30 nice household motion pictures and the place to observe them, from Paddington to Mrs Doubtfire
The Addams family
The computer-animated rendering of the mad clan, recently immortalized in Charles Addams’ comic strip, pales alongside Barry Sonnenfeld’s diabolical live-action foray. Death becomes Anjelica Huston’s seductively seductive Morticia, while Christina Ricci steals the scene as the creepy daughter on Wednesday. Resistance to the finger click issue is pointless.
* Batteries not included
Sat, 12 noon, 5 *
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Cute miniature spaceships fend off greedy property developers and rescue an elderly couple from an inglorious twilight in a retirement home in Matthew Robbin’s enchanting science fiction fantasy from 1987. When it comes to healthy charm, the fuel tank never runs dry.
Sat, 12.55 p.m., ITV
Chris Noonan’s Oscar-winning comedy takes the bacon home while the title pork experiences the restorative power of love as he tends sheep under the guidance of James Cromwell’s friendly farmer. A high Greek chorus of singing mice introduces each warm sentimental chapter.
The 1995 film Babe won an Oscar (Photo: Universal / Getty)
Back to the Future
Amazon Prime Video
Great Scott! Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd excitedly turn back the clock to hand liven up 1950s California with a homemade DeLorean time machine in the opening salvo of Robert Zemeckis’ imaginative trilogy. Special effects gel perfectly with impressive details from the time.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
Sat, 3:10 p.m., ITV2 / Amazon Prime Video / Netflix
In Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda’s candy-colored fable, a call to arms blossoms to reforest our plundered planet. The animators’ palette is as bright as the future facing Dr. Seuss’ book, and Danny DeVito pronounces the mustache sprite of the same name excellently.
Tim Burton’s corpse bride
Sun, 1:20 p.m., ITV2 / Amazon Prime Video / Netflix
Gothic grandmaster Tim Burton returns to meticulous stop-motion animation of A Nightmare Before Christmas for a macabre love story from the 19th century. Johnny Depp is the perfect match for a shy suitor facing a nightmarish wedding to Helena Bonham Carter’s undead harpy.
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How to train your dragon
Sun, 2.50 a.m., Film4 / Netflix
Cressida Cowell’s beloved book provides ample inspiration for the coming-of-age computer-animated story of Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, who soars to dizzying heights on the back of a Night Fury dragon named Toothless. Have enough tissues ready for the thrilling finale.
Sun, 4.45 p.m., Film4 / Amazon Prime Video
A round of freshly cut jam sandwiches would be the perfect accompaniment to the enchanting genesis of director Paul King for the bear in the duffel bag immortalized in Michael Bond’s books. Ben Whishaw’s vocal performance as Paddington is divine.
There should be jam sandwiches everywhere when looking at Paddington. Photo: Studiocanal / PA Wire)
Romancing the Stone
Wed, 6.50 p.m., film4
Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas spark sizzling screen chemistry as romance novelists and mischievous bird smugglers in Robert Zemeckis’ global treasure hunt. Diane Thomas’ lively script raids Raiders of the Lost Ark for hijinks.
Beauty and the Beast
Disney’s impotent “story as old as time” was the first animated feature to compete for the best picture at the Oscars. Almost 30 years later, it’s unmatched for memorable characters, humor, and songbook wizardry courtesy of composer Alan Menken and lyricists Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.
The image of Tom Hanks crafting the ivory of a giant piano player is firmly anchored in pop culture thanks to Penny Marshall’s heartwarming celebration of childhood innocence. The Zoltan Speaks machine in the film fulfills our wish for a perfectly designed family feature.
Director Simon Wincer’s rousing story about man and nature in perfect harmony causes a sensation thanks to the heartfelt performance of 13-year-old Jason James Richter as a restless foster child who forges a permanent bond with a captured killer whale and plans the escape of the animal .
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Pre-Halloween tricks and treats abound in Rob Letterman’s energetic fantasy adventure based on RL Stine’s children’s books. Jack Black cackles with glee as the malicious mannequin who unleashes loads of monsters in downtown Delaware, including a breast-beating hideous snowman.
Holes was adapted for the screen by the author Louis Sachar from his novel and is an overlooked gem from the naughties. He follows Shia LaBeouf’s badly injured teenager to a detention center run with an iron fist by Sigourney Weaver’s lip-smacking guard.
