REVIEW: Is ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children’ too scary for kids?

REVIEW: Is 'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children' too scary for kids?Emma is a girl who is lighter than air, and if she doesn’t wear lead shoes, she will simply float away. Bronwyn, who lives in the same house, has the strength of 10 men. Another girl, Fiona, can make plants grow in mere seconds. Then there’s Hugh, a boy who has bees living in his stomach, and Horace, who has a magical eyeball that acts as a projector, allowing him to “play” his dreams on the big screen.

Such is the life for the kids in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (PG-13), which opens this weekend and is the latest quirky movie from director Tim Burton, who also gave us Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. But unlike those two PG-rated films, this one delivers enough creepiness and scary moments that parents might want to think twice about taking young children. (More on that in a bit.)

Miss Peregrine’s is based on the bestselling book by Ransom Riggs and follows the story of World War II-era kids who live in a children’s home because they all have peculiarities due to a recessive gene. Their headmistress is Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), who has the ability to transform into a peregrine falcon.

If all of that wasn’t weird enough, they’re also stuck in a time loop and seem destined to live forever on one date: Sept. 3, 1943 – the day Nazis bombed the house. Each night, before the bomb crashes into the home, Miss Peregrine turns her watch backwards, reversing time.

The children desire a more normal life, and they find hope when a seemingly ordinary teenage boy — Jake (Asa Butterfield) – finds the home. His grandfather, who fought in World War II, had told him stories about the house and its occupants.

No doubt, many children will be asking their parents to watch Miss Peregrine’s this weekend, but what is the appropriate age for a kid to see this one? Let’s take a look … Continue reading

REVIEW: Is ‘Storks’ OK for small kids? (And are there any scary parts?)

REVIEW: Is 'Storks' OK for small children? (And are there any scary parts?)Nate is an energetic, creative little boy who wants a sibling – specifically, a brother – so he can have a playmate. His parents, though, are workaholic realtors who can’t fathom a household with two children.

But Nate has a grand idea. He will send a handwritten letter to the storks, who live far, far away on Stork Mountain, and they will bring him a brother. There’s one big problem: The storks are no longer in the baby business. (Yes, they once were.) They are now an company known as, and they deliver packages – such as TV sets.

Fear not, though, because the letter ends up in the hands of a clueless company worker, who accidentally turns on the non-operational baby-making machine, popping out a sweet little bundle of joy. So far, so good, but the CEO of Cornerstone, Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) vows to stop the delivery, and a pack of wolves wants the baby, too.

It’s all part of the plot in Storks (PG), which opens in theaters this weekend and was created by the same studio (Warner Bros. Animation) that gave us The Lego Movie, which was No. 1 for three weeks in 2014 and ended with an incredible $257 million domestic gross. I really liked The Lego Movie, but I enjoyed Storks even more. Storks is funnier, has a better storyline, and also has more life lessons for children and parents.

Storks is pro-family in the original sense, and after watching it you understand why an adoption organization ( is one of the film’s partners.

But is Storks OK for all children, including small kids? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

REVIEW: Is ‘Sully’ family-friendly? (And is it too scary for kids?)

REVIEW: Is 'Sully' family-friendly? (And is it too scary for kids?)

Making movies based on well-known historical events can be a bit tricky — especially if it is about an event that nearly every person in the theater will remember.

But that is what director Clint Eastwood and the studio (Warner Brothers) behind the new film Sully (PG-13) chose to do — and despite the fact the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson” took place only seven years ago, they did it successfully.

Sully is one of the best movies of the year, delivering surprise after surprise about an American hero — Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (played by Tom Hanks) – who landed U.S. Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River near New York after it was disabled due to a rare bird strike on both engines.

Incredibly, all 155 people on board survived. Sully’s story was told and re-told in the days after the heroic events of Jan. 15, 2009, so what possibly could we all have missed? As it turns out, a lot.

Sullenberger had doubts that he did the right thing, wondering if he should have tried to land the plane at a near-by airport instead of endangering the passengers by putting the plane in the river. Those doubts led to nightmares about passenger planes crashing. He even wondered if the incident would threaten his career and retirement, leading to financial ruin for his family.

The movie turns officials with the National Transportation Safety Board into heartless bureaucrats, although some former employees say the NTSB gave Sullenberger high marks. Sullenberger, though, says the movie reflects his memory.

Historians can debate the film’s nuances, but from an entertainment and inspirational perspective, Eastwood and his writing team have weaved a masterpiece.

The movie has plenty to like for the faith-based crowd, but is it family-friendly? Let’s take a look. Continue reading