30 September 2022
8 movies to binge-watch with the kids in school holidays
We understand that during school holidays, it sometimes helps for kids’ screen time to last longer than a 24-minute episode. So here’s our cheat sheet to eight great children’s films they can watch this holiday, to give you more than an 80-minute break.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (10-12PG LV)
The biggest box office hit of 2021 globally, Spider-Man: No Way Home sees Peter Parker turn to Doctor Strange for help after Spider-Man’s identity is revealed. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
As Peter Parker, Tom Holland was nominated as Best Actor at the 2022 Critics Choice Super Awards, where he lost out to co-star Andrew Garfield as, well, Peter Parker. Willem Dafoe was named Best Villain as Green Goblin and Zendaya was up for Best Actress as MJ.
Also starring Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, No Way Home was named Best Superhero Movie at the 2022 Critics Choice Super Awards, was nominated for an Oscar for its VFX, and became the biggest Spider-Man movie yet and the sixth-highest-grossing film of all time.
Recommended for ages 11 and up by Common Sense Media, the movie has a 93% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus says, “A bigger, bolder Spider-Man sequel, No Way Home expands the franchise’s scope and stakes without losing sight of its humour and heart,” while Empire Magazine saying, “At the risk of getting cheesy, it won’t just make you cheer, it’ll make you want to hug your friends, too.”
Sing 2 (PG)
The sequel to 2016’s Sing, Sing 2 was the biggest animated film of 2021 and the 10th highest-grossing film of the year. It comes from Illumination, the studio that gave us Despicable Me, The Minions, and The Secret Life of Pets.
Recommended for ages 7+ by Common Sense Media, Sing 2 follows the ever-optimistic koala, Buster Moon (Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey) and his cast as they plan to launch their most dazzling stage extravaganza yet in the glittering entertainment capital of the world. But to get their show on at the Crystal Tower Theater in glamorous Redshore City, they need to win over ruthless mogul wolf Jimmy Crystal (Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale), and persuade reclusive lion rock legend Clay Calloway (voiced by U2 frontman Bono, in his animated film debut) to return to the stage.
The sensational returning voice cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly, and Nick Kroll, along with a host of new characters voiced by the likes of Black Panther’s Letitia Wright, comedians Eric Andre and Chelsea Peretti, and music superstars Pharrell Williams and Halsey. The soundtrack includes hits from Billie Eilish, BTS, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Kiana Ledé, Kygo, Sam I, Anitta, and Mercury Rev.
Get ready for big dreams, spectacular hit songs, and a reminder of the power of music to heal even the most broken heart.
Also catch the original, Sing, on Showmax.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (10-12PG VH)
The 22nd biggest box office hit of 2021, Ghostbusters: Afterlife picks up 32 years after the events of Ghostbusters II. A single mom and her two kids move to the Oklahoma farm they inherited from her estranged father, and begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife stars Emmy nominees Mckenna Grace (The Handmaid’s Tale; I, Tonya) and Carrie Coon (The Gilded Age, The Leftovers, Avengers’ Proxima Midnight); Critics Choice Award winner Paul Rudd (Ant-Man); and MTV Movie Award winner Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things, It), while cameos from the likes of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Sigourney Weaver will thrill fans of the 1984 original.
The film was nominated for a 2022 Critics Choice Super Award nominee for Best Actress in a Sci-Fi Fantasy (McKenna Grace) and a 2022 BAFTA for Best SFX.
In their five star review, Common Sense Media recommends Ghostbusters: Afterlife for kids 10 and up, praising it as a “playful paranormal reboot” that “offers funny frights for families.”
Space Jam: A New Legacy | PGLV
The long-awaited sequel to the 1996 favourite Space Jam, Space Jam: A New Legacy sees a rogue AI trap basketball champion LeBron James and his son in a digital space, forcing LeBron, Bugs Bunny, and a gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes into the highest-stakes basketball game ever as they face the AI’s digitised champions on the court.
Starring alongside LeBron is Emmy winner Zendaya (Euphoria), Oscar nominee Don Cheadle (War Machine in Avengers: Endgame), Critics Choice Super Award nominee Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery and The Walking Dead), and Critics Choice nominee Rosario Dawson (Dopesick).
Recommended for ages 7+ by Common Sense Media, Space Jam: A New Legacy was nominated for Favourite Movie and Favourite Actor (LeBron) at the 2022 Kids’ Choice Awards, and for Best Movie at the 2022 BET Awards. The 27th biggest box office hit of 2021 globally, Space Jam: A New Legacy is a slam dunk for your next family movie night.
