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Stray * Brilliant Documentary That Makes You See The Value Of Stepping Up For What You Believe In

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Movie Reviews
Stray * Brilliant Documentary That Makes You See The Value Of Stepping Up For What You Believe In

The world of Zeytin, a stray dog living life on the streets of Istanbul. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Carlee S. comments, “Stray is a brilliant film about three beautiful dogs living on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey.  Director Elizabeth Lo gives a unique perspective that allows viewers to venture into dogs’ lives and learn a lot about the country of Turkey and the people there, as well. Through the eyes of the dogs we learn about their lives on the streets and the lives of others they interact with.” See her full review below.

Stray

By Carlee Spagnolo, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Age 16

https://youtu.be/lRTEvpnu_B4

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Stray is a brilliant film about three beautiful dogs living on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey.

Director Elizabeth Lo gives a unique perspective that allows viewers to venture into dogs’ lives and learn a lot about the country of Turkey and the people there, as well. Through the eyes of the dogs we learn about their lives on the streets and the lives of others they interact with.  We gain a better understanding of the people as we overhear conversations the citizens are having which tell us a lot about the personal lives of the people there and the living conditions. For both the dogs and some of the people, there is danger and the struggle to survive.  There are also touching moments. It is an unforgettable film that helps people understand a different part of the world, the people and animals that live there, and that they all have the same basic needs of food, shelter, and friendship.

https://youtu.be/ABjZQH_oafo

This documentary follows three dogs named Zeytin, Nazar and a puppy named Kartal. The camera follows the dogs at their level which is a very ingenious and a creative touch. As the camera rolls, we follow along and see how these dogs interact with other dogs and the humans they encounter. Not only do we get to experience a stray dog’s life, but the lives of a young group of boys also living on the streets. The dogs in Istanbul are allowed to roam around the city freely since the citizens fought to save them. We’re taken into these dogs’ lives and live it with them, seeing all the sights and sounds they see.

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One of my favorite scenes in Stray is when Zeytin is in the park and notices another dog approaching. You can tell from the beginning, when we first get to know Zeytin, that she is a sweet dog. She doesn’t seem to mind the other dogs she comes in contact with and is friendly towards them. Watching Zeytin and the other dogs in the park was very enjoyable. I just loved watching them run around and being very playful. It is a scene that could have been in any part of the world.  I also enjoyed watching the puppy, Kartal. The puppy’s expressions are very sweet and, the way people react to Kartal, it adds a nice touch to the film.

The message in this film is to step up for what you believe in. The citizens of Turkey made sure their voices were heard, so that dogs can freely roam, and are not to be held captive or destroyed. Every life is worth something. The dogs provide comfort to many people there. There are some warnings. Some scenes can be graphic that go with life on the streets. Some of the topics and language spoken by some of the people is also for older viewers.

I give Stray 5 out of 5 stars. I was glued to the screen and I am now a much bigger fan of documentaries after watching this film.  I plan to watch more in the future. I recommend this film to ages 13 to 20. Magnolia Pictures will release Stray in theaters and On Demand on March 5, 2021.

Land * Intriguing; Valiant; Relatable. Terrific Directorial Debut by Robin Wright

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Movie Reviews
Land * Intriguing; Valiant; Relatable. Terrific Directorial Debut by Robin Wright

A local hunter brings a grieving lawyer back from the brink of death after she retreats to the harsh wilderness of the Rockies. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nathalia J. comments, “The upcoming drama film Land, by director Robin Wright, is intriguing, valiant and relatable. I found it astounding knowing Robin Wright also starred in this film as the principal figure Edee. Considering this was Wright’s feature film directorial debut, I can’t deny that she surpassed my expectations for this film.” Rosabella P. adds, “This film is a compelling piece that captures both the internal and external landscape of Wyoming. The acting is phenomenal, which is critical given that the dialogue is meager. The cinematography and music are breathtaking, showing both the kindness and sacrifice of facing the unexpected in the wildness. This is a must see in the movie theater to appreciate the grandeur of the cinematography and all this movie brings.” See their full reviews below.

Land

By Nathalia J, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

https://youtu.be/cvjfBkjvzwM

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The upcoming drama film Land, by director Robin Wright, is intriguing, valiant and relatable. I found it astounding knowing Robin Wright also starred in this film as the principal figure Edee. Considering this was Wright’s feature film directorial debut, I can’t deny that she surpassed my expectations for this film. Land shows the raw emotion of a human overcome by grief and follows Edee (Wright) as she manages with unimaginable despondency after the passing of her spouse and child. Edee makes a bold choice to depart from society, seeking out a new life off the grid in Wyoming. Leading up to that moment, she tosses her phone, buys canned merchandise and supplies, and finds an isolated, somewhat-rundown cabin within the Wyoming wild. Throughout the film, you can see how isolated she feels — once she starts a new life, it’s like she’s left her old self behind with society.

