McClatchy-Tribune News Service
EARTH TO ECHO
Rating: PG for some action and peril, and mild language
What it’s about: Tweenage pals find an alien in their Nevada subdivision, and vow to help him phone, GET home.
The kid attractor factor: Smart, tech savvy and sassy kids, a very cute alien.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “If you’re best friends, then you always will be.”
Violence: A smidge.
Language: Scattered moments of mild, age-appropriate profanity.
Sex: Boys flirting with the class cutie, in an age-appropriate chaste way.
Drugs: The kids visit a bar, but do not imbibe.
Parents’ advisory: It’s “E.T.” as seen through a “Blair Witch” shaky-cam, suitable for all ages.
Rating: R for language including sexual references
What it’s about: An overweight loser with impulse control and anger management issues learns to be more responsible when she takes off on a road trip with her granny.
The kid attractor factor: Melissa McCarthy, and her bag of foul-mouthed sight gags.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Figure out what you really want, and go after it.”
Violence: Slapstick stuff.
Language: Melissa McCarthy should have her mouth washed out with Tide Ultra.
Sex: Joked about, and there’s a bit of off-camera action.
Drugs: Lots of alcohol — drinking and driving — and Oxycontin.
Parents’ advisory: The boozing, swearing and sexual come-ons make this inappropriate for anybody under 13.
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo
What it’s about: The Autobots are being hunted down by an evil cabal of aliens and humans, but new human helpers team up to try and save them.
The kid attractor factor: Cars that are secretly robots, Mark Wahlberg and young hotties Nicola Peltz and Jack Reynor.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Some things should never be invented.”
Violence: In copious amounts — humans die, and robots cash it in too.
Language: Quite a bit dirtier than it was in the earlier “Transformers” films
Sex: Nicola Peltz wears the shortest shorts known to humanity, and they’re what the camera focuses on in her scenes.
Drugs: Beer is consumed, a robot smokes a stogie.
Parents’ advisory: The language should give parents pause — the action is OK for 10-and-up.
Rating: R for language throughout
What it’s about: Friends from “the neighborhood” become Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and endure hardship and heartache in their decades on the road and on the pop charts.
The kid attractor factor: It’s the Broadway musical, brought to the screen.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Big girls don’t cry.”
Violence: Slaps, here and there.
Language: A lot more raw than you’d expect.
Sex: Not really, though it is suggested, here and there.
Drugs: Alcoholics consume alcohol, and have a smoke while they do.
Parents’ advisory: A milder-than-mild R rating, this one is suitable for that rare child, 12-and-over, who might have an interest in the subject.
THINK LIKE A MAN TOO
Rating: PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material
What it’s about: The six couples of “Think Like a Man” head to Vegas for a wedding — mayhem ensues.
The kid attractor factor: Kevin Hart and assorted good-looking actors and actresses misbehaving (mildly) in Las Vegas.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “You can’t move forward until you both let go of the past,” and “No one ever wins when they really need to in Vegas.”
Violence: A strip club brawl.
Language: Quite a bit of profanity.
Sex: The strip club before the brawl, for starters. Nothing explicit.
Drugs: Cannabis is consumed, by accident — along with barrels of alcohol.
Parents’ advisory: Entirely too adult in theme for younger children, OK for 13-and-up.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
Rating: PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor
What it’s about: Hiccup and his dragon pal Toothless contend with new threats — dragon-nappings and a guy who wants to build a dragon army.
The kid attractor factor: It’s the sequel to one of the biggest animated hits in recent history.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Men who kill without reason cannot be reasoned with.”
Violence: Brawls, and a death.
Language: As tame as the dragons.
Sex: Nary a hint.
Parents’ advisory: Darker and more-action driven that joke-reliant, this is OK for all ages.
22 JUMP STREET
Rating: R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence
What it’s about: “It’s exactly the same” as “21 Jump Street” — except the buddy cops pretend to be college kids this time.
