Family Cinema Films

What’s on at the cinema this week

Fancy a trip to the cinema, but don’t know what would be fun with the kids? Here’s our movie guide, written by Mike Davies especially with families and kids in mind. Everything from small scale films to great blockbusters for all the family!

Please note that not all 12A films are appropriate for younger children. Let’s Go With The Children offers a guide to what’s suitable for family viewing.

guardians of the galaxy film still

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (12A)

Having saved the galaxy once, this unlikely collection of heroes now have to do it again as Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Drax (Dave Bautuista), Yondu (Michael Rooker) and the regenerating Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), along with new addition Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and old foe Nebula (Karen Gillan) find themselves taking on another seemingly unstoppable enemy. On top of which Star-Lord, aka Peter Quill, gets to meet his father and there is a cameo from Sylvester Stallone.

LGWTC guidance: Promising more of the same mix of spectacular action and wisecracking humour, as well as another awesome mix-tape, this is unmissable.

Boss Baby film

The Boss Baby (U)

If Storks wasn’t confusing enough for kids about where babies come from, in this Looney Tunes styled animation they’re despatched from a heavenly factory where tots are either sent to families or BabyCorp management. Tim isn’t happy that a new baby brother’s arrived and is getting all his parents’ time and love, but then he learns that the new arrival (Alec Baldwin), who wears a suit, carries a briefcase and can talk, is a BabyCorp exec on a mission because babies are losing out on love to puppies. Now, he and Tim, with help from some other babies, are forced to work together to stop arch-rival Puppyco, for which Tim’s parents work, launching their latest, ultimate model.

Fast and snappy with both slapstick and Baldwin’s dry humour, it deals with themes of sibling rivalry and family while finding time for poop and fart jokes, all climaxing in a big action sequence in Las Vegas. 97 mins. Also in 2D.

LGWTC guidance: It could have been sharper but with hilarity for both adults and children alike, kids with baby brothers and sisters will relate, as will harassed moms and dads.

Beauty and the Beast film image

Beauty and the Beast 3D (PG)

Following Cinderella and The Jungle Book, here’s the latest classic Disney animation to get a live action remake from director Bill Condon. Emma Watson takes the role of the plucky Belle who, when her inventor father (Kevin Kline) is taken prisoner in a castle after plucking a white rose from the garden of the mysterious figure who rescued him, agrees to trade places and live with his captor. This captor being the handsome prince (Dan Stevens), who has been cursed to become a beast for having no love in him until someone falls in love with him. Meanwhile, her obnoxious arrogant, braggart suitor, Gaston (Luke Evans) stirs up the villagers to storm the castle and kill the monster within. 129 mins. Also in 2D and IMAX 3D.

LGWTC guidance: A watchable, but ultimately less enchanting live remake of the animated classic.

Power Rangers film

Power Rangers (12A)

A big screen version of the 90s and still going kids live-action TV series, this is an origin story of how five screw-up/misfit multi-ethnic high school teenagers, Jason, Billy, Kimberley, Zack and Trini, get to become the super-powered protectors of Earth in their colour-coded costumes, battling the evil regenade Ranger Rita Repulsa (a hammy Elizabeth Banks) and her monstrous creation Goldar. First, though, they have to train, under the guidance of a wisecracking robot, and, by getting in touch with who they truly are, prove themselves worthy of wearing the armour. It plays slightly older than the original TV series, with a lot of time spent on addressing teenage issues, including introducing Hollywood’s first gay superhero and, although the final battle, with the Rangers in their Dinozods, is rather confused and the Krispy Kreme product placement is shameless, this is more fun than might have been expected. 124 mins.

LGWTC guidance: More The Fantastic Four than Captain America:Civil War perhaps, but, even so, this big screen rework of the hit TV series is a lot of fun.

Smurfs film clip

Smurfs: The Lost Village (PG)

After the last film’s ill-advised trip to New York and Paris, it’s back to the familiar setting of the Smurf Village, where, sad that her name doesn’t define her character like the other Smurfs, Smurfette (Demi Lovato) is led to explore the Forbidden Forest. Here, followed by Clumsy, Brainy and Hefty, she discovers a whole new Smurf community, and they’re all girls, with Smurfwillow (Julia Roberts) their answer to Papa Smurf. Unfortunately, the evil wizard Gargamel is also on Smurfette’s trail looking to get his hands on the Smurfs so he can drain their essence and become a sorcerer supreme.

Adults will probably find the experience an ordeal, but the animation is well handled, there’s some clever touches (luminous giant rabbits, flying bugs dubbed Dragonflies), the songs aren’t bad and the plot is easy to follow, with messages about female empowerment, not being defined by a singular trait and finding who you are for those willing or old enough to look. 90 mins.

LGWTC guidance: No masterpiece, but back on form after The Smurfs 2, this will delight girls who’ve grown out of My Little Pony.

Kong: Skull Island film image

Kong: Skull Island (12A)

This revival of cinema’s most famous ape balances explosive action, breathtaking effects, throwaway humour and nods to the original to wildly entertaining effect. However, the most striking thing about it is that, set in 1973, it’s essentially a Vietnam war movie, complete with references to Apocalypse Now..
Secret agency boss Bill Randa (John Goodman) leads an expedition to an uncharted island, taking with him a military escort under Lt Col. Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson), assorted scientists, and his team, as well as ex -SAS Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) as their tracker and photographer Mason (Brie Larson).
Swatted out of the sky by an angry Kong, the film follows their attempt to survive, Conrad’s group encountering Hank (John C. Reilly), an American pilot shot down in WWI, who tells them Kong is the island’s protector, which means they have to stop Packard from blasting the monkey to pieces. Spelling out familiar don’t mess with nature messages, it’s essentially a prequel to Godzilla, the post credits scene suggesting other Japanese movie monsters are waiting to provide more monkey business in the future. 118mins. Also in IMAX 3D .

LGWTC guidance: There’s no monkeying around here, this is Grade A blockbuster action that jumps right in and where the thrills never stop. Kong rules.

Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience (U)

In cinemas for a limited time in the May.

Designed to introduce  preschoolers  to the big screen, this is an hour-long collection of all new tales featuring their favourite puddle-splashing piggy. Headed up with Peppa Visits London, as she and her friends hop on board a double-decker red bus for the Queen’s tour of the city’s landmarks, other episodes include The Police, Canal Boat, The Zoo, Move to the Music and a four-part story where Peppa and her family take an Australian holiday to visit her old friend, Kylie Kangaroo. With each of the nine episodes linked with interactive entertainment featuring live action Peppa and George characters and their friend Daisy, the children can join in with games as well as singing and dancing along to favourite nursery rhymes like The Wheels on the Bus and Row Row Your Boat. 73 mins.

LGWTC guidance: A firm Cartoon Network favourite, this will have squeals and oinks of delight from the tiny trotters.

man and dog film still

A Dog’s Purpose (PG)

From 5th May. Pre-booking at certain cinemas

Voiced by Josh Gad and directed by the aptly named Lasse Hallström, this is a warm and sentimental meaning of canine life family yarn. It begins in the 1960s with Retriever puppy Bailey rescued and taken in by young Ethan and the two of them grow up together. Once Bailey dies, he’s reincarnated as Ellie, a German Shepherd who becomes a police dog working with handler Carlos. And so it goes on, the dog’s spirit passing through more bodies before the film comes full circle, learning along the way and through the different owners just what his/her purpose is on earth.

LGWTC guidance: Celebration of Man’s best friend and the many characters along his way. Endearing tear jerker family movie.