The Best Family Flicks of Summer 2010 (page 3)
- Festive Family Flicks: The Best Holiday Movies 2011
- Creating Family Rituals
- Great Family Field Trips for Summer on the Cheap
- Summer Parenting: Tips for Good Behavior
- Summer Learning Loss: The Problem and Some Solutions
- What College Admissions Officers Look For: How Do Colleges View Summer and Other Experiences?
Summer is in full swing and that means a slew of new movies are on the scene for family movie-going fun. But with so many films hitting theaters right now, how do we know which ones are actually worth seeing? And when we consider the cost of tickets, snacks, drinks and sometimes, the strategically located and hard-to-elude arcade games, going to the movies can become quite costly. Fortunately, notable movie critic Jen Yamato from Movies.com has come to the rescue to help pare down the list to a manageable and worthwhile few. Here are her top picks in a nutshell, as well as one that wasn't quite up to her snuff.
Ages 5-8 (Rated G):
Ramona and Beezus. For younger kids, Yamato recommends "Ramona and Beezus," based on the Beverly Cleary book of the same name and features Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place, Princess Protection Program). "Gomez has managed to consistently retain a family-friendly audience and it's great to see her in a different role that's still age appropriate and on the big screen.” Now playing.
Ages 8-12 (Rated PG):
Toy Story 3. Yamato enthusiastically opines that, "Toy Story 3" has “transcended the realm of kids’ animated films to become the best all around movie of the season and possibly of the entire year. It’s headed for more Oscars and is sure to be the blockbuster of the year.” The only caveat is that it might not be appropriate for very young kids since “there are some terror elements and heavy themes. This one's great for kids 8 years old and up,” says Yamato. In her review of the movie, Yamato recommends seeing it in 2-D rather than 3-D:
"Some have pulled it off – for example, "How to Train Your Dragon" was amazing in 3-D, but this presentation is more distracting than enhancing. You don’t need a third dimension to be moved by the story or fall in love with the old or new characters. Pixar makes beautiful movies regardless of 3-D and it’s really moving and sweet to see the toys come to life. Parents will be moved by the subtext."
For Yamato’s full review, go here. Now playing.
Despicable Me. “This is a fun spy vs. spy flick that is a blast to see in 3-D" with things popping off the screen left and right!
Yamato continues, "a crazy and evil, but not too evil, villain named Gru," voiced by Steve Carell, discovers that he has a new super-villain nemesis, voiced by Jason Segal. "He’s a twisted version of Bill Gates," she says, "very nerdy with lots of gadgets." When Gru adopts three orphan girls, they teach him how to rethink his villainous ways. The eldest, voiced by Miranda Cosgrove (iCarly), is a very spunky guardian, who looks after her two younger sisters. Gru’s loveable sidekicks called minions are a cross between tater tots and Oompa Loompas. "Kids will fall in love with those guys," says Yamato.
The film's got some mild action and a little bit of rude humor, thus the PG rating. You can read Yamato’s full review of the movie here. Now playing.
Cats and Dogs II, Revenge of Kitty Galore. This is a sequel to the 2001 live action comedy in which mortal enemies join forces to battle a demented hairless cat voiced by Bette Midler. "It’s a fun, action packed movie with talking animals." (What kid wouldn't love that?) "And, espionage is almost always a guaranteed good time.” Now playing.
Karate Kid. Yamato labels this summer flick as a great family film, although she warns parents that some of the martial arts action is a little violent for a PG rating. "I wouldn’t recommend it for younger kids," she says. "I was totally prepared to hate this movie since I love the original one so much, but Jaden Smith is so winning in the central role — he really pulled it off." A remake done well, this movie will get kids into the spirit of martial arts and they can share the experience with their parents, who loved the original Karate Kid when they were younger.
Click here for Yamato’s full review. Now playing.
13 and up (Rated PG-13):
Charlie St. Cloud. Released July 30th, this flick stars Zac Efron (High School Musical) with a "promising trailer." Efron plays a young man grieving from the death of his younger brother, who's withdrawn from his normal teenage social life. His brother begins to visit him supernaturally, but when falls for a girl, he begins to withdraw from the world he's created with his brother. For Zac Efron fans, Yamato says, “this is a more mature role that shows off more intense character work." But parents should be advised, that this is no High School Musical-friendly movie. It's a romance and drama that contains scenes of death, sexual reference and intense action. Now playing.
Step Up 3-D. A highly anticipated movie for Yamato personally, she notes that “Director Jon Chu has done this sequel in 3-D which makes it really fun." In it, a new group of talented street dancers teams up with Moose from Step Up 2 to face off against an international array of dancing crews. "Teenagers, male and female alike, and slightly older dance enthusiasts will enjoy it,” says Yamato. In theaters August 6, 2010.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Yamato describes this as a "comic book adaption" in which Michael Cera plays Pilgrim, a 23-year old musician who falls in love with the girl of his dreams played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and in order to win her heart, he has to battle seven of her evil exes. "It’s a fun, highly stylized film from director Edgar Wright with some violence but with a video game sensibility. It’s going to be a really fun one for kids in high school.” In theaters August 13, 2010.
One to skip this Summer:
Marmaduke. Yamato was forthcoming when asked to name a kid-friendly flick that's not worth seeing this summer. "Marmaduke. It’s like the elephant in the room because there’s a certain standard that animated films these days have set. When I see movies like Marmaduke, where there's a talking dog that makes fart jokes,” Yamato elaborates, “I just wish people would see a Pixar film instead. Kids deserve films that don't pander to them. Kids are smarter and more perceptive than some studios give them credit for.” Now playing.
A sneak peek at Fall 2010:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It comes as no surprise that this Fall flick will definitely be on the radar for kids (and adults) who've been following the franchise.” Yamato offers that this, the first of the final two films, will “definitely be a movie for high schoolers and beyond.” This film is not yet rated. Part 1 will hit theaters in November of 2010 followed by Part 2 in the summer of 2011.
Ultimately, you and your family will be the judge of these Summer flicks, so let us know what you think by posting feedback in the comments section below. Happy movie watching!
About Jen Yamato: Whether she’s podcasting from Sundance, blogging from Cannes or tweeting from Toronto, Jen Yamato is a “digital diva” with her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the world of film. She's a film critic for Movies.com and a regular contributor to popular movie blogs such as Cinematical.com, Film.com and FEAR.net, combining up-to-the-minute information from the web with her uniquely opinionated and humorous style. Yamato is also the go-to resource for several radio and TV stations across the country. Prior to Movies.com, she was the senior editor at rottentomatoes.com, where she oversaw the largest collection of online film reviews. Yamato is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and now resides in Los Angeles.