Movie and DVD/Blu-ray reviews for you and your family
By Jane Louise Boursaw
Spider-Man gets a reboot, Batman battles Bane, and the Ice Age gang encounters pirates on the high seas. Here’s what’s new on the big and small screens in July.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
Not yet rated; likely PG-13. In theaters 7/03 (2D, 3D). Ok for kids 13+. Reel Preview: 4.5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.theamazingspiderman.com/
Like most teenagers, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is just trying to figure out who he is and how he fits into the world. But as we all know, he has a secret. Or more accurately, a big fat web of secrets. This original story begins with Peter discovering a mysterious briefcase which leads him to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father’s former partner. The meeting sets off a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, as Peter makes life-altering choices that shape his destiny to become the hero we all know and love: Spider-Man. Marc Webb directs this reboot of the Marvel comic series, which also stars Martin Sheen as Ben Parker, Sally Field as May Parker, and Denis Leary as George Stacy. Emma Stone plays Peter’s first high school crush, Gwen Stacy. Great cast, compelling story, and the perfect film to give this franchise a much-needed fresh start.
KATY PERRY: PART OF ME
Not yet rated; likely PG. In theaters 7/05 (2D, 3D). Ok for kids 11+. Reel Preview: 3.5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.katyperrypartofme.com/
There’s something about colorful Katy Perry that makes people happy. In fact, she says that’s all she wants to do with her music: make people smile. Dan Cutforth, the producer behind Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, directs this documentary which chronicles the pop star’s life on and off-stage. These concert movies not only give fans an opportunity to be part of the tour, but they take us behind the scenes and show all the hard work that goes into it. It’s even harder when the star’s personal life is in turmoil, as Perry’s was when her marriage to Russell Brand crumbled in the tabloids. As concert films go, this is quality fare, thanks to producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.
ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT
Not yet rated; likely PG. In theaters 7/13. Ok for kids 6+. Reel Preview: 3.5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.iceagemovie.com/
They’re back! This time, Scrat’s nutty pursuit of that elusive acorn—which, as we all know, he’s been after since the dawn of time—has world-changing consequences. Namely, a continental cataclysm that triggers the greatest adventure of all for Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary) and Sid (John Leguizamo). In the wake of these upheavals, Sid reunites with his cantankerous Granny (Wanda Sykes), and the herd encounters assorted sea creatures and pirates determined to stop them from returning home. Directed by Steve Martino, who also helmed Horton Hears a Who!, the voice cast includes Peter Dinklage, Jennifer Lopez, Seann William Scott, Queen Latifah, Nick Frost, Aziz Ansari and Keke Palmer.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language. In theaters 7/20. Ok for kids 13+. Reel Preview: 5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.thedarkknightrises.com/
It’s been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale) took the rap for Harvey Dent’s crimes (if you need a refresher, go back and watch 2008’s The Dark Knight). The city of Gotham has turned against the caped crusader, yet he’s still compelled to help out when the evil Bane (Tom Hardy) plots to destroy the city. Hunted by the Gotham City Police Department, Batman returns to town where he encounters the mysterious Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), who turns out to be none other than Catwoman. This is the third Batman film directed by Christopher Nolan, and he’s already rumored to be working on a Batman reboot for 2015. Liam Neeson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine also star in this summer blockbuster.
STEP UP REVOLUTION
PG-13 for some suggestive dancing and language. In theaters 7/27. Ok for kids 13+. Reel Preview: 2.5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.facebook.com/StepUp4.3D
Ever since Step Up was released in 2006, a new movie in the franchise has come out every couple of years. Let’s face it, dance movies never go out of style, and they always draw an audience. This one stars Kathryn McCormick as Emily, a girl who arrives in Miami with big dreams of becoming a professional dancer. Sparks fly when she meets Sean (Ryan Guzman), the leader of a dance crew known for their elaborate flash mobs. When a wealthy businessman threatens to develop their historic neighborhood, Emily and Sean turn their performance art into protest art. There are no plot surprises here, but this movie still offers plenty of great choreography.
NEW ON DVD | BLU-RAY:
SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN
PG-13 for some violence and sexual content, and brief language. On DVD/Blu-ray 7/03. Ok for kids 13+. Reel Rating: 5 out of 5 Reels. http://fishingintheyemen.com/
Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor star in this breezy adaptation of Paul Torday’s satiric novel about a wealthy sheik’s dream of bringing salmon fishing to the Yemen. In case you’re geographically-challenged, the Yemen isn’t exactly the ideal climate for salmon, but no matter. If there’s a way to make it happen, this team will do it. It’s a romantic comedy, a political thriller, and a drama all mixed into one charming, feel-good movie.
HOME ON THE RANGE
PG for brief mild rude humor. On DVD/blu-ray 7/03. Ok for kids 6+. Reel Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Reels. http://disneydvd.disney.go.com/home-on-the-range.html
This cute 2004 movie finds a greedy outlaw scheming to take possession of the “Patch of Heaven” dairy farm, but not if three determined cows, a karate-kicking stallion, and a ragtag crew of critters have anything to say about it. Featuring colorful animation, original songs from Alan Menken, and a cast of voices including Roseanne Barr, Steve Buscemi, Cuba Gooding Jr., Estelle Harris, and Randy Quaid, this Disney moo-vie is a fun adventure for kids of all ages.
PG for adventure action and peril. On DVD/blu-ray 7/03. Ok for kids 6+. Reel Rating: 3 out of 5 Reels. http://disneydvd.disney.go.com/treasure-planet.html
This tenth anniversary edition of the Disney classic puts a futuristic spin on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. The story follows restless teen Jim Hawkins (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) on a journey across the universe as cabin boy aboard a majestic space galleon. Befriended by the ship’s charismatic cyborg cook, John Silver (Brian Murray), Jim blossoms under his guidance and shows the makings of a fine shipmate as he and the alien crew battle a supernova, a black hole, and a ferocious space storm. But things take a different turn when Jim learns that Silver is actually a scheming pirate with mutiny on his mind. The voice cast includes Laurie Metcalf, Martin Short, Emma Thompson, and David Hyde Pierce.
ICARLY: THE COMPLETE 4TH SEASON
TV-G. On DVD 7/10. Ok for kids 8+. Reel Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.icarly.com/
This cute Nickelodeon show stars Miranda Cosgrove as Carly Shay, teen host of a popular “stupid, pointless comedy” Web show with friends Sam (Jennette McCurdy), Freddie (Nathan Kress) and Gibby (Noah Munck). While their show may be all fun and games, navigating the minefield of high school is a little more challenging. This show is smart, funny and ridiculous, but also tackles tough issues like addiction, child labor, fame, and love. This season, look for guest stars Jane Lynch (Sam’s elusive and unconventional mom), Jack Black (playing opposite Spencer in a duel of comic book archenemies) and Kenan Thompson as himself.
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.