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Jennifer Hudson (left) plays a single mother dealing with her troubled son (Jacob Latimore) in "Black Nativity," an adaptation of Langston Hughes' musical drama. Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures
Snuggle up with your little one with these kid-friendly films
First Published Dec 17 2013 12:49 pm • Last Updated Dec 20 2013 12:50 pm

With chilly weather arriving and winter break approaching, it’s a good time to head to the movies with your family or friends. You might already have seen an early holiday release, such as "The Book Thief" or "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." Here are some more kid-friendly offerings. The movies — full of action, drama and even songs — might be just what you need to while away a Saturday afternoon or a day off from school.

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"Frozen" (rated PG, in theaters now)

This modern retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s "The Snow Queen" is the story of two orphaned princesses, Elsa and Anna, who live in the kingdom of Arendelle. When Elsa is crowned queen, her subjects discover that she has the power to turn things into ice. She accidentally brings year-round winter to Arendelle and then runs away. Anna teams with a mountaineer, a reindeer and a talking snowman to brave the frozen wilderness and try to bring her back.

"Black Nativity" (rated PG, in theaters now)

A street-smart teenager named Langston lives in Baltimore with his mom, who is having money problems. He’s sent to spend Christmas with grandparents in New York City but doesn’t like the rules of his preacher grandfather. Langston wants to go back home, but he has a lot to learn before he can get there. The movie, which stars Jacob Latimore, Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker, is filled with holiday gospel music.

"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" (rated PG-13, opens Dec. 13)

Bilbo Baggins returns in the second of three films based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novel "The Hobbit." Bilbo, Gandalf the wizard and 13 dwarfs continue their journey to the Lonely Mountain. They aim to reclaim the dwarfs’ homeland, Erebor. The group faces many new dangers — including huge spiders — but the worst is the evil dragon Smaug.


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"Saving Mr. Banks" (rated PG-13, opens Dec. 20)

"Mary Poppins" is among the most-loved musicals in movie history, but getting it on the big screen was not as easy as spelling supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. "Saving Mr. Banks" shows how Walt Disney jumped through hoops to prove to author P.L. Travers that her beloved flying nanny would not be turned into a cartoon.



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