Friday, December 6, 2013

Fly into stores to get Planes for the little people on your list!


 
Planes, 1 hour, 32 min, 2013

Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor

Starring Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Priyanka Chopra, John Cleese, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Carlos Alazraqui, Roger Craig Smith

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for your entertainment-addicted grandson, or any male family member with a passion for flying, then Planes is it. And, it’s not just for boys. My daughter (7 y.o. Giggly Girl) said she loved it. GG watched the race scenes again the following day after we viewed it. The Disney Cars spin-off features gorgeous animation and a great premise that will be enjoyable for family movie nights with your toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children, girls and boys alike.

The basic plot: Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook), a little cropduster with big dreams competes in the Wings Around the Globe race and finds himself up against some big name competitors like the British veteran Bulldog (John Cleese), the sweet and sleek Ishani (Priyanka Chopra) and the arrogant Ripslinger (Roger Craig Smith) who likes to play dirty. In the beginning Dusty was the object of ridicule, but this courageous underdog wins their hearts and yours. His friends back home, a very silly tanker truck, Chug (Brad Garrett), the genius mechanic, Dottie (Teri Hatcher) and the veteran war hero, Skipper (Stacy Keach) know how special Dusty is and by the end of the movie you do too. I try to avoid spoiler alerts, so I won't say who won the race, or tell you anything else about the story.

From a marketing standpoint, I’d say John Lasseter (Cars’ famous producer) and his crew were pretty smart making this film even though I felt that some parts of the Planes story were taken directly from Cars. Chug and Mater both play the idiotic sidekick. Skipper is the crusty mentor who has not been completely honest about his past like the beloved Doc. Ishani takes Dusty on a romantic flight over the Taj Mahal that reminds us of the charming cruise Lightning McQueen and Sally took through the desert.

Despite all that, Planes is a good movie, and worth the price as a surprise addition to your family’s movie collection or as a gift for any age boy or girl.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Let Flixy Mom help with your holiday DVD shopping...here's a review for Epic!


Flixy Mom is back! Just in time to help super-busy parents with their holiday shopping. If you’re wondering which 2013 movies to purchase for your darlings to stuff into their stockings, check out the first holiday edition of Flixy Mom….starring Epic.

 
Epic, 2013, 1 hour, 42 min
Rated PG-13 for mild action, some scary images and brief rude language
Starring Colin Farrell, Beyonce Knowles, Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Christoph Waltz and Steven Tyler
Epic is a CG adventure comedy with stunning animation and an all-star cast. I saw this film in the theater over the summer, and I wish I had forked out the extra cash for 3D because the artwork of the rich forest setting was stunning.
My 7 year-old daughter laughed at the appropriate parts like the Giggly Girl she is. When I asked GG for a quote, she said, “I think it was a great movie” and that she really liked it. Personally, I thought the jokes fell flat especially from the sidekick slug and snail who were so obviously written in as comic relief. I overheard two other Moms discussing these very characters afterwards, and they thought they the slug and snail were funny. Maybe it was just me that didn’t appreciate the film’s humor, but I found myself checking the time halfway through the movie.
With most action fantasies, the basic plot was good versus evil. Epic takes you deep down into the forest underworld where tiny humans live with cute pinecone and dandelion creatures, among others, birds are as intelligent and tough as horses, and mice and chipmunks are dangerous. It’s a world where warriors, the Leafmen, ride hummingbirds and preserve the beauty of the forest. There’s a wholesome message about protecting Mother Nature’s aesthetics that’s hard to miss. Except evil doesn’t come in the form of a carbon footprint but rather a villain named Mandrake (Christoph Waltz). He and his minions try to destroy the balance of nature with their rot—a fast-growing fungus that kills and blackens the lush greenness of the land.
Enter the stompers, or humans, which are tall, slow-talking beasts that are quite comical when we are in the point of the view of the tiny creatures. MK (Amanda Seyfried) comes to live with her Dad, a bumbling, genius naturalist who seeks to capture an image of the Leafmen so people don’t think he’s crazy. MK starts to believe that dear old Dad is, indeed, cray-cray until she finds herself transported into this secret universe where she meets Queen Tara (Beyonce, who is as beautiful in Epic as she is in real life), and then teams up with a rogue Leafmen, Nod (Josh Hutcherson), a Leafmen general, Ronin (Colin Farrell), the slug and the snail, on an adventure-filled journey to save their world, and the human world, from the rot-filled wrath of Mandrake.
Now, there’s at least four creatures to provide the comedy for the movie and my vote goes to the Professor’s disgusting yet likeable three-legged pug who slobbers his way into your heart. Nim (Steven Tyler) plays the all-wise keeper of the scrolls, and I believe he didn’t quite reach his character’s potential. At one point, Nim belts out a rocking tune that reminds the audience that Steven Tyler, rock-god, is indeed honoring us with a song.
Maybe Epic is not one of those brilliant kids films that adults enjoy just as much as their offspring, and I don’t like to give it a bad review, so my official opinion is that it was a good flick and worthy of a place in your family’s DVD library. Kids from seven to seventeen will enjoy it.
Thanks for stopping by Flixy Mom. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Croods


