Home Video Picks & Passes 04.25.21

Childhood nostalgia and smart sci-fi are in the latest movie roundup.

Beverly Cleary fan? Watch ‘Ramona and Beezus.’
Beverly Cleary fan? Watch ‘Ramona and Beezus.’ (photo: 20th Century Fox)

Arrival (2016) — PICK

Ramona and Beezus (2010)  — PICK

If the recent death of the beloved, prolific children’s author Beverly Cleary has you nostalgic for the neighborhood of Klickitat Street and the children, animals and grown-ups who roamed that neighborhood throughout her books, now is a great time to check out Elizabeth Allen’s Ramona and Beezus (newly available on Hulu and a cheap Amazon rental).

Disney princess Selena Gomez is winsome and natural in the role of Beezus, but the casting that matters most is newcomer Joey King, who’s the ideal Ramona.

Why can’t all grown-up movies be as smart and morally resonant as Arrival (now streaming on Amazon Prime), Denis Villeneuve’s masterful sci-fi adaptation of a short story by Ted Chiang?

Amy Adams plays a linguist whose previous government contract work puts her on the inside track for first contact when alien spacecraft arrive at locations all over the globe. The central conceit, that our perceptions of reality are shaped and conditioned by language, collides in unexpectedly moving ways with themes of life and death, grief and meaning, and the innate human longing to transcend time and finitude.


CAVEAT SPECTATOR: Arrival: Brief violent images; limited bad language; stressful family situations. Teens and up. Ramona and Beezus: Some domestic friction; a poignant episode involving a beloved family pet. Kids and up.