Archives for March 3, 2021

Indy, March 4th Pet of the Week!

Indy is an energetic and playful 4-year-old pit bull. She loves her toys and can get pretty indy-pendent when it comes to prancing around the play area. She’d be a great companion for an equally active human who has experience with big, bouncy doggies! Because the shelter is closed to the public, adoption appointments are conducted through appointment, so call 562-570-PETS or email PetAdopt@longbeach.gov to meet Indy. Ask for ID#A650014.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

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

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 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

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

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.

Own the Room * Heartfelt Journeys of Young Entrepreneurs Bringing Change for Future Generations

Own the Room chronicles five students from disparate corners of the planet as they take their budding business ventures to Macau, China, to compete in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. Santosh is from a small farming town in Nepal; Alondra works the register at her family’s bakery in Puerto Rico; Henry is a programming wiz from Nairobi; Jason is a marketing machine from Greece; and Daniela, an immigrant fleeing the crisis in Venezuela, is taking on the chemical industry from her lab at NYU. In the uplifting film, each of the business hopefuls has overcome immense obstacles in pursuing their dreams, from hurricanes to poverty to civil unrest. As they represent their countries as the top student entrepreneurs, the high-stakes global finals are their opportunity to win worldwide attention and the coveted $100,000 grand prize to make their life-changing business ideas a reality and transform the world. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dominic D. comments, “…an uplifting movie that has us digging into our “emotional toolbox” as we follow the heartfelt journeys of young entrepreneurs bringing change for future generations. The optimism of these individuals is so incredible and can certainly be appreciated by anyone working hard to pursue their dreams.” See his full review below.  

Own the Room 

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


Own the Room is a new feature documentary from National Geographic Documentary Films directed by Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster. This directing duo delivers an uplifting movie that has us digging into our “emotional toolbox” as we follow the heartfelt journeys of young entrepreneurs bringing change for future generations. The optimism of these individuals is so incredible and can certainly be appreciated by anyone working hard to pursue their dreams. 

Own the Room follows the paths of five young innovators from across the globe who showcase their business plans to “change the world one big idea at a time.” These individuals overcome cultural obstacles and push the limits in order to reach the top.  Santosh, Alondra, Henry, Jason and Daniela have each qualified to represent their country at the annual Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in Macau, China. Each has the dream of taking their business to the next level to become the world’s most influential change-maker. Aside from setting their eyes on the prize of $100,000, each hopes to raise awareness that “no matter where you come from, it does not define where you are going.”  They are each proud of their culture, their family support, and the chance to represent their country. 

I enjoyed the emotional conversations in which the students share their cultural backgrounds and find their words to be genuine and spirited. Their determination, confidence, and fearlessness kept me wanting to see more. Costantini and Foster are clever to include the lifestyle, family background and the obstacles that each of these students face. That allows viewers to appreciate the students’ journeys even more and perhaps to gain a better understanding of each of the young entrepreneurs’ business ideas. The cinematography is fantastic, taking us into five areas of the world and showing viewers a variety of ways of life. The society in which you live does indeed partly shape you as an individual, and yet this documentary proves that it doesn’t have to hold you back. 

Own the Room delivers many messages and mainly demonstrates how determination is at the root of all success. If you are determined, you will be driven to work hard to achieve no matter how many obstacles confront you. Challenges serve to strengthen us. It is this determination that we see in each of the student entrepreneurs and which becomes so inspiring to viewers.  Given the current state of the world right now, an inspiring film such as Own the Room is exactly what we need. 

I give Own the Room 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18.  Adults would certainly love and appreciate this film just as much as kids. Own the Room will begin streaming on March 12,, 2021, on Disney+. Mark this date on your calendars because this is a film you’re going to want to see.

