Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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Spider-Man Homecoming is about Peter Parker’s life after his brush with The Avengers in Captain America Civil War. This film is way better than the marketing had convinced me it would be, the comedy, action, and tension are all handled excellently. The characters are great, Tom Holland does a marvelous job as Peter Parker, Micheal Keaton plays the best MCU villain in quite a while, and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark does not overstay his welcome in the plot as I feared he would. A particular scene in Homecoming caught me off guard more than any film has since I saw Fight Club and created brilliantly crafted tension over the next 10-20 minutes. If you still can, I would definitely recommend seeing the highly refreshing and charming Spider-Man: Homecoming in theaters.

Kids 10 and up shouldn’t have a problem with this film.

Currently in Theaters.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

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Valerian is a sci-fi film by Luc Besson about two special operatives trying to protect Alpha, the City of a Thousand Planets, a huge metropolis housing species from a thousand planets. For a film from the director of The Fifth Element, a movie ahead of its time, Valerian is years behind its time. Similar to the 2009 film Avatar, Valerian received lots of hype, is full of CGI, has a cheesy and obvious message, and will leave no lasting impression on our culture. The casting for this film is really what killed it, Dane Dehaan and Cara Delevingne deliver mediocre at best performances and are just a bad fit for their characters. The score is highly disappointing because if nothing else this movie could have had good, memorable music, but instead it’s a cheap and generic imitation of the Star Wars scores. I wouldn’t recommend seeing Valerian unless all you want is eye candy, because that’s all it is.

Pretty much all kids should be able to watch Valerian.

Currently in theaters.

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

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War for the Planet of the Apes is the third entry in the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy that has gotten better and better with every film. Matt Reeves has accomplished something incredible by creating such a technically impressive film with amazing motion capture technology as well as an emotional and meaningful story from start to finish where the audience cares a great deal for the characters, and he has made it even better than Dawn, which he in turn made superior to Rise. Andy Serkis as always does an amazing job of acting in motion capture and Michael Giacchino delivers one of the best scores of his career. I highly recommend watching or rewatching Rise and Dawn then going to see War for the Planet of the Apes because it is a beautiful, technically and emotionally impressive, masterpiece.

This is a fairly dark movie at times but if your kid has seen the first two films, they can probably handle the third.

Currently in Theaters.

 

Baby Driver (2017)

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Baby Driver is Edgar Wright’s highly entertaining “action musical” about a young getaway driver that loves music who gets wrapped up in a heist doomed to fail. This movie has a great cast including Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Spacey, so the acting is obviously pretty solid. Visually this movie is impressive, but where it really shines is the music that is magnificently intertwined into the film, Baby Driver really is part musical, so much is in time with the music that by the time the credits roll you might even be thinking on beat. I highly recommend Baby Driver especially if you’re an Edgar Wright fan.

Most kids younger than 12 probably shouldn’t watch Baby Driver.

Currently in Theaters

The Book of Henry (2017)

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The Book of Henry is a drama/thriller focused around a family made up of Henry, a genius 11 year old that takes care of everything for his family, sometimes self-doubting single mother Susan, and Peter, the younger brother that looks up to Henry. The film is about their discovery of a dangerous secret relating to Henry’s classmate that lives next door, and their plan to help. This is a very intelligently made, superbly shot, and well written (the script supposedly took 20 years to write) film that deals with some pretty dark subjects. The Book of Henry has a sudden intentionally jarring shift in tone but I believe it was executed quite well, the acting here is excellent, especially from the child actors, Michael Giacchino also delivers yet another great score for this movie. I would recommend going to see The Book of Henry if you’re looking for a well-crafted drama, but just remember it’s a tearjerker.

I wouldn’t particularly recommend bringing kids younger than 12 to this movie, most of the darker content is off-screen but I don’t think younger kids would enjoy it anyway.

Currently in Theaters

Wonder Woman (2017)

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Wonder Woman is the origin story of Diana, a princess of the Amazons and trained warrior. The characters, story, and tone show a huge improvement over previous DCEU ventures, this time around there is hope, curiosity, and wonder as well as a much-needed lack of brooding characters and desaturated colors. I’m finding that the plentiful use of slow-mo during fight scenes is splitting audiences a bit, I personally think it was put to good use. My two complaints with Wonder Woman are both related to the final battle sequence, there is a bit too much CGI and the main theme suddenly disappears from the score right before the sequence begins. Overall though, Wonder Woman is a pretty great superhero movie that could have easily gone wrong and instead is a milestone not only for the DCEU, but female-lead comic book films.