18 posts categorized "Children"

September 11, 2011

THE LION KING 3D

COLE SMITHEY

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Lion_King_3D You can hardly blame Disney for imbuing its most recently minted animated classic with the 3D treatment in order to introduce "The Lion King" to new audiences. If only it weren't for the inflated ticket price that comes with it, "The Lion King 3D" would represent a welcome revival of a kids movie that combines a strong story with memorable songs and lush use of animation and color that is nothing short of stunning.

For audiences unfamiliar with the story, it follows the adventures of a young lion cub named Simba (voiced wonderfully by Matthew Broderick). As the only son of regional African lion King Mufasa (James Earl Jones), Simba is just beginning to learn important life lessons from his imperious father when Mufasa's jealous brother Scar (Jeremy Irons) carries out a coup d’état that leaves Simba without a home and stripped of his birthright to the throne of the African plain known as Pride Rock.

Lionking

In exile Simba makes friends with an unlikely couple of jungle-dwellers. A meerkat named Timon (Nathan Lane) and a warthog known as Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella) teach Simba the pleasures an insect-based diet while he grows to adulthood. A reunion with his childhood girlfriend Nala inspires Simba to return to his homeland and claim his magisterial title. Although too frightening for younger audiences to support its G-rating, “The Lion King” is a children’s movie that holds up over time.

Rated PG. 87 mins.

4 Stars“ColeSmithey.com”

Cozy Cole

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August 14, 2010

NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS

COLE SMITHEY

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Colesmithey.comA vast improvement over the 2005 franchise introduction of co-writer/actress Emma Thompson's Mary-Poppinsish household savior, "Nanny McPhee Returns" finds modern-day meaning in its World War II era English trappings.

Gone is the garish fluorescent neon color palate, and mean-spirited themes that attended the poorly contrived initial installment. Where "Nanny McPhee" was based on the first of Christianna Brand's "Nurse Matilda" books, the sequel departs from the series to find the diabolically unsightly nanny coming to the aid of farm-owner Isabel Green (excellently played by Maggie Gyllenhaal).

With her husband (Ewan McGregor) away at war, Isabel already has her hands full with three children (Norman, Megsie, and Vincent) before playing host to their hoity-toity London cousins, a brother and sister with a low regard for such a manure-entrenched environment.

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With her handy magical cane and unsightly unibrow, Nanny McPhee arrives to make good on her promise to inculcate the unruly children with her "five lessons" that will leave the family members "wanting," but not "needing" her continued service. The ever-vivacious Maggie Smith adds her own distinctive flair as Mrs. Docherty, Isabel's shop owner-boss whose lacking sense of neatness is a major obstacle.

Rated PG. 109 mins. (B) (Three Stars - out of five/no halves)

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July 23, 2010

Ramona and Beezus

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal! Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

Cole Smithey on Patreon

 

Beezus-and-ramona Screenwriting team Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay expertly adapt from Beverly Cleary's children's novels to render a perfectly pitched G-rated family movie. Young newcomer Joey King gives an unquestionable performance as nine-year-old Ramona, the accident-prone middle daughter to a Portland family led by John Corbett and Bridget Moynahan. Didactic without being preachy, the film softly sets down examples of mature behavior around such touchy issues as job loss, anger management, death, and exerting one's individuality. If that sounds like heady stuff for a well-constructed kids' movie, know that there are equal doses of goofy playtime shenanigans that figure ever so gently into the film's organic themes of social interaction. There are plenty of great moments where director Elizabeth Allen skirts stereotypes and smuggles exposition with a sense of dramatic flair. Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Duhamel give credible performances as a star-crossed couple who decide to take a chance on love. "Beezus and Ramona" is easily the best family movie of the year, so far.

Rated G. 104 mins. (B) (Four Stars - out of five/no halves)

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