Dolphin Island * Relatable & Relatable Storyline Enhanced By A Charming Dolphin

After losing her parents, fourteen-year-old Annabel Coleridge lives with her fisherman grandfather on a Caribbean island paradise surrounded by an extended family of loving but quirky oddballs and her best friend, a dolphin named Mitzy. Everything changes when her rich maternal grandparents arrive with a shifty lawyer to bring her back to New York. It’s up to her grandfather, her friends, Desaray, her new social worker, her charming son, Mateo, and Mitzy to find a way for Anna to stay on the island home she loves so much.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “The storyline is very interesting and relatable. My favorite part is when the grandfather thinks he has lost Annabel, but really she’s out swimming with Mitzie.” Ayden P. adds, “I enjoyed the relationship between the characters and the humanity added with the dolphin is a unique touch. It is interesting to watch Jonah and Annabelle interact with the dolphin. I really love seeing the dolphin perform human tasks and seemingly communicating with Annabelle.” Avalon N. contributes, “Wow, there is a lot to talk about in this film. First of all, there is quite a lot of drama with lots of very emotional scenes and excellent performances from the actors. Second, there is a dolphin in the film named Mitzy. Mitzy does lots of tricks and is a real dolphin. Her training is amazing; she impressed me so much with how she performs in this film.” And Alma K. wraps it up with, “There are really so many things I like about the movie, it’s hard to stop. This film is all about love, family and friendship. It’s a feel-good movie in many ways.”

Dolphin Island
Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 12


Dolphin Island is a very funny and a heartwarming movie. This family friendly film has a cute and well trained dolphin that makes it very amusing to watch.

Dolphin Island follows a young girl, Annabel  (Tyler Jade), whose parents are deceased and who lives with her grandfather (Peter Woodward) on a boat. Annabel’s best friend is a dolphin named Mitzie who is trained to pick up trash from the sea. One day a social worker comes to inspect Annabel’s living situation and later her other grandparents (Annette Duncan and David Raisor) arrive, wanting to take custody of her. Things fall apart and we discover that love wins in the end.

I Dolphin Island 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18 plus adults. Dolphin Island will be available on March 2, 2021 on many VOD platforms.

Dolphin Island
By Ayden P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Dolphin Island is an interesting movie because of the dynamic between the two characters, Jonah (Peter Woodward) and Annabelle (Tyer Jade Nixon). I enjoy the relationship between the characters and the humanity added to the dolphin is a unique touch. It is interesting to watch Jonah and Annabelle interact with the dolphin. I really love seeing the dolphin perform human tasks and seemingly communicating with Annabelle. This shows how the director, Mike Disa, humanizes the dolphin. Dolphin Island makes me believe the characters enjoy spending time with each other and they truly love one another. The only problem I have with the movie is the title. Calling it Dolphin Island makes me think there’s a bunch of dolphins in the movie and they are the focus of the movie. However, the movie is good enough for me to quickly get over that disappointment. 

The story is about a 14-year-old girl, Annabelle, whose parents die and who lives in the Bahamas with Jonah, her grandfather. Her best friend is a dolphin named Mitzy. Life is good until Annabelle’s maternal grandparents (David Raizor and Annette Lovrien Duncan) show up with a lawyer and demand that Annabelle come to New York to live with them. 

At times Dolphin Island can be sad and emotional, especially when it comes to Annabelle and her great loss. The actors portray the emotion you would expect from a family that loses a loved one. Annabelle’s character says and does some things that I see myself doing in the same situation, such as treating Mitzy like a person. When Mitzy sprays Jonah, Annabelle says it is because Mitzy is a good judge of humor. Also, Peter Woodward (as Jonah) really seems to have a good relationship with Annabelle. For example, when Jonah says he wants to show Annabelle what it is like to be happy, I really believe his character wants this.  Dolphin Island shows us the relationship between some of the people on the island with Annabelle, Mitzy and Jonah. Seeing those relationships makes us see why Annabelle is so happy on the island and how this helps her cope with her parents’ death. The story offers a brilliant take on what makes a family a true family – sometimes family is by blood, sometimes by friendships, and sometimes with animals. Dolphin Island presents some unpredictable plot twists you don’t expect along with strong character development. 

The message of this movie is that family will always be there for you and that love conquers all, even when things are at their worst. Along with that strong message, just like the title suggests, Dolphin Island teaches viewers a little about dolphins and how lovable and smart they really are. 

I give Dolphin Island 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Grownups will enjoy it as well. It is releasing March 2, 2021 on most digital platforms. Look for it.

Dolphin Island 

Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12


Dolphin Island is a very emotional and different movie. It has some scenes where you can just feel the emotions of the characters coming through the screen.

