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November 19, 2019

10 Movies Your Family Must See This Holiday Season

Writing Credits to http://www.mommynearest.com/

There’s a little something for everyone coming to movie theaters this holiday season, from the long-awaited Frozen sequel and a heartwarming homage to Mister Rogers to the latest chapter in the Star Wars odyssey. Common Sense Media pulled together this list of the most anticipated family movies so you’ll know exactly what to see—and what to skip!

1. Klaus

Release date: Now in theaters and on Netflix
Rated: PG

What’s the buzz: Klaus, an animated holiday comedy about a possible origin story for Santa, takes place in the fictional island village of Smeerensburg, where spoiled young postman Jesper (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) strikes up an unlikely friendship with local carpenter/toymaker named Klaus (J.K. Simmons). The whole town is involved in a generations-old feud between two families/factions that leads to lots of resentment and treating fellow villagers as “the enemy.” Expect lots of sight gags, plenty of physical comedy, and some peril, as well as some mob scenes of village folk armed and ready to fight. There’s some romance (flirting, kissing, and marriage); language includes mild insults like “loser,” “brat,” and “idiot,” as well as a “what the…?” A few characters speak in the Sámi language—their lines are subtitled. The story promotes moving past old grudges and celebrates the joy of children who want to have friends and to play. Parents and kids will be able to discuss the importance of generosity, compassion, and teamwork in the movie.

2. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Release date: November 22
Rated: PG

What’s the buzz? A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a biographical drama based on the real-life friendship between journalist Tom Junod and Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame. Matthew Rhys plays Lloyd Vogel (a character based on Junod), a jaded journalist who reluctantly takes an assignment to profile Rogers (Tom Hanks), only to find his life fundamentally transformed. Kindness, empathy and integrity are sure to be key themes, and viewers can expect lots of tugs on heartstrings. Given Hanks’ starring role and the revival of interest in Rogers brought about by 2018’s documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, expect viewers who grew up watching the iconic kids’ show to be interested.

3. Frozen 2

Release date: November 22
Rated: PG

What’s the buzz? Frozen 2, the highly anticipated sequel to the Disney blockbuster that taught us all to “Let It Go,” continues the story of Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), a queen with icy powers and her warmhearted sister, Anna (Kristen Bell). Although details of the movie haven’t been announced yet, it’s safe to expect the return of Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), kind snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) and reindeer Sven, too, as well as newcomers voiced by Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown. The original Frozen featured great music, strong female role models and some scary elements, but for the most part was okay for little kids; you can likely expect the same here.

4. Playmobil: The Movie

Release date: December 6
Rated: Not yet available

What’s the buzz? When her younger brother, Charlie (Gabriel Bateman) disappears into the magical Playmobil world, it’s up to Marla (Anya Taylor-Joy) to find him and bring him back. On her adventures, she runs into wild, unbelievable creations and interesting allies, including suave hero Rex Dasher (voiced by Daniel Radcliffe) and goofball Del (Jim Gaffigan), as well as other interesting characters and bad guys. Together they need to rescue Charlie before it’s too late. Expect lots of consumerism, since kids will surely want to buy the toys after seeing the movie, as well as some rude language, peril and cartoon action. But overall, this looks like a kid-friendly adventure.

5. Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

When: December 13
Rated: Not yet available

What’s the buzz? This is the second film based on the characters from the Shaun the Sheep TV series from Aardman Studios (of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run fame). In this installment, Shaun and his animal friends get a huge surprise when a long-eared alien arrives on their farm. Although the creature is more trouble than it seems, they quickly form a friendship, and it becomes up to Shaun to save them all from meddling UFO hunters. The charming first film had almost no dialogue and relied on noises, gestures and music to tell the story, so you can probably expect the same here. It also had some tense scenes and potty humor (including fart, burp and poop jokes), which will likely return. But overall this looks like a family-friendly comedic adventure that kids and parents can enjoy together.