The kid attractor factor: Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, shooting and dancing and riffing and goofing.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “College is where you find out who you were meant to be.”
Violence: Yes, with bullets and blood and explosions.
Language: Profanity, aka “how Jonah Hill talks.”
Sex: Explicit sex toys, homoerotic gags.
Drugs: A main plot element, joked about but treated as illegal. And college kids drink. A lot.
Parents’ advisory: Closer to a PG-13 than you might think, juvenile enough for 13-and-up.
EDGE OF TOMORROW
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material
What it’s about: In the future, a soldier must re-live a traumatic battle, dying time and again, to figure out a way to foil alien invaders.
The kid attractor factor: Sci-fi action, with wiggly beasts, Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and amusing, video-game style deaths — each death reversed by hitting a re-set button.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “There is no courage without fear.”
Violence: Lots and lots. Not a lot of blood, though.
Language: Surprisingly clean, considering the military milieu
Sex: Partial nudity, comical.
Drugs: Drinks in a bar.
Parents’ advisory: A PG-13 action pic that’s not too clever for younger viewers to follow, and entirely suitable for anybody over age 10.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language
What it’s about: Two teen cancer patients ignore the odds and fall in love.
The kid attractor factor: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Nat Wolff, young and pretty and doomed.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Pain is meant to be felt,” “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, you do get to choose who hurts you.”
Violence: Only the violence of a pitiless disease
Language: Scattered profanities, including the “big” one.
Sex: A love scene, discretely handled.
Drugs: Champagne, an unlit cigarette
Parents’ advisory: A perfectly suitable teen date movie with a testy lecture about cigarettes tucked into it — suitable for 13-and-up.
A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug material
What it’s about: A meek sheep rancher is tested by the living conditions, the women and men with guns in the Old West.
The kid attractor factor: Seth MacFarlane, the “Family Guy” and “Ted” rude / crude animation king.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Adults don’t settle arguments with violence, but there weren’t many adults in the Old West.
Violence: Shootings, a goring, dismemberment, etc.
Language: Profane just to be profane.
Sex: Discussed more explicitly than it is demonstrated.
Drugs: Mushrooms, pot and booze. And a cigarette.
Parents’ advisory: As sophomoric as the humor is, this isn’t for kids under 13, unless you want to hear bodily function jokes repeated around the house, ad nauseum.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Rating: PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language
What it’s about: The X-Men of the future have to interfere with the past to save humanity from a ruinous war with mutants.
The kid attractor factor: Wolverine, Quicksilver and more X-Men, in their present and past incarnations, than you can shake a mutant at.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Just because someone stumbles and loses their way doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.” “The future never is truly set.”
Violence: Lots and lots of impalings, blood, bullet wounds, deaths.
Language: A decent helping of profanity, played for comic effect.
Sex: Nudity, and we’re not just talking about Mystique’s body suit.
Drugs: Cigars, Johnny Walker
Parents’ advisory: Longer, denser and more violent than your typical comic book film; take the PG-13 seriously.
Rating: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and language
What it’s about: Two single parents and their kids collide and sort of bond while on vacation in Africa.
The kid attractor factor: Adam Sandler slapstick, snot-nosed kid jokes, cute teens, bathroom humor.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “You’ve got to show up for your kids” and “Being a man means dealing with what’s in front of you.”
Violence: Accidents, nothing injurious.
Language: Scattered bits of profanity
Sex: Toilet jokes, rhinos do what comes (digitally) naturally, cleavage ogling, innuendo.
Drugs: A little wine, here and there.
Parents’ advisory: Sandler’s “family friendly” films aren’t as family friendly as advertised. Juvenile, yes, but unsuitable for 8-and-below.
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
What it’s about: Mankind’s nuclear ambitions awaken beasts that thrive on radiation, including Godzilla, King of the Monsters.
