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Penguin Town * You Will Laugh And Cry As You Discover Just How Human-Like Penguins Are

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Movie Reviews
Penguin Town * You Will Laugh And Cry As You Discover Just How Human-Like Penguins Are

You’ve never met penguins like these before. Forget ice and snow, this rowdy colony of African penguins are hitting the sun-drenched beaches and breaking all the rules. Every summer, these tuxedoed birds vie for prime real estate on the sandy shores of Simon’s Town, south of Cape Town, and stir things up. While humans apply sun block and wax their surfboards, these endangered little guys, who have adapted to heat and can travel long distances, are causing traffic jams in the streets and bringing mayhem to this tropical paradise. Their mission: find a mate, make babies and not go extinct! Filled with boisterous shenanigans and loads of adorable penguins — from the troublemaking “Car Park Gang” to the sweet and cuddly newlyweds Mr. & Mrs. C. — this eight-part series about the real lives of African penguins brings flipper-flapping fun and drama. Join the ride … this town is going to get painted black and white!

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S., comments, “I love Penguin Town! It has great narration, interesting stories and is educational. You will laugh and you will cry in this eight-episode docu-series. The messages here are: 1. protect and conserve wildlife, and 2. with the power of family, you can do anything. Tiana S. adds, “Penguin Town is far beyond just another penguin docu-series! It’s hilarious as well as being educational. After all, it is narrated by comedian Patton Oswalt. This film shows just how human-like penguins’ lives are when it comes to survival, searching for food and protecting their children. The only difference is that they are in a more hazardous environment.” See their full reviews and interview with the producer and director below.

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Penguin Town

Katherine S, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

https://youtu.be/jA2qZy_HBtE

I love Penguin Town! It has great narration, interesting stories and is educational. You will laugh and you will cry in this eight-episode docu-series. This show follows the rowdy colony of endangered South African Penguins in the beautiful beach town, Simon’s Town, who forget the snow and flock to the sun. We follow the lives of newborns as they grow and then raise families of their own.

There are eight episodes in this show, each running about 25 minutes. Penguin Town is narrated by Patton Oswald, an excellent narrator who is goofy at some points and serious at others. The writing is very comedic, relatable and personifies the penguins. There are cliff-hangers at the end of episode, so you can’t wait to watch the next one. All the penguins have very clever names, based on where they live such as Car Park Gang, the Courtyards and the Wheelbarrows. My favorite penguin family is the Bougainvilleas because they would do anything for their kids.

The messages here are: 1. protect and conserve wildlife, and 2. with the power of family, you can do anything. Of course, having kids is a LOT of work. There is some on-screen mating, sad parts and intense fights and deaths, so sensitive people may not like this.

I give Penguin Town 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8-18, plus adults. This show will be available on Netflix beginning June 16, 2021.

Penguin Town

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

https://youtu.be/61m0aMhAqlI

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Penguin Town is far beyond just another penguin docu-series! It’s hilarious as well as being educational. After all, it is narrated by comedian Patton Oswalt. This film shows just how human-like penguins’ lives are when it comes to survival, searching for food and protecting their children. The only difference is that they are in a more hazardous environment.

Penguin Town is an 8-part documentary about the African Penguins, which are an endangered species of penguins that live in Africa. Each part of the series shows the experience of one of the penguin families named: The Bougainvilleas, The Courtyards, The Culverts and even Junior the “misfit” penguin. You get a close up view of how the penguins live, love, learn and grow.

This series is very heart-warming but can also be heartbreaking due to some of the events in the penguins’ lives. My favorite thing about Penguin Town is how the filmmakers named the families based on their homes. For example, the Wheelbarrows live under a wheelbarrow; the Car Park Gang is a group of penguins who are loners, pick on other penguins and actually live in a car park. The camerawork in this film is astonishing. There are mind-blowing close-ups of the penguins, underwater scenes and lots of really cool shots of the penguins in their natural habitats. They truly incorporate plenty of human-like scenes, such as when a group of penguins walk into frame to some hip music as if they are a crew of cool penguins or when a female penguin shakes her head as if she is swinging her hair.

The message of Penguin Town is to not to give up; even if you fail the first time or are nervous, it’s okay! In the series, the penguins might fail at trying to swim the first time, but they keep trying and eventually succeed! A hidden message is how climate change and human activities such as fishing endanger the lives of the African Penguins. Parents should be aware of mild profanity and some intense fighting scenes.

