Popcorn Parents - Family Movie Reviews

Family Movie Review: Gifted (PG-13)

Kernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernalhalf-popcorn-kernal(2.5 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 101 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This film about a custody battle between a son and his mother over his niece includes some cursing, crude jokes, and racially themed humor; some kissing, an implied sex scene, and implied nudity; a subplot about a character who took her own life; a bullying scene where a girl steps in and breaks a boy’s nose after his abuse of another student; adults drink, and in a few scenes are drunk and hungover; a scene in an animal shelter where three pets are about to be put down; and some mentions of bar fights and other physical altercations.

‘Gifted’ raises the question of what is more important: academic rigor and intellectual pursuit vs. a ‘normal’ childhood. It’s an interesting question handled without much nuance, and while the film pulls on heartstrings, the clumsy storytelling lacks impact.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (PG)

Kernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernal (3 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG        Length: 129 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 8+. Most of the same elements of the animated original are rendered here again in this real-life adaptation: a pack of hungry wolves fight against the Beast (who looks more like a cat here than a buffalo); some kissing; Gaston is a smug creep who calls Belle “prey”; some flirting by village women with Gaston; mentions of characters who passed away from disease; a battle including gunshots, and a character dies from a long fall; and a moment where a male character seems to enjoy dressing in women’s clothes.

The latest Disney live-action remake, this time of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a faithful, if somewhat lifeless, recreation. Some of the animated film’s best moments are delivered well, but mostly this version lacks zeal.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Smurfs: The Lost Village (PG)

Kernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernalhalf-popcorn-kernal(2.5 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 89 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 7+. This “Smurfs” film is a reboot of the film franchise, so it is unrelated to the previous two films released a few years ago. The content is still pretty much the same: some bathroom humor and gross-out jokes; some mild violence and action sequences, including a river chase sequence, carnivorous fish, explosions, and fights between the Smurfs and the wizard who wants to kill them; some flirting and a sexually themed joke; and a major plot point about a female character trying to figure out her identity and her purpose in a community that is predominantly male.

‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ resets the film franchise, but the movie feels more made-for-TV than worthy of a 3D upcharge. Nevertheless, a focus on Smurfette and her struggle to define herself has some nicely insightful moments.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Saban's Power Rangers (PG-13)

Kernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernalhalf-popcorn-kernal(2.5 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 127 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. The original live-action show was made for children, but this PG-13 adaptation is focused primarily on the teenage experience, so it may be a little mature for younger kids. Cursing; vulgar and sexually themed jokes; a male character is briefly shirtless and a female character is briefly in her bra and underwear; fistfights and bullying; a subplot about sexting; and a variety of violence, including a couple of awful car accidents, characters who are killed and have their gold teeth pulled out, characters who drown, a nightmare sequence where the zombie-like villain turns people into ash, and a few other action sequences.

‘Saban’s Power Rangers’ is a better film when it embraces the nostalgia of ‘80s movies and brings misunderstood teenagers together as a group of friends. ‘It’s morphin’ time’ is when the film becomes another forgettable action flick.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: The Boss Baby (PG)

Kernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernalhalf-popcorn-kernal(3.5 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG        Length: 97 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 8+. This animated film about a mysterious baby who earns the mistrust of his older brother includes an onslaught of nude baby butts, with many bathroom humor opportunities involving flatulence, vomit, and diapers; a subplot about sibling rivalry that involves children fighting with each other, including chase scenes, explosions, and other hijinks; an enforcer character who rarely speaks and is presented as foreboding and threatening, especially when he’s dressed as a female nanny; and one sexually themed joke about where babies come from.

Alec Baldwin is the magic that holds ‘The Boss Baby’ together. This smartly written family film lightly takes on the commercialism of babies and pets while delivering a variety of witty gags that sound charmingly smug coming from Baldwin’s mouth.

By Roxana Hadadi

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