The Croods

 

Rated PG for some scary action

Starring Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener and Cloris Leachman

98 minutes

We joined the masses one Tuesday afternoon during Spring Break for a discount movie. Oy, do those masses (read: kids) leave a messy theater. We wanted to see Oz: The Great and Powerful, but our friends suggested this movie instead. What an entertaining choice The Croods turned out to be!

It had been a long time since DD and I frequented a theater. Since we moved out to the country, movieplexes are not plentiful like they were in the city. I was happy to discover that a nearby theater (still a 45 min drive) has $5 Tuesdays. My wallet and I did a happy dance over this joyous news.  (Thanks, Gina for this golden nugget of information!) I urge you to check your local theaters to see if they have discounted movie times. I know that AMC has $6 tickets on movies before noon every day. I mean, who wants to pay $12 to see a movie? I certainly don’t.

First, a quick word about upcoming shows. Summertime is just around the corner and the previews gave a taste of some fine future entertainment. MU or Monsters University will be high on the must-see list, followed by Smurfs 2. I’m on the fence about Despicable Me 2 since I didn’t really care for the first one, (I’m a Megamind fan) but the preview looked funny so, who knows? And, there seemed to be a forest-creatures trend in Hollywood as Turbo, (a snail infused with nitros oxide races at the Indy 500), and Epic (a good-vs-evil-save-the-world adventure featuring a caterpillar, a snail, a slug, a toad and a few “humans” too) with a stellar cast: Beyonce, Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Josh Hutcherson and Amanda Seyfried. DD and I both agreed that when Epic is released, we will be running, not walking, to the theater.

Now, I wouldn’t call The Croods a great flick but it’s the next best thing. It got some big laughs from the audience, myself included, and with the annoyingly endearing caveman family and the incredibly imaginative prehistoric creatures, what’s not to love?

Just a reminder since Flixy Mom has been quiet for a while: I don’t like to post the whole plot of the movie (that’s for you to discover), just a quick introduction of characters with the basic premise.

The Croods sleep like a pack of animals, sharpen their teeth before bed, and rarely go outside of their comfort zone of the cave. Grug (Nicolas Cage) keeps a firm hand to force the family inside the darkness and away from danger. Eep (Emma Stone), the eldest daughter, runs like a jungle cat and is as strong as a dinosaur. She just wants to get out into the light, and she and Grug butt heads as any over-bearing father and rebellious teenager would. She meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds) who introduces her to fire and entices her with life on the outside. But, Guy brings a dire warning, the world is changing, like near-apocalyptic, continents-shifting type of changing. So, when the family’s cave is destroyed, they embark on a journey with the help of Guy and follow the sun to tomorrow. Those might seem like flowery, generic words, but I’ll just say that “the sun” and “tomorrow” have more meaning than you think and they do not denote the end of the movie.

