This week, Christy looks at a special effects-driven mythological tale and a lighthearted, inspirational true story. Then, on home video, she revisits one of Pixar’s two films from 2015 and an American remake of an Argentine Oscar-winner. Read on for details.
NEW IN THEATERS
Rating: PG-13, for fantasy violence and action, and some sexuality.
This is a crazy, cheesy, over-the-top mish-mosh of history, mythology, and sci-fi fantasy. It’s basically about Egyptian gods (played by actors who are either Scottish, Australian or Danish) turning into giant, metallic flying creatures that battle each other in the sky. There’s a ton of carnage and destruction, all of which is rendered in hilariously terrible 3-D special effects. One character gets his eyes plucked out of his face. Another takes a lengthy trip to the underworld, where some fellow travelers find themselves graphically obliterated if they don’t have anything valuable to secure their passage to eternal peace. There’s also a brief sex scene with partial nudity between Gerard Butler’s character, the power-hungry Set, and his mistress. This is super-violent and overlong but also just bad. Bad in a fun way quite often, but still — bad. If for some reason you feel compelled to see it, though, it’s probably OK for young teens and older.
Rating: PG-13, for some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking.
The unlikely athletic prowess of Michael “Eddie” Edwards provides the inspiration for this feel-good, formulaic story. Edwards competed in the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary as the first British ski jumper since the 1920s. What he lacked in natural physical ability he made up for in fearlessness and heart. It’s a pretty harmless story for the whole family for the most part, except for a couple of racy scenes. One features Eddie’s reluctant coach, a former American ski jumping great (Hugh Jackman), comparing the dynamics of takeoff to having sex with Bo Derek, complete with fake orgasm. The other scene takes place in a sauna where a bunch of hunky, Scandinavian ski jumpers are unwinding in little more than skimpy towels. Also, Jackman’s character smokes and sips from a flask pretty much non-stop. (It’s shorthand to indicate how rebellious he is.) But the movie also has some worthwhile messages about perseverance, self-confidence and drive. I brought my 6-year-old son and he enjoyed Eddie’s slapsticky antics (he falls a lot, from various heights). Probably OK for tweens and older.
NEW ON DVD
Rating: PG, for peril action and thematic elements.
This stunningly beautiful animated adventure from Disney’s Pixar Animation is probably OK for most kids in your family, even though it has a pervasive sense of old-school peril reminiscent of Bambi or Dumbo. In this prehistoric twist on the traditional boy-and-his-dog tale, a young dinosaur named Arlo (voiced by Raymond Ochoa) reluctantly befriends the feral boy (Jack Bright) who’d been stealing food from his family’s farm. The two repeatedly find themselves in serious danger. Arlo becomes separated from his family and loses his way home in the treacherous wilderness. There are raging storms, predatory pterodactyls and vicious cattle rustlers to survive as well as a dramatic parental loss early in the film, which already was devastating. I brought my 6-year-old son to see this and we both cried in different spots. But we were also dazzled by the movie’s visual wonder — it has such a high-tech, photorealistic beauty, you’ll swear you’re looking at real water, trees and mountains — as well as its touching, unlikely friendship.
Rating: PG-13, for thematic material involving disturbing violent content, language and some sexual references.
Mature young teens and older are probably the suitable audience for this star-studded thriller. Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Nicole Kidman share the screen in an English-language remake of Argentina’s El secreto de sus ojos, winner of the Academy Award for best foreign-language film in 2010. It follows a group of investigators and close friends still reeling from the brutal rape and murder 13 years earlier of Roberts’ character’s daughter, and it jumps back and forth in time as it reveals clues and twists. We see the young woman’s body — soaked in bleach and tossed in a Dumpster — as well as her mother’s anguish at the discovery. We also see montages of partially obscured images from the attack itself. There’s some disturbing imagery here as well as some fatal shootings.