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NJ Kids Movie Preview: Kids & Teens Theatrical Releases December 2016

Posted by: Jane Louise Boursaw - November 29, 2016

New movies for kids and teens in December include a new "Star Wars" story, a cute family movie called "Sing," and couple of sci-fi flicks, "Passengers" and "The Space Between Us." Here’s a sneak peek at all the new movies for kids and teens in December. Note that release dates are subject to change.

LA LA LAND

Rated PG-13 for some language | In Theaters 12/9 | Ok for kids 13+ | Summit/Lionsgate | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels
In this modern take on the Hollywood musical from director Damien Chazelle, the Academy Award-nominated writer and director of "Whiplash," Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are drawn together by their common desire to do what they love. But as success mounts, they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart. Also stars John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt and Finn Wittrock.

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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Not yet rated; likely PG-13 | In Theaters 12/16 (3D, 2D, IMAX) | Ok for Kids 12+ | Disney/LucasFilm | Reel Preview: 4.5 of 5 Reels
A rogue band of resistance fighters unite to steal the Death Star plans and bring new hope to the galaxy. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" takes place before the events of "Star Wars: A New Hope" and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know. Directed by Gareth Edwards, this movie stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen and Alan Tudyk.

THE SPACE BETWEEN US

Rated PG-13 for brief sensuality and language | In Theaters 12/16 | Ok for Kids 13+ | STX | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
In this interplanetary adventure, a space shuttle embarks on the first mission to colonize Mars, only to discover after takeoff that one of the astronauts is pregnant. Shortly after landing, she dies from complications while giving birth to the first human born on the red planet – never revealing who the father is. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Gardner Elliot – an inquisitive, highly intelligent boy who reaches the age of 16 having only met 14 people in his very unconventional upbringing. While searching for clues about his father, and the home planet he’s never known, Gardner begins an online friendship with a street smart girl in Colorado named Tulsa. When he finally gets a chance to go to Earth, he’s eager to experience all of the wonders he could only read about on Mars – from the most simple to the extraordinary. But once his explorations begin, scientists discover that Gardner’s organs can’t withstand Earth’s atmosphere. Directed by Peter Chelsom, this movie stars Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson and Carla Gugino.

COLLATERAL BEAUTY

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language | In Theaters 12/16 | Ok for Kids 13+ | New Line/Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
When a successful New York advertising executive suffers a great tragedy, he retreats from life. While his concerned friends try desperately to reconnect with him, he seeks answers from the universe by writing letters to Love, Time and Death. But it’s not until his notes bring unexpected personal responses that he begins to understand how these constants interlock in a life fully lived, and how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of meaning and beauty. Directed by David Frankel, this movie stars Will Smith, Edward Norton and Keira Knightley.

PASSENGERS

Rated PG-13 for sexuality, nudity and action/peril | In Theaters 12/21 | Ok for Kids 13+ | Sony | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels
On a routine journey through space to a new home, two passengers, sleeping in suspended animation, are awakened 90 years too early when their ship malfunctions. As Jim (Chris Pratt) and Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) face living the rest of their lives on board, with every luxury they could ever ask for, they begin to fall for each other, unable to deny their intense attraction... until they discover the ship is in grave danger. With the lives of 5000 sleeping passengers at stake, only Jim and Aurora can save them all. Directed by Morten Tyldum, this movie also stars Michael Sheen and Laurence Fishburne.

ASSASSIN'S CREED

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, thematic elements and brief strong language | In Theaters 12/21 | Ok for Kids 13+ | 20th Century Fox | Reel Preview: 3.5 of 5 Reels
Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day. Directed by Justin Kurzel, this movie also stars Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson.

SING

Rated PG for some rude humor and mild peril | In Theaters 12/21 | Ok for Kids 6+ | Universal/Illumination | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels
Illumination has captivated audiences all over the world with the beloved hits "Despicable Me," "Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax" and "Minions," now the second-highest-grossing animated movie in history. In "Sing," Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Tori Kelly star in a musical comedy about finding the shining star that lives inside all of us. Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, "Sing" stars Buster Moon (McConaughey), a dapper Koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal optimist (and scoundrel) who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now facing the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

Five lead contestants emerge: A mouse (MacFarlane) who croons as smoothly as he cons, a timid teenage elephant (Kelly) with an enormous case of stage fright, an overtaxed mother (Witherspoon) run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets, a young gangster gorilla (Egerton) looking to break free of his family’s felonies, and a punk-rock porcupine (Johansson) struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo. Each animal arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life. Featuring more than 85 hit songs, "Sing" is written and directed by Garth Jennings.

A MONSTER CALLS

Rated PG-13 for thematic content and some scary images | In Theaters 12/23 | Ok for Kids 13+ | Focus Features | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels
Based on the award-winning children’s fantasy novel, this movie follows 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall), who attempts to deal with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness and the bullying of his classmates by escaping into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales that explore courage, loss, and faith. Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, this movie stars Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and Lewis MacDougall.

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JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM

One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at jboursaw@charter.net. Images used with permission of the studios and distributors. 

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Posted by: Jane Louise Boursaw| November 29, 2016
Keywords:  Famiy Movie Review
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