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NJ Kids Movie Review: Summer Movie Preview July - August 2016 for Kids and Teens

Posted by: Jane Louise Boursaw - April 20, 2016

The Summer of 2016 is looking good for family movies! Captain America, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Pete's Dragon and The Secret Life of Pets are all hitting the big screen as the weather warms up. Let's take a closer look at all the new family movies coming up. Note that release dates are subject to change.

JULY SUMMER MOVIES

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue | In Theaters 7/1 (2D, 3D, IMAX 3D) | Ok for Kids 13+ | Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels

It's been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Margot Robbie) at his side. Now, he's been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he's a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash. Directed by David Yates, this reboot also stars Samuel L. Jackson and Djimon Hounsou.

THE BFG

Not yet rated; likely PG | In Theaters 7/1 | Ok for Kids 7+ | Disney | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Roald Dahl, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg unite to bring Dahl’s beloved classic "The BFG" to life. Directed by Spielberg, this movie tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. The BFG, aka Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance), is nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24 feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, meets The BFG, who takes her to Dream Country, where he teaches her all about the magic and mystery of dreams. But Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, so she and the BFG depart for London to see Queen Victoria (Penelope Wilton) and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS

Rated PG for action and some rude humor | In Theaters 7/8 | Ok for Kids 6+ | Universal | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels

For one bustling Manhattan apartment building, the real day starts after the humans leave for work and school. That’s when the pets of every stripe, fur and feather begin their own nine-to-five routine: hanging out with each other, trading humiliating stories about their owners, and trying out adorable looks to get better snacks. The building’s top dog, Max (voiced by Louis C.K.), a quick-witted terrier rescue who’s convinced he sits at the center of his owner’s universe, finds his pampered life rocked when she brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet), a sloppy, massive mess of a mongrel with zero interpersonal skills. When this reluctant canine duo finds themselves out on the mean streets of New York, they have to set aside their differences and unite against a fluffy-yet-cunning bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart), who’s building an army of Ex-Pets abandoned by their owners and out to turn the tables on humanity ... all before dinnertime. Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, this cute family flick also stars Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Albert Brooks and Bobby Moynihan.

STAR TREK BEYOND

Not yet rated; likely PG-13 | In Theaters 7/22 (2D, IMAX) | Ok for Kids 13+ | Paramount | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

"Star Trek Beyond" hits theaters as the franchise celebrates 50 years this year. Yes, 50 years! It doesn't seem that long ago since William Shatner first donned the Starfleet uniform as commander of the Starship Enterprise. Now Chris Pine is carrying the role into the future, along with Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Karl Urban (Bones), Simon Pegg (Scotty), John Cho (Sulu) and Anton Yelchin (Chekov). Little is known about the plot at this writing, but we do know it revolves around the Enterprise being attacked by a powerful, unstoppable wave of unknown aliens, leaving the crew stranded on a new planet where they find themselves in conflict with a new ruthless enemy. Which is basically the plot of every Star Trek movie and TV episode, but somehow they manage to make it fresh and new every time. Directed by Justin Lin, this movie also stars Bruce Greenwood, Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella.

ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE

Not yet rated; likely PG | In Theaters 7/22 | Ok for Kids 6+ | 20th Century Fox | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels

This installment of the popular franchise finds Scrat STILL on that epic pursuit of the elusive acorn. This time it catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World. To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a journey to exotic new lands, encountering a host of colorful new characters along the way. Directed by Mike Thurmeier, this movie features the voices of returning cast members Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Simon Pegg, Keke Palmer, Wanda Sykes, and Jennifer Lopez. Joining the herd are Stephanie Beatriz, Adam DeVine, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Max Greenfield, Jessie J, Nick Offerman, Melissa Rauch, Michael Strahan and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

AUGUST SUMMER MOVIES

NINE LIVES

Rated PG for thematic elements, language and some rude humor | In Theaters 8/5 | Ok for Kids 7+ | EuropaCorp | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels

Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is a daredevil billionaire at the top of his game. His company FireBrand is nearing completion on its greatest achievement yet - the tallest skyscraper in the northern hemisphere. But Tom's workaholic lifestyle has disconnected him from his family, particularly his beautiful wife Lara (Jennifer Garner) and their daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman). For her 11th birthday, Rebecca wants what she's always wanted - a cat. So Tom buys a cat named Mr. Fuzzypants at a mystical pet store run by eccentric owner Felix Perkins (Christopher Walken). One thing leads to another and after a car accident, Tom finds himself trapped inside the body of Mr. Fuzzypants! Will he be able to return to his family as a newly energized husband and dad?

PETE'S DRAGON

Rated PG for action, peril and brief language | Ok for Kids 7+ | In Theaters 8/12 | Disney | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

This reimagining of the 1977 Disney classic blends live action and CGI to tell the story of the special bond between an orphaned boy named Pete (Oakes Fegley) and his best friend Elliott, who just happens to be a dragon. Directed by David Lowery, this film also stars Bryce Dallas Howard as Grace, a park ranger who discovers the existence of Elliott; Wes Bentley as Jack, a local mill owner; Karl Urban as Jack’s brother, Gavin; Oona Laurence as Natalie, the young girl who befriends Pete; and Robert Redford as Grace’s father.

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

Not yet rated; likely PG | In Theaters 8/19 | Ok for Kids 7+ | Focus Features | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels

Set in a fantastical Japan, this epic action-adventure is from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA and director Travis Knight. Kind-hearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of "Game of Thrones") ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town, including Hosato (George Takei), Hashi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) and Kamekichi (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen - a magical musical instrument - Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Rooney Mara) to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family and fulfill his heroic destiny.

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.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at jboursaw@charter.net. Images used with permission of the studios and distributors.

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Posted by: Jane Louise Boursaw| April 20, 2016
Keywords:  Famiy Movie Review
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