Family budgets: Make movie night safe again with family-friendly review sites

Bonnie McCarthy

Around my house, we don't make the decision to pile into the car and head over to our local Cineplex as easily as we once did. It costs a lot of money these days to see talking animals, wild things and giant meatballs falling from the sky -- and don't get me started on the popcorn.

Going to see the latest kid's film use to be a no-brainer and if the adults slept through it, well, it didn't really matter, but no more. When a family of four has to pay a total of $40.50 to see a "regular" movie, or $56.50 to see that movie in digital 3D, or splurges to see that same movie in digital 3D playing on the "giant" IMAX screen for a whopping $60.50, it suddenly becomes very important that everyone is at least mildly amused or entertained.

To buy tickets to all of the new movies coming out would cost literally hundreds of dollars, and if you throw in drinks and snacks -- there goes college. How to find one that's family-friendly and worth the expense?

Movie reviews for kids are not new, but they are getting increasingly relevant as families demand more of a sure-bet for their entertainment budget. It's impossible to promise that everyone will like a movie, but if you know who to listen to there will be more hits than misses.

Most of the websites are free, such as Kids-in-Mind., Commonsensemedia, Parentpreviews, and Moviemom.