Even without visiting a movie theatre, seeing new films is still an option. This is the perfect time to gather your loved ones around the television and enjoy new family fare as well as introduce your young ones and teens to the wonders of classic film. Below is a listing of various options geared towards family viewing.
Amazon Prime – Troop Zero (Rated PG, 94 minutes)
This charming family feature focuses on a band of high school misfits who form a Girl Scout-like troop so that they might win a competition that would allow them to record a message on NASA's Golden Record, which will be carried into outer space. McKenna Grace leads the group, as she longs to communicate with her recently deceased mother, who's shes convinced looks down on her from the cosmos. Delightful and with a veteran cast that includes Jim Gaffigan, Allison Janney and Viola Davis.
Disney Plus – Lady and the Tramp (Rated PG, 103 minutes)
This live-action remake retains the charm of the original as the live-action effects gives the story a sense of poignancy that brings new life to the love affair that springs up between the streetwise Tramp (voice by Justin Theroux) and uptown Lady (Tessa Thompson). Sam Elliott, Janelle Monae and Clancy Brown provide additional voice support.
Disney Plus – Togo (Rated PG-13, 113 minutes)
Willem Dafoe stars in this fact-based story as Leonhard Sepalla, a tough-as-nails courier who sets out on a 700-mile trip through brutal elements to deliver a load of life-saving serum during the 1925 Alaskan diphtheria epidemic. His companion is Togo, a dog that defies expectations, his small stature belying the fact that his heart and courage will see them through the most arduous parts of their journey. Exciting, inspirational and poignant, this is an unexpectedly thrilling film, elevated by Dafoe's dynamic performance.
Disney Plus – Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (Rated PG, 99 minutes)
Based on the YA book by Stephan Pastis, this lark of a movie deals with the title character, an 11-year-old private detective (Winslow Fegley) that solves problems with his imaginary polar bear, Total. Much is made here of the power of imagination to help cope with childhood pressures, while the irreverent tone brings a humor to the film that kids and adults will respond to. Solid support is provided by Wallace Shawn, Craig Robinson and Ophelia Lovibond as Timmy's single mom.
Turner Classic Movies – Battling Butler (1926)
A case of mistaken identity propels this Buster Keaton comedy as he stars as a love-struck weakling who must pretend to be a boxer in order to gain respect from the family of the girl he loves. The comedian's trademark visual gags are at the forefront of this effort as the actor's imagination runs riot with hijinks that take place inside the ring as well as on an ill-advised hunting trip. Great fun and a wonderful opportunity to introduce Keaton to those who've yet to see his work.
Turner Classic Movies – Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
This classic film is a great way to introduce kids eight years and older to the Universal Monsters universe. On an exploratory trip down the Amazon, a group of scientists discover a prehistoric gill-man who falls in love with Kay (Julie Adams), the fiancée of one of the explorers. Atmospheric and strangely romantic, this is a not-too-scary movie that can be enjoyed by all.
Turner Classic Movies – It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
Stanley Kramer's sprawling comedy is driven by a very simple plot – a group of travelers witness a car go off the road and in helping the driver (Jimmy Durante), hear his dying words, mutterings about a large sum of money being buried under a big "W." Before you know it, four different groups break off in hot pursuit of the hidden loot and there's nothing that will stand in their way of finding it. Comic heavyweights Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Mickey Rooney, Buddy Hackett, Terry-Thomas, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, and Jonathan Winters ("This is a girl's bike!") vie for screen time, each getting a moment to shine, though the shrill Ethel Merman cuts them short at every turn. It's zany, it's funny and it proves that in the hands of pros, running time means nothing when it comes to creating a comedy classic.
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