A continuation of the My Little Pony series, this is more modern and filled with great music
My Little Pony: A New Generation is a continuation of the My Little Pony series. It will remind you of the original, but it's more modern. It is very entertaining and interesting. If you have watched the My Little Pony series before, you will enjoy this.
The storyline follows Sunny (Vanessa Hudgens) who is an Earth pony and she meets a unicorn named Izzy (Kimiko Glenn). Unicorns, Earth ponies and Pegasi aren't friends anymore and it is unlikely to see them together. Sunny and Izzy realize that all the ponies don't have any magic and they need to find out why. They travel all through Equestria to find out how to get magic back for everyone.
The songs in this film are very catchy and creative. My favorite song is "Glowin' Up'' performed by Sofia Carson, because it is upbeat, sets the mood and is a good song all around. The storyline is fun and shows us how the times are much more different than it was with the original ponies. My favorite character is Sunny, because she doesn't believe what others want her to believe and she never gives up. She grew up with people always telling her that the other ponies were bad, but she knows how to see the good in them, so she thinks differently. Also, when times get tough Sunny never gives up.
The message of My Little Pony: A New Generation is friendship is magic. If you have been a My Little Pony fan since earlier shows, this message will pop right into your head. This is a great film to watch with the family. Is an awesome film to watch.
I rate My Little Pony: A New Generation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 11. You can watch this film on Netflix starting September 24, 2021. Be sure to check it out!
A Vivid Animated Film Full Of Life, Color, Music And Emotion
As its name suggests, Vivo is a vivid animated film full of life, color, music and emotion. Directed by Kirk DeMicco and Brandon Jeffords,Vivo is the first-ever musical for Sony with a Latino theme, and the story is certainly very relevant and aims to be significant for the Latino community. Vivo features all-new songs written and performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda which are powerful, emotive and contribute nicely to the storytelling.
Vivo is about the way we connect with others through music. In a very old-fashioned Cuba, a kinkajou named Vivo is voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. A kinkajou is a mammal that looks like a monkey but is a rainforest "honey bear." Vivo and his owner Andrés enjoy making music and performing together. When Andrés receives an invitation from his friend, famous singer Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), to attend her farewell show in Miami, Vivo is in charge to deliver the message to reconnect their friendship.
Vivo connects with our inner and pure childhood emotions and the characters in this story are lovable and relatable. For example, with the help of a young girl, Gabi, our protagonist Vivo is able to make the journey to Miami. Gabi, an aspiring musician, is a girl with talent and ambition, but rebellious and spontaneous. Gabi is a very special character representing the effervescent tween years where not everything fits in the molds of society. The animation in Vivo is gorgeous: the characters are colorful and vibrant. The attention to detail in the architecture and landscapes of Cuba is breathtaking. The presence of nature is also key to the story. As Vivo and Gaby navigate their way to Miami, they travel through the Everglades and encounter the wildlife at its fullest.
Vivo demonstrates a nice balance between traditions and everyday life and new adventures and discovering life out of our boundaries. Another great success is how the film resonates with a multigenerational audience, connecting youngsters and older members of the family effectively making it a perfect experience that unites the whole family. Vivo shows us the power of music in making connections between us and how music helps us to achieve goals.
I give Vivo 5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for all 8 to 18, plus adults. Vivo opens in theaters and Netflix on August 6, 2021.
Mind blowing cinematography, incredible camera angles, you feel as if you are there
The Alpinist is a fascinating documentary that shows rare footage of beautiful landscapes and will either inspire you to chase your dreams or make you afraid of heights. Whichever way you take it, the movie is well worth the watch.
The Alpinist follows the 23-year-old mountain climber, Marc-Andre Leclerc, who is a pioneer of solo climbing and has broken countless records. In the documentary, you see all his astonishing climbs and travels around the world and meet the meaningful people who are in Marc-Andre's life.
There are many remarkable factors about the movie. The first thing to mention is the cinematography which is mind blowing! The angles and the positions of the camera capture the climbing so perfectly that you feel as if you are climbing right along with Marc-Andre. You feel so connected to Marc-Andre that you feel like you've known him forever. Kudos to directors Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen and their crew. The way they captured this incredible footage is remarkable, because as you watch the film, you learn how elusive Marc-Andre Leclerc can be.
The messages of this film are to follow your passions and to have courage, while also understanding the risks of what you are doing. There is some profanity, some wounds are shown, and the use of drugs. If you are afraid of heights, I would definitely not recommend this.
I give The Alpinist 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters September 10, 2021. Katherine S, KIDS FIRST!
Heartwarming story that opens a whole other world about others' way of life
I liked the film The Eyes of Tammy Faye because it is a heartwarming story that opened me up to a whole other world that I was unaware of. It taught me about others' way of life and how their beliefs can make them the person that they are.
This movie follows the lives of Tammy Faye (Jessica Chastain) and Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield). They both dedicated their lives to Christianity and made a living from it. They found each other young and grew together. However, as their work continued to evolve Jim began to forget why this all started. Whereas Tammy made plenty of mistakes, but always remembers who she is.
Something that I enjoyed about this film is how honest and real it is. It shows the reality of the lives of these two people and doesn't sugar coat anything. Another thing that stands out is the acting. Jessica Chastain makes her character extremely believable. Additionally, this film takes place in a completely different time period, and she really taps into that. Furthermore, the characters' ages are constantly changing as the decades go by. Tammy always looks and acts exactly as she was supposed to be during each time period. Lastly, the sets and costume designs are executed extremely well. Everything matches the time period perfectly, and made me believe I was actually living during that time.
The message of this film is to always stay true to yourself and your beliefs. This film does contain some romantic content.
I give The Eyes of Tammy Faye 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 as well as adults. The Eyes of Tammy Faye releases in theaters September 17, 2021. By Mikella G., KIDS FIRST!
