Family Film Reviews Children’s Movie Reviews

  • Jack the Giant Slayer

    Jack the Giant Slayer

    Long ago, in a storybook kingdom far away — or in Great Britain, anyway — two children listen to bedtime stories. One is a farm boy, Jack: his father (Tim Foley) looms almost ominously in his doorway just before he enters, smiles, and sits down to extol the courage of a brave king who saved his subjects from a clan of human-eating giants who descend from the sky. The other child is a princess named Isabelle, whose doting mother (Tandi Wright) tells the same story. And both parents, on opposite ends of the class divide, encourage their kids to seek adventure and do good for the kingdom of Cloister. Put…

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    “I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure,” announces Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) at the start of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The giant wizard looms over Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), whom he’s come to visit in the Shire, while the hobbit, pipe clamped firmly in his teeth, peeps back up at him. Oh no, Bilbo insists, he’s not the right choice for this invitation, because in his eyes, adventures are “nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things. They make you late for dinner.”

  • Rise of the Guardians

    Rise of the Guardians

    As Jack Frost (Chris Pine) tells you at the start of Rise of the Guardians, the first thing he remembers is darkness. Since that moment, he goes on to say, he’s found out a little more about himself, that he can create ice and cold, that he can go barefoot in winter, and that no one else can see or hear him. While it’s fun to slip-slide on ice and deliver snow days to happy school kids, he does wish he might be seen.

  • Wreck-It Ralph

    Wreck-It Ralph

    Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is a villain. He’s also tired of being a villain. After three decades of smashing a brownstone apartment building in a video game named for him — and worse, having to sleep on a pile of garbage every night, alone and cold — he’s looking for some respite. He envies the warmth and community enjoyed by the hero of his game, Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer), whose magic hammer allows him to repair Ralph’s damage, again and again.

  • Secret of the Wings

    Secret of the Wings

    Tinker Bell (Mae Whitman) lives in the perfect place. In Tinkers’ Nook, the light is bright, the sunshine is warm, and she’s happy spending her time tinkering with her fellow fairy friends, as they make baskets. But still... at the beginning of Secret of the Wings, Tinker Bell has a sense that something’s missing. She’s adventurous and sprightly, yes, but she longs especially to visit another place. And not just any place, but the Winter Woods, located across a log bridge. Here, the summer animals go each wintertime, and their coats turn white and they burrow down for hibernation. And here,…

  • Frankenweenie

    Frankenweenie

    Young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan) loves his dog Sparky. Each day the boy survives school while looking forward to his afternoons with his dog, in the backyard or even better, in the attic, where Sparky dutifully plays assorted parts in Victor’s movies. Mostly, he plays monsters, outfitted with tinfoil and paper wings, delivering cheerful chaos to humans played by plastic army men and dolls, in super-8 sagas that inspire Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein (Martin Short and Catherine O’Hara) to ooohs and aaahs.

  • Hotel Transylvania

    Hotel Transylvania

    Mavis (Selena Gomez) is a vampire. She wears black miniskirts and crawls on the walls, hangs upside down, and has cute little fangs that she doesn’t use to suck anyone’s blood (she drinks synthetic, as it’s safer). And she’s spent all her young life in the castle her father, Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) turned into a hotel for monsters back in 1895. Now that she’s turning 118 years old — a mere teenager in vampire years — she’s yearning to see the world outside and meet some people beyond her father’s circle of friends/hotel guests. It’s true, these friends…

  • ParaNorman

    ParaNorman

    Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) loves zombie movies, monster movies, and all other kinds of movies about dead people, the grosser and gooier the better. His grandmother (Elaine Stritch) watches with him, or more accurately, she sits on the sofa and knits, so she can watch him.

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

    When you’re a wimpy kid, you want to be a less wimpy kid, or least appear to be a less wimpy kid. This is the premise of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and movies, all of which feature the narration of the titular kid, as he both observes and tries to control what goes on around him.

  • The Dark Knight Rises

    The Dark Knight Rises

    As The Dark Knight Rises begins, Batman (Christian Bale) hasn’t been seen for eight years. That is, not since the end of The Dark Knight, when he didn’t kill the insane District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Still, most Gotham citizens believe the lie that Batman is the murderer, and for that, Police Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) feels terrible guilt over it. You know this because he almost tells the truth at the start of the new movie. But he doesn’t.