I rate Penguin Town 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 10 to 18, plus adults. If you are someone that loves penguins and want to know more about how they live, this is for you! Penguin Town premieres on Netflix, June 16, 2021.

Introducing Jodea * Entertaining, Exciting, Light-Heart And Humorous

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Movie Reviews
Introducing Jodea * Entertaining, Exciting, Light-Heart And Humorous

A struggling young actress’s fortunes change when a world famous movie director drives into the back of her car. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Josephine M. comments, “I love the romantic comedy Introducing Jodea directed by Jon Cohen and written by Chloe Tricos. It is completely entertaining, exciting and humorous. Its light-hearted, humorous plot lines center on romantic ideas, such as how true love is able to surmount most obstacles.” See her full review below.

Introducing Jodea

By Josephine M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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https://youtu.be/7g6D0XeLuEY

I love the romantic comedy Introducing Jodea directed by Jon Cohen and written by Chloe Tricos. It is completely entertaining, exciting and humorous. Its light-hearted, humorous plot lines center on romantic ideas, such as how true love is able to surmount most obstacles.

Introducing Jodea is a teen romantic comedy about a struggling young actress, Jodea Maxwell (Chloe Traicos), whose fortunes change when a world famous movie director Zac Kawalsky (Jeff Coppage) drives into the back of her car. Desperate, the actress uses the opportunity to beg Kawalsky for a role in his latest movie, but her audition is woeful to say the least. However Zac’s agent Grant tempts him with a bet he can’t refuse, the condition being that Zac has one week to make Jodea a brilliant actress.

My favourite character is Chloe Tricos because she never gives up even when she is told that she cannot become an actress because she is ugly and she can’t act. Chloe keeps on trying and pushing until she succeeds. My favourite part is when Zac Kawaslky’s agent Grant (Kent Hatch) tells Jodea that she is a very bad actress, but Jodea still believes in herself and knows that she can do it, she just needs help. The production design and costume are on point and very well executed.  Introducing Jodea is very engaging and intriguing; it is definitely worth checking out. I can see it catching on with audiences.

We all like to feel that dreams can come true and that true love does exist, which is the message of this film – the traditional Cinderella story that’ll make you laugh and cry. The idea that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind and soul to it; that you should not give up when you get bad feedback and that you should be resilient and determined – that is important.

I give Introducing Jodea 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Introducing Jodea releases in theatres Friday, June 4, 2021. Save the date!

Gabby Duran & The Unsittables * On The Edge Of Your Seat With So Many Mysteries In Every Episode

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Movie Reviews
Gabby Duran & The Unsittables * On The Edge Of Your Seat With So Many Mysteries In Every Episode

Disney Channel’s out-of-this-world live-action comedy series “Gabby Duran & the Unsittables” has return for a second season on Disney Channel and Disney NOW. The series stars multitalented actress and musician Kylie Cantrall as Gabby Duran, a teenaged girl who inadvertently lands a job babysitting an unruly group of VIP extraterrestrial children disguised as everyday kids. In season two, a resourceful and courageous Gabby faces even bigger challenges as she continues to protect her alien charges while also navigating the everyday emotional rollercoaster of middle school. The season picks up immediately after a cliffhanger with Gabby’s mom, Dina, on the verge of learning Gabby’s secret, which the intrepid teen will have to stop in order to avoid catastrophic outcomes. Other adventures this season will include a robot replica Gabby-bot running amok, an alien friend who turns into a “Predator” when she becomes emotional, and a quest to recover Principal Swift’s home after it’s shrunken down to the size of a dollhouse by an extraterrestrial prankster.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Makena P. comments, “I love Gabby Duran and the Unsittables so much because it has an effect that keeps you connected with the show the whole time. It has so many cliff hangers; you’re always wondering what will happen next; your always on the edge of your seat. I like that there are so many mysteries in each episode and that something new happens in every episode.” See her full review below.

