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Reel Life with Jane – August Movies

By on August 15, 2010

With families traveling and back-to-school time looming, there aren’t a ton of family movies in theaters in August. But one that’s definitely worth seeing is the sequel to ‘Nanny McPhee,’ starring, the always excellent Emma Thompson, who also wrote the screenplay. Here’s the rundown of what’s new in theaters for August.

StepUpSTEP UP 3D – Three Reels

PG-13 for brief strong language. In theaters 8/6. Ok for kids 13+.

New York’s intense street dancing underground comes alive in 3D in this third installment of the “Step Up” franchise. A tightknit group of street dancers, including Luke (Rick Malambri) and Natalie (Sharni Vinson), team up with NYU freshman Moose (Adam Sevani), and find themselves pitted against the world’s best break dancers in a high-stakes showdown. There’s not much you can do with a dance movie that hasn’t already been done. There’s usually plenty of angst, drama and a big dance-off at the end, which the hero of the story usually wins! My favorite of this series is the original 2006 film starring Channing Tatum, but if you love dancing or dance movies, this is a worthwhile installment in 3D.


Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some sexual references and male rear nudity. In theaters 6/13. Ok for kids 13+.

Directed by Ryan Murphy (who helms ‘Glee’), this movie is based on the popular memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, played by Julia Roberts in the movie. She has everything a modern woman is supposed to want: a husband, a house, and a successful career. Still, she’s lost, confused, and searching for meaning in life. Newly divorced, she steps out of her comfort zone on a quest for self-discovery that takes her to Italy, India and Bali. I finally read this book last year, and while it took me a while to get into it, I was sold by the end. Julia Roberts is the perfect actress to play Gilbert, and the movie also stars James Franco, Javier Bardem, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup and Richard Jenkins.


Rated PG for rude humor, some crude language and mild thematic elements. In theaters 8/20. Ok for kids 9+.

In this sequel to the popular 2005 film, Emma Thompson returns to the role of the magical nanny who appears when she’s needed the most and wanted the least. And she’s definitely needed at the home of a harried young mom, Mrs. Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who’s trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war. But once she arrives, Nanny McPhee discovers that Mrs. Green’s children are fighting a war of their own against two spoiled city cousins who’ve moved in and refuse to leave. My kids and I loved the first movie, and this one looks just as good, complete with a flying motorcycle, a statue that comes to life, a tree-climbing pig, and a baby elephant that turns up in the oddest places. Also stars Maggie Smith and Ralph Fiennes.

ScottPilgrimSCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD – Three Reels

Rated PG-13 for stylized violence, sexual content, crude language and drug references. In theaters 6/13. Ok for kids 13+.

Michael Cera has built his career on the same sort of lovably pathetic character he played in ‘Arrested Development,’ ‘Superbad,’ and ‘Juno.’ He does it again in this movie, in which he plays Scott Pilgrim, a guy who must defeat his new girlfriend’s (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) evil exes in order to win her heart. As you might imagine, he’s not at all up to the challenge, so much hilarity ensues as he does it in comic book fashion. In some ways, I wish Cera would bust out of his usual roles, and he sort of does that here, coming up against everyone from an infamous skateboarder to a vegan rock star to identical twins. It’s good for a few laughs.

Jane’s Reel Rating System:

One Reel – Pathetic. Even The Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Tolerable. Coulda been a contender.
Three Reels – Thought-provoking. Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

JaneBJane Louise Boursaw is a freelance writer specializing in the movie and television industries. Visit her online at and, or email

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