Edee is certain about her brave decision, and ready to start a new life. However, there is no coordinate for the area’s unwavering winter. She is incapable of keeping the fire going to warm her cabin. After a bear continually eats her food, Edee is on the brink of starvation, as well as frail and too cold to stand.  Edee is spared by a neighborly hunter/woodsman (Demián Bichir) who brings her back to life and instructs her on how to survive living on the land. As Edee starts to construct a new life for herself outside of civilization, she works to manage her past and see toward a bright future.

My favorite part in Land would have to be when Edee was fishing at the nearby lake. As she is struggling to catch a fish, she becomes frustrated. Then, she notices a young man, Miguel (Demián Bichir) chasing his young son, Drew (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) She recalls memories of her late spouse and child and follows them from afar as they run through the trees. I enjoyed watching as she relived those precious moments from her past, and it was overall a heartfelt moment in this film.

However, although Land was only 88 minutes, the film felt way longer than that, due to the slow pace. There are many relatable moments within the film, but I felt some scenes dragged and, at some moments, many scenes felt “dry.” This film promotes positive social behaviors and shows the true meaning of kindness. What I took away from Land is that it’s okay to be not okay. And, sometimes, we need a break from our continuous busy schedule in life and to break free!

I give Land 4 out of 5 stars, with an age recommendation of 11 to 18, plus adults. Land debuts February 12, 2021 at your nearby theater and PVOD March 5, 2021.

Land
By Rosabella P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

https://youtu.be/EyLTIWzRroY

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Land is a poignant story with a harsh American wildness twist. This film is magnificent and has unbearable events to watch. The part I enjoyed most is when Edee (Robin Wright) finally decides to go hunt in the woods instead of starving herself to death. The part I disliked is when she is contemplating taking her life away until she reminisces about her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) tells her something important to remember about her life.

Directed and starring Robin Wright, the storyline is about a desperately sad woman, grieving over the loss of her husband and child, who seeks out a new life away from her family and friends. She is very uncertain about life and goes deep into the mountains of Wyoming to begin a life of solitude and privacy to figure things out.  With the help of a nearby hunter Miguel (Demian Bichir) solace in nature may create the best healing path for her.

This film is a compelling piece that captures both the internal and external landscape of Wyoming. The acting is phenomenal, which is critical given that the dialogue is meager. The cinematography and music are breathtaking, showing both the kindness and sacrifice of facing the unexpected in the wildness. This is a must see in the movie theater to appreciate the grandeur of the cinematography and all this movie brings.

The film has a implacable message about believing in yourself. It promotes the idea that hope is all you need to conquer anything. It also emphasizes the importance of being helpful and being supportive of people you care about. Helping others with compassion always comes within your heart.

I give Land 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It will be available on PVOD March 5, 2021 at the theater near you

Moxie * Wonderful Comedy, Drama and Terrific Message

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Movie Reviews
Moxie * Wonderful Comedy, Drama and Terrific Message

Fed up with the sexist and toxic status quo at her high school, a shy 16-year-old finds inspiration from her mother’s rebellious past and anonymously publishes a zine that sparks a school-wide, coming-of-rage revolution. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “I love the coming-of-age movie, Moxie! It has comedy, drama and a terrific message, while handling very serious topics.  The cast is perfect, and the music gives the film a lot of energy.”  See her full review below.

Moxie

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

https://youtu.be/uuT3uU7DFAE

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I love the coming-of-age movie, Moxie! It has comedy, drama and a terrific message, while handling very serious topics.  The cast is perfect, and the music gives the film a lot of energy.

Moxie is based on the novel by the same name by Jennifer Mathieu and follows a 16-year-old girl named Vivian (Hadley Robinson) who prefers to be under the radar. This all changes when Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) comes to her high school. After witnessing Lucy “holding her head high” during an encounter with another student, Vivian notices all of the horrible ways that girls are being treated at her school and decides to publish an anonymous zine that sparks a fire in all of the other fed-up girls at her school.

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Amy Poehler directs the movie and plays Vivian’s mom.  She also happens to be my favorite character, because she is very clever, inspiring and is not a “traditional mom.” The rest of the cast plays their characters so well. We see Vivian’s journey from follower to leader. Lucy is such a bold and confident woman, standing up for what is right. Seth (Nico Hiragra) comes across as a really cool love interest of Vivian’s and male ally to the female revolution. Patrick Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of Mitchell Wilson is terrific, as I just hated him in the movie. The supporting characters are very diverse as we see people of all shapes, sizes and races, including a girl in a wheelchair, which I rarely see in movies, plus an all-girl band.The key messages in this film are: to be the change you want to see, and friendship can support that change. You should know that the film has some mild profanity, shows underage drinking and handles some mature subjects.

