Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: A Good Day to Die Hard and Skyfall

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

by and | February 13, 2013 | Comments

This Presidents Day, there’s a little something for everyone in the family, in both the multiplex and on home video. We’ve got four new wide releases (A Good Day to Die Hard, Safe Haven, Escape From Planet Earth 3D, and Beautiful Creatures), plus some choice rentals (Skyfall, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Bully) that should hold appeal to family members of various ages. Read on to find out what’s appropriate for the whole family.

In Theaters This Week:

A Good Day to Die Hard


What’s it about? John McClane (Bruce Willis) goes to Russia to help his son (Jai Courtney), a CIA agent in the midst of an undercover operation. Subsequently, stuff gets blowed up real good.

Who’s it for? It’s rated R for “violence and language.” Some folks made a big deal about that R-rating, especially since it comes on the heels of the PG-13 Live Free or Die Hard. Either way, it’s probably fine for teens, though a little raw for middle schoolers.

Is it any good? The critics say A Good Day to Die Hard is unequivocally the worst entry in a storied franchise, and even Bruce Willis’ smirking demeanor can barely enliven a clichéd, uninspired script.

Safe Haven


What’s it about? Katie (Julianne Hough) arrives in town haunted by a dark secret from her past. Eventually, she falls for widowed single dad Alex (Josh Duhamel). But will the aforementioned dark secret intrude on her new life?

Who’s it for? It’s rated PG-13 for “for thematic material involving threatening behavior, and for violence and sexuality.” Safe Haven is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, so expect it to get all kissy-kissy.

Is it any good? Critics say Safe Haven is schmaltzy, conventional, and fluffily romantic. In other words, it’s like most other movies based on Nicholas Sparks novels.

Escape from Planet Earth 3D


What’s it about? Alien astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) is tricked into landing on earth and subsequently held captive at Area 51, so it’s up to his nerdy brother Gary (Rob Corddry) to rescue him — and their home planet.

Who’s it for? It’s rated PG for “action and some mild rude humor.” Some of the action scenes may be too intense for sensitive children, but it’s mostly safe for most in the elementary school set.

Is it any good? Probably not, since it wasn’t screened for critics.

Beautiful Creatures


What’s it about? Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) is instantly smitten by Lena (Alice Englert), who’s just moved to his small southern town. But their budding love affair is endangered by Lena’s supernatural powers.

Who’s it for? It’s rated PG-13 for “violence, scary images, and some sexual material.” Beautiful Creatures isn’t super racy or intense; in fact, the bigger concern is that it will make teens go all swoony.

Is it any good? Critics say the cast is likable, but the plot is predictable, and the whole thing plays like a (slightly) smarter, Dixie-fied version of Twilight.

New On DVD:



What’s it about? Daniel Craig returns as James Bond, hot on the trail of a former agent (Javier Bardem) with a vendetta against M (Judi Dench) and MI6.

Who’s it for? Skyfall is rated PG-13 for “intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking.” Content-wise, it’s pretty much like every James Bond movie ever, though it’s worth noting that while smoking has declined since Sean Connery’s time, the franchise has undoubtedly gotten more risqué. Parents should probably take the rating to heart.

Is it any good? Critics have rated it Certified Fresh, and just last weekend it took home the BAFTAs for Outstanding British Film and Best Original Music, so chances are strong you’ll like it.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower


What’s it about? An awkward high school freshman befriends a pair of stepsibling seniors who help him to navigate issues of adolescent acceptance and love.

Who’s it for? The Perks of Being a Wallflower is rated PG-13 for “mature thematic material, drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, and a fight — all involving teens.” These are pretty common features of the contemporary coming-of-age film, but some of the material may feel a bit too grown-up for pre-teens.

Is it any good? Perks is another Certified Fresh film, and critics have praised it for its heartfelt earnestness and strong performances. If your kids are mature enough to handle some mildly adult themes, this is worth a watch.



What’s it about? Documentarian Lee Hirsch follows one school year in the lives of five students in different states who have been the victims of bullying, offering a sobering commentary on the hot-button issue.

Who’s it for? Bully is rated PG-13 for “intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language — all involving kids.” The film initially received an R rating due to its uncensored language, which drew criticism from those who feared audiences who most needed to see the film — children — wouldn’t be allowed. The studio toned down the language a bit to get the PG-13, but we are talking about school bullies here, so expect some coarse dialogue, as well as heated exchanges and physical altercations.

Is it any good? Bully is yet another Certified Fresh movie on this week’s list, and critics say it’s a gracefully filmed, character-driven doc that carries a powerful message and arguably should be watched by anyone old enough to know what a bully is.

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