Homage to Earth and Its Animal Inhabitants


What to Watch in the Theater:
Penguins (G) is in theaters now. The latest light-hearted film from Disneynature follows Steve, an Adelie penguin, as he returns to his home for his first springtime mating season. Beautifully shot, this film shares the beauty of nature, while injecting some humor into the plight of this plucky little guy, just trying to do what’s supposed to come naturally.  We worry about Steve, his mate and their offspring, as there are some precarious situations (and one particularly scary scene with a leopard seal), but overall the tone of the movie is light and hopeful. As in all Disney films, the audience is drawn in by bonding with a relatable character, and it’s a great way to introduce younger kids to nature films.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5


The Curse of La Llorona (R) is in theaters now. This film, which is part of the Conjuring universe, follows a family that is drawn into a Mexican legend they had no previous knowledge of. Linda Cardellini plays single mom and social worker Anna, fighting for her kids’ lives against the “Weeping Woman.” This movie has all the requisite jump scares and a creepy paranormal figure, without a lot of gore. The R-rating is primarily for moderate violence, mild language and a lot of terror. It gave us a good scare.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Unicorn Store (TVPG) is now streaming exclusively on Netflix. This movie’s lead is a post-Oscar winning, pre-Captain Marvel Brie Larson, and she also makes her directorial debut. Art student, Kit, has been kicked out of school and is determined to get a “real job” and not disappoint her parents. She receives an invitation to a mysterious store, where the quirky salesman (Samuel L. Jackson) promises her the one thing she’s always wanted – a unicorn. Kit must check off some boxes before she receives her mythical best friend, and in the process she (of course) goes on a journey of self discovery, and makes a new friend. This film has important messages about loving yourself, and finding what you really need in life.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

Our Planet (TVG) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. This beautifully shot 8-part series documents different nature topics. This one had a lot of pros and cons for us. The cinematography is the best thing about it, and there’s a great opportunity for learning about a variety of nature subjects. The organization of the material was a little confusing – sometimes geographical, sometimes based on a common element. Jennifer didn’t appreciate nonegenarian narrator David Attenborough’s vocal style. Max saw the series as a nonstop commercial for the WWF (the climate-change messages were a little heavy-handed). There were some devastating scenes of animal peril (stretching the G-rating just a bit). This one is the polar opposite (pun intended) of a Disneynature film.
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5

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