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Kidoinfo 2009 Summer Movie Guide (and a sneak peak at Fall)

pixar-up_l Here’s a list of movies coming out this summer and a sneak peak at the fall film releases geared towards kids and families. Although our family loves movies we’re definitely not fans of all of them. This list is comprehensive so you can make your own decisions about what’s appropriate for your child and help determine what’s worth the ticket or rental price. Be prepared for the onslaught of licensed merchandise that will accompany these films. Some of the movies will have a longer shelf life–for good or bad–as Happy Meal toys, books, and DVDs.

Since my kids adore movies (that’s an understatement) they have already started their must-see list including Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and Pixar’s UP. I am happy to say they have no interest in the GI Joe or the Transformer film. The much anticipated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince comes out this summer as well. My boys have only read the first two books in the Potter series so they will wait to see this film. Looking ahead to fall, there are two films based on well-loved children’s books: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Where the Wild Things Are. I adore both of these books and wonder how the films will compare. In anticipation of Pixar’s Toys Story 3 (due out in June 2010), Toy Story and Toy Story 2 will be released in 3-D in October 2009 and  February 2010 respectively.

For films that have yet to be released but have already received ratings, I have included the Motion Picture of Association of America (MPAA) rating system. Once the movie releases, you can check the Kids-in-Mind rating system that ranks the amount of sex, violence, and profanity on a scale of 1 to 10.

A word of caution for parents of young kids who have yet to take them to see their first movie on the big screen: previews are long and may show sneak peaks of other less appropriate films; the theater’s sound system tends to be very loud; and the theater is very dark. I advise choosing aisle seats in case a quick exit becomes necessary. Read the Movie Theater Rookie Report to hear one dad’s movie experience with his little kido.


Opening Date: May 8, 2009
RATING: PG-13 (sci-fi action and violence and brief sexual content)
(Sex-5, Violence-6, Profanity-4)
STARRING: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Eric Bana, Winona Ryder, Leonard Nimoy
DIRECTOR: J. J. Abrams
GENRE: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi

SYNOPSIS:  Prequel to the many Star Trek films. A chronicle of the early days of James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew members.

Opening Date: May 22, 2009night-at-the-museum-2
RATING: PG (mild action and brief inappropriate language)
(Sex-2, Violence-3, Profanity-1)
STARRING: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Amy Adams
DIRECTOR: Shawn Levy
GENRE: Action | Comedy | Family

SYNOPSIS:  Sequel to Night at the Museum (2006), which took place at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. This follow-up has the same all-star cast with the addition of Amy Adams as aviatrix Amelia Earhart.  This film shifts to the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., where the old museum gems are being housed while their museum is closed for renovations. Security guard Larry Daley (Stiller) infiltrates the Smithsonian Institute in order to rescue Jedediah (Wilson) and friends, who have been shipped to the museum for storage.

Pixar’s UP (3-D)
Opening Date:  May 29, 2009
RATING: PG (some peril and action)
(Sex-1, Violence-3, Profanity-0)
STARRING:  Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, Christopher Plummer
DIRECTOR:  Pete Docter; Bob Petersen
GENRE: Animation | Action | Adventure | Comedy | Family

SYNOPSIS:  Pixar’s first animated 3-D film. By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn’t alone on his journey, since Russell (Nagai), a wilderness explorer seventy years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip.


Opening Date: June 5, 2009
RATING: Not Yet Rated
STARRING: Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Anna Friel
DIRECTOR: Brad Silberling
GENRE: Adventure | Comedy | Sci-Fi

SYNOPSIS: On his latest expedition, Dr. Rick Marshall (Ferrell) is sucked into a space-time vortex alongside his research assistant (Friel) and a redneck survivalist (McBride). In this alternate universe, the trio makes friends with a primate named Chaka (Taccone), their only ally in a world full of dinosaurs and other fantastic creatures. Can they all make it back to our world alive, and if so, will Dr. Marshall go from zero to hero with his discoveries?

