McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Rating: PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material.
What it’s about: A gifted boy is singled out for leadership in a future when the young and the video-game savvy are our best warriors and our greatest military leaders.
The kid attractor factor: Kids, mastering training games, battling each other and bug-eyed aliens.
Good lessons / bad lessons: The killer instinct comes easily; compassion and empathy you grow into.
Violence: Bullying, fistfights, blood, a death.
Language: Pretty tame.
Sex: Not even flirtation.
Parents’ advisory: Humorless, dark and brooding, this isn’t sci-fi for the very young. Suitable for 10-and-up, though.
Rating: PG for some action / peril and rude humor
What it’s about: Two turkeys travel back in time to change the menu at the first Thanksgiving.
The kid attractor factor: Animated turkeys, in 3-D, outsmarting colonists back then and Haz-Mat suited soldiers today.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “When you’re in a flock, you know you belong to something bigger.”
Violence: Nothing graphic, though the fate of turkeys during the holidays is revealed.
Language: Disney clean, even the “rude humor” bits.
Sex: Flirting turkeys, lots of discussion of the muscles in turkey butts.
Parents’ advisory: Tame enough for the whole family, suitable for all ages.
JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA
Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use.
What it’s about: Johnny Knoxville, in old age makeup, and a kid drive across country staging bad parenting / dirty old man pranks on the unsuspecting.
The kid attractor factor: Johnny Knoxville’s big, crude and sometimes painful pratfalls.
Good lessons / bad lessons: People who “get involved” in other people’s parenting get punked.
Violence: Slapstick stuff, threats.
Language: Profanity, some of it from a small boy.
Sex: Genital jokes and genital sight gags, a male stripper review.
Drugs: Crack jokes, alcohol is consumed, allegedly by the kid.
Parents’ advisory: Seriously subversive and sophomoric, too crude for the very young — OK for 13-and-up.
Rating: R for bloody violence, disturbing images, language and some sexual content.
What it’s about: The bullied daughter of a religious fanatic gets even at prom.
The kid attractor factor: It’s a high school revenge fantasy starring Chloe Grace Moretz.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Mend your bullying ways before it’s too late.
Violence: Yes, and quite bloody.
Language: Teenagers and teachers curse.
Drugs: Alcohol is discussed.
Parents’ advisory: Decidedly anti-bullying, it’s still the violent “Carrie” you remember from the ‘70s. OK for 15-and-up.
Rating: R for violence and language throughout
What it’s about: A security consultant and his new prison buddy try to figure out a way to escape from a new escape-proof prison.
The kid attractor factor: Action, and lots of it, starring guys old enough to be your grandfather.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Always have a Plan B.”
Violence: Stabbings, shootings, neck-snappings.
Language: In prison, there is profanity.
Sex: Not in this prison.
Parents’ advisory: Too violent for young children, but far more responsible than your average “Expendables” or “Last Man Standing.” OK for 13-and-up.
THE FIFTH ESTATE
Rating: R for language and some violence
What it’s about: A young computer hacker is enlisted to join Julian Assange’s crusade to end government and big business secrecy on the Internet.
The kid attractor factor: Hacker intrigues, online crisis management, and Benedict Cumberbatch
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth.”
Violence: More implied than overt.
Sex: Nothing graphic, but famous online freedom of speech crusaders do hook up, occasionally.
Drugs: Alcohol is consumed at parties.
Parents’ advisory: If they’re old enough to recognize the international anarchist’s symbol, they should understand this. Suitable for 15-and-up.
ROMEO AND JULIET
Rating: PG-13 for some violence and thematic elements
What it’s about: The greatest star-crossed romance of them all.
The kid attractor factor: Young people, played by Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth, getting all hot and bothered.
Good lessons / bad lessons: To paraphrase Andy Griffith, unless you want the expense of a double funeral, spring for a cheap wedding when young love rears its head.
Violence: Bloody sword fights, brawls and poisonings.
Language: Shakespearean put downs
Sex: Suggested, not nearly as hot and bothered as you’d expect.
Drugs: Wine, poisons
Parents’ advisory: A bit younger and a tad more violent than most adaptations, suitable for 13-and-up.
Rating: PG-13 for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use
What it’s about: A cargo ship’s captain and crew battles hijackers off the Somali coast.
The kid attractor factor: A true story action picture about crazed young men with guns and the unarmed merchant sailors who try to outsmart them.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Solving problems with violence only begets more violence.
Violence: Shootings, a stabbing, blood.
Language. Only in the subtitles.
Sex: Not a hint.
Drugs: Cigarettes and the Somali narcotic leaf “khat” are consumed.
Parents’ advisory: A bit long and too violent for younger viewers, suitable for 12-and-up.
Rating: PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language
What it’s about: An accident during a spacewalk strands two astronauts in orbit.
The kid attractor factor: Science fiction that isn’t far beyond the realm of the possible, the realistic terrors of space.
Good lessons / bad lessons: Don’t give up, because “There’s always something you can do.”
Violence: Deaths, corpses in zero gravity
Language: People under duress curse. On Earth or in space.
Sex: None, though Sandra Bullock has a “suit up” moment.