I give Moxie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It comes out on Netflix March 3, 2021.

Raya And The Last Dragon * Fascinating Setting and Mythology; Story Falters a Bit

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Movie Reviews
Raya And The Last Dragon * Fascinating Setting and Mythology; Story Falters a Bit

Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. However, when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it’s up to a lone warrior to track down the last dragon and stop the Druun for good. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “In terms of world-building, Raya and the Last Dragon is probably one of Disney’s best. This animated film has a fascinating setting and mythology; however the story falters a little… Raya and the Last Dragon feels a lot more dramatic and serious in tone than most other Disney films. On the one hand, I really enjoy this as I believe we need more serious kids’ movies.” See her full review below.

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Raya And The Last Dragon

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

https://youtu.be/2U1WHte8nKQ

In terms of world-building, Raya and the Last Dragon is probably one of Disney’s best. This animated film has a fascinating setting and mythology; however the story falters a little.<p>This film takes place in Kumandra, a world comprising five divided nations. When an evil force known as The Druun sends Kumandra into a state of despair, Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) sets out on a journey to find the last dragon, and defeat The Druun for good.First, the animation in this film is strong and very realistic; perhaps a little too realistic to the point where some shots look like photographs. This might be a pet peeve of mine, because I don’t like ultra-realistic animation. Sure, it is impressive, technologically speaking, but I find stylized animation to be much more striking and memorable. Aside from that, it’s very beautiful. I really like the colors, and how each location is so visually distinct.

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Raya and the Last Dragon feels a lot more dramatic and serious in tone than most other Disney films. On the one hand, I really enjoy this as I believe we need more serious kids’ movies. However, I’m assuming the producers were concerned about this film being “too dark for kids” because there is a lot of really unfunny comedy in the beginning. This comedy mostly comes from Sisu (Awkwafina), the last dragon. And while I’m usually a fan of Awkwafina and her comedic timing, she’s just not given any good material here. The jokes don’t fit with the setting or tone, and they really bog down Sisu’s first few scenes. Yet once the comedy slows down, she becomes a more dramatic character which I enjoyed.

I have a few concerns with the themes of Raya and the Last Dragon. The message that, instead of being divided, we need to come together and stand united is fine. However the execution of that message is a bit questionable. No spoilers, but let’s just say a certain character really deserved some repercussions for all the problems they caused. I do understand that the moral is that we should learn to trust each other, but I feel like that message is used as an excuse to not properly redeem a character.

I give Raya and The Last Dragon 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It comes out on March 5, 2021 in theaters and on Disney+ with Premiere Access.

Llama Llama: Fun with Friends! * Jennifer Garner’s Distinctive Voice Brings Warmth and Charm as Mama Llama

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Reviews
Llama Llama: Fun with Friends! * Jennifer Garner’s Distinctive Voice Brings Warmth and Charm as Mama Llama

Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their friendly hometown and make childhood memories. Giana N. comments, “I used to read these books all the time, and I was both surprised and happy when I recognized the familiar storylines. The lessons that Llama Llama and his friends learn are something a viewer may need a refresher on, or they may even be something they want to teach someone else. Either way, this show has great reminders of what’s important about life.” KatherJne S. adds, “Llama Llama: Fun with Friends!, like so many of the other Llama Llama DVDs, teaches helpful life-lessons, like patience and discussing how you feel with others. The animation is simple and 2D, with a variety of adorable animals.” Ashleigh C. wraps it up with, “Jennifer Garner (13 Going on 30) has a very distinctive and warm voice while portraying Mama Llama. While Llama Llama is voiced by Shayle Simons, whose voice is very young and natural sounding. The animation, especially of the characters, is very colorful and feels like the pages of a storybook awakening. Each episode consists of different plot lines and introduces new characters and scenes. You never know what to expect or what will happen next in each episode, making this show one of a kind.” See their full reviews below.

Llama Llama: Fun With Friends

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

https://youtu.be/pVxZxTxnWFU

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The DVD Llama Llama: Fun With Friends is a collection of episodes from the animated children’s show, Llama Llama, on Netflix. In this DVD Llama Llama and his friends go on adventures and learn valuable lessons.

