Family Film Reviews Children’s Movie Reviews

  • Hugo

    Hugo

    Hugo (Asa Butterfield) has a milky pale complexion and sharp blue eyes. The first is at least partly because he lives inside the walls at the Gare Montparnasse in Paris; the second he uses to watch everything and everyone he can, from inside those walls. Indeed, Hugo begins as he’s looking out at the bustling train station floor: travelers carry their suitcases or sip coffee at a café, men get their shoes shined and a live band plays pop tunes. And the station inspector Gustav (Sacha Baron Cohen) makes his rounds, his leg brace squeaking and his Doberman pinscher sniffing.

  • The Muppets

    The Muppets

    Walter loves his brother Gary. As you see in the early montage moments of The Muppets, they grow up in a suburban idyll, all wide smiles and freckles, backyard pools and chocolate-covered Oreos in front of the TV. But as the boys grow up, Walter discovers they’re growing apart, literally. Gary grows up tall and strapping, like a human boy (the tall version played by Jason Segel), while Walter stays short and fuzzy, like a Muppet (voiced by Peter Linz).

  • Arthur Christmas

    Arthur Christmas

    “Are you real?” writes six-year-old Gwen (voiced by Ramona Marquez) to Santa at the start of Arthur Christmas. She’s worried, you see, because she’s actually thought about how he might possibly be able to deliver presents to millions of children all over the world in a single night. “I think you’re real,” she closes her note, “But how do you do it?” Her letter, posted, of course, to the North Pole, is read not by Santa (Jim Broadbent), but by his son Arthur (James McAvoy). He’s assigned to keep track of all children’s letters to his father, their gift…

  • Happy Feet Two

    Happy Feet Two

    When last we saw Mumble the Emperor penguin (voiced by Elijah Wood), he was at long last feeling accepted by his multiculti peers in Antarctica, and also feeling rather sanguine about his difference from those peers. Having learned that his love of dancing actually made him special as well as beloved, Mumble was happy at the end of Happy Feet. Now, five years later, comes Happy Feet Two and, while Mumble is still happy, now his son Erik (Ava Acres) is feeling left out.

  • Puss in Boots 3D

    Puss in Boots 3D

    An orange tabby cat wakes in a prison cell. The camera pans the room as he notes his surroundings: an empty milk bottle, a lovely girl kitty on a pillow (with whom, you guess, he’s spent a rapturous previous evening), and a fellow prisoner (hairy, human, and shackled). The cat pulls on his boots, steals a ring from the sleeping man’s finger, and makes his way to the windowsill. Ducking as the man heaves his own boot at his head, the cat scampers away to freedom as his cellmate yells after him, “You can’t run forever, Puss in Boots!”

  • Real Steel

    Real Steel

    Eleven-year-old Max (Dakota Goyo) is a quiet, independent-minded kid who’s never met his dad, Charlie (Hugh Jackman). Not only has father never been around; he doesn’t even know Max exists until Max’s mom and Charlie’s onetime girlfriend dies. This boys-world set-up is familiar for Disney movies, and as usual, it sets up an irresistible bond at the start of Real Steel.

  • Dolphin Tale

    Dolphin Tale

    Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) is dreading summer as Dolphin Tale begins. He’s 11 years old and facing summer school and, worse, the departure of his beloved cousin Kyle (Austin Stowell), who’s heading to Iraq for a tour of duty. For Sawyer, this calls up some bad memories of abandonment, as his dad left years ago and hasn’t been heard from since.

  • The Lion King 3D

    The Lion King 3D

    The Lion King offers all of Disney’s usual tricks: songs and sidekicks, romance and redemption, a noble hero and a wicked villain, and ... a dead parent. Yes, there is that.

  • Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D

    Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D

    The stars of the old Spy Kids movies are no longer kids, of course. Spy Kids 3D: Game Over was released way back in 2003. But the new generation — another brother and sister, Cecil (Mason Cook) and Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) Wilson — are just as rambunctious and fearless as the previous kids. And indeed, when Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) show up partway through Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, they can’t help but see themselves mirrored in the Wilsons.

  • Glee 3D Concert Movie

    Glee 3D Concert Movie

    The kids from Glee take to the concert stage in Glee 3D Concert Movie, singing and dancing and smiling to beat the band. A few shots of eager crowds — both still photos and very mobile video — reveal how thrilled they are to see favorite characters: “I love Blaine!” reads one of many assorted homemade signs, while someone else admires that Rachel’s so “Streisand-esque.” Intercut with these testimonials are shots of the players backstage, being made up or preparing to sing: Lea Michele, who plays Rachel, sips hot water with lemon and honey, and Mark Salling, who plays Puck,…