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July Summer Movies

By on July 2, 2014

New on the big screen in July for kids and teens is a sweet alien tale, a beloved animated plane, and those who wish to inherit the Earth. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new in theaters this month. 


EarthtoEchoPG for some action and peril, and mild language

In Theaters 7/02

Ok for Kids 7+

Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels 

ET phone home? Maybe. In this family adventure from director Dave Green and Walt Disney Studios, Tuck (Astro), Munch (Reese Hartwig) and Alex (Teo Halm) are inseparable friends whose neighborhood is being destroyed by a highway construction project that’s forcing their families to move away. Just two days before they must part ways, the boys begin receiving a strange series of signals on their phones and team up with another friend, Emma, to figure out what’s going on. Turns out an adorable little alien is stranded on Earth and needs help to — you guessed it — get back home. Though comparisons to “E.T.,” “Super 8,” “Chronicle” and “Wall-E” abound, this is a cute family film.


LifeItselfNot Yet Rated; likely PG-13

In Theaters 7/04

Ok for Kids 12+

Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels

Documentarian Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) is the perfect filmmaker to adapt the memoir of Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and American icon Roger Ebert. This film is funny and passionate, much like the subject himself, and is both a retrospective of Ebert’s amazing career and an intimate look at the end of his life — a life well lived with wife and soulmate Chaz. The film, produced by Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese, who also appears onscreen to discuss his friendship with Ebert, received standing ovations when it played at Sundance. Don’t miss it.


DawnApesNot Yet Rated; likely PG-13

In Theaters 7/11

Ok for Kids 13+

Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels

Ten years after the events of 2011’s “Rise of The Planet of the Apes,” the super-smart ape Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his followers come into conflict with the human survivors of a deadly virus. Who will win? Well, let’s just say the title is a dead giveaway. This film continues the franchise with impressive special effects and a dark storyline that’s sure to be a hit with moviegoers. All hail Caesar and his ape overlords.



JupiterAscendingNot Yet Rated; likely PG-13

In Theaters 7/18 (3D, 2D, IMAX 3D)

Ok for Kids 14+

Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

In a near-future dystopia, Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, a lowly janitor who might also have a genetic claim on Earth. This doesn’t sit well with the King Of The Universe (Eddie Redmayne), who sends Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) to kill her. Then, of course, things get complicated. This is an ambitious film with similarities to “The Matrix” universe (a chosen one battles the forces of evil).



Planes2Not Yet Rated; likely G

In Theaters 7/18 (3D, 2D)

Ok for Kids 4+

Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels

I’m all for any children’s film where they play a tune by AC/DC in the trailer (“Thunderstruck,” in this case). This sequel to “Planes” (a spinoff of “Cars”) finds Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) now a world famous air racer. But when he learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he shifts gears and joins an elite aerial firefighting unit, including veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger, heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie, and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero. The animation is more sophisticated than “Planes,” and the story more appealing, especially given the raging real-life wildfires out west this year. It’s sure to please any kid obsessed with animated vehicles.


HerculesNot Yet Rated; likely PG-13

In Theaters 7/25

Ok for Kids 13+

Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels

Directed by Brett Ratner and based on the Radical Studios graphic novel “Hercules: The Thracian Wars”, this ensemble action film is set in a grounded world where the supernatural does not exist. Haunted by a sin from his past, Hercules is a mercenary now who, along with five faithful companions, travels ancient Greece selling his services for gold and using his legendary reputation to intimidate enemies. But when the benevolent ruler of Thrace and his daughter seek Hercules’ help to defeat a savage warlord, Hercules must again become the hero he once was.



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 the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. To publish her reviews, previews and feature stories, visit


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