The updated Disney+ adaptation of the classic children’s novel “Black Beauty” takes many liberties with the original plot. Kate Winslet provides Beauty’s voice and Mackenzie Foy is the girl who loves her. While this version of “Black Beauty” is uninspired and the filmmaking is sometimes clumsy, it’s still a harmless, winsome distraction for kids.
Watching the animated caveman sequel “The Croods: A New Age” is a bit like watching a runaway dinosaur stampede. Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds lead the voice cast in the story of prehistoric people who stumble upon an oasis. It’s a well-produced but hyperactive comedy.
Average human Melissa McCarthy takes on an all-powerful artificial intelligence bent on world domination in the comedy, “Superintelligence.” It’s predictably broad and silly but benefits greatly from McCarthy’s considerable personal appeal.
Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis play a lesbian couple who have to decide whether or not to come out to the family at Christmastime in the clever, sweet-natured holiday offering “Happiest Season.” It doesn’t all ring true, but it’s an amiable and funny romantic comedy.
“The Christmas Chronicles 2” is a sequel to the surprise 2018 Netflix holiday hit. Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn play Santa and Mrs. Clause who recruit two kids to help them save Christmas from being sabotaged by a particularly naughty elf. It’s likable but may leave the kids with a sugar rush.
“Uncle Frank” is a well written and beautifully acted story that takes place in the uptight 70s. Paul Bettany portrays a gay literature professor in New York who goes on a road trip with his young niece to attend his estranged dad’s funeral in South Carolina. The cast is first-rate in this heartfelt cry for tolerance from Oscar-winning filmmaker Alan Ball.
Your local art house theaters are offering online viewing options for a number of intriguing movie titles. More information is available at nelson-atkins.org, Screenland.com, fineartsgroup.com and drafthouse.com.