The kid attractor factor: Godzilla, scary in a kind of cuddly way, making mayhem in San Francisco.
Good lessons / bad lessons: The natural order seeks balance, even in monsters
Violence: Yes, lots of death and destruction, some of it immediate and personal
Language: Shockingly clean, considering what’s going down and the casting of Bryan Cranston.
Sex: None, despite the presence of Elizabeth Olsen.
Parents’ advisory: Closer to the cute, kid-friendly Godzilla films of the ‘60s than the more horrific installments in this franchise — OK for 10-and-up.
MILLION DOLLAR ARM
Rating: PG for mild language and some suggestive content
What it’s about: A desperate sports agent goes to India to find hidden potential baseball talent.
The kid attractor factor: Young men from a foreign land trying to learn America’s National Pastime.
Good lessons / bad lessons: In careers and relationships, the idea is “commit to it, and then you’ll figure out the rest.”
Language: Disney clean
Sex: The agent is a bit of a womanizer.
Drugs: A little alcohol is consumed.
Parents’ advisory: There’s not much here for younger kids, and the interminable length makes it less younger kid-friendly — OK for 12-and-up.
LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY’S RETURN
Rating: PG for some scary images and mild peril
What it’s about: Dorothy is summoned back to Oz to deal with the mischief of the Wicked Witch’s evil brother, The Jester.
The kid attractor factor: Dorothy catches up with the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man. Dorothy sings like Lea Michele from “Glee!”
Good lessons / bad lessons: “No good can come from the reign of a fool.”
Violence: Animated flying monkeys are still scary, characters made from porcelain are shattered.
Language: Disney clean.
Sex: A fairy tale courtship.
Parents’ advisory: Only thinly connected to “The Wizard of Oz,” this one is aimed more at the very young, best-suited for 8-and-under.
MOMS’ NIGHT OUT
Rating: PG for mild thematic elements and some action
What it’s about: A trio of moms get caught up in a fourth mom’s missing toddler during a wacky night out on the town.
The kid attractor factor: Kids caught in the act of “being a handful” to their parents.
Good lessons / bad lessons: There’s no such thing as a perfect parent.
Violence: Slapstick, a dead-bird joke.
Language: Nearly spotless
Sex: Not quite discussed, though there’s a frazzled unwed mom in the mix.
Drugs: None to speak of.
Parents’ advisory: Family friendly, though the “moms gone mild” nature of this is sure to bore younger kids — OK for 10-and-up.
THE OTHER WOMAN
Rating: PG-13 on appeal for mature thematic material, sexual references and language
What it’s about: A wife and two girlfriends realize they’re all involved with the same cheating man, and bond over how they’ve been wronged.
The kid attractor factor: Sassy Cameron Diaz and Nicki Minaj, whiny Leslie Mann, vivacious Kate Upton.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Cheaters never change,” but “Selfish people live longer.”
Violence: Slapstick, mostly, but a very bloody nose results.
Language: Edited down into PG-13 territory.
Sex: A hint, here and there, with an emphasis on infidelity.
Drugs: Alcohol, hormone pills.
Parents’ advisory: Certainly suitable for teens, especially girls, as it is about the perils of loving a serial philanderer — OK for 13-and-up.
Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality
What it’s about: Anti-tech terrorists kill a computer scientist, but before he dies, his wife and best friend park his personality / essence and soul into computer memory.
The kid attractor factor: Captain Jack Sparrow tries his hand at playing “brilliant,” becoming the ghost in the machine.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Maybe interconnecting everybody and everything and putting your whole life up online isn’t such a great idea.
Violence: Yes, bombings, shootings.
Language: A smidgen of profanity
Sex: Nothing worth reporting on.
Drugs: Alcohol is consumed.
Parents’ advisory: Pretty tame, for an ostensibly thought-provoking sci-fi thriller. OK for 10-and-up.
What it’s about: A mama bear and her two cubs venture from their winter den to the coast of Alaska to fatten up on salmon for the next winter.
