Family Film Reviews Children’s Movie Reviews

  • Shrek Forever After

    Shrek Forever After

    Now that he’s living happily ever after, Shrek (voiced by Mike Meyers) is thinking twice. He’s tired of being everyone’s favorite ogre and frustrated by the routine of his life with Fiona (Cameron Diaz) and their farty, gurgly triplets. His feelings are summarized neatly in an opening montage of repeated scenes: Shrek diapers babies, feeds babies, shares play-dates with Donkey (Eddie Murphy) and his half-dragon kiddies. At the same time, he yearns for long-lost previous life, when humans feared his roar, when he spent most of his time alone—wallowing in mud baths, scaring all his neighbors,…

  • Robin Hood

    Robin Hood

    Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) is just a “common archer” at the start of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. He’s also a team player, not an outlaw at all, fighting alongside King Richard the Lionhearted (Danny Huston) in the Crusades. But, as the 12th century comes to an end and the body count rises, Robin is feeling uneasy with his lot. He’s good at killing people, but maybe, as he tells the king, their cause is not so just and their deeds not so pure. Maybe, as Robin puts it, their pursuit of power in the name of god has actually left them “godless.”

  • Iron Man 2

    Iron Man 2

    The return of Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) begins with a bang. He jumps from a plane, hurtles through the night sky over Flushing Meadows Park, and lands with a boom on… a stage. Iron Man is a show, complete with dancing girls, explosions, and cheering fans—all celebrating the peace he’s imposed on the planet and oh yes, the smart-alecky genius of Tony Stark, the millionaire who invented, protected, and now totally is Iron Man.

  • Furry Vengeance

    Furry Vengeance

    Dan (Brendan Fraser) means well. He’s also clueless, a point underlined when he first appears in Furry Vengeance, stepping out the front door of his big white house, coffee cup in hand. “Ah, nature!” he announces, just as the camera cuts to show his view -- a subdivision in the making. Yes, there are lawns and a few shrubs amid the construction, but it’s plain that Dan doesn’t have much understanding of “nature.”

  • The Perfect Game

    The Perfect Game

    A baseball movie with all kinds of heart, The Perfect Game is inspired by the true story of the 1957 Mexican Little League team that won the World Series. At film’s start, Cesar (Clifton Collins Jr.) comes home to Monterrey, Mexico following a disappointing stint with the St. Louis Cardinals. Though he sets himself to working at the local iron factory, he still yearns to play ball; when word gets out that he knows something about the game and has even been to America, the town’s just-conceived team asks him to coach -- with a little extra encouragement from Padre Esteban (Cheech Marin).

  • The Last Song

    The Last Song

    Ronnie (Miley Cyrus) is at that rebellious age. At the start of The Last Song, she resents both her parents for divorcing, her mom for remarrying, and her dad for leaving, or being kicked out or however her childhood went. She wears black boots and torn black pantyhose, and she slouches like she’s miserable in her own body. She’s recently been accused of shoplifting in New York City. And she’s mad that her mother (Kelly Preston) is sending her and her little brother Jonah (Bobby Coleman) off to live with their father, Steve (Greg Kinnear), for the summer.

  • How to Train Your Dragon

    How to Train Your Dragon

    Back in the very olden days, all the Vikings were broad-shouldered and courageous, loud and stout. All except for Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel). His Viking tribe, he narrates at the start of How to Train Your Dragon, spends most of its time on the island of Berk fighting off threats, sometimes from trolls or boars, but most often from dragons. These, he reports, come in all shapes and sizes, some fire-breathing and some flying, some large and some smallish. All of them, he says, are fair game, as Vikings are trained from birth to be dragon killers. Being slight of build and quieter than his peers, Hiccup feels…

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    “The only reason I agreed to do this at all,” explains 11-year-old Greg (Zachary Gordon) at the beginning of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, “is because I figure later on, when I’m rich and famous, I’ll have better things to do than answer people’s stupid questions all day long. So this book is gonna come in handy.”

  • Alice in Wonderland

    Alice in Wonderland

    Alice Kingsleigh has nightmares. Or, as she puts it, she has “only one,” the same bad dream again and again: she’s falling down a dark hole, then landing hard in a woodsy place where she meets strange creatures -- a dodo bird, a smiling cat, and a rabbit in a waistcoat. When she’s just six (and played by Mairi Ella Challen), her father (Marton Csokas) comforts her, assuring her that even if she has lost her mind, “All the best people have.” Thirteen years later, Alice (now played by Mia Wasikowska) misses her father, recently deceased, and tries her best to please her mother…

  • Percy Jackson & The Olympians

    Percy Jackson & The Olympians

    Like many high school students, Percy (Logan Lerman) is restless. He feels distracted in class, especially because his dyslexia makes reading a chore, frustrated that his mother, Sally (Catherine Keener), endures verbal abuse by her husband, the ignominiously named Gabe Ugliano (Joe Pantoliano). He’s also tired of Sally telling him, “Some day it’ll all make sense.”