Taylor gives proof to the world that there is no need to fear some of our oceans most misunderstood creatures - sharks.
Many of us are completely mesmerized by Earth's oceans and find the species inhabiting these bodies of water very fascinating. What lies beneath the ocean's surface is both exciting and frightening at the same time. Species ranging from small macro-molecules to gigantic creatures that lurk within these waters offer us fear of the unknown. Valerie Taylor, a famed underwater filmmaker and shark researcher, has made a life for herself stepping into that unknown. Valerie's life story as a pioneer of close-up encounters with the most frightening of all ocean creatures has been made into a riveting new documentary film, Playing with Sharks. Within this film Taylor gives proof to the world that there is no need to fear some of our oceans most misunderstood creatures - sharks.
Playing with Sharks is a fascinating tribute to Australia's Valerie Taylor, who has spent more than 70 years diving into oceans around the world capturing footage of a variety of shark species, including that of the Great White. As part of National Geographic's 9th Annual Shark Fest, this documentary chronicles the life of a woman who has gone from champion spearfisher to shark protector. Valerie's early days as a marine hunter was halted following a personal revelation that depletion of massive numbers of marine animals will undoubtedly change the habitats she loves most. Realizing that there are only 10% of sharks left in the world, it was an easy decision for Taylor to retire her spear and shoot these apex predators using only her camera. In what seemed to be the highlight of Valerie's career when her shark footage was used in the making of Steven Spielberg's 1975 thriller, Jaws, but it actually brought unintended consequences for these marine creatures. The movie Jaws unexpectedly triggered a heightened fear and complete dislike for sharks. In a race to quickly fix the tarnished perception of sharks, Valerie Taylor became a powerful voice for their protection.
Sally Aitkins, Emmy-nominated director and writer of Playing with Sharks, has moved mountains with this documentary! Through remastered footage of Valerie Taylor's life journey, Aitkins shines a bright light on this living legend. The flashbacks to Taylor's earlier professional years is a great touch to the film and allows viewers to experience just how passionate Valerie is about marine life and her determination to protect it. The many marine professionals who share their experiences with Valerie also add a great deal to this film. The footage shared in this documentary serves as the evidence needed to move us from fear to respect for these amazing creatures who call the ocean their home.
Playing with Sharks has many messages, but the most important one is the need for mutual respect for all forms of life with which we share our world. We live in a world driven by greed and disrespect for other living things and, because of this, not everyone understands that we all depend on each other for survival. When removing one link to a chain, the chain falls apart. We must find a way to better understand nature in order to appreciate it. In her lifelong commitment to conservation, Valerie Taylor has done just that - she has exposed the truth about sharks and has created an audience of believers that these creatures have for years been misunderstood.
I give Playing with Sharks 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults would especially enjoy this documentary. Playing With Sharks begins streaming on Disney+ July 23, 2021. This is a must see film for all marine lovers.
A Modern Musical Telling the Life-Changing Story of the Stranded Passengers Diverted to Newfoundland Following the 9/11 Disaster
Come From Away is a modern musical telling the life-changing story of the stranded passengers diverted to Newfoundland following the 9/11 disaster. With an incredible cast, catchy tunes and a moving tale Come From Away is definitely a film to watch.
Twenty years ago, on September 11, two planes crashed into the world famous twin towers in New York City, after they were high jacked. American air space was closed and all planes in the air were forced to land; thirty-eight of them were diverted to and stranded in Newfoundland, Canada. This story follows the passengers and crew from one of the planes as they come to terms with life in their new surroundings, while forming new relationships and bonding with the locals. This is the filmed version of the award-winning Broadway musical, filmed live on stage at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York City, which tells the story of those 7,000 stranded passenger.
Throughout this film, twelve cast members each play a number of roles and it is very hard to single people out at times. All the characters are based on key individuals involved in the plane diversion. Some cast members who really stood out to me include: Jenn Colella who plays one of the pilots and a townsperson, Annette. She plays sets the bar very high for anyone who might play these roles in the future. Her amazing solos and riffs will knock your socks off. Sharon Wheatly plays Diane and Jim Walton plays Nick, two people who meet on one of the planes and, throughout their time in Newfoundland, start to feel a connection. Sharon and Jim are both very talented and share and amazing duet, "Stop the World." The remaining cast members each bring something different to this amazing production in their own unique way, from comedy to heart-break. My favourite song is the opening song "Welcome to the Rock." I love that it's an upbeat dance number that introduces you to the cast and the characters they play. I don't think I could choose a favourite part of the musical as all of it is just so interesting, moving and inspirational.
The message of this film is to remember how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away or changed forever. My thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this tragic event over the past 20 years.
I give Come From Away 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It premieres September 10, 2021 on Apple TV+.
Just The Right Amount Of Scary For A Thrill But Won't Keep You Up All Night
Nightbooks is very entertaining, but has some slow moments. It's perfect for people who love a scary movie, but may regret watching it at night (like me!). It has the just right amount of scary moments to give you a thrill, but also doesn't keep you up at night.
Nightbooks follows the story of a boy named Alex (Winslow Fegley) who loves to write scary stories. While trying to find the boiler room in his apartment complex, he is lured into a witch's (Krysten Ritter) house, who steals children. He meets Yasmin, who is also stuck there. Can they make it out before they face certain doom? Watch the movie to find out.
This film is based on the book by the same title, so fans of the book should love the movie. The set has so much attention to detail and the costume design, especially for Natacha the witch, is immaculate because all of her outfits perfectly express her personality. The special effects, specifically for the monsters, are so realistic that it gave me chills. My favorite character is Lenore the "sometimes" invisible cat because she has such a mind of her own.
The message is to never lose hope and always be yourself. Just because people think you are different doesn't mean that you are bad. There is some bad language and some scary parts that young kids find scary.