The kid attractor factor: Cute, cuddly bears, playing, having mishaps, discovering their world.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Stay safe, stick to mom.
Violence: Cubs in peril, big bears fighting
Language: Disney clean.
Sex: A few springtime mating winks.
Parents’ advisory: A few scary bits, nothing particularly traumatic, kid-friendly and suitable for all ages.
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL
Rating: PG thematic material including some medical situations.
What it’s about: A child shocks his parents with hints of what heaven is like after a near-death experience.
The kid attractor factor: A kid makes funny song requests to an angelic choir.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “We don’t ever have to be scared.”
Violence: A gruesome injury, a child’s battle with appendicitis.
Language: Quite clean.
Parents’ advisory: A faith-based movie that the faithful may find comforting and that doubters will at least find welcoming.
Rating: G, suitable for all audiences
What it’s about: The birds of the Amazon and their human friends try to stop illegal logging to save habitat that the macaws and parrots need to survive.
The kid attractor factor: Joking, singing and dancing birds.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “SA happy wife means a happy life!”
Violence: Bird brawls, attempted poisoning, and a jaw-dropping suicide joke.
Language: Well, the odd poop and fart joke.
Sex: A little flirtation, an exchanged love song or two.
Parents’ advisory: Suitable for all ages, though this one aims at a younger, 6-and-under crowd, in spite of the suicide joke.
Rating: PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
What it’s about: The front office of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns struggles to decide who to draft with their first pick
The kid attractor factor: It’s the NFL. Even kids are into the NFL, right?
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Every battle is won before it is fought.”
Violence: None, which considering the game this is about, is saying something.
Language: Pro football folks have been known to cuss.
Sex: An office romance, and what often results from such romances.
Parents’ advisory: A sports dramedy that’s very “inside football.” Pre-teens who aren’t preciously deep into the sport will find it hard to follow. Suitable for 14-and-up.
Rating: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content
What it’s about: The Creator inspires Noah to build an ark and rescue the flora and fauna of Earth from a coming flood.
The kid attractor factor: A well-known Biblical tale, given special effects and co-starring Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) from the “Harry Potter” movies and Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) from the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” movies.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “A man isn’t ruled by the heavens. A man is ruled by his will.”
Violence: Beatings, stabbings, drownings. Lots of drownings.
Sex: Discrete, off-camera, suggested.
Drugs: Hallucinogenic tea.
Parents’ advisory: Not a sermon, but a well-acted epic that plays like a fantastical myth, a bit dark for the very young — OK for 8-and-up.
Rating: R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality / nudity and drug use
What it’s about: Drug enforcement agents who steal from a drug cartel are killed off, one by one.
The kid attractor factor: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sam Worthington, two generations of “Terminator,” plus Terrence Howard and Joe Manganiello.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “The only thing anybody in law enforcement has is their credibility.”
Violence: Shootings, torture, stabbings, realistically bloody and gory.
Language: Lots of profanity.
Sex: Some nudity, a drug-addled sex scene.
Drugs: Cocaine, crystal meth, alcohol, etc.
Parents’ advisory: Incredibly violent, profane and drug-addicted, it depicts law enforcement as either crooked, self-serving or incompetent. A serious “R” — suitable for 16-and-up.
Rating: PG-13 for some violence and language
What it’s about: A Mexican-American migrant worker and his wife try to organize his fellow laborers into a union in the 1960s and ‘70s.
The kid attractor factor: Michael Pena, America Ferrara and Rosario Dawson are the stars of this uplifting story.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Once a social change begins, it cannot be reversed.”
Violence: Beatings, shootings.
Language: Some profanity.
Sex: None, though the Chavez family had eight kids.
Parents’ advisory: An American history lesson that will be hard for the very young to follow, OK for 10-and-up.
