Current films are reviewed each week to provide parents a guide to decide what may be appropriate to younger viewers.
Rating: PG-13 for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language
What it’s about: A star athlete goes to war and survives a plane crash at sea and brutal treatment in Japanese prisoner of war camps.
The kid attractor factor: An old-fashioned WWII POW survival tale, the kind grandpa used to enjoy
Good lessons/bad lessons: “A moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory.”
Violence: Lots of it, with deaths
Language: Some profanity
Sex: None, though there’s a sadistic homoeroticism to the torture scenes
Parents’ advisory: Beatings aside, pretty mild for a PG-13 war movie. OK for 10-and-up.
Rating: R for pervasive language, crude and sexual humor, nudity, some drug use and bloody violence
What it’s about: Seth Rogen and James Franco mock North Korea into a tizzy in a low farce that’s a bit smarter than you’d think.
The kid attractor factor: Rogen, Franco and forbidden (R-rated) film fruit.
Good lessons/bad lessons: “They hate us cuz they ain’t us.”
Violence: Yes, onscreen deaths
Sex: Yes, but mercifully, what nudity there is isn’t in love scenes
Drugs: But of course
Parents’ advisory: Coarse and crude and comical, not for the faint-hearted or anybody under 14
“Into the Woods”
Rating: PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material
What it’s about: Fairytale characters are mashed up into each others’ stories and cope with the consequences of their past actions.
The kid attractor factor: Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp sing as characters from assorted tales.
Good lessons/bad lessons: “Take extra care with strangers, even flowers have their dangers. And though scary is exciting, nice is different than good.”
Violence: Fairy tale deaths
Language: Disney clean
Sex: Flirting, a hint of desire described as “suggestive material”
Parents’ advisory: Suitable for all ages, though Sondheim musicals do tend toward the more complex and darker (10-and-older) side
“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”
Rating: PG for mild action, some rude humor and brief language
What it’s about: A security guard and his kid take their enchanted museum-exhibits-come-to-life to London to stir things up at The British Museum.
The kid attractor factor: “Night at the Museum” franchise, a naughty monkey, goofball characters, one played by Rebel Wilson
Good lessons/bad lessons: “Let no man stand between you and your destiny.”
Violence: Sword-fighting with a bronze snake-monster, stuff like that
Language: Just a hint of profanity
Sex: Homoerotic hand-holding is mocked.
Parents’ advisory: As with the other films in this series, suitable for the whole family – all ages
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Rating: PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence and frightening images
What it’s about: Dwarfs, elves, men and orcs head toward a final confrontation, and only the hobbit Bilbo Baggins can save the day.
The kid attractor factor: Middle Earth, magic, wizards and video-game style Medieval slaughter
Good lessons/bad lessons: “If more people valued home above gold, the world would be a merry place.”
Violence: Almost constant, beloved characters die. Not a lot of blood, though.
Language: A few salty Olde English curse words
Sex: Hinted at, flirted with
Parents’ advisory: Quite violent, not for the very young. OK for “Hobbit” fans 10-and-up.