Rating: PG-13, for sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity.
Tom Cruise returns for a fifth Mission: Impossible movie, which turns out to be one of the best entries in the series; for that matter, it’s also one of the best action movies of the summer. In this latest adventure, super-spy Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is on the trail of a shadowy organization called the Syndicate. Unfortunately, no one else really believes that the Syndicate actually exists, so Hunt is disavowed by the US government, and the IMF is shut down. Hunt isn’t one to take this lying down; he gets his team back together to help him take down the Syndicate, and naturally that means a lot of over-the-top action sequences. Older kids will probably like that the movie speeds along, with hardly a pause between the chases and fights. But the story gets complicated, and can be a bit hard to follow (although everything moves so fast, it doesn’t really matter). As expected, you’ll see a fair amount of gunfights here, with nameless henchmen serving as cannon fodder, and early on there is a murder that’s pretty intense without being very gruesome. The “brief partial nudity” mentioned in the ratings comes from a scene where co-star Rebecca Ferguson is briefly topless, but the camera only catches her from behind. And this being a Tom Cruise movie, you get the required helmet-free motorcycle chase. It should be fine for older kids and more mature pre-teens.
Rating: PG, for mild thematic elements.
This colorful and lively but derivative animated comedy follows the unlikely friendship that forms between an alien and a lonely girl. Jim Parsons provides the voice of a well-meaning but socially awkward creature named Oh, who’s part of a species of space beings called the Boov who take over Earth. But when Oh makes a giant mistake which makes him a fugitive, he hooks up with a seventh grader named Tip (voiced by Rihanna); she’s looking for her mother (Jennifer Lopez), who got sucked up into a spaceship and relocated when the Boov invaded. The idea of being alone and separated from a parent might be disturbing to some kids. And the bad-guy aliens who are after the Boov might seem frightening, although they’re menacing in a rather cartoonish way. There’s also the general threat that the world might blow up at any minute, but alongside that big idea are lots of goofy fart and pee jokes. This is a totally suitable diversion for kids of nearly all ages.