MUPPETS MOST WANTED
Rating: PG for some mild action
What it’s about: The Muppets are lured into a world tour so that a criminal mastermind and Kermit look-alike can pull off a series of capers.
The kid attractor factor: Muppets, muppet action, with lots of star cameos.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “What we really want is sometimes not what we really need.”
Violence: Muppet-on-muppet violence, explosions
Language: Russian-accented, but Disney clean
Sex: The pig plans to marry the frog, so there’s that.
Drugs: Don’t be silly.
Parents’ advisory: If your kids are into “The Muppets,” sit through this one with them. It’s aimed more at parents, but suitable for all ages.
Rating: PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality
What it’s about: A teenage girl doesn’t fit in any mold in a future where “faction” is everything. So she’s a threat to the powers that be.
The kid attractor factor: A hit Young Adult novel in the “Hunger Games” mold — romance, action and female empowerment all in one sci-fi package.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “The future belongs to those who know they belong.” Conform, or be cast out.
Violence: Yes, PG-13 graphic.
Language: Quite clean.
Sex: A budding romance, hearts aflutter and all.
Drugs: Hallucinogens are used for mind-probing purposes.
Parents’ advisory: Concocted for the “Hunger Games” demographic, this is a bit long and too violent for the very young — OK for 10-and-up.
NEED FOR SPEED
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of reckless street racing, disturbing crash scenes, nudity and crude language
What it’s about: A veteran of the illegal street racing scene gets out of prison seeking riches, revenge and justice ... in another illegal street race.
The kid attractor factor: Based on the video game, with hot cars hurtling off the 3-D screen at very high speeds.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Racers should race, cops should get donuts.”
Violence: Street racing crashes, shootings, fisticuffs.
Language: Scattered profanity.
Sex: A nude scene played for a joke.
Drugs: Medicinal only.
Parents’ advisory: A movie that screams “Don’t try this at home,” but otherwise inoffensive and OK for 8-and-up.
MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN
Rating: PG for some mild action and brief rude humor
What it’s about: A famous dog-scientist teaches his boy about history with a time machine.
The kid attractor factor: Talking dog, time machine — any questions?
Good lessons / bad lessons: “If you don’t like a person, it’s because they remind you of something you don’t like about yourself.”
Violence: Slapstick, swordplay.
Language: “You said ‘booby.’”
Sex: See above.
Drugs: Adult beverages are enjoyed by adults.
Parents’ advisory: Like the TV cartoon it is based on, this is a pun-happy history lesson suitable for all ages.
300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE
Rating: R for strong sustained sequences of stylized bloody violence throughout, a sex scene, nudity and some language
What it’s about: More Greeks battle more Persians, this time at sea, in the sequel to “300.”
The kid attractor factor: Blood and guts, and ships bearing Greeks.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Negotiate with tyranny. Give me one example of when that has ever profited a nation.”
Violence: Gory and almost constant.
Language: A touch of profanity.
Sex: As violent as the sword fights.
Parents’ advisory: If they’ve seen “300,” there’s nothing new that they’ll be exposed to here. Very violent, but OK for 13-and-up.
SON OF GOD
Rating: PG-13 for intense and bloody depiction of the Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence
What it’s about: Jesus of Nazareth gathers disciples, preaches the Gospel, runs afoul of the rich and powerful in this version of the Life of Christ.
The kid attractor factor: A familiar story told with a generally upbeat tone.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Be humble, ethical and honest, comfort the poor and afflicted, lead by example.
Violence: If there’s a more awful way of killing something than crucifixion, mankind has yet to invent it.
Language: Profanity hadn’t been invented yet.
Parents’ advisory: Essentially a cut-and-paste job from the TV series “The Bible,” suitable for kids old enough to have celebrated Easter and understand what it’s about. OK for 10-and-up.
THE WIND RISES
Rating: PG-13 for some disturbing images and smoking
What it’s about: A young Japanese airplane designer makes his aviation dreams come true and sees his designs used to take Japan into World War II.
