Coming Attractions: Four and a Half Films for Families

By Michael Berick

new kids movies

This winter, movie-goers can warm up with “Coco.” PHOTO COURTESY DISNEY•PIXAR

The holidays are always a prime time for family films, and this year is no exception. The first to reach cinemas will be “Coco,” which arrives Nov. 22. Full of music, humor and magical adventure, this new Pixar animated movie tells the story of 12-year-old Miguel, who wants to be a musician despite his family’s ban on music. Finding himself in The Land of the Dead, Miguel meets his deceased ancestors and learns about his family’s history.  

Disney is premiering the film short “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” before screenings of “Coco.” In this 21-minute film, Olaf is on a mission to find the best holiday traditions so he can help Anna and Elsa with their Arendelle holiday celebration. The short features four new tunes, and Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff return to voice the characters.  

Munro Leaf’s book “The Story of Ferdinand” has delighted children for 80 years, and now is an animated movie, “Ferdinand.” The big-hearted bull is mistakenly thought to be dangerous and taken from his home. Ferdinand (voiced by John Cena) gets help finding his way home from a motley crew of animals. The 20th Century Fox release, due out Dec. 15, is directed by Carlos Saldanha, who helmed “Rio” and several “Ice Age” films.  

In “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” a sequel to the 1995 film “Jumanji,” four teens play a mysterious Jumanji video game full of puzzles, traps and peril. The Jake Kasdan-directed Sony film, which comes out Dec. 20, stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan as the teens’ avatars within the video game.  

December also marks the arrival of a new “Star Wars” movie, with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” hitting screens Dec. 15. The story picks up the Skywalker saga last visited in 2015 in “The Force Awakens.” Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro are among new cast members joining Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and the late Carrie Fisher.  

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