Reel Life with Jane – July movie reviews for you and your family

By on July 5, 2011

By Jane Louise Boursaw

A mish-mash of characters are flocking into theaters, including those loveable Smurfs, the Hundred Acre Wood gang, and Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new in theaters in July.

Reel Preview: 4 Reels

PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual content.

In theaters 7/1. Ok for kids 13+.

This ripped-from-the-headlines story finds Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) downsized out of his job at a Big Box store. Suddenly adrift, he heads to community college to start over, becoming part of a colorful group of outcasts seeking a better future. He also meets a teacher named Mercedes (Julia Roberts) who’s having an identity crisis of her own. It will be great to see these two on the big screen together, and maybe the story will offer some hope to others during these trying times.

Reel Preview: 3 Reels

PG for brief mild language.

In theaters 7/1. Ok for kids 8+

Based on the Jules Bass book ‘Headhunters,’ this cute movie follows the adventures of a girl and her best friend as they travel to Paris with her uptight future stepsister. When one of the girls is mistaken for a spoiled British heiress, they’re caught up in a whirlwind dream vacation to Monte Carlo. This movie will probably score big with fans of the Disney Channel. Directed by Tom Bezucha (‘The Family Stone’), it stars Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy, Cory Monteith and Andie MacDowell.


Reel Preview: 3 Reels

PG for some rude and suggestive humor, and language.

In theaters 7/8. Ok for kids 7+

We’ve probably seen this movie before, but it could be fun. The animals at the Franklin Park Zoo love their kindhearted caretaker, Griffin Keyes (Kevin James). But when he decides to leave the zoo and find a more glamorous job (and hopefully, a girlfriend), the panicked animals break their time-honored code of silence and reveal their biggest secret: they can talk. To keep Griffin from leaving, they decide to teach him the rules of courtship — animal style. The film also stars Rosario Dawson and Leslie Bibb and features the voices of Cher, Nick Nolte, Adam Sandler, and Sylvester Stallone.


Reel Preview: 4.5 Reels

Not yet rated; likely PG-13.

In theaters 7/15 (3D/2D/IMAX 3D).

Ok for kids 13+.

Part two of the epic finale finds the battle between good and evil in the Wizarding world escalating into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe, but it’s Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). I’m just not ready for this franchise to end, but I’m sure it will continue in one form or another. Directed by David Yates, the film reunites Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman and other Potter favorites.


Reel Preview: 5 Reels

Rated G. In theaters 7/15.

Ok for kids 4+.

This all-new movie reunites audiences with the philosophical “bear of very little brain” and his pals Tigger, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Kanga, Roo and the suddenly tail-less Eeyore. When Owl sends the whole gang on a wild quest to save Christopher Robin from an imaginary culprit, it turns out to be a very busy day for Pooh, who really just wants some honey. Inspired by three stories from A.A. Milne’s books and sporting classic, hand-drawn style, this is a must-see for Pooh fans of all ages.


Reel Preview: 4 Reels

Not yet rated; likely PG-13.

In theaters 7/22 (3D/2D). Ok for kids 13+.

When Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is deemed unfit for military service, he volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. Dedicated to defending America’s ideals, the story will no doubt resonate with folks across the country, especially Avengers fans. Directed by Joe Johnston (‘The Wolfman’), this movie also stars Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, Dominic Cooper, and Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull.


Reel Preview: 4.5 Reels

Not rated yet; likely G or PG.

In theaters 7/24. Ok for kids 8+.

Need some joy in your life? On July 24, 2010, thousands of people around the globe uploaded videos of their lives to YouTube to participate in ‘Life in a Day,’ a cinematic experiment to create a documentary film about a single day on Earth. Directed by Kevin Macdonald (‘The Last King of Scotland’), this innovative movie wowed audiences at the Sundance, Berlin and SXSW film festivals.


Reel Preview: 4.5 Reels

Not yet rated; likely PG-13.

In theaters 7/29. Ok for kids 13+.

Director Jon Favreau joins forces with Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci in this sci-fi-Western crossover about an alien invasion. It’s 1873 in the Arizona Territory, and a stranger (Daniel Craig) with no memory of his past and a mysterious shackle on his wrist stumbles into the desert town of Absolution, ruled with an iron fist by Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford). Everyone, including the elusive traveler Ella (Olivia Wilde), begins to realize that this stranger might hold the key to the town’s salvation. Because of the great cast and crew, genre-bending story, and quirky feel, I have high hopes for this movie.


Reel Preview: 3.5 Reels

Not rated yet; likely G or PG. In theaters 7/29 (3D/2D). Ok for kids 7+.

Love those blue Smurfs from the 1980s TV series? You’re in luck, because now they’re on the big screen. When the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) chases the tiny Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world smack into the middle of Central Park. The Smurfs must find their way back home before more trouble ensues. Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays and Sofia Vergara star, along with a voice cast that includes Anton Yelchin, Jonathan Winters, Katy Perry, Alan Cumming, and Fred Armisen


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 a family entertainment writer specializing in movies, TV and celebrities.
Syndicate her family movie and TV reviews in your publication; visit her at; follow her; become a friend on; email

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