Warner Bros.

Trouble comes crashing to earth from above in a scene from the violent "Jack the Giant Slayer."

Family watch: 'Croods' good fun; 'Giant Slayer' gory

Published: Friday, Mar. 22, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 19TICKET
Last Modified: Monday, May. 6, 2013 - 12:01 pm


Rating: PG for some scary action

What it's about: A cowering family of cave men and cave women have to trek cross-country to safety when earthquakes destroy their home cave.

The kid-attractor factor: Wisecracking cave people, 3-D animation, funny animals

Good lessons/bad lessons: "Fear" may be what "keeps us alive," but a life with no risk is no life at all.

Violence: Slapstick, mostly

Language: A DreamWorks 'toon that is Disney clean.

Sex: Cave teens flirt

Drugs: None

Parents' advisory: Mother-in-law jokes for the grown-ups, and feral toddlers and funny sloths for the kids. Suitable for all ages.


Rating: PG-13 for language and some sexual material

What it's about: An Ivy League admissions counselor discovers that the baby she gave up for adoption is now old enough to apply to her school. Old enough, but not qualified.

The kid-attractor factor: The odd way that some alternative schools teach is lampooned, and the curtain is pulled back on the arcane college admissions process.

Good lessons/bad lessons: More than grades and the economic class of the parents should play into whether a kid is admitted to a college.

Violence: A gun is brandished.

Language: A scattering of profanity

Sex: Hinted at.

Drugs: A suggestion of college partying

Parents' advisory: A romantic comedy in disguise, this one works better for kids in that "thinking about college" window of 13-and-up.


Rating: PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language

What it's about: A carnival magician is sucked by a tornado into the Land of Oz … and a legend is born.

The kid-attractor factor: Flying monkeys, wicked witches and a lot of reminders of "The Wizard of Oz."

Good lessons/bad lessons: "Nothing's impossible, if you put your mind to it."

Rules to live by: "Show up. Keep up and shut up."

Violence: The menacing monkeys have been supplanted by scarier 3D baboons.

Language: Disney clean

Sex: A few smooches, a little leering, a little Mila Kunis in spandex

Drugs: Not a hint

Parents' advisory: Scarier and not nearly as adorable or musical as the original, but if your kids love "The Wizard of Oz," they'll get the jokes. Suitable for 8-and-up.


Rating: PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language

What it's about: A farm boy finds himself battling giants to rescue a princess thanks to his mishandling of some magic beans.

The kid-attractor factor: Fee. Fie. Foe. And Fum. In this case, giants eating Englishmen.

Good lessons/bad lessons: Truth can become legend. And "a princess is useless."

Violence: A very high body count – knife fights, giants chomping down on people, very little blood, however.

Language: A couple of very mild oaths

Sex: A fairytale smooch

Drugs: None

Parents' advisory: Entirely too loud and violent for the very young; suitable for 8-and-up.

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