With the Writer’s Guild of America on strike and all our favorite television shows going dark, the place to be this holiday season for a little entertainment is the theater. The holiday season on the big screen is fairing up pretty nicely as an option for family outings to include not only some holiday-themed movies, but some other fun family films.
Again, like this summer, I am surprised to only find one G-rated movie. Even the chipmunks got a PG rating this year. The list of family films this season includes only 1 1/2 animated films. I counted Disney’s unique offering, Enchanted, as half since it’s half animation and half live action.
Without further delay, here’s a rundown by release date:
In this animated feature, Barry Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) decides he can’t be like his best friend Adam Flyman (Matthew Broderick) and settle for a typical life in the hive making honey. But when he set out to discover the rest of the world, he had no idea what an adventure it would be. Along the way, Barry makes a few new friends, including Mooseblood (Chris Rock), a mosquito headed to Alaska, and a human named Vanessa Bloome (Renee Zellweger). But with adventure comes mishap and Barry and Vanessa find themselves racing against time to saved the flowers. For a full review, click here.
Rated PG for mild suggestion humor and a brief depiction of humor. View Trailer at www.beemovie.com. Release Date: Currently in theaters.
Every family has its black sheep. In the Claus family, it’s Fred (Vince Vaughn), Nicholas’s (Paul Giamatti) older brother. When Fred’s shady dealings finally land him in jail, Santa steps in to bail his brother out, offering him a job in his toy workshop. Can this sheep change the color of is wool? Or will Fred’s antics jeopardize not only his relationship with Nicholas, but the whole Christmas holiday? Kathy Bates stars as Mother Clause and Rachel Weisz is Wanda.
Rated PG for mild language and some rude humor. View Trailer at fredclaus.warnerbros.com. Release Date: Currently in theaters.
Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
What throws a worse tantrum than a toddler who has lost his favorite toy? A toy store that has lost its favorite owner. Mr. Magoriums’ Wonderl Emporium is a delightfully magic place or at least it was until its 245-year-old owner Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) leaves the store to his timid manager Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman). Together with the help of the doubtful accountant Henry (Jason Bateman) and a nine-year-old (Zach Mills), Molly must find the magic to keep the store alive. For a full review, click here.
Rated G. View the trailer at www.magorium.com. Release Date: November 16
This drama follows the young and musically talented August Rush (Freddie Highmore) on his search to find his parents — Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a Irish singer and guitarist, and Loyla Novacek (Keri Russell), a privileged cellist with an overprotective father (William Sadler). Drawn together by their love of music, Louis and Loyla had shared one magical night together in New York 12 years ago, but due to an unfortunate turn of event the two were separated from each other and August. Living on the street and under the protection of the Wizard (Robin Williams), August is determined to find his parents through his music. Terrence Howard stars as social worker Richard Jeffries.
Rated PG for thematic elements, mild violence and language. View the trailer at augustrushmovie.warnerbros.com. Release Date: November 21.
Christmas in Wonderland
Patrick Swayze stars in the comedy as Wayne Saunders, a father who moves his three kids from to LA to Edmonton, where the kids think they’ll die of boredom. But they are in for the adventure of a lifetime when they head to West Edmonton Mall for some Christmas shopping, but find a bag of counterfeit money instead.
Rated PG for rude humor. View the trailer at christmasinwonderland.com. Release date: November 21
What happens when a fairytale comes true — or in Enchanted‘s case, comes alive? We find out when the evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) pushes an animated Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) down a well and she winds up in modern day New York in living color. Will the gritty streets of New York change Giselle’s romantic look on life? Will Giselle trade her storybook prince, Edward (James Marsden), for a real life romance with Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a handsome lawyer?
Rated PG for scary images and mild innuendo. View the trailer at enchantedmovie.com. Release date: November 21
The Golden Compass
Based on Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, this fantasy follows Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards), a rebellious orphan, on her quest through a parallel word full of shape-shifting creatures and witches to find her best friend, Roger (Ben Walker), who has been kidnapped by the government for experiments. But with the coming war, Lyra might be destined to save more than her friend — her world and all the parallel worlds connected to it. Daniel Craig stars as her explorer uncle, Lord Asriel, and Nicole Kidman is his colleague, Mrs. Coulter.
Not Yet Rated. View the trailer a www.goldencompassmovie.com. Release date: December 7
The Perfect Holiday
Narrated by Queen Latifah, this sweet little tale is about Emily (Khail Bryant), the youngest of three children, whose only Christmas wish is for her single mom, Nancy (Gabrielle Union), to be happy. So she asks Santa for the one thing she overhears her mom wish for — a nice normal man. Benjamin (Morris Chestnut), an aspiring songwriter working as the mall Santa, is more than happy to fulfill this Christmas wish.
Rated PG for brief language and some suggestive humor. View the trailer at www.theperfectholidaymovie.com. Release date: December 12
Alvin and the Chipmunks
A live action/CGI version of the 1980s cartoon about how songwriter David Seville (Jason Lee) turns three chipmunks — Alvin, Simon and Theodore — into pop stars while the trio turns David’s house and life upside down. Fun fact: the Chipmunks were named after Liberty Records executives — Alvin Bennett, Simon Waronker, and Theodore Keep.
Rated PG for rude humor. View the trailer at www.alvinandthechipmunksmovie.com. Release date: December 14
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
A highly anticipated sequel to the 2004 hit, Book of Secrets promises even more intrigue and action as Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) sets out to defend his family name when a missing page from John Wilkes Booth’s diary reappears and implicates Ben’s great-great-great grandfather in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Look for more mysteries and puzzles as Ben and his crew travel to Paris and London before returning to the states. Jon Voight reprises his role as Ben’s father, Patrick. Also returning is Diane Kruger as Abigail Chase, Ben’s love interest from the first movie.
Rated PG for some violence and action. View the trailer at nationaltreasure.com. Release date: December 21
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
Discover the magical beginning of one of Scotland’s most famous legends when a young boy discovers a very unique egg, one that takes him on an enchanted journey when it hatches into a water horse. Walden Media, the company that brought you the Chronicles of Narnia, promises another fantastical tale.
Rated PG for action/peril, mild language and brief smoking. View the trailer at thewaterhorse.com. Release date: December 25
Well I think I can find several good options to fill the lulls in my holiday shopping schedule. Hope you find one or two you enjoy too. See you in the concession lines!