March Movie Reviews

By on March 2, 2013

By Jane Louise Boursaw

March brings a “Wizard of Oz” prequel, a re-imagining of Jack and the Beanstalk, and an alien movie based on a Stephenie Meyer book. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new in theaters and on DVD and blu-ray this month.

 

JACK THE GIANT SLAYER

PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language. In theaters 3/01. Ok for kids 13+. Reel Preview: 4 out of 5 Reels. http://jackthegiantslayer.warnerbros.com/

This re-imagining of the classic fairytale finds Nicholas Hoult (“Warm Bodies”) playing Jack, a young man who battles against giants to save the Earth. As the giants fight to reclaim the land they once lost, Jack comes face to face with the unstoppable warriors he thought only existed in legends. Bryan Singer directs this epic 3D adventure, which also stars Eleanor Tomlinson as Princess Isabelle; Stanley Tucci as the deceitful Lord Roderick; Ian McShane as the besieged King Brahmwell; Bill Nighy as the giants’ leader General Fallon; and Ewan McGregor as the palace guard Elmont.

OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language. In theaters 3/08. Ok for kids 9+. Reel Preview: 4 out of 5 Reels. http://disney.go.com/thewizard/

The “Wizard of Oz” gets a prequel with this origin story about the one and only “man behind the curtain.” James Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics who’s hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he’s hit the jackpot of fame and fortune — until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. As he’s drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz, Oscar puts his magical arts to use and transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, but also into a better man.

THE CROODS

PG for some scary action. In theaters 3/22. Ok for kids 7+. Reel Preview: 3.5 out of 5 Reels. http://www.thecroodsmovie.com/

This comedy adventure follows the world’s first Prehistoric family as they embark on a journey of a lifetime. When the cave that’s always shielded them from danger is destroyed, the Croods travel across a spectacular landscape and discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures, thus changing their outlook forever. The all-star voice cast includes Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark Duke.

NEW ON DVD | BLU-RAY:

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

PG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action. On DVD/blu-ray 3/05. Ok for kids 7+. Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels. http://www.riseoftheguardians.com/

When an evil spirit known as Pitch the Boogeyman (voiced by Jude Law) tries to take over the world, the immortal Guardians must join forces for the first time to protect the hopes, beliefs and imagination of kids around the world. The Guardians include Jack Frost (Chris Pine), Santa Claus/North (Alec Baldwin), Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), Easter Bunny/Bunnymund (Hugh Jackman), and Sandman/Sandy (no actor, because he’s silent!). Don’t miss this wonderful tale with gorgeous animation, great voices, and edgy versions of the familiar characters we all know and love. There’s a message here, too: if you face your fears head on, they’re not quite so scary.

BROTHER BEAR & BROTHER BEAR 2

Rated G. On blu-ray 3/12. Ok for kids 5+. Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels. http://disneydvd.disney.go.com/brother-bear.html

In this animated tale from Disney, Joaquin Phoenix (yes, really) voices a young hunter named Kenai in prehistoric North America. After he kills a bear, the boy actually turns into a bear himself and ends up being hunted by his own brother. Sounds tragic, but it’s actually a sweet story about the relationship between Kenai and an orphaned bear cub named Koda (voiced by Jeremy Suarez). Comic relief comes by way of a pair of moose voiced by Rick Moranis and Doug Thomas in their McKenzie brothers/Canadian dude mode. In the sequel, an old female friend of Kenai’s (voiced by Patrick Dempsey this time) needs his help on a quest, much to Koda’s consternation.

WRECK-IT RALPH

PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence. On DVD/blu-ray 3/22. Ok for kids 7+. Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels. http://disney.com/wreckitralph

One of my favorite movies of 2012, this cute Disney tale centers on a video game bad guy (voiced by John C. Reilly) who longs for the glory of his game’s good guy, Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer). So when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch), Ralph sees his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan — win a medal — but accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Thanks to new pal Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), Ralph just might find a way out of this mess. Sweet, funny and creative, I love the message of this movie: everyone is important, and everyone has their own purpose in life.

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 syndicated family entertainment writer specializing in movies, TV and celebrities. Visit her at http://www.reellifewithjane.com or email jboursaw@charter.net.

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