Parents’ advisory: Entirely too intense for younger children, entirely suitable for 10-and-up.
Rating: R for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use
What it’s about: Formula One racing rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda battle on and off the track in the swinging ‘70s.
The kid attractor factor: Fast cars, one of them driven by Thor (Chris Hemsworth).
Good lessons / bad lessons: “A wise man gets more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.”
Violence: High speed crashes, grisly after-effects.
Language: Some profanity.
Sex: Olivia Wilde plays James Hunt’s girlfriend, so guess.
Drugs: It was the ‘70s, so yes.
Parents’ advisory: If they’re old enough to be into cars and the opposite sex, they might enjoy this period piece. Suitable for 13-and-up.
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2
Rating: PG for mild rude humor
What it’s about: The weather machine starts turning out living, feeding dinner course critters in this sequel.
The kid attractor factor: It’s a 3-D animated sequel to the surprise hit of a couple of years back.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “A bully turned friend will be friend to the end.”
Violence: Slapstick, cartoonish, involving omnivorous foodstuffs and robot-suited “Sentinels of Safety.”
Language: “Oh, crab-balls,” fart jokes and the like.
Parents’ advisory: Suitable for all ages.
Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and some language
What it’s about: A young woman revisits her ex-boyfriends to see which one has the most promise as a potential date / mate for her sister’s wedding.
The kid attractor factor: Airline travel jokes, romantic mishaps, Paula Patton and assorted good-looking men as her suitors.
Good lessons / bad lessons: You don’t need a mate to be complete, and you can’t hurry love.
Violence: The threat of a slap-fight, here and there.
Language: Some mild profanity
Sex: Hinted at, with infidelity tossed into the mix.
Drugs: Alcohol is consumed in romantic settings.
Parents’ advisory: More retro than risque in its attitudes towards marriage, romance and finding a suitable mate, suitable for 13-and-older.
BATTLE OF THE YEAR
Rating: PG-13 for language and some rude behavior
What it’s about: A team of B-Boys (break dancers) is assembled to battle the world’s best and coached by a guy who no longer dances.
The kid attractor factor: Dancing hotties of the male (and one female) persuasion.
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Change how you think, change your life.”
Language. B-Boy profanity
Sex: No, though the consequences of having babies too young comes up.
Parents’ advisory: Clean enough for teens and tweens, suitable for 12-and-up.
Rating: R for violence, language and brief sexuality
What it’s about: A mob family in the witness protection program wreaks havoc in a small French town.
The kid attractor factor: Funny / violent mobsters and mob teens, including that hot blonde from “Glee!” (Dianna Agron).
Good lessons / bad lessons: “Asking politely with a gun in your hand is better than asking politely with nothing.”
Violence: Graphic, sometimes grisly, excessive.
Language: Lots of mob-friendly profanity.
Sex: Yes, fairly explicit, too.
Drugs: Yes, prescription drug abuse is implied, with booze and cigarettes too.
Parents’ advisory: Incredibly violent, with mortal violence played for laughs. Take the R rating seriously, suitable for 16-and-up.
Rating: R for strong violence, language and some sexual content/nudity
What it’s about: Everybody’s favorite night-blind spree killer of the future returns to the planet where it all began.
The kid attractor factor: Vin Diesel, narrating, killing, befriending a digital alien dog.
Good lessons/bad lessons: It’s never too late to revive a sci-fi franchise that made you rich.
Violence: Plentiful, graphic.
Language: Some profanity.
Sex: Nudity, flirtation.
Parents’ advisory: The tone is a bit juvenile, especially the sexual stuff, but the violence is quite gory. OK for 15-and-up.
THE WORLD’S END
Rating: R for pervasive language including sexual references.
What it’s about: A group of former friends in their 40s re-unite to recreate an epic “crawl” through the pubs of the small British town where they grew up. But something’s changed.
The kid attractor factor: It’s a science fiction-action comedy featuring the lads who made the zombie romp “Shaun of the Dead.”
Good lessons / bad lessons: Our bad decisions, temperamental testiness and abuse of alcohol are what make us human. Or at least British.
Violence: Sci-fi action, peril, deaths — mostly played for laughs.
Language: Blistering blasts of blotto Brit profanity
Drugs: Pot is purchased, alcohol is consumed — pretty much constantly.
Parents’ advisory: The mass consumption of beer should give any parent pause. Take the R-rating and the “suitable for 17-and-up” warning seriously.
Drugs: Martinis are downed, olives are devoured
Parents’ advisory: You may have to take the car keys away from older teens after this one, but still suitable for 10-and-up.
“THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES”
Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action, and some suggestive content
What it’s about: A teenager learns her genetic destiny — as a descendant of a family that defends the world from demons.
The kid attractor factor: Lily Collins starring in the first of Cassandra Clare’s fantasy novels to hit the screen.
Good lessons/bad lessons: “To love is to destroy.”
Violence: Quite a lot of it, some of it bloody.
Language: A teensy bit of profanity.
Sex: Flirting, jokes about character’s homosexual or bisexual tendencies.
Drugs: Alcohol is sipped.
Parents’ advisory: If they’re old enough for the books, they’re old enough for the movie. OK for 12-and-up.