Infinity War & Kids

Mommy Movie Review: Is “Avengers: Infinity War” OK for Kids?

If your kids are fans of the Marvel universe, they’re probably begging to see the new Avengers: Infinity War. This latest addition to the series is rated PG-13, like most Marvel films, and offers the same amount of violence and profanity we’ve come to expect from them. If your kids have seen any of the other Avengers films, nothing in this one will be new to them.
There is ONE THING about Avengers: Infinity War though, that sets it apart from the others.
***SPOILER-ALERT***
It’s not a big spoiler and doesn’t give away any plot points, but if you don’t want to know ANYTHING about the movie in any way, don’t read any further. Continue reading →

John Krasinski

Mommy Movie Review: Can Kids See “A Quiet Place”

Many parents wouldn’t consider taking their kids to a film that’s been called “the best horror movie in a couple of decades,” because they don’t want to traumatize their offspring.
Then there are people like me, whose children laugh at the scary movies of their youth. My oldest daughter rolled her eyes all the way through the first Poltergeist and wouldn’t even finish The Omen because it was “so dumb.” She shrugged at The Ring, describing it as “more weird than scary,” and decided The Sixth Sense was “too sad to be a proper horror film.”
Kids like HER simply deserve films like A Quiet Place. Continue reading →

Love, Simon

MOVIE REVIEW: Why YOU (& Your KIDS) Should See “Love, Simon”

I took my 13-year-old daughter to a screening of Love, Simon last night. We both laughed and cried our way through this tale of a high-school senior (an adorable Nick Robinson) who is struggling to come out to his friends and family. It’s a sweet, if not entirely realistic story about the desire for love and acceptance, but when the lights came up, I could tell it meant much more to my daughter.
“Oh WOW,” she gushed. “I just want to watch it all over again, right now!”
Emma related to Love, Simon the same way I did to my favorite John Hughes’ movies, like Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. She also appreciated it’s messages of empathy and courage, which go beyond the question of coming out to one’s family. Kids drop truth-bombs on their parents regularly, so they know that even little disclosures, like bad grades or big mistakes, take their own type of courage. Love, Simon shows kids that families can weather disclosures, big and small, and still love and support each other.
I encourage parents to see Love, Simon with their older kids (it’s rated PG-13 for profanity, some sexual references, and images of kids drinking alcohol) to help open the door to those types of conversations. I also suspect that this film will inspire kids to “come out” about all sorts of things, from sexual preference and gender identity, to depression issues or even eating disorders. Love, Simon has the potential to motivate kids in a positive way and, if they are inspired to bravery, we as parents and care-givers should rise to the occasion, as well. Continue reading →

Black Panther
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MOMMY MOVIE REVIEW: Is “Black Panther” OK for Kids?

If your kids are anything like mine, they’re probably begging to see Marvel‘s newest superhero movie, Black Panther. This one tells the story of T’Challa (the Black Panther), who returns to his home of Wakanda and prepares to take over the throne after the death of his father. If that doesn’t ring any bells for you, consider watching Captain America: Civil War again so you’re all caught up.
I’ve seen Black Panther and can tell you that it undoubtedly lives up to the hype,
but is it something you can share with your kids? Continue reading →

IT Movie
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MOMMY-MOVIE-REVIEW: Is “IT” Something You Can Share With Your Kids?

I should go ahead and tell you that I absolutely ADORED this latest version of IT. I have a long-running history with the story (read IT multiple times in college and watched the whole mini-series, though I didn’t love it) and was far more excited about this remake than a grown woman should be. I had prepared myself for disappointment, after being let down by so many Stephen King adaptations, but 2017’s IT is everything I could’ve hoped for.

Director Andy Muschietti breathes fresh life into the story of bullied youngsters who take on a dark force, making IT a coming-of-age film as well as a horror movie. The teen-aged cast flesh out their roles even more effectively than the Stephen King book, but the absolute star of the show is, once again, Pennywise the Clown.