I give Nightbooks 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This movie releases September 15, 2021 on Netflix. By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST!
Jamie New is a huge character who has an answer for everything
Everybody's Talking About Jamie is the new musical film of the year! With music to get you on your feet and comedy that will make your stomach hurt, Everybody's Talking About Jamie is one to watch.
Based on true events, the story follows Jamie New (Max Hardwood) , a sixteen-year-old boy with the passion to become a drag queen, and he gets help from a former drag queen. With his best friend, Pritti Pasha (Lauren Petal), he attempts to prove wrong the people who doubt him, including school bully Dean Paxton and his own father. Although his father has chosen to cut him out his life, his loving mother is always there to help.
Jamie New is a huge character. He has an answer for everything and always has some glitter to spare. As he attempts to become a drag queen he is more confident than ever. Hugo/Miss Loco Channel (Richard E. Grant) is a former drag queen who attempts to help Jamie as he sees him as the next generation and the future of drag. Pritti Pasha is definitely the brains of the duo. She is a high achiever and would never break the rules. The rest of the cast are incredible and every single character stands out. The music in this film is from the original stage musical. My favourite song is the opening song, "And you don't even know it." It serves as an introduction to some of the characters and is an upbeat dance number that will have you dancing and singing along just like the rest of the soundtrack. My favourite part of the film is when Jamie realises that all he wants is to be a drag queen and becomes Hugo's trainee. As a result he starts saving for his very first drag queen dress - his mum already bought him the shoes.
The message of the film is to be who you want to be. Don't let others pull you down from what you want to do, especially if it makes you happy. You should be aware that this film does contain very strong language.
I give Everybody's Talking About Jamie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Everybody's Talking About Jamie steps out of the darkness and into the spotlight on September 17, 2021 on Amazon Prime. By Katie F., KIDS FIRST!
This latest series is totally engaging and makes us want to see more of our favorite mongooses
Many of us live in areas where Mother Nature brings a variety of seasons which exposes us to a wide array of ecosystems. Because we're used to this variety, we have become incredibly curious about areas of the globe whose ecosystems are perhaps not as vast; one area in particular is the desert. With its harshly hot and dry climate, we know that anything able to withstand such brutal weather has to be an amazing creature and that's one reason we have completely fallen for the South African meerkat. The documentary series Meerkat Manor has entertained us for over 15 years and has brought the wondrous secrets of the Kalahari Desert right into our homes. The latest series, Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty, is totally engaging and makes us want to see more of our favorite mongooses.
Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty follows three families of the most charismatic desert mammals and showcases their family dynamics. In the spotlight of this series is Swift, the granddaughter of the original Meerkat Manor Whisker family matriarch, Flower. We've waited 12 years to catch up on what the Whiskers, Hakuna Mata and Ubuntu families have been up to and there are many surprises within this series as some things have changed. The new series continues to show us just how difficult life in the desert can be, yet with the perfect family dynamics and role assignments, animals can overcome these challenges. Just like in our own lives, people compete for space, food, and other resources, the meerkat families are no different. These episodes highlight that, despite the fact that the meerkats share a common bloodline, individual survival and the survival of their family is their main concern.
There are a lot of great things about this series, but my favorite part is the character led story telling by narrator Bill Nighy. The series humanizes the meerkats and gives each their own entertaining personalities. There are heroes, villains, babysitters, a Romeo and Juliet pair, and so much more. These personalities are hilarious and interesting to watch. The cinematography is also fantastic with its capturing of some of the most harsh weather conditions on Earth. I especially enjoyed the scenes where the camera was placed deep within the meerkat burrows. Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty is a captivating series about the natural world and I appreciate its educational value.
The message of this series is about teamwork. Of course, family, culture and perseverance are worth mentioning here also; however, if this species didn't have a system of working together, they could not thrive within their harsh ecosystem. Each meerkat has a specific role to support its family. They work cohesively in a variety of ways to assure the success of their family. Whether their role is one filled with drama or with entertainment, one thing is for certain - these desert dwellers are sure to tug at your heartstrings.
I give Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults, especially animal lovers and nature enthusiasts, will also love this series. Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty is available now on BBC American and AMC+. Episodes 7 and 8 are coming out on September 4 and September 9, 2021.
Fails at multiple attemps to recreate the authenticity of previous Marvel Films
Think about every decision or choice you've ever made and now, wonder, "what if I did that differently?" Marvel Studio answers these mind-boggling questions with its new hit animated series, What If... ? Every major plot line that occurred throughout the history of the MCU is twisted and turned to show different outcomes of various realities. Every Marvel film has a similar, typical way of story-telling, yet What If... ? Has a new authentic narrator-type style that is extremely refreshing to longtime fans. However, the episodes fall a bit short recreating the nostalgic feeling from each film, resulting in many jokes feeling out of place and simply not landing.
After the events of Loki, we are not dealing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe anymore. We are dealing with the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse! The Watcher (Jeffery Wright) is our all-seeing tour guide, showing us various different realities in which time and events play out extremely differently from what we know. Each episode explores stories generated from the simplest of choices. These subtle choices could result in a new superhero being born, a foe becoming a friend or even a murder.
DC Comics has been the leader in superhero animation for a while now, but with What If... ? That title might be in jeopardy. The animation in this new series is extremely unique. The broad color scheme is very eye pleasing and ties into the 3D art extremely well, providing a tranquil flow. Witnessing characters written by different writers from previous films can be very noticeable at times. With new content added to stories we already know and love, certain characters feel out of place because of the writers recreating their personalities.
Marvel content over recent years has been very intense. Unlike its predecessors, What If... ? Is more lighthearted and not driven by a serious tone. Throughout the series, action and mild cursing frequently occur. Each episode is radically different from other episodes due to the lack of continuity of the story. As a result, there are new morals and lessons included in every episode. A prominent moral lesson throughout the show is that you can be whatever you want, despite the obstacles. The show explores themes such as perseverance, trust and family.
