Family Film Reviews Children’s Movie Reviews

  • Where the Wild Things Are

    Where the Wild Things Are

    Inspired by Maurice Sendak’s beloved 1963 children’s book, this movie begins inside the head of nine-year-old Max (Max Records). As he’s chasing his dog through the house, the shots are close, hand-held, and fast; the soundtrack is percussive and breathless; and the behavior, while energetically giddy and childish, isn’t exactly “good.” Max is both a troublemaker and troubled, missing his absent father (who has left him an award encouraging him to think of the world as his own), resentful of his teenaged sister Claire (Pepita Emmerichs), and devoted to his mother (Catherine…

  • Shorts

    Shorts

    Shorts is yet another romp through the gleefully childish imagination of Robert Rodriguez. Like Spy Kids, it offers up a family that needs to spend more time together—though the members don’t know it yet. Toby (Jimmy Bennett) is feeling lonely and sad, ignored by his workaholic parents (Jon Cryer and Leslie Mann) and older sister Stacey (Kat Dennings). As Toby—nicknamed Toe—tells it, the story is fragmented and out of order, essentially a collection of short chapters, stitched together as he remembers what he’s left out, fast-forwarding or rewinding as he goes

  • Bandslam

    Bandslam

    Bandslam is an energetic, often clever high school musical sort of movie. It tweaks the formula just enough to seem original. As the movie begins, Will Burton (Gaelan Connell) and his mother Karen (Lisa Kudrow) move to Lodi, New Jersey, where he’ll be facing yet another new set of classmates. It’s a routine Will knows too well, feeling lonely and like a misfit. This time, he meets two intriguing girls right away: sweet, well-read, and gothy Sa5m (Vanessa Hudgeons), who informs him “the 5 is silent,” and boisterously self-confident former cheerleader Charlotte (Alyson Michalka). Immediately…

  • Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea

    Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea

    Hayao Miyazaki’s delightful new movie follows the unusual relationship between five-year-old Sosuke (voiced in this English language version by the Jonas Brothers’ younger brother Frankie) and a goldfish named Ponyo (Miley Cyrus’ little sister Noah). Normally, Susuke spends his days at preschool or visiting with the clients at the senior citizens’ home where his mother Lisa (Tiny Fey) works. They live in a house that overlooks the sea, where Sosuke sails a toy boat that looks like the cargo ship piloted by his dad (Matt Damon). One morning, he saves Ponyo, who has her oddly human-looking head…

  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

    G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

    G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a late-summer thrill ride that brings one of the quintessential American toy lines to vibrant life. The story, which is more based on the Joe from the 1982 “Real American History” era than any other era in the Joe legends, tells the story of a top secret, elite fighting force whose existence is only acknowledged at the highest levels of government—The Joes—with one simple task: save the world from the uber-evil Cobras

  • Julie & Julia

    Julie & Julia

    As its title suggests, Julie & Julia is two movies in one. In one, Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and her diplomat husband Paul (Stanley Tucci) make themselves at home in Paris, 1949. Searching for “something to do,” she tries hat-making and bridge before she settles on her passion: cooking. Frustrated by the rudimentary women’s classes, she enrolls at the famous Cordon Bleu cooking school, where her fellow students are mostly men. Undaunted, she spends hours at home practicing (one afternoon, Paul opens the door to a kitchen full of onion fumes: Julia’s been practicing chopping for hours).…

  • G-Force

    G-Force

    Most obviously, it’s Transformers with guinea pigs. (Or, Alvin and the Chipmunks with killer robots.) G-Force pits a team of highly trained and awfully cute furry creatures against a plot to take over the world. When his lab faces defunding by the U.S. government, the team’s human leader, Ben (Zach Galifiankis), sends the rodents—who use high-tech gizmos and speak English via a super-duper mini-translator—to gather information on home appliances magnate Leonard Saber (Bill Nighy). When their findings are compromised and the FBI decides to shut them down, the self-named G-Force must prove…

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

    The sixth film based on J.K. Rowling’s books is more grown-up than earlier installments, from the first scenes showing violent attacks on London streets to Harry’s increasingly difficult decisions. As Voldemort hovers above the action in the form of a very grim cloud, the Hogwarts students struggle against frightening forces, by discovering long-held adult secrets and negotiating their own adolescence and, in Harry’s case, his notoriety as “The Chosen One.” While Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is again punctuated by glorious special effects —including the requisite…