Opening Date:  June 26, 2009
RATING:  Probably PG-13 (The first Transformer film was rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, brief sexual humor, and language)
STARRING:  Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel
DIRECTOR:  Michael Bay
GENRE:  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi

SYNOPSIS:  Sequel to first Transformers’ film based on the Hasbro toys. Decepticon forces return to Earth on a mission to take Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) prisoner, after the young hero learns the truth about the ancient origins of the Transformers. Joining the mission to protect humankind is Optimus Prime, who forms an alliance with international armies for a second epic battle.


Opening Date: July 1, 2009
RATING:  Not Yet Rated (The first two films were rated PG)
STARRING:  Ray Romano, Queen Latifah, Dennis Leary
DIRECTOR:  Carlos Saldanha
GENRE:  Animation | Action | Comedy | Romance

SYNOPSIS:  Third in the series after Ice Age and Ice Age: The Meltdown. When Sid (Leguizamo) gets into trouble, it’s up to Manny (Romano), Ellie (Latifah), Diego (Leary), and Scrat to save their friend. Their mission leads them to an underground world where they encounter dinosaurs, flora, and fauna as well as a one-eyed, dino-hunting weasel named Buck.

Opening Date: July 15, 2009harry_potter_half_blood_prince
RATING:  PG (scary images, some violence, language, and mild sensuality)
STARRING:  Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman
DIRECTOR:  David Yates
GENRE:  Adventure | Fantasy | Mystery | Romance

SYNOPSIS:  The movie is based on the sixth J. K. Rowling novel of the same name. As Harry Potter begins his 6th year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he discovers an old book marked mysteriously “This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince” and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort’s dark past.

Opening Date:  July 24, 2009
RATING:  Not Yet Rated
STARRING:  Nicolas Cage, Tracy Morgan, Sam Rockwell, Penélope Cruz, Will Arnett
DIRECTOR:  Hoyt Yeatman
GENRE:  Action | Adventure | Fantasy

SYNOPSIS:  The story is about a team of trained secret agent guinea pigs that take on a mission for the U.S. government. A specially trained squad of guinea pigs is dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire, who plans to take over the world with household appliances.


Opening Date:  August 7, 2009
RATING:  Not Yet Rated
STARRING:  Channing Tatum, Dennis Quaid, Sienna Miller, Christopher Eccleston
DIRECTOR:  Stephen Sommers
GENRE: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller

SYNOPSIS:  An elite military unit comprised of special operatives known as G.I. Joe, operating out of The Pit, battles an evil organization led by a notorious arms dealer.

Opening Date:   August 7, 2009
RATING:  PG (mild action and some rude humor)
STARRING:  Jimmy Bennett, Leo Howard, Rebel Rodriguez, Kat Dennings, William H. Macy, James Spader
DIRECTOR:  Robert Rodriguez
GENRE:  Family

SYNOPSIS:  Toe Thompson’s discovery of a colorful, wish-granting rock causes a stir in the suburban town of Black Falls, and grand-scale chaos ensues when the object falls into the hands of local adults. Can Toe and his two newfound friends save the residents of Black Falls from themselves?


2009_cloudy_with_a_chance_of_meatballs_001CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (3-D)
Opening Date:  September 18, 2009
RATING: Not Yet Rated
STARRING:  Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Bruce Campbell, James Caan
DIRECTOR:  Phil Lord, Chris Miller
GENRE:  Animation | Family

SYNOPSIS:  Inspired by the beloved children’s book of the same name, the film focuses on a town where food falls from the sky like rain.


Opening Date: In anticaptaion of the release of Toy Story 3 in June 2010, Pixar’s Toy Story and Toy Story 2 will be back on movie screens October 2, 2009, and February 12, 2010, respectively, with a complete digital 3-D makeover.

Opening Date:  October 16, 2009
RATING:  Not Yet Rated
STARRING:  Catherine Keener, Max Records, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker
DIRECTOR:  Spike Jonze
GENRE:  Adventure | Drama | Family | Fantasy

SYNOPSIS:  An adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world–a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler.


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