Marvel Studio's What If... ? Is a major hit across the multiverse with its narrator-type journey, yet fails at multiple attempts to recreate the authenticity of previous Marvel films. I give What If... ? 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. A new episode of What If... ? Streams every Wednesday starting August 11, 2021 on Disney+. Make sure to check it out! By Jude Adler, KIDS FIRST!
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the most mystical and beautiful movie in history! The music, the special effects and the acting all take you to another world. The film leaves you wanting a Morris of your own.
The storyline follows a young man named Shang-Chi (Simu Liu). His father is a one thousand-year-old man and conqueror nicknamed The Mandarin (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), who has only ever used the infamous and all-powerful Ten Rings for evil. When the Mandarin is set to unleash infinite evil on the universe, Shang-Chi has to stop his father.
This movie is a cinematic experience. The fighting and choreography are out of this world. The long slow motion shots make the audience feel as if they are in a video game. Simu steals the show; every fight scene is flawless with his fluid movements and it proves just how hard he worked on his character for this film. Every audience falls in love with Shang-Chi; he's funny, with perfect comedic timing and he knows the balance between peace and violence. He encapsulates what the majority of young adults feel - like not being able to find their place in the world. The movie makes fans feel as if they've known Shang for years. It has wonderful flashbacks, which give the audience glimpses of his past, his pain and how his fears have shaped who he is. The film gives a wonderful all-around scope of this character that feels like a friend we've known all our life. It makes fans excited to see Shang-Chi again. Shang and his sister Xu Xialing are an iconic duo. They're both powerful and, while there's some tension due to their past, they put everything aside and let love shine through. Xialing is a role model, officially joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most powerful women. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is perfect for AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) representation in cinema. It represents Chinese culture powerfully, shows what it's like to be an Asian-American in modern day USA, not to mention that Simu is Marvel Studios' first Asian-American superhero. Simu and Shang-Chi are writing history while also inspiring children and fans all around the world. The film delivers on all grounds; the cameos are shocking and leave you on the edge of your seat. Trying not to shout during the two post credits scenes prove to be a challenge. By the end of the movie, I wanted to sing the song "Hotel California" at the top of my lungs.
This film reminds you to search for who you are and let your past guide you to who you want to be. Ever since his mother died, Shang has been trained by his father to use violence. When he arrives at his mother's village, he learns how to find peace within himself and the world around him. He learns to trust himself and to use the rings for good.
I give Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 plus adults. It is available only in theaters September 3, 2021. By Heather S., KIDS FIRST!
A portrait of resilience, tact, patience and leadership.
In 2021, we will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the greatest American tragedies of the 21st century, the September 11 attacks. To help educate the public about exactly how this horrific event unfolded, the remarkably detailed documentary 9/11: Inside The President's War Room was created.
Going minute by minute, hour by hour, 9/11: Inside The President's War Room offers two narratives, following the president's actions, thoughts, and movements, and the developing situation in New York City.
President George W. Bush was interviewed for this film and his impeccable memory of the day and skilled delivery make the documentary even more unique. His impassioned vow to bring Al-Qaeda to justice, his struggle to keep his anger in check, and his helplessness as he was flown around the country to avoid a rumored attack on Air Force One show exactly how novel this crisis was. The film includes high-quality archival footage and the perspectives of individuals like Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Ted Olson, as well as the president and vice president's chief of staff. I've never seen a more thoroughly researched and impeccably pieced-together documentary. The many perspectives from all these individuals contribute to a strong narrative that captures you from minute one. Each interview is compelling and the editing cuts between medium shots of the individuals and archival footage, creating an immersive and truly "in the room" experience. The background music complements the film's somber tone.
9/11: Inside The President's War Room is a portrait of resilience, tact, patience and leadership. There is some mild profanity in the film as well as some footage of the Twin Towers collapsing with screams in the background.
I give 9/11: Inside The President's War Room 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. 9/11: Inside The President's War Room is available now on Apple TV+ . By Eshaan M., KIDSFIRST!
A Feel-Good Modern Musical Take On The Evergreen Tale Of Cinderella
A modern, musical take on the evergreen fairy tale, Cinderella's impeccable sets and wardrobe, as well as its talented cast make this production a one-of-a-kind watch.
Cinderella follows the story of Ella (Camilla Cabello), a poor orphan who lives with her abusive, restrictive stepmother Vivian (Idina Menzel) and her mean, obnoxious and spoiled stepsisters (Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer). She loves to design dresses and even has her own workplace in her basement, where a crew of merry mice (James Corden, Romesh Ranganathan, James Acaster) watch over her. It is her dream is to open up a dress shop in the town marketplace; however, in her kingdom, women cannot run businesses. When Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine), the unassuming heir apparent, lays eyes on Ella, he falls head over heels in love with her, as does she for him. However, as Cinderella and Prince Robert find themselves and their paths in life, a series of decisions they must take puts their love story in jeopardy. There are lots of subplots and side stories in the film, but that's the main plotline.
Cinderella maintains a steady and engaging pace with just enough action, comedy, romance and drama throughout the nearly two-hour duration. As it's told through a combination of songs and dialogue, it's only logical that the cast is comprised of a mixture of singers, actors, and comedians. Camila Cabello, Billy Porter and Idina Menzel "slay" in the film, as Porter's character (Ella's fairy godparent) would say. Their delivery is clear and, in the case of Cabello and Menzel, though a lot of the film's soundtrack is comprised of remakes (like Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation); it's refreshing to hear their take on the songs. Pierce Brosnan plays the stately, confident, yet flawed and patriarchal King Rowan and Minnie Driver acts as his strong, regal Queen Beatrice. I love the portrayal of strong women in the film. Beatrice, Ella and even Vivian have one thing in common - they are restricted by their society. Vivian had to give up on her passion; Beatrice must sit silently next to her husband for life; and Ella is at risk of losing her dreams. It's certainly unique to see this struggle in a fairy tale film. Shot at Pinewood Studios in the UK, the film's sets are impeccable, and I truly felt I was in a medieval kingdom with the characters.