The kid attractor factor: Anime from the master, Hiyao Miyazaki, with flights of fancy mixed in with fictionalized history.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Sometimes, your dreams get hijacked by the military.
Violence: A deadly earthquake, but World War II is mostly kept off camera.
Language: Quite clean.
Sex: Courtship and flirting.
Drugs: Cigarettes, wine.
Parents’ advisory: History, even fictionalized animated Japanese history, is a hard sell to kids, but there’s enough fantasy here to keep kids over age 8 entertained.
3 DAYS TO KILL
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
What it’s about: A dying C.I.A. agent tries to carry out one last job, and keep his murderous line of work secret from the teen daughter he barely knows.
The kid attractor factor: A hit-man thriller with comic undertones, and Hailee Steinfeld as a rebellious teen.
Good lessons / bad lessons: It’s never too late to get involved in your kid’s life, and teenagers are the last to realize how poor their judgment can be.
Violence: Plentiful, with torture treated as comedy
Language: Some profanity.
Sex: Sexual situations, nothing explicit.
Drugs: Teens in club situations.
Parents’ advisory: The joking torture bits are eyebrow-raising, but generally a funnier, lighter variation on the “Taken” formula — OK for 13-and-up.
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material
What it’s about: A badly injured policeman has a robot suit built around him so he can stay on the job.
The kid attractor factor: A robot cop fighting other robots.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Humanity is hard-wired into our brains.
Violence: Lots and lots and lots.
Language: Some profanity.
Sex: A little marital romance, interrupted.
Parents’ advisory: Quite violent — sometimes explicitly so. Take the rating seriously; unsuitable for anybody under 13.
Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, brief partial nudity, some language and teen partying
What it’s about: Boy meets rich girl, girl’s family tries to keep them apart, only heating up their passions in the process.
The kid attractor factor: Young love, young partying, young sex.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Embarrass yourself. It builds character.”
Violence: A few punches are thrown.
Language: Some profanity.
Sex: The PG-13 kind.
Drugs: Teens partying and getting high.
Parents’ advisory: Not the scorcher parents might remember from 30 years ago, this is softer edged, geared to younger teens — OK for 13-and-up.
Rating: PG-13 for violence, bloody images, sexual content and language
What it’s about: Vampires battle to kill or save a vampire princess at a boarding school ... for vampires.
The kid attractor factor: Did I mention the teenage vampires?
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Better to ask forgiveness than ask permission.”
Violence: Quite a bit, and some folks scream bloody murder when they’re bitten on the neck.
Language: Some profanity
Sex: Flirted with, entertained as an idea.
Parents’ advisory: Somewhat hot and heavy and violent for a PG-13, but suitable or 13-and-up.
THE LEGO MOVIE
Rating: PG for mild action and rude humor
What it’s about: The Lego Universe is threatened by Lord Business, who wants us all to “always follow the instructions” when assembling our Legos.
The kid attractor factor: Based on the popular toy, inspired by the assorted movie parodies made using those plastic building blocks.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Using your imagination while you play is a lot more important than following assembly instructions.
Violence: Lego-on-Lego violence.
Language: “Darn you darned darn darn it!”
Sex: Flirting between toys.
Drugs: What? No. None.
Parents’ advisory: The subversive nature of the story and dialogue will amuse parents, the inventive ways the toys are thrown together will tickle younger kids — OK for all ages.
THE MONUMENTS MEN
Rating: PG-13 for some images of war violence and historical smoking
What it’s about: Museum directors and art historians join the Army and help track down art stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
The kid attractor factor: A war movie with Matt Damon, Bill Murray and other actors your parents’ age, over their heads in combat zones.
Good lessons / bad lessons: World War II was fought, at least in part, to save the heritage and art of Western civilization from the Nazis and the Communists.
Violence: Shootings, explosions, blood. This is WWII, after all.
