This week, I'm recommending the live-action reboot of a Disney classic, a kid-friendly fairy-tale comedy, and a prom season favorite.
Rated G Pick: "101 Dalmatians" (1996, 103 minutes) Netflix Amazon Instant iTunes
Kids Will Love: Kids who've seen the Disney classic will still find this live-action adaptation hilarious. Glenn Close's campy performance as Cruella de Vil and all the slapstick routines courtesy of her bumbling henchmen (English comedy greats Hugh Laurie and Mark Williams) will keep kiddos laughing for an hour and a half.
Parents Will Love: Glenn Close was born to play Cruella de Vil (one of my all-time favorite Disney villains), and she is evilly delicious as the fur-obsessed maniac. She has so much fun playing the part that she's the main reason to check out the comedy.
Did You Know? The screenwriter who adapted "101 Dalmatians" for its live-action debut was none other than the late great writer-director John Hughes, who made more money from it than any of his other films because his contract included a share of the merchandising profits.
Rated PG Pick: "Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil" (PG, 2011, 86 minutes) Netflix Amazon Instant iTunes
Kids Will Love: This "Hoodwinked" sequel once again puts a spin on the old "Little Red Riding Hood" tale, and kids will get a kick out of the fact that Little Red may be a young girl, but she's in a covert group that investigates mysteries within the fairy-tale universe. The action and humor make this a fun pick for kids.
Parents Will Love: That the kids are watching an age-appropriate movie. I prefer the original "Hoodwinked," but my kids, especially the younger two (5 and 8), loved this movie and all of its silly references and sight gags. I appreciated that the main character is a fierce girl, Little Red, who does the rescuing instead of needing to be rescued.
Teen Pick: "Pretty in Pink" (PG, 1986, 96 minutes) Netflix Amazon Instant iTunes
Teens Will Love: It's prom season, so this is a perfect spring pick. The songs and the outfits and the slang might be outdated, but the issues remain relevant, even 27 years later. Teens can still relate to class and social status differences, the best friend who secretly yearns for more, and the quirky, independent girl who falls for the rich boy who's about more than his money.
Parents Will Love: For most parents of teens, this is a return to the movies of our youth. Feel free to quote the lines and point out to your kids that the mom from "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" was once the queen bee of high-school movies. Also, discuss how James Spader set the standard for the rich jerk in all teen flicks to follow.
Did You Know? Although it's considered a John Hughes movie, Hughes wrote the screenplay but did not direct. The director is Howard Deutch, who followed up his debut with another Hughes-penned teen flick, "Some Kind of Wonderful" -- during which he met his wife, actress Lea Thompson.