Cinderella promotes advocating for yourself, pushing against restrictive gender roles, following your dreams, choosing your own destiny and so many more positive messages! There are only one or two uses of mild profanity in this film.
I give Cinderella 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST!
For a story about one of the most highly controversial pieces of art, this lacks luster
The Lost Leonardo recounts one of the most expansive and expensive stories the art world has ever seen. This documentary has a knack of looking at this painting's recent history from a different angle every 20 minutes or so, revealing a whole different facet of the fervor surrounding this single piece of art and how the conversation around it became about so much more than the painting itself.
This odyssey of art and commerce begins in a warehouse, where a painting called the Salvator Mundi from one of the masters of the field, Leonardo Da Vinci, was thought to have been lost to time and languishes before being discovered by two art dealers who look for paintings that are worth more than they seem. Little did they know, they just stumbled upon their greatest find in that respect. They purchased the painting for 10,000 dollars and had it restored, in hopes that the work was that of Da Vinci's. The restorer's work supported that conclusion and, with that, a whole new journey with it begins. It ends up selling for hundreds of millions of dollars after it travels the world and comes into contact with everyone from the general public, to art critics, to experts, to Russian billionaires, to wily art dealers and world leaders.
Director Andreas Koefoed seems to understand the potential of what he has at his fingertips here - betrayal, treachery, power, greed - it's a winning concoction. For all the goodwill it earns in the riveting way it unfolds, The Lost Leonardo lacks a stylistic backbone to hold the whole thing together. It relies heavily on one-on-one interviews with experts, critics, and those that played in Salvator Mundi's discovery, restoration and sale. Those interviews bear no intimacy to them, which works in giving objectivity to the events documented, but their implementation grows tiresome. Koefoed has little else up his sleeve to tell this story and, for one about art and one of the most prolific pieces in a long time the world over, that's more than disappointing. This film about Salvator Mundi lacks imagination and creativity and is quite staid, which distracts from the gold mine Keofoed has here. Mundi's story certainly is anything but boring; so it's unfortunate that it is told that way.
I give The Lost Leonardo 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Nothing in the movie is objectionable, beyond some nudity shown in the artwork. If you've got an interest in the business of art or the work of Da Vinci, this one's for you. But more than that, the directions this story takes are so unpredictable that I think it makes this documentary easy to recommend to anybody. The Lost Leonardo comes out in theaters August 27, 2021.
While the film has some strong points, they're not strong enough to hold the film afloat
Reminiscence is an overly long film with a lot of loose ends. The movie strives to be a romance and yet the love story is weak. While the film has some strong points, they're simply not strong enough to hold the film afloat.
The storyline follows Nick (Hugh Jackman), a man desperately in love with Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). After she vanishes, Nick uses technology known as the Reminiscence, which lets users revisit memories that they've forgotten. Nick uses the memory technology to locate where and why Mae has left. Slowly the truth unravels only to reveal dirty secrets.
The movie definitely has its upsides. One of the film's strongest points is the friendship between Nick and officer Watts. The two go way back, and it's even confirmed by Watts that she's in love with Nick. Watts does everything possible to prevent Nick from burning a memory in his brain from using Reminiscence too often. However, they have a falling out and their argument is never really resolved, ending in an uncompleted arc. The whole world is flooded; it is unclear as to why. It appears as though there has been a war - one in which both Nick and Watts are veterans of. The war is only mentioned; it's never really addressed in depth, which leaves many loose ends. The war is the reason for the international flood and sinking of London, but there's no description or overview of the war. Throughout the film, there are glimpses of memories of Mae and Nick together. These memories end up being repeated over and over, which can't help but feel repetitive. Nick's love for Mae is supposed to feel unending, but it feels limited by these few memories.
The lesson Nick learns is to believe in love. He goes the distance to learn the truth about Mae, refusing to believe that their relationship was one-sided. He goes against his closest friend and hardcore evidence to find the truth, even subjecting himself to the Reminiscence forever.
I give Reminiscence 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 16 to 18 plus adults. By Heather S., KIDS FIRST!
Lots of fun things and an inspiring message. I couldn't stop watching it.
Diary Of A Future President: Season 2 is very different from other Disney Channel shows. It has a very inspiring message which makes it a show that I would want to keep watching to find out what happens next.
The storyline follows young Elena (Tess Romero) finding her way through middle school as she starts 7th grade and begins a journey to becoming the president. Her brother Bobby (Charlie Bushnell) is having some problems with starting high school and managing his crush. Their mother Gabi (Selenis Levya) is dating Sam Faber (Micheal Weaver) and has just decided to have him move in. All in all, there is lots of fun new changes in the second season.
Season 2 has lots of fun things to talk about. First is the theme song at the beginning of every episode. I love the way it starts as her middle school diary and ends as the president's book. It kind of shows her journey. Second, there are lots of relatable new things in this season, such as having a crush that doesn't feel the same way you do and having your friend get a girl or boy friend and not having time for you. Third, there are lots of cool sets such as Elena's bedroom. The way that the bathroom is in between Bobby and Elena's room is so cool. One of the sets is at the school and added this season is a theater which is a fun set. Fourth, this show uses lots of fun camera angles to enhance the viewing experience. Last, this show and its cast have been nominated for five different awards in 2020 and 2021. Most notable is winning a Gracie Allen Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role to Selenis Layva.
