Popcorn Parents - Family Movie Reviews

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

Family Movie Review: Kong: Skull Island (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 120 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This monster flick about King Kong is in the B-movie style, with lots of violence and various gross-out scenes: Kong tears apart helicopters, killing various people; huge spiders, insects, and other monsters attack the humans, eating and regurgitating them; there are scenes with monster blood, vomit, and guts. Some cursing; some light flirting and romantic tension between a couple of characters, and the suggestion of prostitution with a few scenes set in brothels.

It’s the bloodthirstiness of man vs. the primal qualities of nature in ‘Kong: Skull Island,’ which has some grossly impressive visuals but mostly feels derivative in both plot and style. This is same old, same old creature feature stuff.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Rock Dog (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG         Length: 80 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 7+. This animated film about a country dog who travels to the city to pursue dreams of playing rock and roll is pretty tame, but has some cartoon violence: a pack of wolves descend upon a small village, aiming to cook and eat the sheep who live there; some fights between the dog who defends the village and the wolves; characters are kidnapped and threatened with physical violence; a main character considers the idea of stealing an idea from someone and not giving them proper credit; a fire spreads though a village; some bathroom humor; there is a cage match fight where a grizzly bear tries to kill the protagonist; and there is some bullying and mocking of the country dog by some of the “cooler” city folk.

‘Rock Dog’ revisits ideas from better animated films, like ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and ‘Kubo and the Two Strings,’ and tries to adapt them to its premise of a small-town dog who wants to play rock music. The disparate ideas never really come together, and the film is almost immediately forgettable.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: The Great Wall (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13        Length: 104 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This monster flick has some legitimately scary moments thanks to well-done 3D effects; the beasts, with their countless teeth and snapping jaws fly out of nowhere and into your face to terrifying effect. Also some cursing; a very lightly implied romantic subplot; and lots of death and destruction in the form of the monsters killing humans, tearing them apart, and eating them. The prevalent CGI keeps the film from seeming so real that it would scare teen viewers, but the violence is too much for younger audiences.

Legendary Chinese filmmaker Yimou Zhang aims for American audiences with ‘The Great Wall,’ a monster-focused would-be blockbuster. The film is visually astounding and often quite funny, but Matt Damon is an attention-pulling, movie-disrupting miscast.

By Roxana Hadadi

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