Gabby Duran and the Unsittables

By KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Makena Parel, Age 12

https://youtu.be/cYDV7Eimiec

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I love Gabby Duran and the Unsittables so much because it has an effect that keeps you connected with the show the whole time. It has so many cliff hangers; you’re always wondering what will happen next; your always on the edge of your seat. I like that there are so many mysteries in each episode and that something new happens in every episode.

https://youtu.be/tJxKd-g8XYc

The storyline is about a young girl named Gabby Duran (Kylie Cantrall) who gets picked by Principal Swift (Nathan Lovejoy) who is an alien and wants Gabby to babysit aliens. This job is so important and, if anyone finds out aliens are real, then that would destroy the earth. Principle Swift needs Gabby to keep this a secret from everyone; she can’t tell anyone about aliens or her baby sitting job. Keeping that big of a secret might be a little hard for Gabby

This show is filled with lots of animated characters and other things that aren’t there in real life. They use the characters so well, and have amazing ways to incorporate them into the show. It’s cool how some aliens that Gabby is babysitting like Jeremy (Callen Farris), Kail (Mia Bella) and Sky (Elle McKinnon) have different powers. This isn’t a great sentence. First, avoid using the term “is amazing” as it doesn’t tell us anything. I was impressed by how the actors portrayed aliens that are uncertain about how to behave as human impersonators. Considering how young the cast is makes it doubly impressive.

I enjoyed all of the other cast members, especially Coco Christo who plays Olivia Duran, because she’s so young and plays her part as Gabby’s sister so well. My favorite episode has to be the one with Cry Baby Duran, because it really shows the part of her and her friends being in middle school. The drama really starts to show and gets inside Gabby’s head and she is determined to find out who started the rumor. The other thing I found really interesting is how different directors (Joe Nussbaum and Leslie Kolins Small) direct different episodes, which gives the show great variety. For example, Joe Nussbaum directs 9 episodes and it is interesting because it must have been hard to for Kylie Cnatrall to adjust to the different directing styles. Then, Leslie Kolins Small directs 6 episodes and it captured my interest because all the episodes really turned out the same even though they all have different styles of directing, Kylie Cantrall and the directors worked together to make a great show.

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The message of this series is that lying isn’t a good thing, but when there are lives on the line, you have to do your best to help everyone. Lying can turn into a big mess, so don’t let that fool you. This series shows that some people are not worth the risk and people don’t always love the idea secrets. Tell them before they find out for themselves.

I give Gabby Duran and the Unsittables 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 14. The new season comes out on Disney + on June 6, 2021.

Launchpad is an emotional and uplifting collection of Disney short films that are great for teens and adults.

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Movie Reviews
Launchpad is an emotional and uplifting collection of Disney short films that are great for teens and adults.

Launchpad is an emotional and uplifting collection of Disney short films that are great for teens and
adults. Every one of the six movies features excellent acting, impressive cinematography, great special effects and storylines with meaningful themes.

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Launchpad includes six different shorts, each with its own unique plot. American Eid and The Last of the Chupacabras are both centered around religion; American Eid is about a young girl finding out she has to go to school on the Muslim holiday, Eid. The Last of the Chupacabras  is about a lone Mexican-American trying to keep her culture alive. Growing Fangs is a fantasy about a half-human/half-vampire trying to hide her identity from both worlds. Let’s Be Tigers is about a young girl, Avalon (Otmara Marrero) trying to process the loss of her mother while she is babysitting for a 4-year-old. Dinner Is Served follows a Chinese student trying out for the top position at a fancy restaurant. The Little Prince(ss) is a story about a young boy who loves ballet and whose best friend’s dad comes to talk to his parents about his “girlish behavior.”

With emotional and deep storylines, these short films need great acting to convey the strong messages of the films. These actors deliver. Every character is portrayed by a passionate actor that deeply understands their character and performs with passion. Even for films with no dialogue, you can understand what they are thinking and feeling. Otmara Marrero who plays Avalon in Let’s Be Tigers, delivers an unforgettable performance as such a sorrowful character. The change as she plays with Noah (Dash McCloud) is visible as the film develops. In American Eid, Jenna Qureshi, who plays Ameena’s older sister, Zainab, also delivers a stunning performance, making her teenage, trying-to-be-cool character relatable in every way. The cinematography is equally excellent. The special effects in the fantasy films are wonderful, particularly in Growing Fangs with its vampire effects. Magic is the main component in this one, but there are other effects as well. The stories are all well-written. Some of the shorts are heart-breaking and emotional, while others are more uplifting and creative. There’s a variety of wonderful ideas spread throughout.