The stories in these episodes follow Llama Llama (Shayle Simons), and his friends having fun and learning along the way. Even though Llama Llama is obviously a llama, this show talks about issues that real kids deal with. Mama Llama (Jennifer Garner) is also a part of the activities with Llama Llama and his friends, encouraging him to have fun, be kind, and trust that everything will be okay.

In all the episodes, Llama Llama and his friends learn something new and viewers can learn along with them. My favorite episode is “Llama Llama Shopping Drama,” because it shows Llama Lama being impatient as his mother shops, which I am sure many kids can relate to. In this episode, Llama Llama learns that, in life, you need to be patient. Another thing I like about this show is that it includes the events that happen in the Llama Llama books, but as a TV episode. I used to read these books all the time, and I was both surprised and happy when I recognized the familiar storylines. The lessons that Llama Llama and his friends learn are something a viewer may need a refresher on, or they may even be something they want to teach someone else. Either way, this show has great reminders of what’s important about life.

The message of Llama Llama: Fun With Friends is that there is always something to learn. Whether it’s an educational or character development lesson, it can be helpful in knowing how you live your life.

Llama Llama: Fun With Friends is an awesome DVD! I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 7. The DVD is available now so go check it out!

Llama Llama: Fun with Friends!

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

https://youtu.be/UtCK6k-7R0Y

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Llama Llama: Fun with Friends!, like so many of the other Llama Llama DVDs, teaches helpful life-lessons, like patience and discussing how you feel with others. The animation is simple and 2D, with a variety of adorable animals.

This collection follows Llama Llama (Shayle Simons), a playful Llama and some of his adventures with his friends Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat. It has 165 hours of fun, with 15 episodes, each lasting around 11 minutes. Episodes include some about the seasons like Last Day of Summer, Spring Fever and Snow Show. Others cover a variety of experiences such as Happy Birthday Llama Llama, Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! and Llama Llama Shopping Drama.

This show is based on the beloved Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney. I admire how the creators of this show do so much with just a little help from the books. Kudos to the writers and to George Gabriel, who wrote the show’s theme song; it’s very catchy. This cast includes Jennifer Garner who voices Mama Llama and her soothing voice fits the role perfectly. My favorite episode is Happy Birthday Llama Llama because it shows how much friends care for one another. My favorite characters are Grandma (Kathleen Barr) and Grandpa Llama (David Orth/David Poole) because wherever they are, they bring fun along with them.

There are many positive messages throughout this DVD, including patience, making the most out of everything and problem solving and friendship.

I give Llama Llama: Fun with Friends! 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 9. This DVD is available now, so look for it.

Llama Llama: Fun With Friends
By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

https://youtu.be/pPBPfDapPEQ

Llama Llama: Fun With Friends makes the childhood stories we all know and love come to life in a spectacular and fun way. This DVD is a compilation of episodes from the animated series based on the children’s book Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney.

Each episode in this show is full of adventure, whether it’s looking for a missing tooth, losing a race, or just flying kites. Every episode, Llama Llama and his friends learn something new and so does the audience.

Jennifer Garner (13 Going on 30) has a very distinctive and warm voice while portraying Mama Llama. While Llama Llama is voiced by Shayle Simons, whose voice is very young and natural sounding. The animation, especially of the characters, is very colorful and feels like the pages of a storybook awakening. Each episode consists of different plot lines and introduces new characters and scenes. You never know what to expect or what will happen next in each episode, making this show one of a kind. Voice director and series casting by Doug Parker makes this entire show worth the watch!

Even though every episode has a different message, the overall theme is like the words that Llama Llama’s many friends say: “Never say never! Don’t give up.” You don’t know how far you can go. This show promotes positive social behaviors, such as caring, helping one another and being there for your friends.

Llama Llama: Fun With Friends gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 2 to 8. You can find Llama Llama: Fun With Friends on DVD now. Look for it!

The Father * Beautiful, Moving Film Depicting Dementia In Its Raw, Brutal Essence

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Reviews
The Father * Beautiful, Moving Film Depicting Dementia In Its Raw, Brutal Essence

A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “The Father cries out to its viewers to enjoy life while they have their senses and to show compassion toward those who have begun to lose (or have already lost) a clear view of the world. It’s a sobering portrait of mental illness and yet an empowering film for those coping with their individual struggles.” Heather S. adds, “The moral of this film is that love conquers all, even the impossible. With the decline of Anthony’s mental health, he always has family by his side. Anne always does what is best for her father, including finding the best caretaker in London. Once Anthony is in a home, his nurse has the patience and love to answer his questions, comfort him and put his needs first.” See their full reviews below.

The Father

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

https://youtu.be/qehxSKiuYp8

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A beautifully-made and moving film, The Father depicts dementia in its raw, brutal essence and will surely make an imprint on your soul.

