes – it is, of course, a superhero movie. Wonder Woman is a great role model for all people as she inspires bravery, love, and heroism.  I give Wonder Woman 1984 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18. Adults will enjoy it, too. Wonder Woman 1984 will be coming out in select theaters, IMAX, and HBO Max on December 25, 2020.

 

Wonder Woman 1984

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

 

 

Wonder Woman 1984 is a fantasy action sequel to 2017’s Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring by Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig.

 

The movie opens with spectacular action scenes that take place in Themyscira, the ancient island where our favorite heroine comes from. We see Diana (Gal Gadot) at a very young age, competing in a warrior challenge and learning one of the most important lessons in life: the importance of being truthful.Then, the film shifts to the 1980’s where most of the movie takes place. Diana Prince is working at the Smithsonian Institute curating ancient artifacts, and one of them, recently discovered, is a very powerful stone that grants wishes. The stone will become a powerful and destructive weapon. Diane welcomes new worker Barbara Minerva who is shy and seems to be the opposite of Diana and who is investigating the stone.

 

The greatest assets in Wonder Woman 1984 are Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) and Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig). Their characters are rich and enjoyable to watch, and they each portray a wide range of emotions. Gal Gadot as Diana Prince shines again in a role that seems tailor-made for her. She is the greatest princess: fierce, elegant and full of humanity.

The special effects are very well done, not perfect, but very impressive. There are a couple of sequences that are absolutely spectacular. The colors and costumes are vibrant, elegant and truthful to the era. And while the action scenes are exciting, the main story in general seems a little weak. I was on the edge of my seat at different times, but the story, at many moments is not that powerful. The music by Hans Zimmer is impeccable and adds a perfect emotional touch.

 

Wonder Woman 1984 is not as “wonderful” as the previous film, but is totally entertaining—and the messages are much needed in the world today: first, staying true to who we are. The other message is “be careful what we wish for” which, in this film, means it’s good to remember that what we long for should be love and kindness. I give Wonder Woman 1984 a 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommended to kids 10 and up (for some violent scenes) and adults as well. Wonder Woman 1984 opens on December 25, 2020, in theaters and on HBO Max.

 

 

Greenland * Adventure! Intense! This is the Film for You!

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Greenland * Adventure! Intense! This is the Film for You!

A family fights for survival as a planet-killing comet races to Earth. John Garrity (Gerard Butler), his estranged wife Allison (Morena Baccarin), and young son Nathan make a perilous journey to their only hope for sanctuary. Amid terrifying news accounts of cities around the world being leveled by the comet’s fragments, the Garritys experience the best and worst in humanity while they battle the increasing panic and lawlessness surrounding them. As the countdown to global apocalypse approaches zero, their incredible trek culminates in a desperate and last-minute flight to a possible safe haven. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jude A. comments, “A family fights for survival as a planet-killing comet races to Earth. John Garrity (Gerard Butler), his estranged wife Allison (Morena Baccarin), and young son Nathan make a perilous journey to their only hope for sanctuary. Amid terrifying news accounts of cities around the world being leveled by the comet’s fragments, the Garritys experience the best and worst in humanity while they battle the increasing panic and lawlessness surrounding them. As the countdown to global apocalypse approaches zero, their incredible trek culminates in a desperate and last-minute flight to a possible safe haven.” See his full review below.

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Greenland

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST Film Critic, age 14

Are you interested in an adventure? Are you ready for an intense ride of a lifetime? Well if so, Greenland is the movie for you! This film tests the limits of our society and portrays something everyone is scared might happen:   The apocalypse. Greenland completely immerses you in its intensity, and also in incredible acting performances and visually stunning scenes.  Greenland starts off following a man named John Garrity (Gerard Butler)  who learns of a comet named Clark that will be passing by Earth. Clark seems to be all fun and interesting until it is not!  Fragments of Clark begin hitting Earth, wiping out cities, counties, and billions of lives. John discovers a safe haven, and he vows to get his family to it no matter what obstacles they face.

