Family Film Reviews Children’s Movie Reviews

  • Ice Age: Continental Drift

    Ice Age: Continental Drift

    Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) has never been especially quick, but near the start of Ice Age: Continental Drift, he comes up with a zinger. The occasion is a surprising visit from his parents, Eunice (Joy Behar) and Milton (Alan Tudyk), during which he tries to convince them that he’s led a worthy, adventurous life since they abandoned him. “We fought dinosaurs,” he announces, alluding to the previous Ice Age movie’s plot. “It didn’t really make sense, but it was fun.” And with that, his parents abandon him again.

  • The Amazing Spider-Man

    The Amazing Spider-Man

    You already know that Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is a high school student, that he’s bitten by a spider, and that he learns to use his wall-climbing, web-slinging superpowers to save his city from villains. The Amazing Spider-Man reminds you of all of that, plus the violent death of Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen), shot by a random robber on the sidewalk, the stoic courage of Aunt May (Sally Field), and the life lesson Ben imparts to Peter, such that the fretful, fatherless boy must become a responsible, principled young man.

  • Brave

    Brave

    The flamboyantly redheaded Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) is unhappy to learn that she’s supposed to be wed to a suitor she doesn’t know. She argues with her mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), and pleads with her father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly), to no avail. Merida must follow the rules, even though she’d much rather be out riding her huge black horse Angus, wielding the bow and arrows her father has taught her to use, and enjoying the magnificent 10th-century Scottish countryside surrounding her family’s castle. She’d even rather play with her much younger three…

  • Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

    Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

    Madagascar 3 begins in a dream. More specifically, it begins in Alex the lion’s (Ben Stiller) dream, in which he imagines he’s finally going home to New York, only to be thwarted by the lemurs, again. It’s not exactly clear, even when he wakes up, how he’s come to be unhappy in Africa, when he was happy in Africa at the end of Madagascar 2. It might be that he’s worried about growing old, as he dreams that his friends — Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) — are looking variously ancient, in wheelchairs and on…

  • Snow White and the Huntsman

    Snow White and the Huntsman

    And again: The Wicked Queen, here named Ravenna (Charlize Theron), maintains her youthful beauty by evil means, until she meets the girl who is “fairest of them all,” Snow White (Kristen Stewart). The two women act out a kind of battle between good and evil, if not precisely dark and light, and the nicest one wins. In this case, that one is also a decent sword and knife fighter, and a good horseback rider.

  • Men in Black 3

    Men in Black 3

    It’s almost as if 15 years haven’t passed since last we saw Agent J (Will Smith). It’s almost unbelievable, that his face remains so unlined, his physique so toned, and his attitude so... er, juvenile. There’s something to be said for consistency, but, as J himself might put it, “Damn!”

  • Battleship

    Battleship

    Mostly, Battleship is explosions. In between explosions, and sometimes in the middle of them, it features aliens that look like robots, some super-special-outfitted Naval destroyers, a few shots of beautiful Hawaiian mountains, a brief appearance by Liam Neeson, and an old-fashioned battleship. It also includes some poignant appearances by real-life WWII US Navy veterans. And oh yes, Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker.

  • The Avengers

    The Avengers

    “I don’t get a suit of armor,” says Bruce Banner. “I’m exposed.” It’s a joke, sort of, when the nerdish scientist describes himself like this, because everyone knows that when he transforms into the Hulk, he basically is a walking suit of armor, unstoppable and not a little impressive. (He’s also survived a series of re-castings, from Eric Bana to Edward Norton and now to Ruffalo, since 2003.) But still, when Banner says it — near the beginning of The Avengers, surrounded by other superheroes aboard the super-tech-outfitted S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier — you…

  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits

    The Pirates! Band of Misfits

    “What’s the best bit about being a pirate?” The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) walks in on a lively debate among his crewmembers, and proceeds to instruct: it’s not the looting or the cutlasses, as much as these may be, and it’s not scurvy or even “scantily clad mermaids.” It is, declares the Pirate Captain, “Ham Night” — at which point he moonwalks a little and then offers up a big-fat-pink slab of meat and has at it with his sword, so the slices fly up in the air and land perfectly on everyone’s plates, as they all ooh and aah.

  • Chimpanzee

    Chimpanzee

    Oscar the chimp is adorable. When first you see him in Chimpanzee, he’s just three months old, tiny and clinging to his mother, Isha. Even as a baby, his face is remarkably animated, and thanks to the very precise long-lens cameras in Disneynature’s newest film, you can see most every change as he responds to every event before him in the rain forest where he lives, with 35 other chimps. And if you have any doubt about how to read his looks in a given moment — whether he’s feeling playful or frustrated or afraid — not to worry! Narrator Tim Allen describes the little guy’s every…