Holiday season is always a great time for children’s movies, and starting this week get ready to be dazzled, entertained, and to laugh out loud. I’m talking to the adults.

While “Happy Feet Two” is still dancing near the top of the box office, (it came in No. 2 over the weekend); a new crop of family friendly movies is making its way to the big screen and all three are likely to become Christmas classics.

Now in the theaters is the 3-D animated film, “Arthur Christmas.” Have you ever wondered how Santa delivers toys to children around the world in one night? As adults we chalk it up to fantasy, but in “Arthur Christmas” they break it down and show us how it is “really” done. It’s an ultra-high tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. And Santa’s oldest son Steve, voiced by Hugh Laurie (“House”) is the big man in charge.

And then there is Arthur, voiced by James McAvoy (“X-Men: First Class”). He’s the youngest son, full of heart, dedicated to Christmas, and to some, especially Steve, a walking disaster. Arthur works in the Letters to Santa Room. He reads all the letters, makes a list and checks it twice so that every child gets his or her Christmas wish. But something goes wrong, and to Arthur’s horror one little girl may not get her Christmas wish, while Steve blows her off, Arthur goes “old school.” He takes his grandfather’s old, time-worn sleigh and reindeer for the ride of their lives.
The 3-D animation and the highly detailed artwork adds to the excitement and fun of this movie.

But at the heart of it all is a lovely story about a young man willing to overcome his fears and doubts to make sure one little girl has a very Merry Christmas. “Arthur Christmas” is in theaters now.

They’re baaaaack! “The Muppets” are back on the silver screen, and this time they’re on a mission. The first task is to bring the old gang together again. This is the first movie in more than 10 years, and it does not let you forget it.

When three Muppet fans learn that a greedy oilman wants to drill under the Muppet theater for oil, Gary, Mary and Walter set out to find the Muppets who have been split up for years.

Kermit lives in his own mansion, depressed in Hollywood; Gonzo is a high-class plumber at Gonzo’s Royal Flush; Fozzie performs with a tribute band called The Moopets; Miss Piggy is the plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, and Animal is at a celebrity anger-management rehab center in Santa Barbara. True to Muppet form, the guys always pull together before it’s too late.

“The Muppets” in theaters now.

The legendary director Martin Scorsese offers us a Thanksgiving treat with “Hugo.” In a word, this film is beautiful. It harkens back to the old days of filmmaking, but with a giant twist: it’s in 3-D.

Based on Brian Selznick’s “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” the film revolves around a mysterious orphan (Asa Butterfield) who is obsessed with fixing a broken automaton left by his late horologist father (Jude Law).

He resorts to stealing parts from a toy shop, which leads to another great adventure, as well as the need to keep an eye on a goofy, lovelorn and lame inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen), who has been rounding up all the homeless kids in the station and sending them off to the orphanage.

“Hugo” is filled with fantasy and adventure, with a touch of genius. “Hugo” now in theaters.

Gail can be reached at