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6. Jumanji: The Next Level

When: December 13
Rated: PG-13

What’s the buzz? Years after being pulled into the Jumanji video game world, Spencer (Alex Wolff) rediscovers the broken game in storage. While trying to fix it, he’s pulled back into the dangerous virtual world. When Bethany (Madison Iseman), Martha (Morgan Turner) and Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) find out where he’s gone, they set out to rescue him. But once in the game, they realize that while the avatar bodies—Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart), Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) and Professor Shelly Overton (Jack Black)—are the same, Spencer’s grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) and his friend Milo (Danny Glover) have taken over two of them. With the grandpas in tow, they must find and rescue Spencer while facing a whole new set of murderous obstacles. The previous film had lots of action violence, as well as swearing and sexual references, and this looks to continue the trend. But kids who enjoyed the action and humor of the first film will likely want to see this one, too.

7. Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

When: December 20
Rated: Not yet available

What’s the buzz? Star Wars: Episode IX is the third and final movie in the most recent trilogy of the Star Wars saga. It follows the events of Episode VII: The Last Jedi and supposedly wraps up the the battle between the evil First Order and the plucky team of Resistance fighters. The balance of the Force will also be at stake, as Darth Vader’s heir, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), tries to pull Rey (Daisy Ridley) with him to the Dark Side. Although the movie’s plot details are under wraps, it’s safe to say that many of the movies’ heroes and villains will return, including Stormtrooper-turned-Resistance fighter Finn (John Boyega), Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), and the First Order’s General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). General Leia Organa also returns, with a posthumous performance by Carrie Fisher, as does Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker (though possibly as a ghost). Expect another intense, action-packed sci-fi adventure; hopefully it will provide a satisfying conclusion for older tweens, teens and up.

8. Cats

When: December 20
Rated: PG

What’s the buzz? Using “digital fur” technology, the film, based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running musical of the same name, turns its star-studded cast into singing, dancing felines. The story takes place all in one night as a tribe of cats called the Jellicles gather together for a ball and celebration. There’s feisty Bombalurina (Taylor Swift), upper-class “fat cat” Bustopher Jones (James Corden), old Gus the Theatre Cat (Ian McKellen), lazy but agile Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson), flashy Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo), small white kitten Victoria (Francesca Hayward), the criminal Macavity (Idris Elba), and formerly glamorous outsider Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson). All are vying to be selected by their matriarch, Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench), to rise up to the Heaviside Layer (aka heaven for cats). Although there’s no “human” nudity, some of the cats wear clothes and others don’t, leading some to criticize the curvy, naked cats as being too “sexy.” It also looks safe to expect some innuendo, fighting, and intense scenes—and lots and lots of singing. But it should be fine for tween and teen musical fans, especially if they’re fond of Cats or the cast.

9. Spies in Disguise

When: December 25
Rated: Not yet available

What’s the buzz? This animated comedy is about a super spy who gets turned into a pigeon. Suave, sophisticated Lance Sterling (voiced by Will Smith) is the world’s greatest secret agent. He’s assisted by Walter Beckett (Tom Holland), a nerdy, socially awkward scientist who creates the high-tech spy gadgets Lance uses on his missions. But when Walter accidentally turns Lance into a pigeon—and can’t undo it—the two must work together to save the world. Rashida Jones, Karen Gillan, and DJ Khaled also join the voice cast. Expect lots of action, comedic pratfalls, and some rude humor and language, but ultimately this promises to be family friendly.

10. Little Women

When: December 25
Rated: PG

What’s the buzz? Director Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel tells the story of the four March sisters—aspiring writer Jo (Saoirse Ronan), responsible Meg (Emma Watson), talented painter Amy (Florence Pugh) and shy, musical Beth (Eliza Scanlen)—during and after the American Civil War. All four sisters are determined to live their lives on their own terms. Together, they support each other through struggles, sickness, death and love. Timothee Chalamet, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep co-star. Fans of the book or previous film adaptations will know to expect heavy themes, sad moments and some smoking, but this could be a great way to introduce tweens and teens to the classic story.

 

November 19, 2019