Language: A few comically-placed profanities, some of them in French.
Sex: Mild flirtation.
Drugs: Cognac, wine and cigarettes. Lots of cigarettes.
Parents’ advisory: A reasonably entertaining history lesson, if you can drag the kids with you to see it — suitable for 13-and-up.
THAT AWKWARD MOMENT
Rating: R for sexual content and language throughout
What it’s about: Young New Yorkers hook up and think about coupling up as they grow up.
The kid attractor factor: Zac Efron, Imogen Poots, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan are the stars.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Being there for someone, that’s all relationships are.”
Violence: A punch is thrown.
Language: Profanity, and lots of it.
Sex: Quite a bit, reasonably explicit, with graphic displays of sex toys.
Drugs: Mass quantities of alcohol are consumed.
Parents’ advisory: Entirely too sexual and alcohol-obsessed for anybody under 16, but if they’ve outgrown “High School Musical”...
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense fantasy action and violence throughout
What it’s about: Dr. Frankenstein’s monster lives to the present day, where he gets mixed up with demons and angelic gargoyles.
The kid attractor factor: A monster movie with lots of swordplay and monstrous effects.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Each of us has a higher purpose.”
Violence: Lots and lots, but very little that’s bloody.
Language: Some profanity
Parents’ advisory: As tame as any PG-13 horror movie you’ve ever seen, OK for 10-and-up.
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language
What it’s about: A seasoned cop takes a wannabe cop who is engaged to his sister on for a rough and tumble day of police work.
The kid attractor factor: Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, acting tough, talking tough and mixing it up.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Video games are great training for a gun fight.
Violence: Brawls, shootouts, a little blood here and there.
Language: The occasional f-bomb is dropped.
Sex: Discussed, flirted with, and there’s a trip to a strip club.
Parents’ advisory: A bit rough for a PG-13, but it is a comedy and the violence is often played for laughs, as troubling as that can be. OK for 13-and-up.
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of violence and intense action, and brief strong language
What it’s about: An idealistic, college-educated Marine is recruited to the C.I.A. and investigates a shady Russian plot to send America into a depression.
The kid attractor factor: Chris (“Capt. Kirk”) Pine as a secret agent, with Keira Knightley as his lady friend and lots of spy games for them to partake in.
Good lessons / bad lessons: There are a lot of ways for those who hate us to bring us low.
Violence: Shootings, combat sequences, a bloody and gruesome brawl.
Language: Momentary blasts of profanity.
Drugs: Alcohol is consumed.
Parents’ advisory: Pretty tame, for a no-holds-barred spy thriller in the modern mold, OK for 12-and-up.
THE NUT JOB
Rating: PG for mild action and rude humor
What it’s about: Wild animals of the city try to rob a nut shop in order to have food enough for the winter.
The kid attractor factor: Sassy squirrels, scary rats, inept robbers and a silly pug dog — talking and planning a caper.
Good lessons / bad lessons: No squirrel is an island — we all need the help and cooperation of others, from time to time.
Violence: Broad, cartoon slapstick stuff.
Language: Every “nut” joke you can imagine.
Parents’ advisory: A cartoon in the “Looney Toons” tradition — silly, slapstick-heavy and best suited for 10-and-under.
THE LEGEND OF HERCULES
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality
What it’s about: Hercules is exiled by his father the king, only to learn who his TRUE dad (Zeus) is and plan his return to Greece.
The kid attractor factor: A Greek demi-god discovers his supernatural side, starring a “Twilight” hunk.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “History is but a chronicle of war.”
Violence: Yes, and lots of it, but with minimal blood.
Language: Mythically clean.
Sex: A bit of skin, a few make-out sessions.
Drugs: Barely even a drop of wine.
Parents’ advisory: An obscure corner of Greek mythology and the Hercules story that will confuse the very young and Greek myth literalists — OK for 10-and-up.
