September Movies: Reel Life with Jane

By on September 1, 2011

Movie and DVD/Blu-ray reviews for you and your family

By Jane Louise Boursaw

A secret moon mission, a chick-flick adaptation, and The Lion King (in 3D!) are headed to the big screen this month. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new in theaters and on DVD/Blu-ray in September.

APOLLO 18

Not yet rated; likely PG-13. In theaters 9/2. Ok for kids 13+.

Reel Preview: 3.5 out of 5 Reels.

www.apollo18movie.net

Pop quiz! Apollo 17, which launched in December 1972, was the last official manned mission to the moon, but did you know there was one more after that? I didn’t either! Apparently, in December 1974, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. What they got was actual footage that reveals exactly why we never went back. Sure, NASA denies its authenticity, but others say it’s the real deal. The truth is out there, and I’m a sucker for sci-fi space movies. This one looks fun, frightening, and mysterious [cue Twilight Zone music].

WARRIOR

PG-13 for sequences of intense mixed martial arts fighting, some language and thematic material. In theaters 9/9. Ok for kids 14+. Reel Preview: 3.5 out of 5 Reels.  www.warriorfilm.com

I’m always excited to see Nick Nolte in a cast list, because he’s a great actor who deserves a big comeback a la Mickey Rourke and Robert Downey, Jr. Here he plays Paddy Conlon, an alcoholic former boxer whose youngest son Tom (Tom Hardy) returns home to train with his dad for a mixed martial arts tournament, none of which sits well with his estranged brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton). It’s a tale of redemption, reconciliation and forgiveness from Gavin O’Connor, who also directed Miracle and Pride and Glory. Warrior also stars Jennifer Morrison, Noah Emmerich and Denzel Whitaker.

I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT

Not yet rated; likely PG-13. In theaters 9/16.

Ok for kids 13+.

Reel Preview: 4 out of 5 Reels.

www.weinsteinco.com

Book adaptations don’t always translate well to the big screen (no one but me seemed to like Julie & Julie, Eat Pray Love or The Nanny Diaries), but I have high hopes for this one, partly because I adore Greg Kinnear. Based on the book by Allison Pearson, this movie stars Sarah Jessica Parker as Kate Reddy, a Boston-based financial executive who goes home each night to her adoring, recently-downsized architect husband Richard (Kinnear) and their two kids. It’s the same juggling act that Kate’s BFF and fellow working mom Allison (Christina Hendricks) performs on a daily basis. It’s also one that Kate’s child-phobic associate Momo (Olivia Munn) intends to avoid. When Kate scores a major account requiring frequent trips to New York, Richard also wins the new job he’s been hoping for. Things get complicated when Kate’s charming new business associate Jack (Pierce Brosnan) proves a little too tempting to the working mom.

THE LION KING 3D

Rated G. In theaters 9/16. Ok for kids 5+.

Reel Rating: 5 out of 5 Reels.

disneydvd.disney.go.com

If your kids weren’t born yet when The Lion King hit theaters in 1994, here’s their chance to see the Oscar-winning film on the big screen in 3D. When a young lion prince named Simba (voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas) is born in Africa, it leaves his uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) second in line to the throne. Scar plots with the hyenas to kill King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Prince Simba, thus making himself King. But when the King is killed, Scar convinces Simba it was his fault, and the young lion flees the kingdom in shame. After years of exile, he’s persuaded to return home to overthrow the usurper and claim the kingdom as his own, thus completing the Circle of Life. A special two-week theatrical extravaganza kicks off Sept. 16, followed by a Diamond Edition DVD/Blu-ray release on Oct. 4. Hakuna Matata!

DOLPHIN TALE 3D

PG for some mild thematic elements. In theaters 9/23 (2D, 3D).

Ok for kids 7+.

3.5 out of 5 Reels.

www.dolphintalemovie.com

What could have been a typical family movie about an ocean creature in peril is elevated by a cast that includes Hollywood royalty Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Kris Kristofferson. It’s also based on the true story of a brave dolphin whose tail is severely damaged after being caught in a crab trap. Rescued and transported to a marine hospital, Winter the dolphin is nurtured back to health by a dedicated marine biologist (Harry Connick, Jr.), a brilliant prosthetics doctor (Freeman), and a young boy (Nathan Gamble) whose dedication not only helps Winter, but also scores of people around the world.

NEW ON DVD/BLU-RAY:

SCOOBY-DOO! LEGEND OF THE PHANTOSAUR

Not rated. On DVD/Blu-ray 9/6.

Ok for kids 4+.

4 out of 5 Reels.

Who doesn’t love Scooby-Doo? The loveable mutt is back with a new adventure that starts with a relaxing spa getaway for Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne. But things take a strange turn when the gang uncovers a frightening Phantosaur, a ghostly dinosaur that’s protecting hidden treasures buried in secret desert caves. The gang sets out to investigate the prehistoric haunting, and uncovers various colorful suspects, including a free-wheeling motorcycle gang, greedy corporate investors and over-zealous scientists. Will the perennially teenage sleuths piece things together and solve the mystery? Sure, we know the answer, but it’s still a must-see for any Scooby fan. Bonus features include Nick Palatas (Shaggy) searching for dinosaur clues at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some sexual content including brief partial nudity and language. On DVD/Blu-ray 9/9. Ok for kids 14+. 3.5 out of 5 Reels.

If you’re curious about the beginnings of the X-Men, here’s your chance to catch up. This movie harks back to the early friendship of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender)  before they took the names Professor X and Magneto. They’re the closest of friends, discovering their powers and working with other mutants to prevent nuclear Armageddon. But a grave rift opens between them, spurring the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men. Read my full review at  www.reellifewithjane.com

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 a family entertainment writer specializing in movies, TV and celebrities. Syndicate her family movie and TV reviews in your publication; visit her www.reellifewithjane.com; follow her on www.twitter.com/reellifejane; become a friend on www.facebook.com/reellifewithjane; email: jboursaw@charter.net

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