Family Film Reviews Children’s Movie Reviews

  • Walking with Dinosaurs 3D

    Walking with Dinosaurs 3D

    Teenage Ricky (Charlie Rowe) has nothing good to say about the vacation he’s about to spend with his little sister Jade (Angourie Rice) and their paleontologist Uncle Zack (Karl Urban). Riding out to a dig site in Alaska, Ricky pouts in the back seat, then refuses to go along to look for teeth and bones. Just as his family disappears over a ridge, Ricky is accosted by a bird named Alex (voiced by John Leguizamo), who scolds the boy for his disinterest and then offers an 80-minute lesson in the ancient history of dinosaurs, hosted by an ancient, red-feathered version of himself (also voiced by Leguizamo) and…

  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    More walking. While The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug offers a flurry of new, more expansive action set-pieces, it also features much of what you’ve seen before, in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, that is, more searching for the dwarves’ treasure and stolen kingdom, more debating amongst the dwarves, more conflicts between elves and dwarves, more cryptic wisdom dispensed by Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen), and more bouts of One-Ring-Longing by Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman).

  • Frozen

    Frozen

    Elsa (Idina Menzel) and her younger sister Anna (Kristen Bell) are two princesses in Arendelle, a land of fjords and long, warm summers. As young children, they share a secret, namely, that Elsa has the power to make snow and ice. Just why or how she came by this power is unclear, though both their parents are aware of it, and only caution Elsa to be careful. She is, until she isn’t, and one night she zaps Anna with a cold blast to the head that threatens her very life.

  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

    The simple premise of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is this: just when Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) thought she was free, or maybe free-ish, she’s pulled back in. The film opens in the woods, the environment in which this expert archer has long felt just a little bit at home. She and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) are hunting deer, and for a moment, in the quiet, you might imagine that, as she’s survived the Hunger Games in the first movie, The Hunger Games, she’s now able to focus on the present. But no. As soon as she lets loose her arrow, she flashes back to shooting a boy: devastated by what she did,…

  • Thor: The Dark World

    Thor: The Dark World

    Asgard is again in turmoil, which is to say, dark and stormy and pocked with stilted dialogue concerning legacies and evil forces and who owes what to whom. Thor: The Dark World opens on a protracted historical flashback, reminding you of the battles among the Nine Realms ended when Thor’s grandfather and his army subdue another army, that is, a slew of unconvincingly armored Asgardians fight Dark Elves rendered in CGI with swords and maces and shields, until the grandfather declares victory and leaves the losers feeling vengeful.

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

    Once a goofy inventor, always a goofy inventor. Back in 2009, the lab-coated, big-glasses-wearing Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) came up with the brilliant idea of a machine that made food out of weather, called the “Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator” (FLDSMDFR). No surprise, this produced all manner of chaos in and around his home, on the island of Swallow Falls, from tomato tornadoes to a foodalanche.

  • One Direction: This Is Us

    One Direction: This Is Us

    In which the lads sing and dance, clown about, stay in hotels, and go camping too. Though it’s termed a documentary, really, One Direction: This Is Us is a set of scenes on display for fans. These fans know exactly what’s coming, the story of One Direction’s origin by way of The X Factor in 2010, their love of music, fashion choices, and fun-loving boys’ friendships with one another, and oh yes, their devotion to their fans.

  • Disney’s Planes

    Disney’s Planes

    “Is he really as good as they say he is?” In his daydream, the one that opens Planes, the plane named Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) is even better than what “they say.” Which is to say, he’s faster and more nimble than in his non-dreamy world. In this world, he’s a crop duster, a plane whose every day consists of flying over the same fields, back and forth, spraying chemicals on crops. In his made-up world, though, he’s a racing plane, traveling the globe and beloved by his fans.

  • Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

    Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

    Once again, Percy the demigod (Logan Lerman) is called on to save the other kids like him, as well as the world. Once again, he’s unsure of his fate and once again, he’s supported by loyal sidekicks, the satyr Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and the half-blood Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario). What’s different this time, in the sequel Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, is that Percy’s mother is nowhere in sight and the film begins with a flashback to the founding of Camp Half-Blood, when Annabeth and Grover were little kids.

  • Turbo

    Turbo

    “No dream is too big,” announces racecar driver Guy Gagné (Bill Hader), “And no dreamer is too small!” the first time he says this in Turbo, Guy is on TV: he’s just won a race and he’s surrounded by reporters and fans. More precisely, he’s on a VHS tape, consigned to a garage and currently played by a snail named Turbo (Ryan Reynolds).