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November Movie Reviews

By on November 1, 2013

By Jane Louise Boursaw

November brings time-traveling turkeys, a book thief, a fierce heroine, and a snow princess. Here’s a look at what’s new in theaters and on DVD and blu-ray this month.

Free Birds

free-birdsPG for some action/peril and rude humor. In theaters 11/1.

Ok for kids 6+. Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels.

http://www.freebirdsmovie.com/

This cute animated comedy from Relativity Media finds two mismatched turkeys traveling back in time to save their own kind from being on the holiday menu every year. The great voice cast includes Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler and Colm Meaney.

 

Ender’s Game

enders-game-poster-7PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material. In theaters 11/1.

Ok for kids 13+. Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

http://www.if-sentinel.com/

This adaptation from Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi novel takes place in the not-too-distant future, when our planet has come under attack from a malevolent race of aliens known as the Formics. Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) sent them fleeing back into the stars, but decorated Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) knows that the Formics will soon return even stronger than before. He finds a new hero in Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), who’s recruited into Battle School and prepares to embrace his destiny as one of the greatest heroes in the history of planet Earth.

 

Thor: The Dark World

thor-poster-2Not yet rated; likely PG-13. In theaters 11/8.

Ok for kids 12+. Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels.

https://www.facebook.com/Thor

In this big-budget adventure set after the events of Marvel’s “The Avengers,” Chris Hemsworth reprises his role of Thor, returning to do battle with Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), the vengeful leader of a primordial race that seeks to destroy the Nine Realms. With Odin (Anthony Hopkins) unable to protect Asgard from the approaching darkness, the god of thunder reunites with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and prepares to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save the world from certain destruction.

 

The Book Thief

book-thiefNot yet rated; likely PG. In theaters 11/15.

Ok for kids 10+. Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels.

https://www.facebook.com/TheBookThiefMovie

 

Sophie Nelisse plays a young girl living with foster parents (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson) in Nazi Germany who begins collecting forbidden books and sharing them with the Jewish refugee hiding in her home. This touching war drama is adapted from Markus Zusak’s book.

 

Delivery Man

delivery-man-posterPG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content, some drug material, brief violence and language. In theaters 11/22.

Ok for kids 13+. Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels

http://www.dreamworksstudios.com/films/delivery-man

 

Vince Vaughn continues his trend of playing slackers in this Disney/Dreamworks comedy from director Ken Scott. The former sperm donor discovers that he is the biological father of 533 children, and that 142 of them have filed a lawsuit to learn his true identity. But these days he owes money to the mob, and his pregnant girlfriend can’t stand the sight of him. Learning of the lawsuit, David considers letting the truth come out, and finds that sometimes the best fathers are those who seem the least fit for parenting. Cobie Smulders and Chris Pratt costar.

 

Frozen

frozen-posterNot yet rated; likely G. In theaters 11/27.

Ok for kids 5+. Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels.

http://movies.disney.com/frozen/

After the kingdom of Arendelle is cast into eternal winter by the powerful Snow Queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), her sprightly sister Anna (Kristen Bell) teams up with a rough-hewn mountaineer named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his trusty reindeer Sven to break the icy spell. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee co-directed this Walt Disney Animation Studios production based on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved fairy tale “The Snow Queen.”

 

Black Nativity

black-nativity-3PG for thematic material, language and a menacing situation. In theaters 11/27. Ok for kids 9+. Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels. http://www.foxsearchlight.com/blacknativity/

 

Director Kasi Lemmons updates Langston Hughes’ play for the screen in this musical drama with a positive message. Jacob Latimore plays a street-smart Baltimore teen who lives with his single mom Naima (Jennifer Hudson). It’s Christmas, and this year Jordan is traveling to New York City to stay with his distant relatives Reverend Cornell (Forest Whitaker) and Aretha Cobbs (Angela Bassett). When their strict rules prove too oppressive for the rebellious teen, Jordan decides he’d rather spend the holidays with his mom, and embarks on an eye-opening journey that teaches him the true importance of faith and family.

 

NEW ON DVD | BLU-RAY:

Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year

pooh-christmasRated G. On DVD/blu-ray 11/5. Ok for kids 3+. Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels.

 

Pooh Bear and his Hundred Acre Wood pals celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in this straight-to-video set. The first adventures finds the silly old bear playing Saint Nick to his buddies after failing to get an errant wish list off to Santa. The second adventure finds the gang in an identity crisis: Piglet inherits Tigger’s hop and Eeyore becomes a happy-go-lucky honey lover. It’s “The Twilight Zone,” Pooh style. These sweet tales will entertain little ones with warm fuzzies, good company, slapstick energy, and life lessons.

 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Extended Edition)

hobbit-extendedPG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images. On DVD/Blu-ray 11/5.

Ok for kids 12+.  Reel Review: 4.5 of 5 Reels.

 

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) joins Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a band of dwarves led by the brave Thorin (Richard Armitage) on a treacherous quest to reclaim their mountain home from the fierce dragon Smaug. This epic fantasy adventure is adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved novel by the creative forces behind the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Peter Jackson directs a screenplay he co-penned with Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Guillermo del Toro.

 

The Little Mermaid (Diamond Edition)

little-mermaidRated G. On DVD/Blu-ray 11/19.

Ok for kids 4+. Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels.

 

From the moment Prince Eric’s ship emerged from the fog in the opening credits, we all knew this animated Disney tale was pure magic. It’s the story of a headstrong young mermaid named Ariel who yearns to “spend a day, warm on the sand,” and ends up trading her voice to Ursula, the Sea Witch (Pat Carroll), for a pair of legs. Ariel can only succeed if she receives true love’s kiss in a few day’s time, and she needs all the help she can get from a singing crab named Sebastian, a loudmouth seagull, and a flounder. This classic movie is witty and relevant, and features a great soundtrack by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.

 

Rise of the Guardians

rise-guardians-blu-rayPG for thematic elements and some mildly scary action. On DVD/blu-ray 11/21.

Ok for kids 7+. Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels.

 

One of my favorite family movies this year features Chris Pine as the voice of Jack Frost, who teams up with the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), The Sandman, and Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin) to stop the malevolent specter Pitch (Jude Law) from stealing the dreams of children and using his dark powers to rule supreme. Guillermo del Toro serves as executive producer of this fantasy adventure based on the book by William Joyce, who co-wrote the screenplay with “Robots” scribe David Lindsay-Abaire.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: 25th Anniversary Edition

MST3K-25th-annivNot rated. On DVD/Blu-ray 11/26.

Ok for kids 10+. Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels.

The MST3K gang is a favorite in this house. Laughing with Joel, Mike and the ‘bots is a great escape from all the cares of the world, and it’s great family fare for kids 10 and older. This new box set, housed in a neat tin, celebrates their silver jubilee with four previously unreleased episodes, plus tons of brand-new special features and a bonus DVD with two out-of-print episodes: “Mitchell” (Joel’s last episode as host) and “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” (Mike’s first episode as host). Other episodes include: “Moon Zero Two” (ep 111), “The Day the Earth Froze” (ep 422, with short “Here Comes the Circus”), “The Leech Woman” (ep 802), and “Gorgo” (ep 909).

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.

JaneBJane Boursaw is founder and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane, a family entertainment site specializing in movies, TV and celebrities. Visit her at http://www.reellifewithjane.com or email jboursaw@charter.net.

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