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New year! New movies! New on the big screen for kids and teens in January is a beloved Peruvian bear, an animated film from George Lucas and lots more. 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 WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH

PG-13 for some disturbing and frightening images, and for thematic elements | In Theaters 01/02 | Ok for Kids 14+ | Relativity Media | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels | Twitter

This sequel to the 2012 movie starring Daniel Radcliffe picks up when a group of orphaned children are forced to move from their home in London, and caretakers Eve (Phoebe Fox) and Jean (Helen McCrory) bring everyone to the desolate and eerie British countryside.

It’s been 40 years since Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) left the now abandoned Eel Marsh House, and it isn’t long before Eve starts to sense that this house is not what it appears to be. As the children begin to disappear, Eve learns that it’s no coincidence that she came to reside here, and enlists the help of a handsome pilot (Jeremy Irvine) to help investigate.

TAKEN 3

PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief strong language | In Theaters 01/09 | Ok for Kids 14+ | 20th Century Fox | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels | Taken 3 | Facebook | Twitter

Liam Neeson can’t catch a break. He returns as ex-covert operative Bryan Mills, whose reconciliation with his ex-wife is tragically cut short when she’s brutally murdered. Consumed with rage and framed for the crime, he goes on the run to evade the relentless pursuit of the CIA, FBI and the police.

One last time, Mills must use his “particular set of skills,” to track down the real killers, exact his unique brand of justice, and protect the only thing that matters to him now – his daughter. Directed by Olivier Megaton from a screenplay by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, “Taken 3” also stars Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Dougray Scott, Jonny Weston and Forest Whitaker.

PADDINGTON

Not Yet Rated; Likely G or PG | In Theaters 01/16 | Ok for Kids 6+ | Studio Canal (TWC-Dimension) | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | Paddington | Facebook | Twitter

From producer David Heyman (“Harry Potter”) and the beloved novels by Michael Bond, this cute family movie follows the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear (voiced by Colin Firth) who travels to the city in search of a home. Lost and alone, he starts to realize that perhaps city life isn’t for him, until he meets the kindly Brown family who offer him a temporary haven.

Things are going fine until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist. Directed by Paul King, the cast also includes Hugh Bonneville, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi and Julie Walters.

SPARE PARTS

PG-13 for some language and violence | In Theaters 01/16 | Ok for Kids 13+ | Lionsgate | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels  | Facebook

Based on Joshua Davis’ Wired magazine story, “Spare Parts” (a.k.a. “La Vida Robot”) is based on a true David & Goliath story about four Hispanic teenagers from Phoenix who form a robotics team under the leadership of their school’s newest teacher, Fredi (George Lopez).

With no experience, 800 bucks, used car parts and a dream, this rag tag team goes up against the country’s reigning robotics champion, MIT. On their journey, they learn not only how to build a robot, but also a bond that will last a lifetime. Directed by Sean McNamara, this movie also stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Carlos Penavega and Marisa Tomei.

STRANGE MAGIC

Not Yet Rated; Likely G or PG | In Theaters 01/23 | Ok for Kids 7+ | Touchstone Pictures/Disney | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels | Facebook

Inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” this madcap musical fairy tale features popular songs from the past six decades to help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.

Gorgeous visuals from Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic (which created the CGI animation for 2011’s Oscar-winning film “Rango”) bring the colorful forest to life. Featuring a story by George Lucas and directed by Gary Rydstrom, this movie stars Alfred Molina, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, Peter Stormare, Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Kelley and Alan Cumming.

PROJECT ALMANAC

PG-13 for some language and sexual content | In Theaters 01/30 | Ok for Kids 14+ | Paramount Pictures | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels | Project Almanac | Facebook | Twitter

“Project Almanac” is yet another “found footage” film (hopefully without the shaky camera effects), and the plot centers on a group of friends who discover plans to build a time machine. So of course, they decide to build one themselves.

Their initial goal is to use it to undo past mistakes, but we all know how that turns out. Changing the past has dire consequences about what happens in the future.  Directed by Dean Israelite, this movie stars Allen Evangelista, Sam Lerner, Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-D’Elia and Ginny Gardner.

NEW ON DVD/BLU-RAY:

OCTONAUTS: PIRATE ADVENTURES

Rated G | On DVD 01/06 | Ok for Kids 3+ | Reel Review: 4.5 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon

Join the Octonauts as they set out on a series of piratey adventures! Kwazii comes face to face with his long-lost pirate grandfather Calico Jack, while the Octonauts travel deep down the Amazon river in search of a lost city. Then, Kwazii goes head-to-head with three swashbuckling swordfish, gets shipwrecked on a desert island with Peso, and meets the perfect sidekick while hunting for pirate treasure: a parrotfish!

THE GRUFFALO and THE GRUFFALO’S CHILD

Not Rated | On DVD 01/13 | Ok for Kids 3+ | Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon

“A gruffalo? What’s a gruffalo?” “A gruffalo! Why, didn’t you know? He has terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws.” So begins the story of a quick-witted mouse as he encounters a host of predators who seem to think he might make a tasty treat. “The Gruffalo s Child” picks up some years later with The Gruffalo’s daughter curious about her father’s fantastic stories of a Big Bad Mouse in the deep, dark woods. Thus, she sets out one snowy night on a thrilling journey of discovery. This delightful 30-minute animated film is adapted from the classic children’s book by Julia Donaldson.

DINOSAUR TRAIN: EGGSTRAVAGANZA & PUZZLE

Not Rated | On DVD 01/13 | Ok for Kids 3+ | Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon

Dinosaurs and trains! What could be better?! “Dinosaur Train” celebrates the fascination that preschoolers have with both, while sparking an interest in life science, natural history, and paleontology. This DVD also includes a fun puzzle for little ones. Episodes include: 1) The Egg Stealer; 2) Hatching Party; 3) Tank’s Baby Brother; 4) Diamond Anniversary; 5) Nursery Car; 6) All Kinds of Families; 7) A Sea Turtle Tale; and 8) The Good Mom.

DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD: WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Not Rated | On DVD 01/13 | Ok for Kids 3+ | Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon

We all miss Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, but thankfully, Daniel Tiger is here to carry on. Based on Fred Rogers’ landmark social-emotional curriculum, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” tells engaging stories about the life of a preschooler using musical strategies. Through imagination, creativity and music, Daniel and his friends learn key social skills necessary for school and life. Episodes include: 1) Daniel’s Birthday; 2) Daniel’s Picnic; and 3) Neighbor Day. You’re humming the Mr. Rogers’ song now, aren’t you?

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.

Images used with permission of the studios and distributors.

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