The message of this TV show is to always include others, be yourself even when that is hard, and always be honest.
Diary Of A Future President: Season 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Avalon N., KIDS FIRST!
Interesting concept, terrific acting and special effects
Free Guy is a movie with a very interesting concept and actors that execute it perfectly. The movie is humorous and had me and the people I was with, laughing the entire time. But, once you get to the bottom of it, you'll realize there's a lot more to Free Guy than the humor.
Free Guy is about a video game character named Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who discovers that he's just a background player in a game called Free City. When he finds a pair of sunglasses that changes his status in the game, he becomes all anyone can talk about. Even Millie (Jolie Comer), also known as Molotov Girl in Free City, is starting to fall for him. With all the fuss about Guy, Keys (Joe Keery) and Millie realize they can use him to their advantage to expose Antoine (Taika Waititi). However, since their secret is hidden within the game, they are going to need a little help.
Free Guy has a lot of star power, which is one factor that will attract a lot of people. Many celebrities with very big fan bases make cameo appearances in this film. Towards the end of the film, Free Guy takes another opportunity to appeal to different audiences. For example, in the final battle scene, Guy uses different weapons that crossover with franchises such as Marvel and Star Wars. The characters in Free Guy are likeable and some are also relatable. My favorite character is Antoine. He is a lot funnier than most antagonists and he is the character that actually lightens the mood of the film. The way he banters with people and bosses everyone around makes him a character you want more from. The special effects in Free Guy are also a prominent component of the film. Free City is a game that was redesigned by Antoine to be repetitive, with a lot of damage taking place in everyday life. Every day there is another car being blown up, or a bank being robbed. Most of the time, it's both. So, major props to everyone in special effects, because it must have taken a lot of effort and time to make it look so realistic.
The message of Free Guy is that you need to make sure you enjoy the simple things in life. For a regular person, life can be pretty repetitive if you let it. So when you do something out of the ordinary, make sure you recognize and appreciate it. Free Guy executes the double meaning subtly through the characters and their actions, which is very clever. This movie does include heavy use of profanity, which sometimes can be gratuitous, so parents should be aware of that.
Free Guy is a unique film that will appeal to a lot of people, especially gamers. I rate Free Guy 4 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Free Guy releases in theatres August 13, 2021. Make sure you check it out!
Suited Up And Armed With Exciting New Gadgets PAW Patrol Is Ready To Go
Suited up and ready for an all-new adventure, your favorite group of heroic pups, led by a boy named Ryder, are back in Paw Patrol: The Movie! This film has all the same things you've come to love about the PAW Patrol TV series with a new action-packed adventure and new-found friends. This family fun film is sure to capture the hearts of new and original PAW Patrol fans.
The film follows the PAW Patrol as they head to Adventure City to save its citizens from Mayor Humdinger's (Ron Pardo) dangerous plans and what he calls adding "adventure" back to the city. During their trip to Adventure City, the team goes on a series of high-risk adventures that becomes one of their biggest challenges yet and really tests the pups as they learn what it means to be true heroes. We even get to learn about Chase's (Ian Armitage) backstory and how he met Ryder (Will Brisbin), which really ties in well with the new storyline.
The main characters Mayor Humdinger, Chase, Ryder and new-comer Liberty (Marsai Martin) are joined by the rest of the PAW Patrol team. My favorite character is Liberty because she's an adventurous, brave and smart pup that is always willing to help. Plus, I love how she stands up for herself and even "roasts" a mean pup that was disrespecting her. Each of the team members has special skills, gadgets and vehicles that help them on their missions. My favorite vehicle is Zuma's, because it can be used as a boat, submarine or even a raft. The team receives upgrades to some of their gadgets including a new pup treat dispenser that I would definitely love to fill with snacks.
The message of this film is that being a hero doesn't always mean being the strongest or the bravest. It's okay to rely on others sometimes to help you get the job done. Chase learns this when he goes through different moments where he does not feel like a hero or worries that people will think he is a scared little puppy and not a hero, because he is nervous about returning to Adventure City. He eventually has to trust himself and his friends along the way.
This is a "PAWsome" film. I give Paw Patrol: The Movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST!
Epic Biopic And Is Sure To Give Viewers Something To Sing About
The Queen has arrived! Respect will have viewers singing and dancing to Ms. Aretha Franklin's songs as well as appreciate seeing her pathway to become The Queen of Soul. With amazing performances and storytelling, this biopic is epic and is sure to give viewers something to sing about and inspiration to follow their own dreams.
Respect tells the story about how Aretha Franklin (Jennifer Hudson) got her start by singing in her father's, C. L. Franklin's (Forest Whitaker) choir and weekend parties, to becoming one of the most iconic voices in music history. Along the way, we learn about the trials and tribulations Ms. Franklin had to overcome to become "Aretha" - the woman, artist and icon. Hudson delivers Ms. Franklin's story in a way that allows you to connect on so many levels to Franklin's life experiences.
Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson really stays true to her own acting and singing talents in this film and proves just why Ms. Franklin handpicked Hudson to tell her story! I love how Ms. Hudson does not try to overact to portray Aretha Franklin or mimic her voice, which surprisingly really works out well. My favorite part is when young Aretha and her mother, Barbara Franklin (Audra McDonald), are talking and playing the piano together and actually singing their conversation. It is very touching. Of course, the music in the film is spot on, since most of it is Aretha Franklin's. The costumes are incredible and very fashionable. Hudson's gowns were truly fit for a Queen. The film uses different cinematographic color techniques to represent different time periods, which make you feel as if you are watching actual footage of Aretha Franklin in her time verses Jennifer Hudson playing her in present day.