The French-British film centers around aging Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an Englishman who “has his ways,” as his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) says. As Anthony develops dementia and his condition worsens, Anne finds it difficult to balance her life with caring for her father. The film traces how the two of them go about their lives together and how the disease progresses. The Father is told in a jumbled manner because our perspective of the film is as Anthony would see it:  All out of order. Anne’s husband Paul (Rufus Sewell) and another man who Anthony thinks is her husband, a woman, and several caretakers all appear and disappear throughout the film. Even the settings shift, and you’re never really sure where you are. Director Florian Zeller and his crew design both Anne and Anthony’s apartments to look relatively similar which enhances that perspective of disorientation.

Anthony Hopkins has always played cerebral roles, so this more emotional one is unique in his repertoire. He sheds tears, flies into fits of rage, and immerses himself in the character of a strong-willed man slowly losing his grip on what’s happening. The last scene is especially poignant and hard-hitting; no spoilers, though! Olivia Colman’s portrayal of Anne is one that many who have dealt with a relative suffering from a progressive mental illness will identify with. It’s incredibly realistic, and, at times, you forget that she’s an actress playing a character. Anne herself is layered, especially in how she copes with Anthony’s dementia; first keeping her emotions bundled up, escalating to emotional breakdowns, and eventually to some scary fantasies. Colman deals with these feelings beautifully, immersing herself much like Hopkins does. Director Florian Zeller isn’t actually a director by profession; he’s a playwright, and this film was adapted from his play Le Pére. He’s a master storyteller, and you couldn’t tell this is his first gig as a director. His attention to detail (especially with sets, something I’m sure he took from his career in playwriting), combined with his personal experiences (his grandmother was diagnosed with dementia when Zeller was 12) make this film an earnest yet unsettling project.

The Father cries out to its viewers to enjoy life while they have their senses and to show compassion toward those who have begun to lose (or have already lost) a clear view of the world. It’s a sobering portrait of mental illness and yet an empowering film for those coping with their individual struggles. There is some profanity, slight violence (Paul slaps Anthony), and Anthony and Anne’s father-daughter relationship gets a bit abusive at times.

I give The Father 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults; younger kids could watch the film if they feel comfortable with themes like mental illness. The Father releases on-demand on March 12, 2021.

The Father

By Heather Suarez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

https://youtu.be/VStCKiHgLtY

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The Father is an excellent depiction of the reality for many elderly people. This film offers insight into the minds of those that suffer from dementia and how they think. We see how this illness affects not only the patient, but their loved ones.

The Father follows Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an elder suffering from dementia. The motion picture shows how his mind plays tricks on him. He forgets names easily and he sees his daughter differently, as in with a different face. He also imagines people are there that do not exist. All the while, his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) struggles to find her father the perfect caretaker.

This film really is an eye-opener to the reality of dementia. Not only is Anthony forgetful, but his attitude changes rapidly in the blink of an eye. In one scene, he is all happy and jazzy as he converses with a young woman, and then he is angry and demands that he doesn’t need a caretaker. He believes that he can outlive his own daughter and even talks about what he would say at her funeral. In another scene, he even forgets his name and calls out for his mother. This film is perfect for the loved ones of dementia patients. The movie offers the perspective, ideas, and confusion the victims go through. It also serves as a guide by showing how Anne deals with her father’s outbursts and how her love stands strong to always help him. Not once does she give up on her father, insisting he deserves the best care.

The moral of this film is that love conquers all, even the impossible. With the decline of Anthony’s mental health, he always has family by his side. Anne always does what is best for her father, including finding the best caretaker in London. Once Anthony is in a home, his nurse has the patience and love to answer his questions, comfort him and put his needs first. There are warnings that go along with its PG-13 rating. Mild profanity is sprinkled throughout the film, along with realistic depictions of mental illness.

I give The Father 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. It premieres on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu February 26, 2021.

Archibald’s Next Big Thing * Cute Series That Makes It Okay To Be Curious And Learn From Your Mistakes

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Reviews
Archibald’s Next Big Thing * Cute Series That Makes It Okay To Be Curious And Learn From Your Mistakes

Archibald’s Next Big Thing is an American animated comedy streaming television series created by Tony Hale for Netflix. The plot revolves around Archibald Strutter, a positive chicken who often goes astray from home, but eventually always finds his way back home. Season 3 debuts on the Peacock Channel. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calee N. comments, “This cute series makes it okay to be curious and encourages children to learn from their mistakes. Archibald is far from perfect, but the theme of acceptance and compassion guides him through the process of solving his problems. Being a silly chicken turns out to be a lot of fun.” See her full review below.

