Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: RoboCop, Endless Love and Winter's Tale, Plus Ender's Game and All Is Lost

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

by | February 14, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:



Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material.

An insane amount of gunfire permeates this shiny, noisy remake of the groundbreaking 1987 action satire. That film’s cheeky tone has been replaced here with a more serious (and seriously violent) exploration of the nature of free will and the importance of privacy. Joel Kinnaman stars as a former Detroit police officer in the near future who becomes a half-man/half-robot crime fighter after an explosion nearly kills him. He has to take down a ton of bad guys, both in real life and in practice simulations, with some heavy-duty firepower. But because this is a PG-13 movie, there’s no blood. There’s also a bit of drug material as RoboCop infiltrates a hidden manufacturing warehouse. And Samuel L. Jackson, as a bloviating, Bill O’Reilly-type TV commentator, gets to spew some amusing profanity – only some of which gets bleeped out.

Endless Love


Rating: PG-13, for sexual content, brief partial nudity, some language and teen partying.

Continuing with the ’80s-remake theme of the week, we have this forbidden teen romance which is pretty much completely different from the 1981 Franco Zeffirelli original. Writer-director Shana Feste has kept the names the same but taken out all the crazy. Her version feels more like an extended Abercrombie & Fitch ad, with its gorgeous lead actors frolicking in idyllic situations. Alex Pettyfer plays the smart, decent-hearted mechanic’s son who dares to fall in love with Gabriella Wilde’s character, a wealthy, sheltered cardiologist’s daughter. They make out a lot, have sex on the carpet in front of a fireplace and engage in partying that’s alluded to but never shown. Despite his hunky dreaminess, Pettyfer’s character is also hotheaded — he punches a couple of guys and gets arrested. Probably fine for older tweens/young teens and up.

Winter’s Tale


Rating: PG-13, for violence and some sensuality.

Angels and demons prowl among us in this wackadoodle romantic fantasy from writer-director Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind). Colin Farrell stars as a seemingly ageless man who believes he’s meant to save a beautiful girl (Jessica Brown Findlay) from dying of consumption in 1916 New York. But that miracle might belong to someone else a century later. Despite the fact that she doesn’t have long, the two fall in love, which features some partial nudity and a tasteful sex scene. There are also some skirmishes with the bad guys who are after them, led by a scary, supernatural Russell Crowe. The plot line and its driving mythology are so convoluted, they might confuse young viewers — but that’s not who this movie is intended for, anyway.

New On DVD:

Ender’s Game


Rating: PG-13, for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material.

This sci-fi fable is about genocide and child warriors, so yeah, maybe it’s not the most appropriate movie for the youngest viewers in your home. But tweens and up certainly have seen this kind of mature, challenging material in The Hunger Games movies, and may even have read the Orson Scott Card book that provides the inspiration here. Asa Butterfield stars as 16-year-old genius Ender Wiggin, who emerges as The One as he goes through his training at the elite Battle School. He must then lead his own soldiers into war to save the human race. No pressure. As is so often the case with important sci-fi, Ender’s Game has bigger and more complicated ideas on its mind beyond just the battle sequences. So I guess it’s a matter of whether you feel like having those conversations with your kids.

All Is Lost


Rating: PG-13, for brief strong language.

An incredibly tense, precisely crafted film starring Robert Redford in what is essentially a wordless role. He plays a man stranded alone for days on a small yacht in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Nothing frightening happens in the traditional horror-movie sense of the word, but Redford’s character’s ordeal becomes unbearably harrowing as each new day passes. When he finally snaps and allows himself to speak, on day six, he yells the four-letter word the rest of us would have yelled early and often starting from day one. Oder kids may find the quiet tone and deliberate pacing a bit dull, but there’s also a lesson here about resourcefulness and courage.

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