32 posts categorized "Children"

November 22, 2011

Hugo



HugoMartin Scorsese's foray into the fantasyland of children's cinema via Brian Selznick's delightful children's graphic novel "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" is a visually and emotionally rich love letter to the creativity of French filmmaker Georges Méliès. Scorsese tempers the Dickensian story of Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), a 12-year-old orphan living a secret life within the walls of Paris's Gare Montparnasse train station in 1931. After the death of his father Hugo is abandoned by his uncle and left to care for the station's giant clocks surreptitiously. As menacing as Sacha Baron Cohen's orphan-hunting Station Inspector pretends to be, he has a big soft spot as revealed in his shy courtship of Lisette (Emily Mortimer), a flower seller in the station who understands his insecurity about wounds received during World War I. Hugo's other adversary is the station's cantankerous toy seller Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley). Hugo steals little things from Méliès' shop from time to time to refurbish a clockwork robot passed down from his father. A ray of hope enters Hugo's life when he's befriended by Méliès's goddaughter Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz). Isabelle takes Hugo on adventures such as sneaking into a cinema to watch Harold Lloyd's great silent comedy "Safety Last." Scorsese's signature attention to detail comes through in every scene. From Howard Shore's persuasive musical score to Sandy Powell's brilliant costume design, "Hugo" is a lush cinematic adventure for families to savor. Romance, poetry, mystery, and ingenuity seep from every frame. There’s no point in waiting ten years to call “Hugo” a classic.

Rated PG. 126 mins. (A) (Five Stars - out of five/no halves)

September 18, 2011

Dolphin Tale

Dolphin-tale Some dolphins are luckier than others. After getting caught in a crab trap off the coast of Florida, a wounded dolphin named Winter gets rescued on the beach by a boy named Sawyer (Nathan Gamble). Members of the nearby Clearwater Marine Hospital help transport the sociable dolphin to their facility where they hope to rehabilitate the wounded mammal. Sadly, Winter's damaged tale has to be removed. Harry Connick, Jr. plays Dr. Clay Haskett, whose gregarious daughter Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) befriends Sawyer. Hazel invites Sawyer to spend his summer days helping with Winter's recovery. Hope comes for Winter's survival when a local prosthetics doctor (Morgan Freeman) generously agrees to design a prosthetic tail to help Winter swim without damaging the animal’s delicate spine. "Dolphin Tale" is a sweet children's movie. There are no big explosions, rude humor, or green-eyed monsters -- just a heartwarming true story about people who care for one very special dolphin. Ashely Judd and Kris Kristofferson also star.

Rated PG. 112 mins. (B) (Three Stars - out of five/no halves)

September 11, 2011

The Lion King 3D



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. 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 of sorts 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. (B+) (Four Stars - out of five/no halves)

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