One of the biggest challenges about making a film about the apocalypse is making it look realistic. The visual effects department made everything look as if it was real, especially when it comes to scenes with comet fragments hitting Earth. Director Ric Roman Waugh also set up the story in such a way that it really makes the viewer wonder, how far would I go to protect my family?Greenland delivers everything you would expect about an apocalypse movie along with stunning visual scenes. My concern with this film is that it lags in the middle making you aware of the two-hour runtime. Some scenes feel not unnecessary,  and that the story could work perfectly without them. Also, Greenland pushes the boundaries of a PG-13 film because of the major intensity and gore. Throughout the film—with society on edge and people taking advantage of the crisis—gun violence, murder, and cursing frequently occur. Every child has a different maturity level, but even as a mature 14-year-old, I found some parts of this film difficult to watch at times.

I give Greenland 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18 plus adults because of the intensity and violence. You can find Greenland digitally on December 18, 2020.

Wild Mountain Thyme * Picturesque Countryside, Sweet Irish Love Story

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Wild Mountain Thyme * Picturesque Countryside, Sweet Irish Love Story

John Patrick Shanley, who created the classic MOONSTRUCK, brings his sweeping romantic vision to Ireland with Wild Mountain Thyme. The headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt) has her heart set on winning her neighbor Anthony Reilly’s love. The problem is Anthony (Jamie Dornan) seems to have inherited a family curse, and remains oblivious to his beautiful admirer. Stung by his father Tony’s (Christopher Walken) plans to sell the family farm to his American nephew (Jon Hamm), Anthony is jolted into pursuing his dreams in this comedic, moving and wildly romantic tale. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “Wild Mountain Thyme is an Irish romantic-comedy. It is set in Ballina, County Mayo, a lush Irish countryside with picturesque farms, impressive coastlines and lovely farm houses.  You will enjoy this sweet Irish love story.” See her full review below.

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Wild Mountain Thyme

By Katherine S. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Wild Mountain Thyme is an Irish romantic-comedy. It is set in Ballina, County Mayo, a lush Irish countryside with picturesque farms, impressive coastlines and lovely farm houses.  You will enjoy this sweet Irish love story.   This movie follows the story of the farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt). At a young age she is love-struck with her neighbor, Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan). Anthony spends his days ignoring the flirtations of his admirer.  Tony Reilly (Christopher Walken) is not convinced his son Anthony is capable of managing the family farm and threatens to sell it to his American nephew, Adam (Jon Hamm). This motivates Anthony and he becomes determined to keep the farm. Rosemary finds herself in an unexpected love-triangle between Anthony and Adam.

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

The main messages of the movie are be true to yourself, follow your dreams, squabble less and love more. There is some bad language and some drinking.I give Wild Mountain Thyme 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. This movie is scheduled to come in theaters December 11, 2020.

Mr. Iglesias, Season 3 * Good Message, Encourages Us To Realize The Importance Of Teachers

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Mr. Iglesias, Season 3 * Good Message, Encourages Us To Realize The Importance Of Teachers

Mr. Iglesias is an American comedy streaming television series that premiered on Netflix on June 21, 2019. The series stars Gabriel Iglesias who executive produces alongside Kevin Hench, Joe Meloche, and Ron DeBlasio. In August 2019, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on June 17, 2020. Season 3 comes out December 8, 2020. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “Mr. Iglesias is a streaming TV series with a great moral message and a lot of potential. The story follows Mr. Iglesias (Gabe Iglesias), a high school teacher who wants nothing more than to help his students thrive.” See her full review below.