These shorts have many themes, some overlapping others. A central point for all of them, is to recognize other people for what they are, not for how they appear.

I give Launchpad 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. Launchpad can be viewed on Disney Plus beginning May 28, 2021.

1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything * Captures A Year That Baby Boomers And Gen Xers Lived Through

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Reviews
1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything * Captures A Year That Baby Boomers And Gen Xers Lived Through

 

In a tumultuous era, 1971 would be a year of musical innovation and rebirth. Fueled by the political and cultural upheaval of the time, fresh talent exploded onto the scene, stars reached new heights, and boundaries expanded like never before. Watch 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything, now on Apple TV+. This eight-part docuseries will take you back to the birth of the most original artists and songs that we still listen to 50 years later, including never-before-seen footage of The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, and more. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything is about resilience and inspiration, or rather inspiration through resilience. As these incredible musicians weathered the tempest that was the titular year, they funneled their energy toward releasing uplifting and rousing music that would echo with the general populace; they truly seized the opportunity. And I feel that it’s a great parallel to 2020 and now 2021.” See his full review below.

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1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

https://youtu.be/Rlj8r-qiCdY

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1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything is a beautiful docuseries capturing the reality of a year that Baby Boomers and members of Generation X lived through.  In this series, the blooming of unique soundtracks in a turbulent time is captured gracefully, using archival footage and interviews plus voiceovers from influential and iconic figures of the ‘70s.The eight-part docuseries focuses on the musicians and soundtracks that shaped the culture and politics of 1971; featured artists include The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed… and even Ravi Shankar. 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything goes to great depth (each episode lasts from 40 to 60 minutes) to illustrate how these musical icons were influenced by the changing tides of history, including the Vietnam War, and how they used their work to inspire hope and change in their not-always-beautiful world. From politically-tinted songs to dreams of unity, the show runs the gamut of songs and emotions. It’s truly a beautifully-executed series, though it tends to drag about three quarters of the way into each episode.

 

The series comes from a filmmaking team that includes figures from documentaries like the Academy Award-winning ‘Amy,’ and so you know it’s going to be an awesome piece of work. Asif Kapadia is the show’s series director and serves as executive producer along with James Gay-Rees, David Joseph, and Universal Music Group’s Adam Barker. And this undertaking truly is a team effort; the production team has meticulously picked snippets of interviews, radio broadcasts, film from the recording booth and performances, and more, all from 1971, and pieced them together to tell a beautiful, intricate story. As you watch more and more of the show, you begin to get sucked into the world that is being portrayed on screen, a surefire sign that the minds behind 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything did lots of things right! Despite the show dragging a bit here and there, your eyes will surely be glued to the screen whenever you watch the series.1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything is about resilience and inspiration, or rather inspiration through resilience. As these incredible musicians weathered the tempest that was the titular year, they funneled their energy toward releasing uplifting and rousing music that would echo with the general populace; they truly seized the opportunity. And I feel that it’s a great parallel to 2020 and now 2021; certainly, music has played a major part in getting us through the pandemic, and who knows? Maybe 40 years down the road, we’ll see a film about 2020: The Year That Music Changed Everything… Again.

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I give 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything 4.5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything releases May 21, 2021, on Apple TV+!

 

The Dark Hobby * A Compelling Documentary Exposing the Ugly Truth of the Aquarium Hobby

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Reviews
The Dark Hobby * A Compelling Documentary Exposing the Ugly Truth of the Aquarium Hobby

The Dark Hobby is an exposé of the devastation to species and reefs caused by the aquarium trade. This adventurous saga follows a band of Hawaiian Elders, conservationists and scientists who stop at nothing to protect marine wildlife. They file a lawsuit against the State of Hawai’i to halt the collection of reef creatures, a fight that goes all the way to the Supreme Court. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dominic D., comments, “The Dark Hobby, a compelling new documentary film, exposes the ugly truth behind a hobby practiced by so many people globally – the aquarium hobbyist. This film sheds light on the secrets of wildlife trafficking through the corrupt commercial extraction of our most precious species occupying the world’s coral reefs.” See his full review below.

