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New on the big screen for kids and teens in October is a hero in a colorful city, a kid having a very bad day, and a beautifully animated tale from Guillermo del Toro. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new in theaters and on DVD and Blu-ray this month. Note that release dates are subject to change.
THE HERO OF COLOR CITY
Rated G | In Theaters 10/03 | Ok for Kids 4+ | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | Facebook
This animated tale for the pre-school/kindergarten set follows the adventures of a diverse band of crayons that come alive in a little boy’s room when he drifts off to sleep. Yellow (voiced by Christina Ricci), a timid and fearful crayon, inadvertently awakens two unfinished drawings that threaten to take over Color City. As she embarks on an adventure to discover inner strength and courage, she teams with other crayons and meets fantastical creatures, including Ricky the dragon (Owen Wilson). Filled with valuable life lessons, this sweet movie will entertain and inspire little ones. Directed by Frank Gladstone, the cast also includes Rosie Perez, Wayne Brady, Craig Ferguson and Jessica Capshaw.
ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
Rated PG for rude humor, including some reckless behavior and language | In Theaters 10/10 | Ok for Kids 7+ | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | Disney.com/Alexander | Facebook
This cute family movie from Walt Disney Pictures follows 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible day of his young life — a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. But when Alexander tells his upbeat family about his misadventures, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things happen only to him. He soon learns that’s not the case when his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette) and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all find themselves having their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Based on the book by Judith Viorst and directed by Miguel Arteta, the cast also includes Megan Mullally, Jennifer Coolidge and Bella Thorne.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of warfare, vampire attacks, disturbing images and some sensuality | In Theaters 10/10 (2D, IMAX) | Ok for Kids 13+ | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels | DraculaUntold.com | Facebook | Twitter
Luke Evans (“Fast & Furious 6”) stars in this origin story of the man who would become the most famous vampire of them all, Dracula. The epic action-adventure includes gorgeous visuals and is perfectly timed to get us in the Halloween mood. It’s directed by Gary Shore and co-stars Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Diarmaid Murtagh and Samantha Barks.
“Oh look, there it is again,” I said to myself. “One Chance” has been on my preview lists at various times since last year. Now it’s (hopefully) finally hitting the big screen. The story follows the remarkable journey of Paul Potts, a shy, bullied shop assistant by day and an amateur opera singer by night. Paul became an instant YouTube sensation after being chosen by Simon Cowell for “Britain’s Got Talent,” which he went on to win. Fresh from celebrating his Tony Award-winning Broadway run in “One Man, Two Guvnors,” BAFTA winner James Corden stars, with direction by David Frankel and a cast that includes Julie Walters, Mackenzie Crook, Colm Meaney, Jemima Rooper, and rising star Alexandra Roach.
Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, “The Best of Me” tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they’ve never forgotten, but they soon discover the forces that drove them apart years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. This epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love. Directed by Michael Hoffman, stars include Michelle Monaghan, James Marsden and Gerald McRaney.
THE TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA
Rated PG for thematic elements, some violent action and partial nudity | In Theaters 10/17 (limited) | Ok for Kids 8+ | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels | Facebook
“Ooh, a new Studio Ghibli film,” said my 17-year-old daughter from across the room, as I played the trailer on my computer. That’s because kids are drawn to these films like beautiful moths to light. “It will be good,” she assured me, and of course she’s right. The story follows a tiny girl found inside a shining stalk of bamboo who grows into an exquisite young lady, raised by an old bamboo cutter and his wife. From the countryside to the grand capital city, she enthralls all who encounter her, including five noble suitors. Ultimately she must face her fate, punishment for her crime. Based on the classic Japanese folktale, “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter,” this is the newest film from Studio Ghibli and the strikingly beautiful culmination of decades of contemplation by its director, Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata.
THE BOOK OF LIFE
Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images | In Theaters 10/17 | Ok for Kids 7+ | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels | The Book of Life | Facebook | Twitter | Google+
From producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez comes this beautifully animated comedy with a unique visual style. The story chronicles the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, this movie encourages us to celebrate the past while looking towards the future. Voice cast includes Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Placido Domingo, Kate del Castillo, Hector Elizondo, Diego Luna, Cheech Marin, Ron Perlman, Zoë Saldana, Channing Tatum and Danny Trejo.
Rated PG-13 for disturbing violent content, frightening horror images, and thematic material | In Theaters 10/24 | Ok for Kids 15+ | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels | Ouijamovie.com | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram
Never mess with a “Ouija” board! Unfortunately, a group of friends fail to follow this rule, and must confront their most terrifying fears when they awaken the dark powers of the ancient spirit board. Stiles White directs this supernatural thriller produced by Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller, whose credits include “The Purge,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and “Friday the 13th”. Stars include Olivia Cooke, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith, Bianca Santos and Ana Coto. This PG-13 movie edges towards an R rating, so I’m going with ages 15+ on this one.