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Mr. Iglesias, Season 3

By Calista Bess, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

Mr. Iglesias is a streaming TV series with a great moral message and a lot of potential. The story follows Mr. Iglesias (Gabe Iglesias), a high school teacher who wants nothing more than to help his students thrive. He works to help his students through their interpersonal issues while also working on his own anxieties.This show is a sitcom, so how is the comedy? To be honest, the comedy is very hit or miss for me. And that’s mainly because this show uses a laugh track. I found it a bit annoying and it consistently broke my immersion. I also don’t understand why this show needs a laugh track in the first place. It’s a very outdated tactic and it makes the show feel outdated as a result. Though, the pop culture references definitely don’t help. There are some genuinely funny lines despite this flaw, but it’s still something that really bothered me.

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

Mr. Iglesias has a good message and encourages us to realize that teachers are incredibly important to the lives of children— we should celebrate that importance. The upcoming third season is the best season of the show. Despite fewer episodes, the jokes are a lot funnier, and there’s a lot of character development in the third season. So if you are already a fan you will definitely be happy with what’s coming next.I give Mr. Iglesias 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Season 3 comes out December 8, 2020.

Through the Night * An Endearing Love Letter To Essential Workers And Single Mothers

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Through the Night * An Endearing Love Letter To Essential Workers And Single Mothers

Through the Night explores the personal cost of our modern economy through the stories of two working mothers and a child care provider – whose lives intersect at a 24-hour daycare center. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Abigail L. comments, “Through the Night provides a heartwarming message about the courage and struggles of single mothers as well as the importance of essential workers. This documentary successfully advocates the importance of raising awareness of the hardships of working families and maintaining a stable life for their children.” See her full review below.

Through The Night

By Abigail L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Through the Night is an endearing love letter to essential workers and single mothers in the form of a documentary film.

The story focuses on a New York daycare center, open 24 hours, run by Deloris, or “Nunu,” and her husband Patrick Hogan. The daycare is a safety net for many working families, especially single mothers, who struggle to make ends meet on top of the difficult task of raising children. Especially with Americans working longer hours across multiple jobs, 24-hour daycare centers are beginning to flourish.The progression of time in the film is very easy to follow. For example, in one scene a mother and her children wear Halloween attire with jack-o-lantern tattoos, and later, there is an event where several people wear turkey hats, which helps to distinguish October from November. Some scenes in the middle of the film that discuss the struggles of being a single mother feel slightly repetitive, even though that’s somewhat understandable. The variety of locations and situations brings more color into this documentary, and emphasizes the message of this story. Each interview is purposeful and ties into the flow of the documentary seamlessly.

My favorite part is the music which helps set the somber, but ultimately hopeful, tone of the film, while not overpowering the voices and sound effects. The camera angles also help convey the intimate, artistic style of the film, and so the audience feels immersed in the film, as if watching the events unfold in front of them. Lastly, the text effect used to show Patrick’s message to the other daycare workers is visually pleasing and effectively communicates the gravity of the situation Patrick describes.

Through the Night provides a heartwarming message about the courage and struggles of single mothers as well as the importance of essential workers. This documentary successfully advocates the importance of raising awareness of the hardships of working families and maintaining a stable life for their children. Furthermore, there is a strong representation of POC, including Mexican and African Americans, a relevant theme in 2020 America. Although this film is not rated, parents should watch out for sensitive content including the use of prescription pills and references to difficult home lives.

I rate Through the Night 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. You can watch this documentary in theaters and in virtual cinemas beginning December 12, 2020.

Godmothered * A Fun Look At The World Of Step Motherers!

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Godmothered * A Fun Look At The World Of Step Motherers!

A young and unskilled fairy godmother ventures out on her own to prove her worth by tracking down a young girl whose request for help was ignored. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lindalee R. comments, “If you haven’t heard by now, there’s a new Disney film that’s sure to become a favorite holiday classic—it’s the magical movie called Godmothered. This film is a fun look at the world of Fairy Stepmothers yet also a sad realization that not enough people nowadays believe in magic or that magical things can happen if you wish for them with all your heart.” See her full review below.

