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New on the big screen in June is Tom Cruise in another sci-fi action flick (but he’s so good at them), an adaptation of a best-selling John Green novel, and our beloved Hiccup and Toothless in “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new in theaters and on DVD and blu-ray in June.
PHOTO GALLERY: June 2014 Children’s Movie, DVD & Blu-ray Preview
EDGE OF TOMORROW
PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material. In theaters 6/06. Ok for kids 13+. Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels. http://www.edgeoftomorrowmovie.com/
Tom Cruise brings another sci-fi action movie to the big screen, playing a soldier fighting in a war with aliens. We’ve seen that before, right? But this one has a “Groundhog Day” effect, as he finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in battle. He becomes more skilled along the way, thanks to fellow soldier Emily Blunt. Doug Limon directs, with Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson and Lara Pulver co-starring. Follow on Twitter with #LiveDieRepeat.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language. In theaters 6/06. Ok for kids 13+. Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels. http://thefaultinourstarsmovie.com/
Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel’s other constant companion is an oxygen tank, as the two met in a cancer support group. Josh Boone directs this romantic drama based on the book by John Green. Willem Dafoe, Nat Wolff and Laura Dern co-star. Follow on Twitter with #TFIOS.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor. In theaters 6/13. Ok for kids 6+. Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels. http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com/
It’s been five years since Hiccup and Toothless successfully united dragons and Vikings on the island of Berk. While Astrid, Snotlout and the rest of the gang challenge each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When they discover a secret ice cave that’s home to hundreds of wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. Dean DeBlois directs, with voices by Jay Baruchel, Kristen Wiig, America Ferrera and Jonah Hill. Follow on Twitter with #HTTYD2.
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
Not yet rated; likely PG-13. In theaters 6/27. Ok for kids 13+. Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels. http://www.transformersmovie.com/
Director Michael Bay’s fourth chapter of the action franchise stars Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager, a struggling car mechanic and single dad. The story picks up four years after the invasion of Chicago in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” When Cade and his daughter (Nicola Peltz) discover a Transformer in their midst, it stirs things up between the Autobots and Decepticons, and brings a paranoid government official into their lives. Reynor and Stanley Tucci also star in this movie executive produced by Steven Spielberg. This is the first film in the franchise to feature an entirely new cast and the first to feature the Dinobots. Returning Transformers include Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Ratchet. Follow on Twitter at #Transformers.
NEW ON DVD | BLU-RAY:
THE ADVENTURES OF BATMAN: THE COMPLETE SERIES
Not rated. On DVD 6/03. Ok for kids 6+. Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels. Buy on Amazon.
Ah… the good old days when cartoons were cartoons, not grownup stories masquerading as kids’ fare. Even better, “The Adventures of Batman” shorts included as part of “The Batman/Superman Hour” in 1967 featured over-the-top characters and catchy music, giving it a realistic look and feel by cartoon standards of that era.
CURIOUS GEORGE: THE COMPLETE 7TH SEASON
Not rated. On DVD 6/03. Ok for kids 3+. Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels. Buy on Amazon.
The curious little monkey is back with animal friends in this collection that includes all 12 episodes of season seven. From Australia down under to his own backyard, join George as he discovers the colorful wildlife and habitats surrounding him. The PBS KIDS show, which has won two Daytime Emmy Awards, continues to expand George’s world, while keeping the charm of the beloved books by Margret and H.A. Rey. This series inspires kids and promotes a hands-on exploration of the concepts of science, math, engineering, and technology in the world around them.
LITTLEST PET SHOP: STRIKE A POSE!
Not rated. On DVD 6/03. Ok for kids 3+. Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels. Buy on Amazon.
The tiny characters in this series have been a hit since my teenager was little, and they’re still just as adorable. In this collection of five episodes, Blythe and her best friends — Zoe the spaniel, Pepper the skunk, Sunil the mongoose, Russell the hedgehog, Penny the panda and Minka the monkey — show that friendship and fun are always in fashion. Sunil becomes an internet sensation, Vinnie befriends some dancing lizards, and the Pet Shop welcomes a young alligator in this cute collection from Shout! Factory.
THE WHEELS ON THE BUS: A DAY ON THE FARM
Not rated. On DVD 6/03. Ok for kids 3+. Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels. Buy on Amazon.
Wait, what?! Roger Daltrey is the voice of Argon the Dragon? Yes, it’s true. The WHO frontman has come a long way since rocking stadiums in the 1960s. That’s just one of the fun aspects of this musical adventure featuring Papaya, the fun-loving monkey, and his toucan friend, Mango, as they visit a farm,
then spend a day at the market and learn all about healthy eating. Episodes include: Fill it Up! (A Visit to the Farm), A Trip to the Market (Eating Healthy), and Guide Dogs (Plus A Visit to the Circus).
COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY
TV-PG. On DVD/Blu-ray 6/10. Ok for kids 7+. Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels. Buy on Amazon.
Where do fun, fascination and education meet? At the intersection of “COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey.” Hosted by renowned astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, this 13-part adventure transports viewers across the universe of space and time, bringing to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge and a deeper understanding of nature. With an updated Cosmic Calendar, dazzling visual effects, and the wondrous Ship of the Imagination, this is a great series for both you and your kids. Great for home-schoolers, too.
THE GOOD WITCH’S GIFT
TV-PG. On DVD 6/17. Ok for kids 8+. Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels. Buy on Amazon.
It’s rare to find things the whole family can watch together, so thank goodness for movies like “The Good Witch’s Gift.” This TV movie, which originally aired in 2010, finds Cassandra Nightingale (Catherine Bell) and her handsome sweetheart, Police Chief Jake Russell (Chris Potter), engaged to be married. Getting into the spirit of the season, they set their wedding date for Christmas Eve — only six days away! But as they hurry to plan the wedding, trouble clouds their happiness when a mysterious man from Jake’s past returns to town.
THE LEGO MOVIE
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor. On DVD/Blu-ray 6/17. Ok for kids 6+. Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels. Buy on Amazon.
One of my favorite movies of 2014 (read my review here), this animated story follows Emmet (Chris Pratt), a perfectly average, rules-following LEGO figure who’s mistakenly identified as an extraordinary person, not to mention the key to saving the world. Drafted into a fellowship of strangers, he finds himself on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant. It’s a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared. A must-see for both you and your kids, this movie topped $252 million at the box office.
ERNEST & CELESTINE
PG for some scary moments. On DVD/Blu-ray 6/17. Ok for kids 6+. Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels. Buy on Amazon.
Deep below snowy, cobblestone streets, tucked away in networks of winding subterranean tunnels, lives a civilization of hardworking mice, terrified of the bears who live above ground. Unlike her fellow mice, Celestine is an artist and a dreamer – and when she nearly ends up as breakfast for ursine troubadour Ernest, the two form an unlikely bond. But their friendship is soon put on trial by their respective bear-fearing and mice-eating communities. Gorgeous animation, wonderful storytelling, brilliant comic timing, and on-screen chemistry between the two leads is why this sweet tale was nominated for an Academy Award. Directed by Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner,it features a ridiculously talented voice cast, including Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall and Paul Giamatti.
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.