Nominated for a People’s Choice Award for The Family Movie of 2021 and a 2022 Annie Award for Outstanding Character Animation, The Boss Baby: Family Business (aka The Boss Baby 2) catches up with the now-adult Templeton brothers, who’ve drifted apart until a new boss baby sets out to bring them together again – and save childhood along the way.
The 32nd biggest box office hit of 2021 globally, The Boss Baby: Family Business’ all-star voice cast includes gravelly-voiced Oscar nominee Alec Baldwin, who reprises his role as the Boss Baby alongside the likes of Critics Choice winner James Marsden, Oscar nominee Jeff Goldblum, Emmy winner Lisa Kudrow, Emmy nominees Amy Sedaris and Eva Longoria, and TV host Jimmy Kimmel.
Recommended for ages 6+ by Common Sense Media, The Boss Baby: Family Business is “a delightful mix of understated humour, wild fantasy, cheeky needle-drop songs, and some of the best-constructed action scenes in animated films,” says Movie Mom.
Showmax is also home to the Oscar-nominated first film, The Boss Baby.
Paw Patrol: The Movie (All ages)
No city’s too big, no pup’s too small, in PAW Patrol: The Movie. Based on the beloved pre-school TV series, the #33 biggest movie of 2021 tails Ryder and his pack of puppy hero friends to Adventure City, where greedy Mayor Humdinger is turning the bustling metropolis into a state of chaos. Plus, there’s a courageous new girl pup on the squad: Liberty, voiced by Teen Choice nominee Marsai Martin (Little, Black-ish).
PAW Patrol: The Movie is recommended for ages 4+ by Common Sense Media, where they say, “These adorable, selfless rescue pups are irresistible to preschoolers, who will be delighted by the movie’s sweet, simple adventure,” and “even audiences who don’t know anything more than the theme song will be pleasantly surprised… Its themes of teamwork, trust-building, and courage are overt without being preachy, and the celebrity voice cameos will make parents laugh, like Jimmy Kimmel playing a TV reporter, Tyler Perry as a truck driver in need of saving, and even Kim Kardashian West as a fancy poodle (naturally).”
“The movie has slightly more peril and cartoon violence than the show,” Common Sense adds, “but it continues to promote positive messages about courage, perseverance, teamwork, and problem-solving.”
Tom & Jerry: The Movie (PGV)
Our favourite cat and mouse are back in Tom & Jerry: The Movie, which sees Jerry move into New York’s finest hotel on the eve of the wedding of the century, forcing desperate event planner Kayla (Teen Choice and People’s Choice Award winner Chloë Grace Moretz) to hire Tom to get rid of the intruder. But, as mayhem ensues, their escalating cat-and-mouse battle soon threatens to destroy her career, the wedding, and possibly the hotel itself.
The 34th biggest film of 2021, Tom & Jerry was nominated as The Family Movie of 2021 at last year’s People’s Choice Awards.
A mix of live-action and animation, Tom & Jerry also stars Black Reel winner Michael Peña (Dora’s dad in Dora and the Lost City of Gold); Scarlett Johansson’s husband and 12-time Emmy-nominated Saturday Night Live writer Colin Jost; MTV Movie Award winner Ken Jeong (Crazy Rich Asians, The Hangover, Community); Patsy Ferran (who voiced Pearl in Zog and Zog and the Flying Doctors); and Jordan Bolger (Peaky Blinders, The 100).
Heroes don’t get any bigger than Clifford the Big Red Dog, which was nominated for a 2022 Kids’ Choice Award for Favourite Movie. Based on the beloved series of 80 children’s books by Norman Bridwell, the story centres on a tiny puppy called Clifford, who, it’s said, will only grow as much as his new best friend loves him. As it turns out though, young Emily loves Clifford quite a lot…
The 42nd biggest box office hit of 2021, the live-action film stars Young Entertainer Award nominee Darby Camp (Big Little Lies) as Emily, alongside the likes of British Comedy Award winner Jack Whitehall (Jungle Cruise, Bad Education), Emmy winners Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development) and Kenan Thompson (Kenan, Saturday Night Live), as well as Oscar nominees John Cleese (from Monty Python and the Spud movies) and Rosie Perez (The Road to El Dorado, Birds of Prey).
Recommending the film for ages 6+, Common Sense Media calls the movie “undeniably tenderhearted,” saying, “Clifford is such a delightful dog that even cynical parents will understand why Emily’s heart melts for him.”