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January 2014 Movie Reviews

By on January 3, 2014

January brings cute animated squirrels, a mythical Greek hero, and an iconic monster (“It’s alive!”), along with some cute children’s DVDs. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new in theaters and on DVD and blu-ray this month.

by  Jane Louise Boursaw

The Legend of Hercules

hercules-posterNot yet rated; likely PG-13. In theaters 1/10. Ok for kids 13+. Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels.

In this epic origin story, Kellan Lutz (Emmett Cullen, the “Twilight” franchise) stars as the mythical Greek hero – the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom.


The Nut Job

nut-job-posterRated PG for mild action and rude humor. In theaters 1/17. Ok for kids 6+. Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels.

With family movies few and far between this month, this animated 3D comedy is cute and funny. It features some great voices, too. Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Stephen Lang, and Maya Rudolph voice roles in the film, which takes place in the fictional town of Oakton. Mischievous squirrel Surly (Arnett) and his rat friend Buddy are planning a nut store heist of outrageous proportions. But they unwittingly find themselves embroiled in a much more complicated and hilarious adventure. Director Peter Lepenoitis is an animator who worked on “Everyone’s Hero” and “Toy Story 2.”

I, Frankstein

frankenstein-posterRated PG-13 for sequences of intense fantasy action and violence throughout. In theaters 1/24. Ok for kids 13+. Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels.

Two hundred years after his shocking creation, Dr. Frankenstein’s creature, Adam (Aaron Eckhart), still walks the earth. But when he finds himself in the middle of a war over the fate of humanity, Adam discovers he holds the key that could destroy humankind. Directed by Stuart Beattie, a writer on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.




Octonauts: Here Come the Octonauts

octonautsNot rated. On DVD 1/07. Ok for kids 2+.  Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels.

Join brave Captain Barnacles, daredevil ex-pirate Kwazii, medic Peso Penguin and other Octonauts as they explore the world’s oceans, rescue the creatures who live there, and protect their habitats. On this DVD, Captain Barnacles tangles with a Colossal Squid who has his hooks in the Octopod, Peso babysits a bunch of penguin chicks stuck in a blizzard, and Kwazii has a shocking encounter with an Electric Torpedo Ray. A cute preschool DVD with an eco-message.


Tickety Toc: The Unstoppable Unpoppable Bubble

tickety-toc-bubbleNot rated. On DVD 1/07. Ok for kids 2+. Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels.

In this cute DVD from Anchor Bay, our comedic heroes Tommy and Tallulah test McCoggins new unpoppable bubble formula. But soon the bubble becomes so large it engulfs the whole town! Will the town be rescued from the extra-large, extra-strong bubble? Will Tommy & Tallulah make it out of the bubble in time to chime? In this and 5 other exciting adventures, the Tickety Town team — and your own preschoolers — will learn the importance of teamwork, community and social responsibility.


Leave it to Beaver: Seasons One & Two

leave-it-to-beaverNot rated. On DVD 1/07. Ok for kids 7+. Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels.

Watch this iconic TV show on DVD, and soon your family will be quoting lines like, “That’s a pretty dress, Mrs. Cleaver.” Look, there’s not much on TV that qualifies as true family fare that everyone can watch together. But this one does. The cast includes Jerry Mathers as Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver, Tony Dow as his older brother Wally, and Ken Osmond as mischievous pal Eddie Haskell. With wise advice from his father Ward (Hugh Beaumont) and home-cooked meals (and tidy house-keeping – in heels and pearls!) from his mom (Barbara Billingsley), Beaver learns that all’s well that ends well.



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 or email

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