The story followsa girl named Annabel (Tyler Jade Nixon) who lives with her paternal grandfather Jonah (Peter Woodward). Her best friend is a dolphin named Mitzy. Then, her maternal grandfather (David Raizor) and grandmother (Annette Lovrien Duncan) come to take her back to New York with the help of a shifty lawyer (Bob Bledsoe). Now it is up to Annabel and her island friends and family and Mitzy to find a way to keep her on the island.


Wow, there is a lot to talk about in this film. First of all, there is quite a lot of drama with lots of very emotional scenes and excellent performances from the actors. Second, there is a dolphin in the film named Mitzy. Mitzy does lots of tricks and is a real dolphin. Her training is amazing; she impressed me so much with how she performs in this film. Also, the cast has lots of diversity. I like that, especially since the events of the last year that made us aware of the lack of diversity in movies. Lastly, the sets are remarkable. There are many locations around the island where this takes place, all of which take place on a Caribbean island.

Wow, there is a lot to talk about in this film. First of all, there is quite a lot of drama with lots of very emotional scenes and excellent performances from the actors. There is a scene where Jonah gets very angry at the lawyer, which seems very realistic.  Second, there is a dolphin in the film named Mitzy. Mitzy does lots of tricks and is a real dolphin. Her training is amazing; she impressed me so much with how she performs in this film. There is a scene where she does a backflip in front of the humans, which is definitely the best trick. Also, the cast has lots of diversity. I like that, especially since the events of the last year that made us aware of the lack of diversity in movies. Lastly, the sets are remarkable. There are many locations around the island where this takes place, all of which take place on a Caribbean island. There is a street in some of the scenes that is very sea blue and tan like the sea and sand which is I imagine a Caribbean island looks like.


The message of Dolphin Island is that love conquerors all; love is a bond that can’t be broken and loved ones will always seek to find each other.

I give Dolphin Island 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to18. Dolphin Island will be available March 2, 2021.

Dolphin Island

By Alma K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11


I really enjoyed watching Dolphin Island and I really, really liked it. The beautiful setting already has me dying to go to the Bahamas and adopt a dolphin! The storyline has great tension, indecision and doubt surrounding the characters. The touches of local music throughout the movie is the cherry on top.

Annabel (Tyler Jade Nixon)’s parents died when she was five. Since then her grandfather, Jonah Coleridge (Peter Woodward) took care of her on Dolphin island. It’s a paradise full of dolphins and friendly, loving, quirky people — even her best friend is a dolphin! Things stir up in this magical setting when Annabel’s grandparents (Annette Lovrien Duncan & David Raizor) come to the island with a suspicious lawyer (Bob Bledsoe) — often mistaken for a pirate — with the purpose of bringing Annabel to live with them in New York. 


This movie has good acting. The actors that stand out the most are Peter Woodward and Annette Lovrien Duncan. They play the grandfather and grandmother really well. I can completely see them as if they actually were their characters. Not a single line they say wavers. I really like the colors in this movie also. They’re bright and cheerful — from the clothing to the sets to the setting. The music is awesome. Even at the beginning of the movie — before anything really happens — the music lures me in and I just have to think — wow. There’s good tension surrounding the conflict, which is very well thought out. There’s indecision, doubt — everything. There’s the “typical villain,” who later on regrets his choices. It’s really nice to see such inspiring, aspiring, brave people throughout the movie. Something that really stood out for me is this line Annabel says, after her grandfather tells her not to stay out too late. Annabel replies with, “See you later! I mean, see you early!” That was a very nice touch. I like how everyone on Dolphin Island seems to know and like and care for Annabel. It really brings to life the saying: it takes a village. And, of course, there’s Mitzy. The dolphin scenes are really fun to watch. They’re exciting and cute and I guarantee that anyone who watches this movie will fall in love with Mitzy. There are really so many things I like about the movie, it’s hard to stop.

This film is all about love, family and friendship. It’s a feel-good movie in many ways. I rate Dolphin Island 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for all ages, 2 to18, plus adults. Dolphin Island will be released in select theaters and on digital on March 2, 2021, so look for it.