Honey, I’ve shrunk the kids
In Joe Johnston’s 1989 franchise comedy, size matters. She exposes a quartet of brave siblings to the shrinking ray cannon of a mad inventor and challenges the 1-inch guys to navigate the giant obstacle course in their backyard at insect level.
Long before Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart rumbled into the jungle, Robin Williams’ manic energy electrified this exuberant frenzy that rolls the dice of a magical board game with the power to let go of rhinos in a sleepy New Hampshire neighborhood.
Jumanji played Robin Williams, Adam Hann Byrd and a young Kirsten Dunst. Photo: Columbia Tristar Films)
Amazon Prime Video
Genetically engineered dinosaurs rule the earth as director Steven Spielberg gallops through a flawed theme park on the wings of John Williams’ orchestral score. From the moment those waves herald a raging T-Rex, it’s an intense, exhilarating ride. Hold tight.
The karate kid
Pat Morita’s gracious artisan Miyagi uses unconventional teaching methods to impart martial arts knowledge to Ralph Macchio’s bullied teen in an ’80s slam-dunk-sleeper hit. The rocky road to salvation at the All-Valley Karate Championships still leaves a lump in my throat.
Sergio Pablos’ cleverly animated ice cape turns the page of Saint Nicholas and suggests an alternative origin story for Santa Claus as a collaboration between a lowly postmaster and a brilliant toy manufacturer in the snow-covered Smeerensburg.
Pam Ferris is wonderfully grotesque as the hammer throwing headmistress Agatha Trunchbull in Danny DeVito’s humorous black distillation of Roald Dahl. A cherubic Mara Wilson uses her telekinetic powers in the title role to make sure the kids are okay through the closing frames.
Julie Andrews is perfect in every way in the 1964 Oscar-winning musical fantasy based on PL Travers’ books. Your magical nanny comes in wonderfully timely with Dick Van Dyke’s gritty chimney sweep and delivers a spoonful of sugar to the broken Banks family in pre-WWI London.
Dick van Dyke and Julie Andrews with the 1964 film Mary Poppins (Photo: FilmPublicityArchive / United Archives / Getty)
Robin Williams ‘flare bubbles under the big bosom of Scottish nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire in Chris Columbus’ exciting 1993 comedy about the sensitive issues of divorce and quitting
San Francisco family. Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan manage – somehow – to keep their faces straight while the chaos breaks out around them.
Amazon Prime Video / Netflix
Writer and director Debbie Isitt’s improvised musical comedy isn’t just for Christmas. Gift wrapped with a breathtaking performance by Marc Wootton as a disturbed class assistant Mr Poppy, Nativity! spreads a message of joy at a Coventry elementary school during a rehearsal for an annual Christmas extravaganza.
Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 Magical Odyssey (above) is a jewel in the crown of Tokyo-based animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli. You deservedly won the Oscar for this Alice in Wonderland-like fall through Japanese folklore accompanied by a brave 10 year old girl whose parents are turned into pigs by a witch.
The princess bride
Amazon Prime Video
Death cannot stop true love. So says Cary Elwes’ brave farmer when he buckles his swash to win the heart of Robin Wright’s shining princess during Rob Reiner’s fantastic 1987 expedition. The wonderfully disrespectful tone and frequently quoted dialogue of William Goldman’s script ensure a happy life.
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Toy Story Quadrilogy
Zoom into infinity and beyond with Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and friends who have fueled the imaginations of Pixar’s Mercury animators for 25 years. Nostalgia in childhood shimmers in every frame of four fast-paced capers, which are underlined by Randy Newman’s sweet-sentimental music.
Pixar’s 2008 romance set against a 28th century dump is brought to an Oscar-winning shine by director Andrew Stanton. Sound designer Ben Burtt’s symphony with robotic beeps replaces traditional dialogue but still speaks volumes with musical interludes courtesy of Hello, Dolly !.
Willy Wonka & the chocolate factory
Everyone wins a golden ticket to Mel Stuart’s shabby confectionery, made according to the recipe for success in Roald Dahl’s children’s book and flavored with Gene Wilder’s lip-like embodiment of the eccentric factory owner.
Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Photo: Silver Screen Collection / Getty)
Jennifer Connelly embarks on an unusual babysitting adventure, accompanied by wondrous dolls from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. A shaggy-haired David Bowie is entrusted with the U certificate villainy of a goblin king who snatches a child.
This anthropomorphic buddy-cop comedy rubs the foot of a lucky rabbit – in this case rookie cop Judy Hopps – to combine a confused animated Whodunnit with a contemporary allegory of multiculturalism.
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