The message of this film is you have to own your voice. Don't let others determine how you follow your dreams, what they should look like or what they should be. Ms. Franklin spent a lot of time doing what everyone else wanted her to do and it wasn't until she started listening to herself and demanding respect, that she started making hit records. It was only then that she was able to become The Queen of Soul. Parents should be aware that there are scenes with drinking, violence and suggestive behavior.
Respect is a must-see film filled with inspiration and women empowerment. I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can find Respect in theaters August 13, 2021. By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST!
Makes The Magic Of The Riverboat Attraction From Disneyworld Come Alive.
Take a trip to the Amazon Rainforest in Disney's new, beautifully produced film Jungle Cruise. Starring such talented actors as Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall, the film is inspired by the famous theme park ride and liberally incorporates details from it as well, like the boat captain's terrible puns and a reference to the "back side of water." It's a great family film!
Set in 1916, Jungle Cruise opens in London, during a meeting of scientists. McGregor Houghton (Jack Whitehall) is presenting to the crowd as his sister, Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), goes about her mission to collect a precious artifact from the archives. She ropes her brother, a rare gay character in the Disney universe, into the adventure she's been chasing since her childhood, determined to journey into the Amazon to an area called Lágrimas de Cristal and find a magical healing tree called the Tears of the Moon. Lily hates the rough-around-the-edges, scam artist Frank (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) as soon as she sees him, but she grudgingly agrees to employ him as their skipper down the Amazon, with the conniving German aristocrat Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) nipping at their heels. Many adventures follow and the characters, as different as they may seem, grow close as a chosen family. There's also a pretty unusual supernatural backstory.
As with any Disney film, the production quality of Jungle Cruise is incredibly high; each and every small detail in regards to the graphics and overall look of the film has been addressed thoroughly. This film's previously-mentioned punchy one-liners delivered by Dwayne Johnson allude to this film's origins in the theme park ride. The Rock undoubtedly, unquestionably puts on the best performance of the film, and his chemistry with Emily Blunt's character is what truly carries the film through some slow moments when the script seems to lose purpose. Viewers begin to forget the overall goal of the mission as plots and relationships mix. However, this problem only shows up in the last third of the film. Another major star in the film is Jack Whitehall. His character is especially significant given that it's one of the few instances where you can see an LGBTQ+ character on screen, and his struggles coming out in a rigid, heteronormative society are beautifully represented in a heart-to-heart with Frank. In summary, the cast and production quality take this film to a new level, while the script tends to bog it down.
Jungle Cruise promotes teamwork, grit, the victory of good over evil, and, my favorite message, that no matter how different we are, there's always something we can unite over. We're always stronger together.
I give Jungle Cruise 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Jungle Cruise premieres on July 30, 2021, in US theaters and for a fee on Disney+.
Edge of your seat exciting, great moral - fight for what you believe in
Notorious Nick will have you on the edge of your seat, cheering and screaming at the top of your lungs! This film delivers on all aspects; it leaves you teary-eyed and motivated to get out of your comfort zone. This is the perfect family film.
Notorious Nick tells the true story of Nick Newell (Cody Christian), who is a one-handed MMA fighter. Nick starts off as a wrestler and faces multiple challenges, but pulls through, becoming a world renowned MMA fighter, known as Notorious Nick. With the support of his family, best friend and coach, Nick proves that sky's the limit.
This film is absolutely amazing. Hopefully the way it approaches disability in an empowering perspective will encourage more studios to do the same. Instead of Nick always being knocked down and seeing the negativity of his disability, he learns his strengths, never giving up, working to find a way to perform at his full capacity. He holds his own against famous mixed martial artists. He also encourages a boy with a similar disability to change his attitude. He believes in himself, even when he is the only one who does. His mother is a great role model, inspiring other parents by always pushing Nick to succeed. The sheer determination between this mother and son duo empowers everyone. Nick learns how to fight inside the ring and out, even when he has to fight for his right to compete in the Light Weight Championships. He has to prove that - every competition where he has fought was legitimate, and he never backs down - determined to prove himself to the board and his opponent. Stay for the end credits for a chance to meet the real-life Notorious Nick and his coach. He talks about his journey and about how he's only just getting started.
The moral of this film is to never give up; fight for what you believe in; and believe in yourself. Nick always fights against bullies, discrimination, opponents and negativity. With his disability, he learns to compete in the ring, to be considered just as great as his competition. He proves himself worthy to everyone and to himself. Be forewarned that there is profanity and depictions of alcohol use.
I give Notorious Nick 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters August 6, 2021.
The Thrilling Adventure Of A Lifetime And The Perfect Origin Story
Snake Eyes: G. I. Origins is the thrilling adventure of a lifetime and the perfect origin story to such a beloved character. With motorcycles, swords and a mystical gem - you will be a part of an incredible mission.
The movie is a spin-off around the character of Snake Eyes (Henry Golding). Holding onto the trauma of his father being murdered, Snake Eyes is on the hunt for his father's killer. He trains with the Arashikage clan to become a top ninja. Meanwhile, he makes a deal with some unlikely allies to find his dad's murderer.
Snake Eyes: G. I. Joe Origins is an action-packed movie and is not to be missed. The fight scenes are incredibly filmed, using long one-take shots to capture the film's actors fighting with swords. The cinematography is iconic, with some night scenes shot with bright neon lights and others with a calming, peaceful, bright light. It's so cool to watch modern-day ninjas on motorcycles fighting one another on the streets. This film is perfect for fans all around the world that enjoy amazing battle sequences, especially for G. I. Joe fans. Familiar faces are shown like the Baroness and Kenta. We also see a teaser for Snake Eyes' most popular villain, which leaves the movie open for a very exciting sequel. The film is a wonderful origin story, telling the tale of Snake Eyes, showing just how he became affiliated with the Joes and where he's off to next, while sprinkling in some major plot twists.