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The Dark Hobby (2021)

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

https://youtu.be/-I4jAKRGepw

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How can we fix what we don’t know is broken?  How can we make change for something if we can’t see what is wrong?  The answer is simple…we can’t unless we are aware that a problem exists. Hidden under the surface of our oceans within some of the riches habitats on the globe, there IS a problem and we must take immediate action to save our natural world before it disappears. The Dark Hobby, a compelling new documentary film, exposes the ugly truth behind a hobby practiced by so many people globally – the aquarium hobbyist. This film sheds light on the secrets of wildlife trafficking through the corrupt commercial extraction of our most precious species occupying the world’s coral reefs.

https://youtu.be/6MdXo-MCnDk

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Aquariums are certainly beautiful and enjoyable for humans, but they come at a huge cost to other living things involved in this “hobby” industry. The Dark Hobby highlights some alarming statistics within this captive industry that are sure to shock those that admire these artificial habitats. The film takes us to Hawaii’s Kona Coast where Robert Wintner, the film’s executive producer and long time marine activist, educates us on the dismal journey of marine life from capture to captivity. Several other activists and research scientists offer additional evidence on this ever so cruel hobby. Plucked from their natural habitat, 99% of marine wildlife die within the first year of captivity – only to be replaced following their death. The continuous demand to replace aquarium life drives many “aquarium collectors” into the business, causing great devastation to marine ecosystems. The Dark Hobby refers to fish keeping as a “global travesty demanding the world’s attention” and this film is sure to change minds.

The Dark Hobby takes us underwater to some of the richest marine habitats in the world. This exclusive footage is outstanding and beautifully captured by the film’s cinematographers. The Hawaiian ecosystems shown in this documentary are so diversified and viewers get a firsthand look at what could be lost if we continue to allow wildlife to be stolen.  The scenes with including Native Hawaiians speaking out to save their culture are especially powerful and a great addition to the film.

The message in The Dark Hobby is about the need to open our eyes and think critically about all that is involved in human entertainment.  Humanity can be driven at times by greed and selfishness, which can cloud reality.  Humans are taking away marine life’s most prized possession – their freedom – and this film gives us the information and education we need to speak out about giving that freedom back. I give The Dark Hobby 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults, especially animal activists, will also love this documentary. The Dark Hobby makes its debut May 21, 2021 on a variety of digital platforms. Please spread the word, it’s critical that this film’s message be heard.

A Week Away * Feel-Good Teem Rom Com of the Year!

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Reviews
A Week Away * Feel-Good Teem Rom Com of the Year!

Nowhere left to go, Will Hawkins finds himself at camp for the first time. His instinct is to run, but he finds a friend, a father figure and even a girl who awakens his heart. Most of all, he finally finds a home. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S. comments, “A Week Away is a total breath of fresh air! This film is set to be the feel-good teen rom com of the year with hilarious one-liners and catchy tunes. This is definitely a new Netflix knockout.” Katherine S. adds, “On the musical front, this movie has an impressive soundtrack. Kudos to the songwriter, Adam Watts, for the original songs in this movie. The choreography is splendid as everyone has a dance during the singing, and it is perfectly in sync with everything else. The setting for this movie is beautiful! The cabins have so much attention to detail; the forest is very realistic; and the lake is gorgeous. Now I want to go to Camp Aweegaway!” See their full reviews below.

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A Week Away

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

https://youtu.be/TINVwOUqv8s

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A Week Away is a total breath of fresh air! This film is set to be the feel-good teen rom com of the year with hilarious one-liners and catchy tunes. This is definitely a new Netflix knockout.

A Week Away follows juvenile delinquent Will (Kevin Quinn) as he goes to camp Aweegaway as a way to escape juvie. At the camp, he meets Avery (Bailee Madison). Soon, Avery tears down Will’s walls and shows him the ropes. The two of them, along with the rest of the campers, breakout in song and dance. The large dance numbers and intimate ballads balance out the storyline perfectly.

https://youtu.be/TINVwOUqv8s

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The cinematography is absolutely breath-taking. The shots of the early morning at the camp and the gorgeous dancing between Avery and Will at the dock are stunning. The sun shines down on the two as they dance together. The choreography is spectacular. The upbeat dance numbers with large groups make you want to dance with them. The songs are also incredible. After watching this movie, you’ll definitely want to add the whole soundtrack to your playlist. Along with this film’s spectacular visuals, the performances stand out. The intimate scenes between Avery and Will leave you rooting for these young teens from the lovely garden scene where Avery confesses how she’s exhausted of trying to be perfect, to Will’s vulnerable moment as he comes to terms with being loved and accepted.