The funniest part of this movie is the family and their dumb-as-a-caveman, crude and barbaric ways, and they are, of course, the brunt of most of the jokes. Eep is my favorite character, and I got the impression that she just wants to club Guy over the head and drag him by his hair to the nearest, well, you know.

As we were leaving the theater, DD said “she liked it” and “it was funny.” She did mention the scary parts (a few prehistoric animals tried to eat the Croods once or twice), but I didn’t think it was as scary as say, Brave, when Mama Bear goes after her cubs.

So, if your Spring Breakers are bored playing video games and you need to get them out of the house, I whole-heartedly recommend The Croods. Enjoy!

 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coming Soon...

We've had some technical difficulties, but Flixy Mom will premiering another family-friendly movie review very soon.

Our star reviewer recently renewed her frequent movie-goer card (or rather she waited for the winter Hollywood slump to end and more kids movies to come out), and treated her daughter to the newest Dreamworks film, The Croods.

Now that spring has sprung even if it doesn't feel like it where you live, Memorial Day and summer are snowballing toward and you'll be planning what to wear at the beach before you know it.

We'll be there for all the new releases.

So, come back soon!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Brave



Rated PG for some scary action and rude humor
Starring Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, and Emma Thompson
Running time:  100 minutes

First, let my say from the get-go:  Parents, make note that this is NOT a G rated movie!  There are scary scenes that can definitely frighten younger and/or sensitive children.  I saw at least two families leave the movie theater because their children were scared by the large, loud, angry bears.

There, I got that warning out  of the way.  Now, let's talk about the movie.  Did I enjoy it?

No.

Did my thirteen year-old daughter enjoy it?

No.

Did my eighteen year-old, Pixar-loving son enjoy it?

No.

In fact, if I hadn't been writing this review, I might have left before the movie was over.  It just isn't up to Pixar standards -- not by a LONG SHOT.

In summary, Merida is the daughter of Fergus, King of the Scottish clans. She's a feisty, active girl whose personality and desires don't match those befitting a princess.  Her mother, Elinor, is a strong queen and steadfast in her determination to groom Merida toward the fate of marrying a boy from one of the other clans - a fate (surprise, surprise) that Merida fights, by seeking the help of a witch to "change" her mother and thus change the direction of her own destiny. Unfortunately, the change is quite literal, and Elinor is transformed into a monstrously large, black bear. Merida must face her own pride and mend the horrible mistake she has made before the spell becomes permanent and she loses her mother forever. Does this happen? Yes. (surprise, surprise)

Now, it's not the predictability that makes Brave a yawner of a movie (literally - I yawned several times).  Most good kids movies - especially Disney and Pixar films - are predictable.  But it's the characters and the execution of the storytelling that make those movies shine and compels us to buy the DVD as soon as it's released (and watch it over and over again).  The characters in Brave are flat and stereotyped. There isn't one character, not even Merida that really tugs at the heart strings or makes you wish you knew them.  As for the storytelling - that is where I am especially disappointed.  The premise of a young, strong girl successfully fighting and overcoming obstacles while coming to a deeper understanding of being true to her roots, is a fantastic plot. We need more movies with strong female character role-models for girls and that is why I was so excited about Brave.  Sadly, for me, Pixar just didn't pull it off.  Not this time.

That being said, I saw some people in the theater who seemed to enjoy the movie.  If you saw Brave and thought it was worth seeing, please leave a comment and share your opinions.

My recommendation though:  if you want to see a good movie, rent any of the Toy Story movies or Up.  You'll have a much better time.  As for me, I'm going to pretend Brave didn't happen and hope that Pixar raises their standards back up for their next release.

