Each week on Matt’s Movies we feature a movie to watch with your kids and then one for mom and dad to watch after the kids have gone to bed.

For the Kids:

The Gruffalo

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This week’s children’s movie is based on the beloved book of the same title. If you think there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo, well you would be wrong. And if you think that anything with purple spikes, big teeth, and huge claws is the scariest animal in the forest, well then you’ve never met mouse. The voice talents of James Corden, Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid from Harry Potter), and Helena Bonham Carter are on display in this British production. I thought this movie was very cleverly done both in the animation style and the script. In stead of adding action scenes and a bunch of laugh lines, the screenwriters adapted the original book very faithfully. It is simply a story for your young children to enjoy. It makes great use of quiet moments and the dialogue isn’t too fast-paced for young ears. My son was very into it and he’s not yet two years old. The visuals are what made me actually pay attention and put down my phone. They accomplish the unique look of the film with a mix of stop motion models and CGI. It looks great, it’s a cute story, it clocks in about 28 minutes. It’s perfect pre-bedtime viewing. I’ll have to check out The Gruffalo’s Child too. Both movies are on Netflix.

For the parents:
Begin Again

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I held off watching this one for a while despite it’s stellar reviews because of the involvement of one Adam Levine. Sorry, I’m just not a big fan. If you aren’t either, don’t let his role in this film put you off. He plays a character you’re not supposed to like that much anyway. On the other hand, if you do like him then that’s just a little added bonus for you in this great movie. Mr. Levine doesn’t play one of the main characters anyway. The leads are Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. A mismatched pair you say? I would tend to agree but they aren’t playing off each other in a romantic way. The love they both have for music is the real story and in that sense their chemistry is electric. Ruffalo plays a cynical music producer who has had it with the industry. He can’t get excited about new music the way he used to and so he’s become somewhat of a ne’er-do-well. His attitude gets him fired from the record label he helped start. But when he hears singer-songwriter Gretta (Keira Knightley) perform at a bar, he finds his inspiration. He wants to record her, she doesn’t think she’s a skilled performer, thus we have our reluctant hero. This movie gives you a look inside the brains of producers and artists and lets you see how they craft a recorded album of songs. Also of note, all the supporting roles are acted to perfection. James Corden (you’ll remember him from our kids movie selection today), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Pitch Perfect 2), Cee Lo, and yes, even Adam Levine, add a little something to mix in this romantic comedy where the love is all about the music. Currently available on Netflix.