I don’t think anyone imagined a way to top Tim Curry’s iconic performance in the 1990 IT miniseries. Bill Skarsgård came to the role as a fan of the book though, and knew exactly what kind of Pennywise he wanted to deliver. He inhabited the role so completely that Muscietti often let Skarsgård improvise scenes. He even scared his child co-stars on set and trained with a contortionist to master Pennywise’s bizarre movements. It results in a jarring, sometimes comical but always terrifying performance. The images from IT that will stay with you are ALL of Pennywise, but that just might too much for some kids. Continue reading →

Annabelle: Creation

MOMMY-MOVIE-REVIEW: Is “Annabelle: Creation” OK for Kids?

I get the occasional angry comment when I talk about watching scary movies with my kids. They usually come from people who don’t actually have children, though. Breeders like ME know that kids out grow Disney flicks and eventually want to watch something more exciting. That’s when they start relentlessly badgering parents about seeing movies that the Motion Picture Association of America has deemed inappropriate for them. These are often the same kids who watch The Walking Dead or equally scary fare, who are familiar with the type of violence the MPAA frowns on.

This is where I come in.

I have a 13-year-old girl who wants to watch everything. Is it scary? Would it make a grown man shiver and ask for a nightlight? Then my daughter wants to see it. Her favorite scary movie of all time is The Conjuring. She laughed when I showed her the original Poltergeist and declared that The Ring is, “more weird than scary.”

Can a kid like her handle Annabelle: Creation? Continue reading →

Balthazar Brat

Mommy-Movie-Review: “Despicable Me 3”- This Time, A Villain Steals the SHOW

I took my kids to see Despicable Me 3 the other night, but I had to bribe them. The girls were so disinterested in Gru and the Minions this time around that they’d only see it if I smuggled brownies into the theater (sorry AMC!). I also had plenty of things that I’d rather do that night but I had to go because I am a Film Critic and Film Critics see movies. Even the ones they don’t want to see.

Fortunately for all three of us, Despicable Me 3 is far better than expected. It has all of the things we enjoyed in the earlier pictures (great animation, a sweet family story and Minions for DAYS) but this DM3 offers something even better.

It has what is quite possibly the BEST onscreen villain I’ve seen since Goldfinger:
The Brat. Continue reading →

Cars 3

Mommy-Movie-Review: “Cars 3” with My Kids (PODCAST)

I took my kids to see Cars 3 last night and we were all VERY surprised by it. My girls didn’t even want to see it, so the fact that this podcast isn’t eight straight minutes of them complaining is a SHOCK. Listen to the audio below to hear their thoughts and find out if YOU should see Cars 3. Keep checking the FREE MOVIE PASS page as well, to find out what I’m giving away next! Continue reading →

The Rock & Depp

MOMMY MOVIE REVIEW: Are “Baywatch” or “Pirates of the Caribbean 5” OK for Kids?

Memorial Day Weekend seems like the perfect time to take your family to the movies, but picking a flick that’s worth the money AND appropriate for your whole crew can be tricky. That’s especially true in regards to this weekend’s new releases, Baywatch and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. While one of these would be fine for you and most of your kids, the other will teach them interesting new terms for certain body-parts. Continue reading →

GOTG2
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MOMMY MOVIE REVIEW: Is “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” Kid Friendly?

Writing a Movie Review for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is kind of like critiquing your 7-year-old niece’s ballet recital. SURE you could say that it’s smugly self-aware, overly sentimental and too cutesy for it’s own good. You could even say that her performance is derivative of her last recital, but isn’t that the point? Aren’t we all coming back for Round 2 because we simply want MORE of what we got last time? That’s why I’m going to skip the nit-picking and just give Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 an “A.” I’ve already seen it twice and had so much stinking fun both times that I don’t even care about its imperfections. I suspect you don’t either but there is one question I am consistently asked about this movie:

Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 okay for kids? Continue reading →