You knew you could buy cinema tickets via Fandango, but did you know you could also watch movies there? Stocked with recent blockbusters as well as lesser-known films, Fandango Now operates like a video store for the digital era. There is no membership fee, you just pay for the rental.
Kubo And the Two Strings: You can count on Laika Animation – creators of “Coraline,” “ParaNorman” and “The Box Trolls” – to deliver something with wonderful visuals and unusual storytelling. This 2016 film combines stop-action and computer-generated animation into a Japanese folk-inspired adventure. A treat for the eyes and the soul, Kubo does contain some dark elements. Ages 9 and older.
Spies in Disguise: This 2019 animated release contains some pleasant, surprise twists. This spy tale is packed with action and some kooky humor, but what sets it apart from the rest is that there is an anti-violence message to the violence – in the sense that the clever weapon gadgets are of the non-lethal variety (I’ll say no more than “Kitty Glitter”). Ages 8 and older.
Dora And the Lost City of Gold: Another 2019 family film that shakes up your expectations, this live-action feature doesn’t attempt to be an extended version of a Dora cartoon show, but instead is aimed more at tweens than at the preschool set. The result is a surprisingly strong effort, full of slightly-off-the-beaten-path humor, positive messages and not-too-scary action sequences. Ages 8 and older.
Ferdinand: It probably goes without saying that this 2017 animated movie fleshes out the original book by Munro Leaf, which is under 40 pages. Happily, director Carlos Saldanha (who also directed two “Ice Age” and “Rio” movies) retains the original’s charms and messages about friendship, nonviolence and acceptance of others. Ages 6 and older.
Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: Admittedly, this is no Oscar contender, but there’s something about the title that gets you curious. It is perhaps the best title concept since Scooby-Doo Meets the Harlem Globetrotters (also available for renting on Fandango Now). Tom and Jerry really just play sidekicks to Charlie Buckets as he goes on his Wonka-sized adventure. Ages 6 and older.
Dumbo: Here are a few key phrases to introduce you to this version of “Dumbo”: live action, a CGI-generated flying elephant, Tim Burton, and no Johnny Depp. Like any Burton film, “Dumbo” looks great and has a sometimes dark-toned story, but there’s also a sweetness that reminds viewers why Dumbo is such a well-liked character. Ages 8 and older.
A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood: How often is a biopic not really about the protagonist? In this film, Mr. Rogers (a wonderfully understated performance by Tom Hanks) serves as a guiding/support figure for the person whose life really changes during the movie: the journalist sent to interview him. Some young (or old) Mr. Rogers’ fan may be disappointed; however, the film – like Mr. Rogers – has a kind soul and big heart. Ages 10 and older.
Frozen 2: Fresh from movie theaters, “Frozen 2” can now be found on Fandango Now, which should thrill young fans – and their parents. While not the cultural landmark the first film delivered, “Frozen 2” still offers viewers of all ages an enchanting story featuring Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven. Ages 6 and older.
Penguins: This Disneynature offering isn’t your standard nature documentary. The Antarctic story follows an Adélie penguin named Steve (yes, just plain Steve) during his first year as an adult. His adventures are humorous and Ed Helms’ narration is consistently hilarious. The film also is filled with gorgeous scenery, and is a great way to teach children about real penguins. Ages 6 and older.
Rise of the Guardians: Be advised that this 2012 animated has nothing to do with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” series. This “superhero” tale is about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost, and how they team up to save the world. It does contain some scenes that might be scary for little ones. Ages 6 and older.