Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Bears, Transcendence, Plus The Nut Job and more

We give you what you need to know about the family-friendliness of this week's new releases.

by | April 18, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:




Rating: G.

The latest family-friendly documentary from Disney’s Disneynature label, following Earth, Oceans, African Cats and Chimpanzees, is mainly an adorably cuddly adventure. It follows a mama bear named Sky and her two cubs, Scout and Amber, as they dig out from their snowy cave in the Alaskan wilderness and head down the mountain in search of food. Perils do await them, though, from larger and hungrier bears and wolves to rising water and the threat of starvation. (If you and your family have seen African Cats, with its bloody zebra mauling, nothing nearly so gory happens here.) There are a couple of tense moments but John C. Reilly’s amiable narration lets you know everything will be all right. And the film is beautiful, intimately shot, so it’s at least worthwhile from a visual perspective. Fine for all ages.



Rating: PG-13, for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality.

Christopher Nolan’s longtime cinematographer, Oscar-winner Wally Pfister, makes his directing debut with this thinky sci-fi thriller. It’s full of big ideas about the frightening power of technology — both its potential and its threat to our privacy — but the execution is rather dull and sometimes silly. Johnny Depp stars as a brilliant scientist who’s been experimenting with artificial intelligence alongside his wife (Rebecca Hall). When a terrorist group guns him down, he uploads himself to the Internet to keep his legacy alive. There are lots of shootings and explosions here with quite a bit of blood, but part of the story hinges on medical advancements that allow people to regenerate and heal themselves – so they don’t stay injured for long. The violence, subject matter and nearly two-hour running time make this suitable for tweens and up only.

New On DVD:

The Nut Job


Rating: PG, for mild action and rude humor.

A mostly innocuous but thoroughly unpleasant animated comedy full of unlikable characters. Will Arnett provides the voice of Surly, a squirrel who’s just trying to get a nut – and he’s unwilling to share with the rest of the furry woodland creatures in the park. Trouble is, there’s a food shortage as winter approaches, so Surly must choose between remaining selfish or being a team player. Fart jokes abound here – and many of them take place underground just to make them extra gross. Some of the rodents also wind up in danger on a raging river. Surly and his pals run into some mobster types, but they’re too cartoonish (in every way) to be threatening. And a raccoon voiced by Liam Neeson might just be more devious than he initially seems.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty


Rating: PG, for some crude comments, language and action violence.

Ben Stiller directs and stars as the title character in this big-budget version of the classic James Thurber story. The milquetoast Mitty enjoys a vivid fantasy world which becomes reality when he’s forced to embark on a globetrotting adventure. The special effects are pretty spectacular here – and they’re the main reason to recommend this movie. There are a couple scenes of peril: a chase through the crowded streets of Manhattan, as well as an erupting volcano. And Walter’s boss, played by an arrogant Adam Scott, is a total jerk. But for the most part this inanely uplifting story about overcoming your fears and chasing your dreams is pretty darn harmless.

Ride Along


Rating: PG-13, for sequences of violence, sexual content and brief strong language.

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart co-star in this clichéd, mismatched buddy-cop comedy that strains desperately to be funny. Hart plays a fast-talking security guard with dreams of becoming a police officer. He also dreams of marrying his longtime girlfriend (Tika Sumpter), whose brother is the toughest detective in all of Atlanta. Hart goes for a ride along with Cube — hence the title — to prove his worth. Shootings, showdowns with generic Serbian bad guys and explosions ensue. There’s also plenty of language and suggestive sexual jokes involving the various positions and tricks Hart likes to employ in the bedroom. (And his nickname is Black Hammer, supposedly a reference to his manhood.) This is probably OK for older kids, but you may want to show them The Other Guys or even 21 Jump Street instead.

Tag Cloud

TruTV Western war Marvel Awards DC Comics National Geographic Martial Arts Reality Competition Paramount talk show mutant cooking IFC Tomatazos American Society of Cinematographers Syfy hist Ovation SXSW Hulu Teen Sundance CBS All Access Columbia Pictures NYCC 45 Countdown DirecTV Watching Series OWN Year in Review Premiere Dates Cosplay Paramount Network ABC Family technology Christmas VICE Sci-Fi adventure PaleyFest boxoffice MSNBC Photos TCM crime Nat Geo BBC CMT TIFF police drama crossover Lionsgate Disney Certified Fresh Food Network X-Men robots GLAAD transformers TLC Mystery streaming Set visit finale 2016 The Arrangement Character Guide History Dark Horse Comics RT History USA Network cinemax dramedy Mindy Kaling Fantasy TV Land Winter TV Comic Book singing competition YouTube Red Toys cults docudrama Super Bowl Warner Bros. social media APB The CW Country festivals CW Seed Comedy Central Apple 21st Century Fox Sneak Peek Valentine's Day GoT MTV YA Extras cops crime thriller Interview justice league Action Opinion TCA Cartoon Network Holidays Comedy based on movie Rocky Pirates Ghostbusters Superheroes Marathons Winners politics Musical Trivia ESPN Musicals Walt Disney Pictures NBC Music Freeform Calendar Bravo Kids & Family VH1 zombies Pixar zombie TNT Crackle 007 Mary Tyler Moore Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt binge Spring TV Universal SDCC DC streaming service CBS See It Skip It political drama Rock Thanksgiving Acorn TV Trailer discovery diversity science fiction Showtime Emmys Masterpiece Superheroe Britbox TBS Shondaland 2017 Nominations harry potter Lucasfilm Spike Logo dc Esquire Infographic FX 2015 24 frames Grammys psycho PBS AMC E3 ratings unscripted El Rey aliens Schedule CNN Rom-Com Star Wars Amazon golden globes spy thriller Fox News Adult Swim historical drama serial killer Red Carpet Podcast supernatural Starz thriller Star Trek FXX BET WGN IFC Films Netflix travel composers Summer cats period drama what to watch Horror sitcom Reality USA TCA 2017 A&E crime drama BBC America Writers Guild of America Box Office Election ITV Creative Arts Emmys First Look FOX dceu Oscars Ellie Kemper LGBTQ Animation Tumblr medical drama vampires President romance HBO DC Universe Biopics comiccon biography Nickelodeon Sony Pictures ABC Sundance Now GIFs Disney Channel SundanceTV Drama Pop 20th Century Fox Best and Worst Video Games Fall TV E! sports Lifetime Polls and Games TV