‘The Jungle Book’ is an embarrassment of visual riches that thoroughly entertains on every level.
Live-action family films have fallen on hard times of late. Perhaps it’s achieving that tricky balance between zaniness and feel-good that baffles filmmakers. Or perhaps they just need the right actor to blend these two elements together… like Steve Carell! Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day simply doesn’t work without his special brand of manic optimism. He effortlessly veers between the ridiculous and the poignant, elevating Alexander into a relentless gallop that every member of the family can enjoy.
The Boxtrolls is a delightful animated gem that has enough frenetic action to entertain the kids and plenty of subversive humor to keep the adults chuckling. It’s the perfect way to spend a day with your rambunctious little brother, and probably far less destructive. The stop-motion design is gorgeous, with loads of tiny details for the curious eye. If Big Hero 6 is a bit too saccharine for your palate, this makes a suitably-twisted alternative.
The new children’s film, Earth to Echo, wants to be a Millennial version of E.T., but it sacrifices emotion in favor of realism. The end result is a one-dimensional robot that will disappoint younger children, and a repetitive action story that will bore older kids. Its heart may be in the right place but there’s just not enough imagination or excitement to clear this movie for launch.