The moral of the story is to trust yourself and always do the right thing. Many times Snake Eyes is tempted to kill his father's killer and throughout the film he learns the meaning of honor - to others and yourself - and makes a surprising choice. He also learns how to find inner peace with many of the things he's done and moves on to the next chapter of his life.
I give Snake Eyes: G. I. Joe Origins 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 plus adults. It is available only in theaters July 23, 2021.
Beautiful exploration of choreographer Alvin Ailey and his influence on dance
The documentary Ailey redefines the meaning of contemporary dance and the unconventional form created by choreographer Alvin Ailey.
Ailey is a documentary about the life of choreographer Alvin Ailey, known for creating contemporary dance arrangements such as Revelations and The River. With his own narration and testimonials from people who knew him, we learn who he was, what he went through and how he interpreted his life into dances that later became world renowned.
Out of many dance genres, modern dance used to be my least favorite. I found it odd and confusing. That is until I watched the film Ailey. Director Jamlia Wignot takes the documentary into a learning experience not only about Alvin Ailey, but also about the true meaning of interpretive dance. I enjoy the scenes of the modern Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, showing that his legacy still lives on through dance. This film has many scenes that feel like filler when the narrator is speaking and that gets repetitive over time. I love how this film does not require you to have a general knowledge or passion for dance. It allows the audience to create their own feelings and opinions about what dance means to them.
The message of Ailey is to pursue your passion and use your talent to impact others in a meaningful way. This documentary portrays this message with great success.
I give Ailey 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Ailey in theatres July 23, 2021.
A Fun-Filled Musical Comedy Perfect For Theatre Kids And Musical Lovers!
Schmigadoon! Is a fun-filled musical comedy perfect for theatre kids and musical lovers! The cast of this new series has some famous faces like: Keegan-Michael Key, Dove Cameron, Kristen Chenoworth and many more!
On a bonding trip, lovers Josh and Melissa accidentally find themselves in the 1940's musical town of Schmigadoon. Josh and Melissa see everyone bursting into song and dance and soon discover that they can't go home until they find true love. Do they have it? Will they find it? Watch Schmigadoon! To find out!
The cast of Schmigadoon! Stands out and so do the sets Josh Skinner (Keegan-Michael Key) is not excited about this musical town and tries everything he can to get away from all the singing and dancing. Josh experiences many emotional highs and lows: engagement, break-ups and drama. Melissa (Cecily Strong) is the one who decides on the bonding trip which leads them to Schmigadoon! She does enjoy the musical town and, eventually, joins in on the fun.
The scary Mrs. Mildred Layton (Kristen Chenoworth), wife of Reverend Layton, is the leader of the "Mothers of the Future" organization and isn't very fond of Josh and Melissa's arrival. As well as Josh, Mildred is also trying everything she can to get them to leave, as she thinks they are ruining "her" town. Betsy (Dove Cameron) is a young waitress who takes a quick interest in Dr. Skinner and tries to be his true love. Enchanting and wise school teacher Emma Tate (Arianna DeBose) doesn't care much for love and focuses on teaching the children, but all that changes when she meets Josh.
The set replicates a genuine theatre stage set, creating a definitive boundary between the real world and Schmigadoon!'s stage set-I love that. The music is all taken from mid-1900s musicals, but the words have been changed. You'll spend all day singing the tunes in your head, trying to figure out what the original songs are. I love the contrast in costumes from Josh and Melissa's modern day clothes to the town's 1940's outfits.
While there is more than one message to the story, the main one is that when hope looks lost don't give up (and maybe add a bit of song and dance).
I give Schmigadoon! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults, but strongly recommend this for theatre kids. This series does contain strong language and some slightly inappropriate scenes. You can find Schmigadoon! Starting July 16, 2021 on Apple TV. I'm looking forward to a season 2 already!
Clever writing - comedic and zany at times; wholesome and realistic at others
Space Jam: A New Legacy, the cartoon sequel, brings the whole Looney Tunes gang back to the court, only this time with the reigning king of basketball, Lebron James. This comedy combines live action with animation and is filled with life lessons, funny catch phrases, loads of glitzy digital effects and a glimpse of Warner Bros. Cinematic library.
When LeBron James and his son, Dom (Cedric Joe) get mysteriously sucked into the Warner Bros. Digital world by a rogue AI supervillain (Don Cheadle), nonsense and chaos ensue. Dom is kidnapped and LeBron is challenged to a high-stakes basketball game by the evil AI. Lebron must form the most winning team to get his son back and, a loss could leave him and all those he loves, stuck in the server-verse forever. Lebron and his Looney Tunes pal Bugs Bunny meet up for a wild adventure through the server-verse. Will he win, or be trapped there forever? Watch to find out.
The writing is clever. It is comedic and zany at some points; at others, it is very wholesome and realistic. The animation is outstanding! The movie combines traditional animation with three-dimensional computer graphics and live action. LeBron's cartoon character is spot on. The tour through the server-verse is so enjoyable. Seeing iconic characters like Yogi Bear, Pennywise, Iron Giant and King Kong is every movie junkie's dream! Eric Bauza plays a very important role in this movie as he voices Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Marvin the Martian and Porky Pig. Jeff Bergman is also instrumental in this film as he voices Bugs Bunny, Sylvester and Yosemite Sam. Both Eric and Jeff voice their characters so well that it's like listening to the original cartoons! Space Jam: New Legacy also features Don Cheadle, who is the rogue AI AL. G. Rhythm. His villainous role features a wide range of emotion and I give him two thumbs up for his outstanding performance. My favorite character is Granny because she is a good-natured, protective, spunky old woman that has some epic moves.
The messages of this movie are that family is everything and there is power in chasing your dreams. Sometimes, we need some loony things in our life to make it better. There is mild language and a lot of action.
I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It's a great family movie. Fans of the original will love this, too. This movie releases July 16, 2021 in theaters and on HBO Max.