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The moral of the film is that your past doesn’t define your future. Once the truth about Will’s checkered past comes to light, he runs away, believing that Avery would reject him. She, on the contrary, accepts him with open arms. Over the week that the film takes place, Will’s character develops dramatically, as he learns to love himself and learns how God and faith guides souls.

I give A Week Away 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It is available on Netflix March 26, 2021.

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A Week Away

By Katherine S, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

https://youtu.be/Rk_KhtqMrRo

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A Week Away is a teen rom-com musical. It has attractive, lakeside outdoor settings, amazing choreography and solid faith-based messages.

This movie follows a teenage boy named Will (Kevin Quinn) who is a bit of a troublemaker.  He takes his actions a bit too far by stealing a police car, and when caught has the choice of going to a juvenile detention center or going to a faith-based camp with one of his foster families. He chooses camp Aweegaway, a place where some of the teens are only a week away from a life-changing experience. While at camp, Will meets Avery (Bailee Madison), who may very well be the catalyst for that change.

At several points during the storyline, A Week Away can be a bit cheesy and predictable, but this is a rom-com musical so it can only go in so many directions – and it’s still fun! On the musical front, this movie has an impressive soundtrack. Kudos to the songwriter, Adam Watts, for the original songs in this movie. The choreography is splendid as everyone has a dance during the singing, and it is perfectly in sync with everything else. The setting for this movie is beautiful! The cabins have so much attention to detail; the forest is very realistic; and the lake is gorgeous. Now I want to go to Camp Aweegaway! Kevin Quinn, who plays Will, possibly drew inspiration for this role from his character in Bunk’d, also about a camp. Bailee Madison is so believable as sweet and faithful Avery, who becomes Will’s love interest. My favorite character is Avery’s dad (Dave Koechner) because he is kind, silly and pretty inspiring. He is such a good dad role model.

The two primary messages for this movie are that nobody’s perfect and always keep your faith. There are a couple of examples of bad behavior in the movie, like someone stealing a car and running away from home.

I give A Week Away 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 9 to 18. It comes out on Netflix March 26, 2021.

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers * Comedy, Creative Storyline, Great Messages and Lots of Hockey

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Reviews
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers * Comedy, Creative Storyline, Great Messages and Lots of Hockey

After failing to make the cut to join the now powerhouse Mighty Ducks junior hockey team, 12-year-old Evan’s mother encourages him to form a new team of underdogs with help from Gordon Bombay, the Ducks’ original coach. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is super enjoyable to watch! This beloved movie franchise now has a new series that all Mighty Ducks fans can enjoy. It has comedy, a creative storyline, great messages and of course plenty of Mighty Ducks hockey action.” See her full review below.

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The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers

By Katherine S, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

https://youtu.be/DO3WfxV6_1Y

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The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is super enjoyable to watch! This beloved movie franchise now has a new series that all Mighty Ducks fans can enjoy. It has comedy, a creative storyline, great messages and of course plenty of Mighty Ducks hockey action.

The next installment of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers follows a boy named Evan (Brady Noon) who loves hockey and plays for the Mighty Ducks. However, the Mighty Ducks are not what they used to be, as the team has become a bunch of kids who want to win at all costs. Since the team moved to the 12 to 14-year-old bracket, only the best will stay on the team and, unfortunately, Evan is not one of them. After being devastated from being cut, Evan’s mom (Lauren Graham) decides that they should make their own team, but the deadline is in a few days. Can they find a rink, a coach, players and equipment to play in the league? It’s a lot of fun to watch their journey.

Since this new series is based on the previously released Mighty Ducks movies, you might want to watch some of those movies just to know some of the references and backstories of various characters. The characters include a diverse set of kids, parents and coaches that are very relatable and entertaining. Emilio Estevez reprises his role as a “cranky” Gordon Bombay being coaxed into coaching. Sound a bit familiar? My favorite character is Nick (Maxwell Simkins), because he is sweet, has a love of hockey, is not very good and has the best one-liners.

The message of this show is to remember that, just because you are not the best, does not mean you should not bother to try.  And it would not be a Mighty Ducks movie without demonstrating the importance of teamwork. There is a tiny bit of mild profanity.