Godmothered
By Lindalee R., KIDS First! Film Critic, Age 12

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If you haven’t heard by now, there’s a new Disney film that’s sure to become a favorite holiday classic—it’s the magical movie called Godmothered. This film is a fun look at the world of Fairy Stepmothers yet also a sad realization that not enough people nowadays believe in magic or that magical things can happen if you wish for them with all your heart.
Set at Christmastime, Godmothered is a comedy about Eleanor (Jillian Bell), a young, inexperienced fairy godmother-in-training, who learns that the future of godmothers is coming to an end forever. Feeling that she can save herself and her fellow fairy godmothers from unemployment or from getting new jobs as tooth fairies, she decides to show the world that people still need fairy godmothers, magic, and a chance to live “happily ever after,” in their lives!

Not only does Eleanor help Kate, the single mom who is the focus of her mission, as well as helping Kate’s kids along the way, but they all eventually end up helping to boost Eleanor’s confidence and belief that she can still make someone’s dream come true.  Together they help Eleanor believe that maybe she still has a chance at keeping fairy godmothers employed, even in modern times.

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Like nearly all Disney movies, Godmothered has that look and feel of something magical on and off screen. From the sets decorated for the holidays, the snow on the ground, to the big Christmas parade, visually, this movie keeps you in the holiday mood the whole time. Eleanor’s Fairy-Godmother dress will remind you of those worn in past Disney movies, and the holiday music mixed with wand waving special effects all add to the fun. You can tell from the on-camera performances of the actors that not only were they having a lot of fun making this movie, but when the cameras stopped, it feels like the fun  continued as well. I love how Eleanor keeps as cheery and sugary sweet as you a storybook fantasy character might and it was fun to see her react to people, places, things and events in the “real world” that she was not accustomed to experiencing in her own world.

The message of this film is to never give up. That believing you can achieve your goals and staying determined to make them a reality is the one true way to make them happen. In Godmothered, Eleanor realizes her original plans weren’t going to happen as she anticipated, but she found a way to work around them and still create a “happily ever after” in the end.

I give Godmothered 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It’s hilarious, heartwarming and a magical holiday film for all ages. Godmothered premieres exclusively on Disney+ on December 4, 2020. Don’t miss it.

Mosul * Whirlwind of a Movie Anchored by Legitimately Visceral Sequences Throughout

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Movie Reviews
Mosul * Whirlwind of a Movie Anchored by Legitimately Visceral Sequences Throughout

An Iraqi journalist joins an army of uneasy allies in the battle to liberate the city of Mosul from the Islamic State. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “Mosul is a whirlwind of a movie anchored by legitimately visceral sequences throughout and brisk pacing that the film sustains from beginning to end. In an environment where streaming has become the predominant mode of consuming content, it’s gratifying to get a movie this immersive, one that never truly lets up and one that will certainly keep you invested in the different directions it goes in.” See his full review and interview below.

Mosul

By Benjamin P., Kids First! Film Critic, Age 14

Mosul is a whirlwind of a movie anchored by legitimately visceral sequences throughout and brisk pacing that the film sustains from beginning to end. In an environment where streaming has become the predominant mode of consuming content, it’s gratifying to get a movie this immersive, one that never truly lets up and one that will certainly keep you invested in the different directions it goes in.Based on a New Yorker article from 2017 and produced by the Russo Brothers and the production company AGBO, Mosul takes place in the titular city and follows the exploits of the Nineveh SWAT team which gained their prestige through their clashes against ISIS forces. We meet the team through the eyes of Kawa, a rookie cop who is ushered into team by the steely commander Jasem, after they save Kawa and his seasoned partner mid-ambush. With ISIS on the retreat from the city and the arrival of a new command, the team has gone rogue and decides to carry out one final mission of their own, the details of which are kept from Kawa, but we come to find it’s rooted in a far more personal place than the ones they’ve gone through prior.

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

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

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