School's out for summer, and your children are suddenly around all of the time. If my own film-savvy crew is any indication, it won't be long before the kids are clamoring for an air-conditioned matinee on a regular basis. Without another 'Harry Potter' installment due in theaters until November, the summer of 2010 belongs to the other big-franchise sequels: 'Shrek Forever After,' 'Toy Story 3,' and for tweens and teens (and, um, the occasional dazzled mom), 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.'

If you leave the huge action blockbusters, romantic chick flicks, and R-rated comedies for date nights, here are your best bets (from newborn-themed documentaries to 3-D fantasy adventures) for whole-family fun at the movies this summer.


School's out for summer, and your children are suddenly around all of the time. If my own film-savvy crew is any indication, it won't be long before the kids are clamoring for an air-conditioned matinee on a regular basis. Without another 'Harry Potter' installment due in theaters until November, the summer of 2010 belongs to the other big-franchise sequels: 'Shrek Forever After,' 'Toy Story 3,' and for tweens and teens (and, um, the occasional dazzled mom), 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.'

If you leave the huge action blockbusters, romantic chick flicks, and R-rated comedies for date nights, here are your best bets (from newborn-themed documentaries to 3-D fantasy adventures) for whole-family fun at the movies this summer.

Baby'Babies'

Opening:
May 7
Starring:
Babies Ponijao, Mari, Bayar, Hattie and their families
What It's About: Documentary filmmaker Thomas Balmès and producer Alain Chabat chronicled the lives of four babies from birth to first birthdays. Hailing from Namibia, Japan, Mongolia and the U.S., the babies depict the many differences (some babies share their bath water with goats) and similarities (all babies cry, coo and melt audiences' hearts) of infancy and parenthood around the world.

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Shrek'Shrek Forever After'

Opening: May 21
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas
What It's About: The lovable ogres and their Far, Far Away pals return for a fourth edition of the fairy-tale franchise. This time, Shrek (Myers) is tricked by Rumpelstiltskin (Walt Dohrn) into living a day in an alternative universe where he was never born, and has to figure out a way to kiss a Fiona who's never met him before. Time paradoxes for kids? We trust it will make sense and include some catchy tunes.

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Marmaduke'Marmaduke'
Opening: June 4
Starring:
Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Emma Stone, Kiefer Sutherland, Owen Wilson
What It's About: The famous comic-book Great Dane (voiced by Wilson) and his family, including "step-brother" Carlos the cat (George Lopez), move to The O.C., where Marmaduke must contend with the cliqueish nature of the local dog park. Loads of talking animals, scene after scene of sight gags and canine hijinks are sure to appeal to the youngest of moviegoers.

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Karate Kid'The Karate Kid'
Opening: June 11
Starring:
Jackie Chan, Jaden Smith, Taraji P. Henson
What It's About: As in the original, a single mother (Henson) moves her only son Dre (Smith) far away for a better job (this time instead of California, it's China). Sick of being taunted by the local Chinese bullies, young Dre seeks help from his building's maintenance man, Mr. Han (Chan), who teaches him the art of karate with a unique spin. Sorry folks, no "Wax on!/Wax off!", but there is "Jacket on!/Jacket off!"

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Toy Story 3'Toy Story 3'
Opening: June 18
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Michael Keaton, Joan Cusack
What It's About: Andy is heading off to college, so Woody (Hanks), Buzz (Allen), Jessie (Cusack) and the rest of his toys end up donated to Sunnyside Daycare, where they make new friends like Ken (Keaton), scented teddy bear Mr. Pricklepants (Ned Beatty), Trixie the Triceratops (Kristen Schaal) and more. When the toy-box pals find out Andy's looking for Woody, they hatch a plan to escape from the day care and return once more to their true owner.

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Twilight'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse'
Opening: June 30
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke
What It's About: If you're among the uninitiated, this third installment in the 'Twilight' saga is all about Bella (Stewart) making her romantic choice between vampire-boyfriend Edward (Pattinson) and werewolf-best friend Jacob (Lautner). To combat an out-for-blood vampire, Victoria (Bryce Dallas Howard), the archenemy vampires and werewolves must help each other before she kills lovesick Bella.

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The Last Airbender'The Last Airbender'
Opening: July 2
Starring:
Jackson Rathbone, Dev Patel, Cliff Curtis, Nicola Peltz
What It's About: M. Night Shyamalan tries his hand at a children's fantasy flick in this hero's adventure following young Aang (Noah Ringer), the last in a long line of Avatars, or masters of all four elements. To restore peace to the four nations (Fire, Earth, Water and Air), Aang must fulfill his destiny of defeating the evil Fire Lord (Curtis) and freeing the other elements' people from his tyrannical rule.

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Despicable Me'Despicable Me'
Opening: July 9
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Jason Segel, Miranda Cosgrove
What It's About: In this 3-D adventure, supervillain Gru (Carell) has grand, hi-tech plans to shrink and steal the moon; but before he can execute his master scheme, he's faced with the unlikely task of caring for three young girls: Margo (Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher). Meanwhile, Gru's just-as-evil archrival Vector (Segel) will spare no expense to stop him from succeeding.

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Nicolas Cage'The Sorcerer's Apprentice'
Opening: July 16
Starring:
Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Monica Bellucci, Alfred Molina
What It's About: Jerry Bruckheimer's latest summer action epic is a live-action adaptation of an animated segment in Disney's 'Fantasia' and Goethe's 18th-century ballad. Baruchel plays the Mickey Mouse character -- a college student who winds up the chosen apprentice of a sorcerer (Cage) preparing for a supernatural war. Expect huge explosions, eye-popping special effects and as always, Cage in a crazy hairstyle.

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Ramona and Beezus'Ramona and Beezus'
Opening: July 23
Starring:
Joey King, Selena Gomez, John Corbett, Bridget Moynahan
What It's About: Beverly Cleary's beloved character Ramona Quimby finally comes to the big screen in this adaptation that focuses on Ramona (King) and her big sister Beezus (Gomez). The rambunctious 8-year-old manages to get in all sorts of mildly embarrassing trouble, and the G-rated family comedy naturally features an original song by teen star Gomez.

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Step Up 3D'Step-Up 3-D'
Opening: August 6
Starring:
Alyson Stoner, Rick Malambri, Sharni Vinson, Adam G. Sevani
What It's About: The third movie in Disney's teen dance franchise is less 'Romeo and Juliet' than the original, and more 'You Got Served.' A group of aspiring young New York dancers team up to form a crew led by Luke (Malambri) and Natalie (Vinson) that battles other street dancers around the city. Prepare for acrobatic 3-D dance moves, teen romance and a hip-hop-filled soundtrack.

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