Rating: R for strong bloody war violence and pervasive language
What it’s about: A Navy SEALs team on a mission that goes terribly wrong.
The kid attractor factor: Action and bloodshed and lots of it.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Soldiers fight not just for a country and a cause, but for each other.
Violence: Almost constant
Language: Soldiers swear.
Parents’ advisory: Extremely violent true story, OK for 13-and-up but most suitable for 16-and-up.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES
Rating: R for pervasive language, some violence, graphic nudity and some drug use
What it’s about: Teenagers in Los Angeles battle demonic possession and try to master their new video camera as they do.
The kid attractor factor: More “Paranormal” goings on with things that go bump in the night.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Your old Simon (Says) toy can double as a Ouija board, if there are demons about.
Violence: A bit, here and there, nothing that graphic.
Language: Teenagers swear, especially those running from a demon.
Sex: Full nudity in a non-sexual situation, teens “hooking up.”
Parents’ advisory: Jokey as it is, take the R-rating seriously. OK for mature 13 year olds, but intended for older teens — 16-and-up.
THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY
Rating: PG for some crude comments, language and action violence
What it’s about: A shy man who has always lived a more active fantasy life than a real one starts to act on those fantasies just as his job comes to an end.
The kid attractor factor: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig and lots of crazy risks, including swimming with sharks and climbing mountains.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “To see life, see the world.”
Violence: Moments of peril, played for laughs.
Language: A couple of off-color remarks.
Sex: Simple flirtation.
Drugs: Alcohol is used, to excess.
Parents’ advisory: A family friendly “seize life, live life” comedy, suitable for 8-and-up.
Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, and thematic elements)
What it’s about: Outcast samurai vow to avenge themselves on the ruler who caused the death of their master.
The kid attractor factor: Samurai swordplay, much of it by Keanu Reeves.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “When a crime goes unpunished, the world goes unbalanced.”
Violence: Lots and lots, with beheadings, stabbings and slashings. Not terribly bloody, for all that.
Language: Quite clean.
Sex: Forbidden love, a little kissing, a little lust.
Drugs: Potions and poisons only.
Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements including some unsettling images
What it’s about: P.L. Travers travels to Hollywood to oversee the filming of “Mary Poppins,” based on her book.
The kid attractor factor: Adults behaving rudely, and the testy process by which a movie of pure joy was concocted.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Happy stories are often written by very unhappy people as a way of coping.
Language: Quite tame.
Sex: Not a hint.
Drugs: Walt was never far from a lit cigarette, and one character is a drunk.
Parents’ advisory: This tale of the making of “Mary Poppins” into a movie will be over the heads of the very young, but is entirely suitable for 10-and-up, especially if they’ve seen “Mary Poppins.”
Rating: PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
What it’s about: Two retired fighters are lured back into the ring for remuneration and revenge.
The kid attractor factor: Old guys making old guy jokes, taking swings at each other. And Kevin Hart.
Good lessons / bad lessons: You’re never too old to redeem yourself and repair the past.
Violence: It’s about boxing. So, yeah.
Language: A bit of profanity, here and there.
Sex: Infidelity is discussed; a little back-seat-of-the-Escalade action.
Drugs: Alcohol is consumed.
Parents’ advisory: Bloody, boozy, with a big bout in the finale, too adult for anybody under 10.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS
Rating: PG for creature action and peril, and mild rude humor
What it’s about: Dinosaurs talk, joke, migrate, fight and die in the late Cretaceous period.
The kid attractor factor: Dinosaurs, doing what dinosaurs did, joking around about it as they do.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Don’t die in vain.”
Violence: Yes, and characters die, the way real dinosaurs died.
Language: Dino poop and dino poop jokes.
Sex: Flirting, jokes about “head-butting season.”
Parents’ advisory: Packed with information about dinosaurs and dino behavior, kids old enough to read will get more out of it — suitable for 7-and-up.