Reviewed by Karen Cantwell

Friday, June 8, 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted



Rated PG for mild action, rude humor
Starring Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer
Running time:  85 minutes

The Zoosters are back and funnier than ever!  Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Gelman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) plus the usual sidekicks, the Penguins, the Monkeys, King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) are up to their usual hilarious hijinks.  We all really, really, really liked this movie!

This was some fine summer entertainment especially when you take advantage of the $6.00 ticket prices before 12 noon at AMC.  My 5 year-old daughter, visiting Nana and I opted for the non-3D version mostly because of the added cost but also because my girl ends up taking the glasses off halfway through the movie.  I could see how 3D could add to the experience with its adrenaline-raising car chases and gravity-defying circus performances if you’re willing to fork over the extra cash.

Those loveable lost zoo animals are still trying to get back home to New York City.  This time their adventures take them there via Monte Carlo, Rome and London after they team up with a has-been circus while on the run from French animal control captain, Chantel DuBois.  She is a very crafty, hilariously pear-shaped villainess who hunts down Alex with iron will purpose just so she can add his stuffed head to her wall collection.

Meanwhile, Alex is shaping the circus into a Cirque-du-Soleil-worthy show, and some new characters are introduced: a cranky Russian tiger, Vitaly (Bryan Cranston) who once performed impossible feats, a beautiful jaguar, Gia (Jessica Chastain) who catches Alex’s eye and they end up performing beautiful trapeze acts together, and a slightly-below IQ average, sea lion ringmaster, Stefano (Martin Short) who just wants to have the greatest show on earth.  But to me the most amusing was the romance between King Julien (that silly little lemur) and the tricycle-riding circus bear.  You’ll be LOL’ing a lot with those two.

This is a movie that can be enjoyed by all.  Your little ones, your tweens and teenagers, the visiting cousins and family.  I sat next to a solo teenager and behind some college-looking kids, and we all laughed together while the younger ones giggled right along with us.  There was even applause at the credits and that, I think, says it all.  It was fabulous fun, so move it (ha, ha…get it?) to the theater for this summer must-see!

Reviewed by Beth Balberchak


Go to MovieTickets.com to find theaters and showtimes.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Crooked Arrows Shoots and Scores!




Drama
Rated PG-13‎
Starring Brandon Routh, Gil Birmingham, Crystall Allen, Chelsea Ricketts, Alexandra East
Running Time: 105 minutes

A mixed-blood Native American, Joe Logan, eager to modernize his reservation, must first prove himself to his father, the traditionalist Tribal Chairman, by rediscovering his spirit. He is tasked with coaching the reservation's high school lacrosse team which competes against the better equipped and better trained players of the elite Prep School League.

I have to premise this review by saying my son has played lacrosse for three years, and the more I learn about the sport, the more I love it. High-action agility combine with amazing stick skills and just enough physicality to make things interesting.

So when my son’s league sent around the Crooked Arrows trailer, I knew it was a “must-see.”

Lacrosse originated with the Native Americans near 1200 AD. The film centers on a down-on-their-luck reservation lacrosse team and the man roped into being their coach, a former lacrosse star himself who has turned away from the game to help run a casino.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few sports movie cliches here, and many of you can probably guess what happens, so I will not focus on the plot details. However, the lacrosse action scenes and the overriding Native American spirituality theme pushed aside my writerly cynic.

It is really a movie about not only honoring lacrosse’s Native American roots, but our roots as a country as well. About the Native Americans taking back their game and, as a result, getting respect back for their people, respect that is long overdue.

The movie is rated PG-13, which is spot-on. There are only a few iffy lines, but one has to do with a female body part, so I would recommend it for any child who has already had “the talk.” Otherwise, most families aged 11 and up would probably enjoy this feel-good sports movie.

In the film, one of the tribal elders tells the story of the crooked arrows. Each is different and does not fly straight or follow the same path, but eventually all find their own way. It’s really a valuable lesson, whether in life or on the lacrosse field.

Reviewed by Karen Wojcik Berner


CLICK HERE to find showtimes at Movie Tickets.com