Compared to years past, there are slim pickings for children’s films this winter. But if the idea of bedtime stories that come to life or the story of a feisty mouse has you intrigued, you may find something to keep the kids engrossed, while managing to stay entertained yourself. And, at least, you’ll only have to wait until May 29, for the next Pixar film, “Up.”
Starring: Adam Sandler, Guy Pearce, Keri Russell, Richard Griffiths, Courteney Cox, Lucy Lawless, Teresa Palmer, Russell BrandDirector: Adam Shankman Story: While his sister (Cox) is out of town, Skeeter Bronson (Sandler) looks after his niece and nephew. But the when the bedtime stories he’s telling them start coming to life during the day, he thinks he’s discovered a great power. Until he realizes that only the kids’ additions to his stories come to life, and he can’t control what they add. Worth seeing? Perhaps. Though the story looks a bit predictable, it could be a sweet family film for the holidays. Shankman is choreographer/director man behind “Hairspray” and a “So You Think You Can Dance” judge (look for cameos from former contestants Travis Wall and Lacey Schwimmer). This summer’s breakout comedy star Brand (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) should also keep this one fun. Sadly, once again Sandler has provided employment to Rob Schneider, who appears as a Native American (yes, you may start start picketing now). Web site: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/bedtimestories/ Release date: Dec. 25
“The Tale of Despereaux”
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Emma Watson, Robbie Coltrane, Frances Conroy, Tony Hale, Ciaran Hinds, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Kline Director: Sam Fell, Rob Stevenhagen Story: Based on the Newbery Medal award-winning book by Kate DiCamillo, this film tells the story of three unlikely friends in the Kingdom of Dor. Despereaux (Broderick) is a large-eared mouse whose underground world feels too small; Roscuro (Hoffman) is a big-hearted rat who is tired of being hated just for being a rat; and Pea (Watson) is the princess who Despereaux falls in love with, who still fears rats. Worth seeing? Yes. Oscar-nominated screenwriter Gary Ross (“Seabiscuit,” “Pleasantville,” “Big”) adapted DiCamillo’s book, which hopefully means that story comes first in this film. Co-director Fell is the man behind, “Flushed Away.” Oscar’s best animated film category should be really competitive this year (“WALL-E,” “Kung Fu Panda,” etc.), but this film looks like a definite contender. Web site: http://www.taleofdespereauxmovie.com/ Release date: Dec. 19
Note: All release dates are subject to change.