Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Guardians of the Galaxy, Get On Up and more

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

by | August 1, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

 

Guardians of the Galaxy

92%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.

Based on the Marvel Comics series about a rag-tag group of misfits who band together to save the galaxy, this is the cheekiest, wackiest blockbuster you’ll see all summer. But it also features all the massive violence and destruction you’d expect from a movie of this genre. It begins with a child witnessing a parent’s death, followed by his abduction by otherworldly beings. That child grows up to be brash space scavenger Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who refers to himself as Star-Lord and becomes an unlikely hero. Among the other characters are the muscular, brutish Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and a talking, gun-toting raccoon named Rocket voiced hilariously by Bradley Cooper. Guardians also features a couple of dark and intimidating villains. Everyone’s after a powerful, mystical orb that’s capable of causing some disturbing damage. The spectacle is massive in director James Gunn’s film but in a cartoonish sort of way. My son, who’s almost 5, came with me to see this and wasn’t frightened by anything, but some of the substantively traumatic stuff might have gone over his head. If your kid has seen this sort of comics-inspired movie before, he or she will probably be OK.

Get On Up

80%

Rating: PG-13, for sexual content, drug use, some strong language, and violent situations.

The James Brown story sadly features no hot tub. Still, the hugely charismatic Chadwick Boseman gives a powerhouse performance as The Godfather of Soul. The film from director Tate Taylor (The Help) doesn’t shy away from the impoverished, abusive childhood Brown endured growing up in rural Georgia. We see his father hit him and his mother (Viola Davis) before the mother abandons the family for good. We see young James move into a brothel where the madam (Octavia Spencer) pays him for luring in randy, young soldiers. And as Brown rises to musical superstardom, we see all the usual infidelities, betrayals and skirmishes (as well as a domestic violence streak of his own). Taylor only briefly alludes to Brown’s drug use. But he does include the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and its impact on the racial tension of the era. This is probably fine for mature tweens and older.

4 Minute Mile

29%

Rating: PG-13, for mature thematic material involving violence, drinking and drugs, and for smoking and some language.

This is a by-the-numbers but surprisingly understated underdog sports movie. Richard Jenkins stars as an aging, alcoholic track coach who trains a talented but troubled teen to run a mile at a punishing four-minute pace. Jenkins’ character drinks a ton and smokes pretty much non-stop. The young man at the center of the film (Kelly Blatz) saw his father’s die at a young age and now makes cash deliveries for his no-good brother (Cam Gigandet) to a local drug dealer. We see a climactic shooting as well as its aftermath. The story is inspirational if familiar — at one point, Jenkins’ character knowingly makes a reference to The Karate Kid. But it’s suitable for young teens and up.

New On DVD:

Noah

75%

Rating: PG-13, for violence, disturbing images, and brief suggestive content.

Darren Aronofsky’s big-budget depiction of the legend of Noah’s Ark is probably best for teen viewers and older. It’s visually striking and often disturbing, as you’d imagine from the visionary director of Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan. Russell Crowe stars as the title character, who believes he receives a message from God about a massive, impending flood. He gets some help in building the ark from a group of enormous rock monsters who initially seem frightening but turn out to be misunderstood, fallen angels. The flood itself, and the way it strands thousands of terrified people is a startling thing to behold. There’s also the possibility of infanticide and potential incest.