As we head into Memorial Day weekend, I have grand visions of warm weather, sunny skies and lots of lots of fresh air for my kids. But the reality is that here in Chicago the forecast — which can never really be trusted in the first place! — isn’t looking all that spectacular, and I know I need to have some activities planned for rainy weather. Or just for some much-needed downtime.
Even if you’re in some magical part of the country where you’ll be able to tire your kids out in the great wide open for three days straight, you might still need a few hours for everyone to catch their breath. Thankfully, movies are always there for parents (and kids) who need a little rest. And double-thankfully, there are 5 great movies at the Box and Redbox On Demand right now that the whole family can enjoy.
Tom & Jerry: The Movie – Who can resist a fast-paced, slapstick tale of mortal enemies in the form of a cat and mouse? The popular animated series that’s been around for decades is back in a big way in this part-CGI, part-live-action reboot that also stars Ken Jeong, Chloë Grace Moretz and Michael Peña. All the action goes down in Manhattan as Tom the cat tries to break into the swanky hotel where Jerry the mouse has taken up residence.
Raya and the Last Dragon – I already watched this gorgeously animated Disney film with my kids, but they liked it so much that we might have to have a repeat viewing this weekend. It tells the story of a brave young warrior, Raya (Kelly Marie Tran), who tries to track down the last living dragon (Awkwafina) in order to break her people free from the clutches of evil spirts who’ve ravaged her country for years.
Soul – This Best Animated Film and Best Original Score Oscar-winner tells the moving story of Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx), a man who’s finally landed the musical gig of a lifetime … only to fall into a manhole and mistakenly end up in “The Great Before” — an otherworldly realm full of mentors who prepare new souls for their life on Earth. There, he teams up with a mentor named 22 (Tina Fey) who honestly doesn’t see what all the fuss is about living. You can bet that by the time the end credits roll, Joe will have shown 22 the best of what being human has to offer.
The Croods and The Croods: A New Age – It IS a long weekend, after all — what better excuse for a double feature? Start with 2013’s The Croods, which introduces us to a prehistoric family (voiced by Emma Stone, Nic Cage, Catherine Keener and more) who are equal parts curious and threatened when they meet Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a more evolved boy who thinks and acts differently. In the sequel, everyone’s back … and this time they meet the Betterman family (voiced by Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann and Kelly Marie Tran, again!) who appear to be living the dream in a walled-off utopia. But the Croods aren’t sure if it’s all too good to be true. My 5-year-old daughter loves running around shouting quotes from the sequel (her favorite: “THUNDER SISTERS!!!!” … once you watch the movie, you’ll get it), and I really can’t recommend it highly enough.
However you spend your time this holiday weekend, enjoy it!