I give The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Adults, hockey fans and Mighty Ducks movie fans will enjoy it, too. The first episode of this show comes out on Disney+ March 26, 2021.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier * Non-Stop Action, Belly Laugh Funny, Emotional Ride Of A Lifetime

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier * Non-Stop Action, Belly Laugh Funny, Emotional Ride Of A Lifetime

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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is an upcoming American web television miniseries, based on the Marvel Comics superheroes of the same names. The series is a sequel to Avengers: Endgame. It is the second installment and the second television series of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Picking up after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the show centers on Sam Wilson (aka The Falcon) taking over the Captain America shield, and Bucky Barnes (aka The Winter Soldier) grappling with 21st century life without his star-spangled pal Steve Rogers. On top of that, the pair team up on a globe-trotting mission to take down an anarchist group called the Flag-Smashers. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jude A. comments, “Are you ready to fly into nonstop action? Are you ready to watch a show that will belly laugh and also immerse you in an emotional ride of a lifetime? Well if so, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the show for you! Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan return in iconic roles, delivering mind-blowing action choreography and creative new ways to show action like Marvel hasn’t achieved before.” Heather S. adds, “The moral of the series is that there’s always a way to help heal all kinds of wounds. Sam desperately tries to help his sister with finances and tries to gain back the time he lost. Bucky, on the other hand, goes to therapy to help deal with his trauma and pain, trying to erase all traces of the Winter Soldier.” See their full reviews below.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

https://youtu.be/C1YJhbeWsR4

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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the action-packed series everyone needs! With explosions, story-telling and two Avengers, we explore the backstories and lives of our favorite superheroes. This show is definitely a Marvel world-class adventure.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame. We catch up with the two heroes and see how much has changed in the last five years. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) is still fighting crime as the Falcon, as he hangs up the Captain America shield. Meanwhile, Bucky Barnes tries to move on from the wars, as his past as the Winter Soldier haunts him. Soon, the two Avengers must team up against their latest villain, Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl).

Marvel yet again delivers with the cinematic spectacular they’re known for. The series starts off doing what Sam knows best – fighting and flying. With explosions and swift movements, Sam saves a prisoner. This series really gives insight to characters that never took center stage. It showcases why their skills and mindsets make them valuable assets and Earth’s mightiest heroes. It’s so exciting to see them on their own. It’s beautiful to see the two heroes be actual humans and people, not just aliases. We also see how comfortable the actors are in their respective roles. Sebastian really dives in deep into how Bucky has changed and faces these emotions head on. Anthony also merges with Sam. It’s so hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. They’re both hilarious and their performances offer comedic relief. I can’t wait to see both Sam and Bucky reunite. These two characters have been teased to be a comedic duo in previous Avengers films.

The moral of the series is that there’s always a way to help heal all kinds of wounds. Sam desperately tries to help his sister with finances and tries to gain back the time he lost. Bucky, on the other hand, goes to therapy to help deal with his trauma and pain, trying to erase all traces of the Winter Soldier.

I give The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. It starts streaming on Disney+ March 19, 2021.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST Film Critic, age 15

https://youtu.be/IWBsDaFWyTE

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Are you ready to fly into nonstop action? Are you ready to watch a show that will belly laugh and also immerse you in an emotional ride of a lifetime? Well if so, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the show for you! Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan return in iconic roles, delivering mind-blowing action choreography and creative new ways to show action like Marvel hasn’t achieved before. This will definitely bring a smile to long time Marvel fans, and it will also be extremely enjoyable for first time Marvel viewers.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame, establishing the current status of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). Sam (aka the Falcon) is still completing missions fighting crime left and right. Bucky (aka the Winter Soldier), on the other hand, is lying very low. He is dealing with mental health issues, trying to make peace with himself and the world. When the terrifying villain Zemo makes his reappearance from the events of Captain America: Civil War, Bucky and Sam must team up and defeat this foe.