Archibald’s Next Big Thing

By Calee Nowak, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

https://youtu.be/UpGD0yS2rRo

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Archibald’s Next Big Thing is a unique animation series filled with adventure and kid-friendly humor.

In this season of Archibald’s Next Big Thing, Archibald goes on all kinds of wacky adventures with his siblings, Loy, Finly and Sage. Being a chicken and living in an egg shaped house with neighbors of all different species, Archibald finds himself making multiple mistakes and learning valuable lessons through his experiences. From damaging a doctor’s office to body switching and even shrinking himself, you never know what situation Archibald will be in. Now matter what, with the help of his friends and family he is able to solve his problems in unusual ways and also with a happy ending.

Tony Hale’s, Archibald’s Next Big Thing is the next chapter for Archibald Strutter. Producers Eric Fogel and Tony Hale continue to make Archibald a likable character with a great sense of humor. The talented voice-overs of the lead characters Archibald (Tony Hale), Loy (Chelsea Kane), Finly (Jordan Fisher) and Sage (Adam Fally) make the characters believable and bring life to the series. The music, produced by Matthew Janszen, seamlessly transitions the scenes and creates a silly and fun atmosphere. The art director, Sierra Lewis and visual effects directors, Karla Monterrosa and Jessica Oh, are to be commended for designing an animated series adapted from the book and staying true to the original book. The animated drawings and visual effects easily tell the stories of Archibald’s never-ending curiosity while being visually engaging.

This cute series makes it okay to be curious and encourages children to learn from their mistakes. Archibald is far from perfect, but the theme of acceptance and compassion guides him through the process of solving his problems. Being a silly chicken turns out to be a lot of fun.

I rate Archibald’s Next Big Thing 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 10. Archibald’s Next Big Thing is available now on Peacock and Netflix.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things * Heart-Warming Teenage Love Story In A Time Loop

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Movie Reviews
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things * Heart-Warming Teenage Love Story In A Time Loop

Two teens live the same day repeatedly, enabling them to create the titular map. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is an American science fiction romantic comedy-drama film directed by Ian Samuels, from a screenplay by Lev Grossman, based upon his short story of the same name. It stars Kathryn Newton, Kyle Allen, Jermaine Harris, Anna Mikami, Josh Hamilton, Cleo Fraser, and Jorja Fox. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tiana S., comments, “The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a fun film with amazing stunts, a heart-warming teenage love story, a time loop and even a really cool 4-D cube drawing! The idea in this story of having infinite do-overs to create the perfect day is fascinating. Putting it all together, this film is a great combination of action, light romance, adventure, and comedy.” Mikella G. adds, “I really like The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, because it has an interesting story line that makes you think differently about life. It teaches viewers a very important life lesson, as well as making you feel something while you’re watching. It’s simple but complex, and overall just a really cute and enjoyable movie.” See their full reviews and interviews with talent below.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

https://youtu.be/yZz4uZK6Ods

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a fun film with amazing stunts, a heart-warming teenage love story, a time loop and even a really cool 4-D cube drawing! The idea in this story of having infinite do-overs to create the perfect day is fascinating. Putting it all together, this film is a great combination of action, light romance, adventure, and comedy.

https://youtu.be/1ZnyPseohVU

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The Map of Tiny Perfect Things features Mark (Kyle Allen) who gets stuck in a time loop and is living the same day over and over again. Every night at midnight, he falls asleep and wakes up with the previous day starting over again. In the mist of the time loop, one day he meets a mysterious girl named Margaret (Kathryn Newton) who is stuck in the same time loop. They end up on an adventure all around the city finding the “tiny things” that make up that one perfect day, while trying to decide if and how to break the time loop.

I enjoyed watching Mark and Margaret’s friendship develop and all the wild things they do without suffering consequences since they are in the time loop, like drive a tractor down the street. My favorite part is when they completely trash a model home, knowing the time loop would put it back the way it was. Another part I love is when Mark shows his dad the tattoo he got. It’s funny because he shows it to his dad right before he goes back into the time loop so his dad won’t remember. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things has some really great stunts in it, too. One stunt I thought was cool was when Mark throws his water bottle at a closing door and makes it through!

The message of this film is that sometimes the most perfect things in life may be the smallest things. One great lesson Mark’s character shows is how to care about others. I loved seeing him remember all the ways he can help people in his town each day and spread kindness. A couple of things adults should look out for in this film include places with Margaret drinking and mild cursing.

