Holiday entertainment at the movies with <i>The Croods</i>.

Holiday entertainment at the movies with The Croods.

Could it be the autumn school holidays already? Luckily, there’s a movie for every age group. Consult our trusty guide, check your local cinema for specials, and get along to one of the many flicks being screened for tots, tweens and teens. Happy viewing.

Now showing

Story:Action redo of the famous fairytale has farm-boy Jack (Nicholas Hoult) teaming with a dashing knight (Ewan McGregor) to rescue a princess from the kingdom of the giants.
Language: Four swear words.
Sex: A kiss.
Violence: Frequent fights, battles;ferocious giants.
Ages: 3 to 6: Fee-fi-fo-fum, too much pandemonium for little ’uns. 7 to 12: Older kids will love a farting giant and stunning visuals. 13-plus: The target audience for exhilarating action. Adult compatibility: High, thanks to classy 3D effects from X-Men director Bryan Singer.
Critic’s rating: 8/10

Now showing (Tuesdays, weekends)

Story: Live-action cinema debut for the Australian group who perfected preschooler-friendly song and dance shows. Unlike The Wiggles, this‘‘Playschool meets pop’’ group always included girls. Here, the team auditions three new cast members.
Language: Na-na-nana-nothing.
Sex: Ditto.
Violence: Double ditto.
Ages: 3 to 6: Bullseye! It’s Australian, it’s upbeat and a tot-size 52 minutes. Expect dancing in the aisles. 7 to 12: The clever star-search format appeals here. 13-plus: And here, if they grew up watching the 14-year-old series on television. Adult compatibility:Twenty(short) songs will wear littlies out. Priceless! Critic’s rating: 8/10


Out on April 11 (in NSW)

Story:Australian-set sequel to the 2008 movie based on Wendy Orr’s book. Bindi Irwin (daughter of television star Steve) plays 14-year-old Nim, who must protect her island from poachers while scientist dad (MatthewLillard) is away.
Language: ‘‘Numbskull’’ is it.
Sex: No.
Violence: Threats, a punch.
Ages: 3 to 6: Older kids will love Nim’s sea lion bodyguard and pooping birds. 7 to 12:Yes, for Bindi’s fans. 13-plus: Ditto, for young teens. Adult compatibility: Plainly made but briskly paced adventure offers a pleasingly real, non-Bratz heroine.
Critic’s rating: 7/10


Out on Thursday

Story: Animated adventure in which prehistoric action-man Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage) is horrified when teen daughter Eep (EmmaStone) meets brainy Guy (RyanReynolds) and wants to try something new: thinking.
Language: ‘‘Dummy’’ is it.
Sex: No.
Violence: Blows; scary (and toothy) predators; death themes.
Ages: 3 to 6: Older tots will love the cute animals. 7 to 12: Perfect audience for gorgeous,well-lit 3D visuals and affectionate family slapstick. 13-plus:Yes! Adult compatibility: Surprisingly high, thanks to classy voice stars and a script with genuine personality. The best family film these holidays.
Critic’s rating: 9/10


Out on April 11

Story:Action-comedy in which zombie ‘‘R’’ (Nicholas Hoult) worries that he’s too weird to woo a human (Australian Teresa Palmer).
Language: Seven swear words in total.
Sex: A passionate kiss.
Violence: Shoot-outs; attacking‘‘bonies’’. Angry dad John Malkovich is even scarier.
Ages: 3 to 6: Get out of this dead zone! 7 to 12: Twilight-themed forbidden romance won’t please them. 13-plus: Great blend of jokes and action scores here. Adult compatibility: Good, thanks to an excellent cast.
Critic’s rating: 8/10

Now showing

Story: Large-format documentary recreates prehistoric mammoths and saber-toothed tigers.
Language:No thank you,we’re old school (late Pleistocene era).
Sex: Ditto.
Violence: Death themes;wolf attacks.
Ages: 3 to 6:Too vivid for most. 7 to 12: Target audience, although the 3D effects are uneven. 13-plus: For young teenagers .Adult compatibility:Many parents will think paying for 45 minutes of educational novelty is worth it.
Critic’s rating: 7/10


Now showing

Story: British version of Charles Dickens’ story about poor country lad Pip (Jeremy Irvine) helping a runaway convict (Ralph Fiennes).
Language: One four-letter word.
Sex: No.
Violence: Death themes, fights and a deadly fire.
Ages: 3 to 6:No thank you, sir! 7 to 12: Father-son themes appeal. 13-plus: They’ll enjoy the action and delicate romance between Pip and pretty, heartless Estella. Adult compatibility: The best parent-child outing these holidays:gorgeously filmed; Helena Bonham Carter’s Miss Havisham is poignant.
Critic’s rating: 8/10


Now showing

Story:Live-action fantasy adventure about the fictional Wizard of Oz. A circus magician (James Franco) is whisked via tornado to a fantastic land.
Language: ‘‘Shut up’’ is it.
Sex: Kisses.
Violence: Scary lions, witches; death themes, explosions.
Ages: 3 to 6: Zimzalabim! Not. 7 to 12: Franco pulls funny faces but this feels about as long as the yellow brick road. 13-plus: The 3D stunts camouflage flabby plotting. Adult compatibility:The 2D version looks less murky but feels a bit duller.
Critic’s rating:6/10


Now showing

Story: School pals turned famous magicians Burt (Steve Carell) and Anton (Steve Buscemi) find their friendship threatened by a ruthless rival (Jim Carrey).
Language: Plenty.
Sex: Yes, and there’s nothing magical about it.
Violence: Carrey menaces, with blows, knife cuts. Plus, he threatens a kitten.
Ages: 3 to 6: Alakazaaa, no! 7 to 12: It’s fun seeing the tricks behind the magic but a potty mouth ruins the sense-of-wonder theme. 13-plus: Older teens will enjoy Carrey’s hilarious show-off, not mopey Carell. Adult compatibility: Delicious support, again, from Little Miss Sunshine’s Alan Arkin. The rest is formulaic comedy.
Critic’s rating: 5/10


Now showing.

Story: Fifth in the series has cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) helping his grown-up son (Australian Jai Courtney) foil gangsters in Moscow.
Language: Plenty.
Sex: No.
Violence: Are you kidding? Just about everything gets blown up, shot or flattened.
Ages: 3 to 6: No way! 7 to 12: Send them elsewhere. 13-plus: Older teens are the target audience for efficient father-son bonding action. Adult compatibility: Yawn.
Critic’s rating: 5/10



The best of the other movies on offer include: First Position (G, out April 11), a documentary about six pre-teen ballet dancers competing for places with prestigious companies. Dwayne ‘‘The Rock’’ Johnson is usually good value but his action flick G. I. Joe: Retaliation 3D (out Thursday) was late previewing (never a good sign). Another question mark hangs over the 3D version of dinosaur classic Jurassic Park (M, out April 4, one week only). Retro fitting 2D flicks in 3D frequently flops: maybe that’s why the studio refused to preview this monster hit. Also releasing are familiar sounding animated flicks Escape from Planet Earth (PG, out April 11 in NSW), about aliens captured by humans, and Zambezia (G, out Thursday), about a bird city in Africa. Futuristic thriller The Host (M), from the book by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer, is also out on Thursday.