NEW ON DVD/BLU-RAY:
JACK AND THE CUCKOO-CLOCK HEART
Rated PG for scary images, suggestive material, some language and smoking | On DVD/Blu-ray 10/07 | Ok for Kids 8+ | Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
Looking for something a bit edgier and more artistic for your kids? “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” fits the bill. This 19th-century drama follows a man (Mathias Malzieu) whose heart was replaced with a clock when he was born. The situation dictates that he should avoid feeling strong emotions — including love — but he just can’t keep his feelings under wraps. Visually stunning, this whimsical fairy tale is set in a wondrous time of amazing inventions, unforgettable characters, enchanting music, and fantastic adventures. It’s all about love and acceptance of others.
IT’S A VERY MERRY MUPPET CHRISTMAS MOVIE
Rated PG for mild thematic elements | On Blu-ray 10/07 | Ok for Kids 6+ | Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
Join Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and the entire Muppet gang in this holiday movie. It’s the night before Christmas and the Muppet Theater is in danger of being torn down. Kermit starts to think the world would be a better place if he’d never been born (sound familiar?), but with a little heavenly help and some holiday shenanigans, Kermit and the Muppets discover what matters most is their love for each other. All-star cast includes David Arquette, Joan Cusack and Whoopi Goldberg, plus show-stopping musical numbers like “Moulin Scrooge.”
THE NEVERENDING STORY: 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
Rated PG for frightening scenes | On Blu-ray 10/07 | Ok for Kids 8+ | Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
Young Bastian Bux (Barret Oliver) loves to escape from his troubled life in a dusty old bookstore. When the store owner tells him not to look at the book “The NeverEnding Story,” that’s his invitation to look through the pages, where he’s drawn into the book and becomes part of the story. Great special effects, beautiful scenery, colorful characters, and a “dare to dream” message, this classic tale is not to be missed.
ICE AGE: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
Rated PG | On DVD/Blu-ray 10/07 | Ok for Kids 6+ | Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
Here’s your chance to get all four massively popular “Ice Age” films, including “Ice Age,” “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” and “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” Also includes the all-new holiday adventure “Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas,” which finds Sid accidentally destroying Manny’s heirloom Christmas rock, landing on Santa’s “naughty list,” and leading a hilarious quest to the North Pole to make things right. This set is a perfect Christmas gift, but I bet you won’t be able to wait that long to watch it with your kids.
WHEN SANTA FELL TO EARTH
Rated PG for mild peril and some language | On DVD 10/14 | Ok for Kids 6+ | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
With two weeks left until Christmas, the last thing Ben and Charlotte expected is for Santa to crash-land his sleigh in their town! Santa has just escaped the villainous Gerold Geronimous Goblynch, recently named the new head of the Great Christmas Council. When he sends his army of Nutcracker soldiers after Santa and the kids, the three embark on a magical adventure to find Santa’s trusty reindeer Twinklestar, free his Christmas elves and angels from Goblynch’s spell, and save Christmas before it’s too late.
After receiving a bizarre series of encrypted messages, a group of kids embark on an adventure with a cute little alien who needs their help. At 89 minutes, this movie is well suited for younger viewers, and I love the focus on friendship and shared experiences. It’s “Stand by Me” meets “E.T.” for the younger set. Directed by Dave Green, the movie stars Teo Halm, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Jason Gray-Stanford, Reese Hartwig and Ella Wahlestedt.
BEETHOVEN’S TREASURE TAIL
Rated PG for mild, crude humor and peril | On DVD/Blu-ray 10/28 | Ok for Kids 6+ | Reel Review: 3.5 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
It’s an all-new howl-arious adventure, starring America’s favorite St. Bernard, the one and only Beethoven. After a doggone disaster of a movie shoot, the big-hearted pooch and his trainer, Eddie (Jonathan Silverman) are heading home when they get stranded in a small coastal village. When Beethoven befriends a local boy (Bretton Manley), he helps him find a pirate map to lost treasure, and together, they em-bark on an adventure that brings the whole town together. A sweet “tail” for little ones. Co-stars include Morgan Fairchild, Kristy Swanson, and Jeffrey Combs.
THOMAS & FRIENDS: THE CHRISTMAS ENGINES
Not Rated | On DVD 10/28 | Ok for Kids 3+ | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
Thomas & Friends continue to deliver beautiful stories for little ones, and this DVD finds the group in holly, jolly Christmas spirits, ready to be Santa’s engine helpers. Percy brings holiday fun to Reg at the scrap yard, while Duncan tries to overcome his bah humbug attitude. Thomas clears the snowy tracks so Connor can race passengers home in time for the holidays. James causes confusion and delay helping Duck get unstuck, as an old friend returns to Sodor bringing Percy the perfect gift.
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.