I rate The Map of Tiny Perfect Things 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 years old. Adults will like it, too. Don’t forget to check out The Map of Tiny Perfect Things on Amazon Prime Video, February 12, 2021.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things

By Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

https://youtu.be/8QTNVIfM_Ow

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I really like The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, because it has an interesting story line that makes you think differently about life. It teaches viewers a very important life lesson, as well as making you feel something while you’re watching. It’s simple but complex, and overall just a really cute and enjoyable movie. Plus, it’s a good length, not too long or short.

The storyline follows two characters, Mark (Kyle Allen) and Margaret (Kathryn Newton), who are basically trapped in time. The same day repeats over and over again, and they can’t ever die due to the fact that time has stopped. When Mark and Margaret finally meet each other, they go around the town looking for the “Tiny Perfect things,” hoping this will un-trap them from this time dimension. Throughout their time together, they discover new things about each other, and how special the little things in life really are.

I really enjoyed the film’s storylines of the two main characters. They have their own opinions on life. Also, the casting for this is terrific. Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton are both believable as their characters and own their roles. Kathryn’s execution of Margaret is impeccable. She really makes the character stand out, and doesn’t hold back. We see all the different sides of the character. Margaret makes us look at things from a different perspective. Kyle also has great execution of Mark. You can really feel all of his frustration and anger. It’s almost as if we are there with him. They definitely locked me in while I was watching, and my thoughts never wandered. I also enjoyed the special effects, which are perfect for the film. Throughout the movie there are little things that they incorporate that really add to the dimension of the film. For instance, there are multiple scenes where they show us examples of tiny perfect things. This not only contributes to the lesson of the film, but also makes you realize the value of life, and how most of us are just going through the motions. It reminds us how special life really is.

The message of this film is to never take life for granted, and be grateful for the little things in life. You never know when you can encounter a drastic change, so always live life to the fullest while you can. Be aware that this film does have some profanity. However it’s pretty mild.

I give The Map of Tiny Perfect Things 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 21, as well as adults. You can watch The Map of Tiny Perfect Things Worldwide starting on February 12, 2021 on Amazon Prime.

The Snoopy Show * Classic Peanuts’ Fans Will Love This. New Adventures; True Characters

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Movie Reviews
The Snoopy Show * Classic Peanuts’ Fans Will Love This. New Adventures; True Characters

The world’s most iconic dog is ready for his close-up. Dive into new adventures with the happy-dancing, high-flying, big-dreaming beagle, who’s joined by best friend Woodstock and the rest of the “Peanuts” gang. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jude A. comments, “The new hit series, The Snoopy Show! The Snoopy Show has everything a classic Peanut’s fan will enjoy. The show looks incredibly like the original comic series, as if the animators took an old comic strip and put it on your home television! In addition, the writers made an outstanding effort to make every character stay true to their original passions and personalities.” See his full review below.

The Snoopy Show

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

https://youtu.be/m30RMko0jVw

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Time to break out the classic Peanuts dance moves because today we are celebrating the new hit series, The Snoopy Show! The Snoopy Show has everything a classic Peanut’s fan will enjoy. The show looks incredibly like the original comic series, as if the animators took an old comic strip and put it on your home television! In addition, the writers made an outstanding effort to make every character stay true to their original passions and personalities. Instead of making the characters go on the same repetitive adventures (like a lot of cartoons do), The Snoopy Show brings brand new adventures sure to make you want more and more.

The Snoopy Show follows everyone’s favorite beagle, Snoopy (Terry McGurrin), with each episode including different stories surrounding him. Episode stories range from Snoopy writing his own autobiography to exploring the origin story between Snoopy and Woodstock.  Just when you think there can’t possibly be another amazing adventure, The Snoopy Show  consistently delivers new and original stories that all ages can enjoy. The primary component of this creative revival that made me smile is the animation and art. The art director, Joseph Holt, surpassed any expectations of the show living up to its classic art style by making it authentic and original. The Snoopy Show is also extremely well voice cast because of how each character’s voice sounds like its predecessor. Out of all the Peanuts film content over the years, like The Peanuts Movie, The Snoopy Show really impresses me because of how writers can continue to find new angles to explore the characters and always put them in new entertaining scenarios.

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The Snoopy Show is the perfect new show for kids. It has a lot of comedic content in an appropriate way, fun adventures, and lessons/morals for viewers to learn every episode. The show explores themes such as family, friendship, and gratefulness. One of the key morals taught in the show is to always be grateful for the people around you, and to never take people for granted; it also communicates the message that sometimes you just need someone you love to make you smile. The Snoopy Show soars higher than Charlie Brown’s kite with a miraculous, nostalgic art style and new adventures all ages can enjoy. Similar to how Peppermint Patty scores five out of five goals in hockey, I am giving The Snoopy Show 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 4 to 18 plus adults, because who doesn’t love Peanuts? The Snoopy Show premieres Feb 5, 2021 on Apple TV+, so make sure to check it out!

