Movie and DVD/Blu-ray reviews for you and your family
By Jane Louise Boursaw
It’s that time of year again when movies with titles like Infected, Scream Machine and Bunnyman 2 (and I don’t mean the cute fluffy kind) crowd into theaters. That means family movies are few and far between, but let’s take a look and see what’s out there. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new on the big and small screens in October.
PG-13 for sexual material, language and drug references. In theaters 10/5. Ok for kids 14+. Reel Preview: 3.5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.pitchperfectmovie.com/
Musicals have been popular since the classic movies of the 1930s on up to Grease, High School Musical, and this year’s Rock of Ages. They’ve enjoyed a resurgence since Glee got us all snapping our fingers and crooning along. Directed by Jason Moore, Pitch Perfect stars Anna Kendrick as Beca, a freshman at Barden University who’s cajoled into joining The Bellas, the school’s all-girl singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition. This movie is fun (and musical!), but iffy content like references to bikini car washes and being “pitch-slapped” make it best for kids 14 and older.
PG-13 for violence including disturbing images, sexual content, language, drug references and nudity. In theaters 10/19. Ok for kids 15+. Reel Preview: 3.5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.jamespatterson.com/books_cross-movie.php
It’s so odd to see Tyler Perry playing an intense homicide detective with a gun. Usually we see him cross-dressing as Madea or looking for love in rom-coms like Good Deeds. But he does a respectable job playing Alex Cross, a Washington, D.C. detective who vows to track down the killer of a murdered family member. But he soon discovers she wasn’t his first victim and things are not what they seem. Based on the Alex Cross books by James Patterson, the character was previously played by Morgan Freeman in 1991’s Kiss the Girls and 2001’s Along Came a Spider. Directed by Rob Cohen, this movie also stars Jean Reno, Edward Burns and Matthew Fox. Because of the violent content and intense storyline, this one’s best for kids 15 and older.
PG for thematic elements and some perilous action. In theaters 10/26. Ok for kids 12+. Reel Preview: 4 out of 5 Reels. http://www.livelikejay.com/
Surf movies are usually inspirational, and Chasing Mavericks is no exception. There’s something hopeful and inspiring about finding that Big Wave and risking all to surf it, which is why I recommend this movie for kids 12 and older. Based on the true story of real-life surfer Jay Moriarty, this movie stars Jonny Weston as the 15-year-old who discovers that the mythic Mavericks surf break — one of the biggest waves on Earth — is just a few miles from his Santa Cruz home. So he enlists the training of local legend Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler) to help him surf and survive it, and the friendship ends up transforming both their lives. Directed by Michael Apted (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) and Curtis Hanson, this movie from Walden Media also stars Elisabeth Shue, Abigail Spencer and Scott Eastwood.
NEW ON DVD | BLU-RAY:
MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED
PG for some mild action and rude humor. On DVD/blu-ray 10/16. Ok for kids 6+. Reel Rating: 3 out of 5 Reels. http://www.madagascarmovie.com/
This third installment of the Madagascar series finds Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman embarking on a journey to retrieve their penguin friends from a Monte Carlo casino excursion. The gang’s ultimate goal is to return to their beloved Central Park Zoo in New York City, but first they have to escape the clutches of a nefarious animal control office (Frances McDormand), which they do by joining a traveling circus led by a grumpy Russian tiger (Bryan Cranston). While the script falls short, the non-stop action and colorful animation will keep little ones happy. The 3-disc DVD/blu-ray version features tons of extras, including filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes and more.
SECRET OF THE WINGS
Rated G. On DVD/blu-ray 10/23. Ok for kids 4+. Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels. http://disney.go.com/fairies/movies-secret-of-the-wings.html
And the Disney Princess franchise flutters forward! In this new animated story, Tinker Bell (voiced by Mae Whitman, who plays Amber on Parenthood and also voiced Tinker Bell on three previous DVDs) meets Periwinkle (voiced by Pretty Little Liars’ Lucy Hale) and ventures into the winter woods with other friends to find the secret of fairy wings. Timothy Dalton, Megan Hilty, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symone and Anjelica Huston also voice characters in this sweet and magical tale from Walt Disney Pictures.
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.
Jane Boursaw is a syndicated family entertainment writer specializing in movies, TV and celebrities. Visit her at http://www.reellifewithjane.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.