In Captain America: Civil War, we get a taste of the Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan duo. Everyone loved it. Now to satisfy our lust for more, we have The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Their chemistry is outstanding. You laugh consistently throughout the show, making you want more and more. The visual effects and writing departments each deserve a lot of credit for the extremely creative route the show takes, demonstrating to the world what beautiful effects Marvel can produce.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is intense at times. A good portion of the show is pure action that some parents might not be comfortable with their younger children seeing. Some episodes contain mild cursing. The show does offer many morals and lessons. It explores themes such as teamwork, love and friendship. It also teaches the lesson that, even though you might have lost someone you love, they would have wanted you to move on and continue to live the life you want.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier soars higher than the Falcon does in the show, delivering plenty of great laughs and action-packed scenes. The show does contain intense action and cursing. Therefore, I give The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Every Friday a new episode releases on Disney+ starting March 19, 2021, so make sure to check it out!

I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking) * Sheds Light on Struggles of Poverty and Virtues of a Single Mom

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking) * Sheds Light on Struggles of Poverty and Virtues of a Single Mom

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When a recently widowed mother becomes houseless, she convinces her 8-year-old daughter that they are only camping for fun while working to get them off of the streets. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Abigail L. comments, “I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) is a fantastic film that sheds a new light on the struggles of poverty and the virtues of being a single mother. Director, writer and star of the film, Kelley Kali, creates an excellent, heart-wrenching story that captures the turmoil and strife that people are currently facing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Joshita B. adds, “This movie represents the struggle of many single parents, especially when juggling their financial responsibilities while trying to parent as well.  Right off the bat, I must mention that Kelley Kali’s emotionally driven character is so well acted that she honestly steals the show and my heart. By making the mother so likable, the audience can’t help but root for her!” See their full reviews below.

I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking)

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

https://youtu.be/WQE-jmmADNw

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I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) is a fantastic film that sheds a new light on the struggles of poverty and the virtues of being a single mother. Director, writer and star of the film, Kelley Kali, creates an excellent, heart-wrenching story that captures the turmoil and strife that people are currently facing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The film features Danny (Kelley Kali), a recently widowed mother who is struggling to make ends meet. She convinces her eight-year-old daughter, Wes (Wesley Moss), that they are camping while they live in a tent. After promising her daughter that they will have a home by the end of the day Danny skates around Los Angeles trying to find different ways to make enough money to secure an apartment.

My favorite part of this movie is the acting. Each character is distinguishable and genuine. The large variety of filming locations stands out as well. It showcases the marginalized communities in Los Angeles, a city that is often associated with glamor and success, which can also be tied back to Danny who tries to constantly make things look better than they truly are. Although Danny makes several poor decisions, it is difficult not to sympathize with her struggles. The direction of this film is especially admirable because of the emotion the directors, Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina, elicit from viewers as they watch Danny go around town pleading for help and toiling to keep her and her daughter’s head above water.

This movie addresses issues that are often neglected in overlooked communities. I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) successfully conveys the gravity of the difficult decisions people encounter when destitute. Although the subject matter is rather dark, the message is still inspiring and thought-provoking. Parents should know there is some mature content such as death, strong language, drug use, violence and blood.

I rate I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. This film is premiering at the SXSW 2021 Film Festival from March 17, 2021.

I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking)
By Joshitha Balamurugan, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

https://youtu.be/K63cvWZJLWs

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I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking), directed by Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina, is an incredibly enlightening film about hardship. Everything, from the cinematography to the heartfelt dialogue to the acting, is top tier. This film is well made and sheds light on an important topic.

I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) is about a widowed mother that convinces her daughter they’re camping to hide that they’re homeless. This movie represents the struggle of many single parents, especially when juggling their financial responsibilities while trying to parent as well.

Right off the bat, I must mention that Kelley Kali’s emotionally driven character is so well acted that she honestly steals the show and my heart. By making the mother so likable, the audience can’t help but root for her! Also, the cinematography for the ocean scene is just breathtaking; the build-up for it is masterfully scripted so that when we see Kali scream underwater it hits us that much harder. Another thing worth mentioning is that the plot is very realistic – there is no magical element that whisks them away when life gets too tough to deal with.

The message of this film is that, no matter what happens, you have to put one foot in front of the other, because there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an option to give up. You should know that there is some profanity and sexual references in the film. So it is best suited for older teens and adults. In telling the story this way, the truthful message we take away sticks with us.

I rate I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking) 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 16 to 18, plus adults. This film premieres at the SXSW Film Festival on March 17, 2021, so catch it there.

@thanksforaskingmovie

@iamkelleykali

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