Solo: A Star Wars Story

Can Kids See “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (& My Interview with NEW Chewbacca Joonas Suotamo)

If your kids are Star Wars fans, they’re probably expecting to see Solo: A Star Wars Story as soon as humanly possible. It’s rated PG-13 though, which could mean just about anything these days. So, can you take your kids to see Han Solo’s origin story, or is it simply too much for younger viewers? Continue reading →

Movies for Kids
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MOMMY MOVIE REVIEW: How Young is TOO Young for “Ready Player One”

This is a big one for me because my daughter is throwing a Ready Player One birthday party and inviting everyone in her 8th grade class. I’ve already gotten inquiries about it from those parents and some friends as well, so this is what you can expect from Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.
It’s based on the popular novel by Ernest Cline, but I’ve heard it doesn’t stay true to the source material. Ready Player One tells the story of Wade Watts, a lonely gamer in the year 2045. He plays a popular virtual reality game called The Oasis, where Wade and most everyone else in the future spends their time. The creator of The Oasis has died, but left a game in place that would leave it’s ownership in the hands of whoever wins. Wade must follow the clues that were left behind and save The Oasis from a new, dangerous threat.
This movie is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for “sci-fi action violence, bloody images, some suggestive material, partial nudity and language,” but what exactly does that mean? 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 →

Jumanji
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MOMMY MOVIE REVIEW- Is “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” OK for Kids?

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is about four high-school students who get pulled into a video game, where they become their avatars. It stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black as game characters who must figure out clues and save the island, or possibly die in the process. Along the way, they meet Nick Jonas’ Seaplane McDonough, who has been trapped inside the game for twenty years.
Look, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is goofy and about as substantial as a handful of popcorn. It’s also surprisingly engaging and a load of fun. Continue reading →

Miller, Fischer, Gadot, Affleck, Mamoa

MOVIE REVIEWS: Does “Justice League” Offer DC Redemption?

The one massive downside to all of these superhero movies is that, after a while, they all start to look the same.
Even the characters are interchangeable: Batman is the money/gadget guy (Iron Man) while Aquaman is the rebellious God (Thor). The Flash is the joke-cracking youngster (Spiderman), Cyborg is the half man, half something-else-entirely (The Hulk) and, of course, Wonder Woman is the beacon of goodness (Captain America). This doesn’t mean that Justice League is a bad movie. I don’t think it could be BAD with this cast and this much material (introducing the League, fighting evil AND mourning a dead Superman). No, Justice League isn’t a bad movie but it does feel awfully familiar. It also highlights a huge difference in the way Marvel and DC tell their stories and why the Marvel films are consistently stronger: 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 →

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 →