Movie and DVD/Blu-ray reviews for you and your family
By Jane Louise Boursaw
November brings newborn vampires, disenfranchised video game villains, and a boy in a boat with a Bengal Tiger. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new in theaters and on DVD and blu-ray this month.
PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence. In theaters 11/02. Ok for kids 7+. Reel Preview: 3.5 out of 5 Reels. http://disney.com/wreckitralph
Think you’ve got it rough? Try being a video game villain who never gets the recognition he deserves. From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes Wreck-It Ralph, the story of one such bad guy (voiced by John C. Reilly) who longs to be as beloved as his game’s good guy, Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer). So when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch), Ralph sees his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan — win a medal — but accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Ralph’s only hope? Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a young troublemaking “glitch” from a candy-coated cart racing game who might just get Ralph his good-guy wish. Creative, comical and fun for both kids and adults.
PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking. In theaters 11/09. Ok for kids 14+. Reel Preview: 4.5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.skyfall-movie.com/site/
Can you believe it’s been 50 years since we first met James Bond? They’ve timed the Skyfall release to coincide with the anniversary, and how cool is that? Daniel Craig (my favorite Bond to date – there, I’ve said it) returns as 007 in the 23rd adventure of the longest-running film franchise of all time. I love the relationship between 007 and M (Judi Dench), and this movie puts it front and center, as his loyalty is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Directed by Sam Mendes, the cast also includes Naomie Harris, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney and Ben Whishaw. It doesn’t get much better than that.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2
PG-13 for sequences of violence, including disturbing images, some sensuality and partial nudity. In theaters 11/16. Ok for kids 14+. Reel Preview: 4 out of 5 Reels. http://www.breakingdawn-themovie.com/
I know, I know… vampires! But I’m still a fan, especially now that I’ve finished the book just in time to see the movie – a fine cinematic ending to the moody saga. After the birth of her daughter Renesmee (Mackenzie Foy), Bella (Kristen Stewart) is enjoying her new life and powers as a newborn vampire. But her joy is short-lived as Irina (Maggie Grace) rallies the Volturi to destroy this potential threat to the vampire world. The Cullens assemble others to fight the ultimate battle to protect their family. Is it bad for me to hope that Stephenie Meyer writes more books about the new generation of vampires and werewolves? I think not.
PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language. In theaters 11/16. Ok for kids 14+. Reel Preview: 4.5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.facebook.com/LincolnMovie
Steven Spielberg produces more movies than he directs lately, but I’m always happy to see him behind the camera. He directs this movie, based on the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, about the 16th President of the United States. I’ve long been a fan of Daniel Day-Lewis’ ability to morph into whatever character he’s playing, and he does that here, as well. The story centers on the political collision of Lincoln and the powerful men of his cabinet on the road to abolition and the end of the Civil War. The amazing cast includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Todd Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, Jared Harris as Ulysses S. Grant, Jackie Earle Haley as Alexander Stephens, David Strathairn as William Seward, and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln.
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS
PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action. In theaters 11/21. Ok for kids 7+. Reel Preview: 4 out of 5 Reels. http://www.riseoftheguardians.com/
When an evil spirit known as Pitch the Boogeyman (voiced by Jude Law) lays down the gauntlet to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of kids around the world. And just who are these guardians? Legends we all know and love: Jack Frost (Chris Pine), Santa Claus/North (Alec Baldwin), Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), Easter Bunny/Bunnymund (Hugh Jackman), and Sandman/Sandy (no actor, because he’s silent!). Dakota Goyo voices Jamie, a child who’s given up on believing in the guardians. Gorgeous animation, great voices, and familiar (but edgy) characters make this a winner.
LIFE OF PI
Not yet rated; likely PG-13. In theaters 11/21. Ok for kids 13+. Reel Review: 5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.lifeofpimovie.com/
This adventure film, directed by Ang Lee and based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, scored major buzz on the film festival circuit this year. It tells the story of Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma), the precocious son of a zoo keeper in Pondicherry, India. When the family decides to move to Canada, they hitch a ride on a huge freighter, but the journey ends in a shipwreck. Pi finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a 26-foot lifeboat with a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Talk about tense! But also sweet, surprising and magical.
NEW ON DVD | BLU-RAY:
Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor. On DVD/blu-ray 11/13. Ok for kids 7+. Reel Rating: 5 out of 5 Reels. http://disney.go.com/brave/index.html
One of my favorite family movies of 2012 hits DVD and blu-ray this month. Disney/Pixar’s Brave follows the heroic journey of red-haired Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) in the Highlands of Scotland. Determined to change her fate, Merida defies a sacred custom, unleashing chaos in the kingdom. An eccentric witch (Julie Walters) grants her an ill-fated wish, and the ensuing peril forces Merida to harness all of her resources, including her mischievous triplet brothers, to undo a beastly curse and discover the meaning of true bravery. Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane also lend their voices to this beautiful tale. Tons of bonus features.
SANTA PAWS 2: THE SANTA PUPS
Not rated. On DVD/blu-ray 11/20. Ok for kids 4+. Reel Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Reels. http://disneydvd.disney.go.com/santa-paws-2-the-santa-pups.html
From the creators of all those Buddy movies (talking dogs rule!) comes this sequel to 2010′s The Search for Santa Paws. A new litter of pups — Hope, Jingle, Charity and Noble — stow away on Mrs. Claus’ sled as she travels to Pineville. There the pups begin granting joyful wishes to Pineville’s boys and girls, until … something goes horribly wrong, and the Christmas spirit starts to disappear. Don’t worry, though, because the pups and Mrs. Claus will make things right. Voices include Cheryl Ladd, Kaityln Maher, Danny Woodburn, Richard Kind, Josh Feldman and Bryce Clyde Jenkins. I guarantee there will never come a time when I don’t love talking-dog movies. They’re just FUN!
Rated G. On DVD 11/20. Ok for kids 5+. Reel Rating: 5 out of 5 Reels. http://disney.go.com/cinderella/
First released in 1950, a couple of new editions of Disney’s animated story of Cinderella are new on shelves. The blu-ray versions came out Oct. 2, and now this digitally restored, high-def DVD. You know the story: Cinderella ((voiced by Ilene Woods) has faith that her dreams of a better life will come true. With help from her loyal mice friends and a wave of her Fairy Godmother’s wand, the girl’s rags are magically turned into a glorious gown and off she goes to the Royal Ball. But when the clock strikes midnight, the spell is broken, leaving only a single glass slipper … the only clue to the ultimate fairytale ending. Bonus features include Tangled Ever After (animated short); Behind the Magic: A New Disney Princess Fantasyland; and Diane Disney Miller Intro.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.