Go, Dog, Go! * Adaptation of the Classic PD Eastman book, With Quality Animation and Story

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Movie Reviews
Go, Dog, Go! * Adaptation of the Classic PD Eastman book, With Quality Animation and Story

Based on P.D. Eastman’s best-selling, classic children’s book (over 8 million copies sold), Go, Dog. Go! follows six-year-old Tag Barker on her adventures in the city of Pawston, a fun-loving community of dogs on the go. Tag is a skilled mechanic and loves anything that goes. With her ingenuity and creativity, Tag can go as far as any plan will take her with her best friend Scooch Pooch by her side. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kyla C. comments, “Throughout the series, I am impressed time after time with its amazing animation. While it is colorful and fun; it is also fairly realistic. The dogs look so real and cute, I want to hug them! Something that makes this show even more special is the creative way that it uses so many elements from P.D. Eastman’s original book and creates a whole new world out of it.” Katherine S. adds, This new series will not disappoint all of the Go, Dog, Go! lovers as there is a reference to almost every storyline in the book. Also, the characters’ names are hilarious. Instead of grandpa it’s grandpaw and there is a group of singing dogs called the Barkapellas.” See their full reviews and interview with Adam Peltzman, Executive Producer below.

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Go, Dog, Go
By Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

https://youtu.be/bf29EokWz_g

The creative TV series Go, Dog, Go! based on the book by P.D Eastman is completely satisfying. Every element of traditional animated shows is used to create a brand new, originally entertaining series. With intriguing animation and impressive voice-over acting, Go, Dog, Go is a must-see for young viewers! Each of the nine episodes follows Tag Barker (Michela Luci) in her adventures through Pawston with her friend Scooch Pooch (Callum Shoniker). Together, they solve problems and have fun. There are two individual stories per episode, with the same general characters. The antagonist is primarily Frank, (David Berni), who stands in the way of Tag and Scooch.

Throughout the series, I am impressed time after time with its amazing animation. While it is colorful and fun; it is also fairly realistic. The dogs look so real and cute, I want to hug them! Something that makes this show even more special is the creative way that it uses so many elements from P.D. Eastman’s original book and creates a whole new world out of it. All of the main story parts are included and more are added such as a doorbell shop, a racecar track and so much more. All these locations and lots of extra events are important to the story. One of my favorite aspects of the film is when the dogs sing. It’s very clever and funny. The creative story is amazing, but the acting is even better. With such cute, specific-to-character performances, I almost wondered if these characters are real! There is only one minor issue that most likely isn’t noticeable to little kids – some of the episodes are repetitive. Most of the time, the series doesn’t change the plot very much from one story to the next. That doesn’t make much of a dent in my overall enjoyment of this series however.

The message that Tag, Scooch and all of their friends convey is that teamwork and kindness are best. They work together to problem solve and help out dogs around town. Sometimes there are additional themes for individual episodes.

I give Go, Dog, Go! 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 7. You can watch Go, Dog, Go on Netflix beginning Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

Go, Dog, Go!

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

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Yes! The classic book by P. D. Eastman is now an animated series. Go, Dog, Go! has such clever dialogue and references to the book, high quality animation and is very fun to watch

This series is about a dog named Tag Barker (Michela Luci) and her adventures throughout her town, Pawston. There are big dogs, little dogs and even a dog party in a tree. On Tag’s adventures, we meet her family and friends as well as new friends like Scooch Pooch and Gerald the Mail Dog as she helps to solve problems along the way. This new series is based on P. D. Eastman book, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, so this story is not only relevant to the kids of today but to their parents as well. I grew up with this book; my brothers grew up with this book; and my dad grew up with this book. My whole family grew up enjoying this book! And this new series will not disappoint all of the Go, Dog, Go! lovers as there is a reference to almost every storyline in the book. Also, the characters’ names are hilarious. Instead of grandpa it’s grandpaw and there is a group of singing dogs called the Barkapellas. The animation is so colorful as there are red dogs, blue dogs, green dogs, yellow dogs, purple dogs, and, pretty much, dogs of every color of the rainbow. I also enjoy seeing a town full of dogs riding bikes, trikes, blimps, boats and cars.  My favorite voice actress is Michela Luci, who plays Tag, because she brings so much energy to the role.

There are many positive messages throughout the show, like helping others, perseverance and friendship.

I give Go, Dog, Go! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 10. Adults will love all of the references to the book. This show comes out on Netflix January 26, 2021.

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