August 17, 2012

Family Watch: 'ParaNorman' too scary for under-8s

Current films are reviewed each week to provide parents a guide to decide what may be appropriate to younger viewers.


Rating: PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor and language

What it's about: A boy who hears and sees dead people is a town's only hope when witch trial victims return to life to terrorize the place.

The kid-attractor factor: Stop- motion animation, a "Coraline"/ "Corpse Bride" scary sensibility.

Good lessons/bad lessons: Fear makes "stupid people do stupid things," such as accuse others of witchcraft.

Violence: Some scary stuff involving witch trials and the dead returning to life.

Language: A couple of mildly off-color double entendres.

Sex: Sexual preference as a punch line.

Drugs: A few drunks show up.

Parents' advisory: Too scary for the very young, but an edgy, animated treat to anybody over age 8.


Rating: PG for mild thematic elements and brief language

What it's about: A childless couple discover their ideal child growing in their garden.

The kid-attractor factor: Cute kids doing cute things, a touch of magic.

Good lessons/bad lessons: "It's a hard world to be different in." Violence: Death

Language: The mildest of mild profanities

Sex: A bit of 'tween-age flirting.

Drugs: None

Parents' advisory: Suitable or all ages, though kids 9 and up will get more out of it.


Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content involving sexuality

What it's about: A long-married couple tries to relight the flame through couples counseling.

The kid-attractor factor: Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones comically trying to relearn how to get their freak on.

Good lessons/bad lessons: "Even great marriages have terrible years."

Violence: None

Language: Quite clean

Sex: Yes

Drugs: Wine is consumed, inflaming passions.

Parents' advisory: A movie for grown-ups, but 13-and-up teens will find plenty of laughs in the old dogs learning new tricks.

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