Reel Life

. January 11, 2013.

in 3D

Not yet rated; likely G. In theaters
2/11. Ok for kids 7+. 4 out of 5 Reels.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Disney releases an animated movie about garden gnomes based on the work of Shakespeare, voiced
by several Shakespearean actors, with a soundtrack by Elton John. Sounds fun! Not only that, it takes the story and twists it on its side, then flips it over a few times. Garden gnomes Gnomeo (voiced by James McAvoy) and Juliet (Emily Blunt) have just as many obstacles to overcome as their quasi namesakes – and more. Not only are they smack in the middle of feuding neighbors, but they’re also dealing with pink flamingos and lawnmower races, not to mention the fact that they’re gnomes. Will this young couple find lasting happiness? Who knows, but February is a great month to get goofy at the movies.

Not yet rated; likely
PG. In theaters 2/21.
Ok for kids 10+. 3 out of 5
In the vein of ‘What If…’ and ‘Letters to God’ comes ‘Johnny,’ a story about faith and family. When young, leukemiaridden Johnny Bell (Jerry Phillips) loses his mom to a drunk driver, he finds himself in the foster care system and looking for a home. What family would take in a dying kid? Maybe one that’s already lost a son, as Johnny’s doctor, Drew Carter (Mel Fair), tries to convince his wife (Musetta Vander) to take the young boy into their care. What they don’t realize is that Johnny might have a few things to teach them about faith. Ok, this is the sort of schmaltzy plot that always drives me a little batty, but it’s a meaningful message. Directed by D. David Morin, this movie also stars Lee Majors (‘The Six Million Dollar Man’!). This movie will likely get a theatrical release and DVD release around the same time.

BABY EINSTEIN:BABY LULLABY DISCOVERY KITNot rated. On DVD 2/22. Ok for babies! 5 out of 5 Reels. love these ‘Baby Einstein’ sets, and what a fantastic way to entertain and engage babies during their first years. This one takes your baby on asoothing journey with classical lullabies by Bach, Brahms and Mozart. They’ll mellow out to relaxing ocean waves, sweet puppet shows and tranquil images.  The set includes a DVD, CD and picture book. Also new this month: ‘Baby Einstein: World of Rhythm Discovery Kit’ and ‘Baby Einstein: Neptune’s Oceans Discovery Kit.’


Not rated. On DVD 2/15. Ok for kids 7+. 3.5 out of 5 Reels.
This 2005 movie centers on 10-year-old Felicity (Shailene Woodley, ‘Amy’ on ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’) in 1775 Colonial Williamsburg. She’s a tomboy who’d rather spend time with horses, but her mom wishes she’d become a “gentlewoman” – a wife, mother, and housekeeper. During her “gentlewoman lessons,” Felicity meets Annabelle and Elizabeth Cole, whose family are loyalists from England living in the colonies. Their friendship is tested when Elizabeth’s father is sent to prison for showing loyalty to the king. A subplot involves Felicity befriending and caring for an abused horse, but rest assured that all ends well. This movie, which also features John Schneider, Marcia Gay Harden, and Kevin Zegers, will appeal to both girls and boys interested in American history. 

Jane Louise Boursaw is a freelance writer specializing in the movie and television industries.
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