Popcorn Parents - Family Movie Reviews

Family Movie Review: Ben-Hur (PG-13)

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MPAA Rating: PG-13        Length: 124 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This faith-based remake of the 1959 film has a few different bloody war scenes; an assassination attempt; some people are thrown off horses; some gory wounds, including one that is cauterized; some gross scenes of people who are sick with leprosy; a violent, bloody chariot race; characters who are forced into slavery are whipped and there is a violent shipwreck; many crucifixions; some kissing between married characters; and the killing of Jesus Christ.

The remake of ‘Ben-Hur’ is more simplistically faith-based than its classic 1959 predecessor, but the tweaks to the storyline make the film feel more insular. The highlight here is the updated chariot chase, but those 3D thrills don’t make up for the rest of the film’s unnecessariness.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Pete's Dragon (PG)

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MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 102 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 8+. A very destructive car accident in the first few minutes leave the young protagonist an orphan, as is his dragon friend; the dragon is mostly dog-like but sometimes scary, breathing fire and attacking humans; some gross-out humor in the form of dragon sneezes; a child falls out of a tree and an adult forcibly pulls another child out of one; a dragon-hunting sequence that is hectic and probably frightening for younger children; a couple of jokes mocking women’s looks and weight.

More wistful and introspective than most family movies this year, ‘Pete’s Dragon’ is deeply moving and unforgettably touching. This is thoughtful, timeless storytelling for children and adults alike.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Suicide Squad (PG-13)

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MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 123 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 14+. Lots of violence, with many characters dying from gunfire, city-wide destruction, swords, explosions, fire, and other weapons; also some fistfights, people fantasizing about and threatening to kill other characters, and other kinds of crimes. A few scenes set in nightclubs where there is drinking, smoking, scantily clad dancers, and a threatening butcher. Some cursing; some misogynistic jokes; some sexualization of female characters; and an abusive relationship portrayed as being flawed but still romantic, which is pretty problematic.

The DC Comics universe expands with ‘Suicide Squad,’ the much-hyped film about supervillains being forced to work together to save the world. There are some astonishing visuals here and enjoyable performances, but overall the movie is a sloppy mess.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Jason Bourne (PG-13)

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MPAA Rating: PG-13        Length: 123 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 14+. Lots and lots of gun violence, which may hit viewers particularly hard given everything going on in the world lately. Numerous people die; various fist-fights; a car bomb; mentions of torture; some cursing; and a couple of very destructive car chases. Also some discussions about security vs. privacy.

‘Jason Bourne’ brings original star Matt Damon back and revisits the franchise’s initial questions about individual privacy vs. national security. But the narrative is so narrow and moves forward so marginally that ‘Jason Bourne’ feels stuck in the past.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Ice Age: Collision Course (PG)

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MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 94 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 6+. This fifth film in the “Ice Age” series places all the characters in danger when an asteroid threatens Earth, and there are some suspenseful scenes related to that plot; also, some bullying dinosaurs steal another dinosaur’s eggs, they try to eat a character, and they threaten to kill another. There’s a bizarre scene where tampering with gravity causes a character’s body to essentially fall apart, with his teeth falling out and other grotesque imagery, and in another scene a character dies and crumples into ash. Plus, a lot of bathroom humor, some feces- and butt-related gags, insult jokes, and some sexually suggestive jokes aimed at parents, like an amorous rabbit and one liners about online dating.

‘Ice Age: Collision Course,’ the fifth film in the franchise, doubles down on the anachronistic jokes and fast pace of the previous films. But its reliance on bathroom humor and whisper-thin characterizations are often exhausting.

By Roxana Hadadi

More Articles ...

  1. Family Movie Review: Ghostbusters (PG-13)
  2. Family Movie Review: The Secret Life of Pets (PG)
  3. Family Movie Review: The BFG (PG)
  4. Family Movie Review: Central Intelligence (PG-13)
  5. Family Movie Review: The Shallows (PG-13)
  6. Family Movie Review: Independence Day: Resurgence (PG-13)
  7. Family Movie Review: Genius (PG-13)
  8. Family Movie Review: Finding Dory (PG)
  9. Family Movie Review: Quackerz (PG)
  10. Family Movie Review: Now You See Me 2 (PG-13)
  11. Family Movie Review: Warcraft (PG-13)
  12. Family Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows (PG-13)
  13. Family Movie Review: Me Before You (PG-13)
  14. Family Movie Review: Alice Through the Looking Glass (PG)
  15. Family Movie Review: X-Men: Apocalypse (PG-13)
  16. Family Movie Review: The Angry Birds Movie (PG)
  17. Family Movie Review: Last Days in the Desert (PG-13)
  18. Family Movie Review: The Man Who Knew Infinity (PG-13)
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  20. Family Movie Review: The Darkness (PG-13)
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  22. Family Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War (PG-13)
  23. Family Movie Review: Mothers and Daughters (PG-13)
  24. Family Movie Review: The Meddler (PG-13)
  25. Family Movie Review: Mother's Day (PG-13)
  26. Family Movie Review: Ratchet and Clank (PG)
  27. Family Movie Review: The Huntsman: Winter's War (PG-13)
  28. Family Movie Review: Barbershop: The Next Cut (PG-13)
  29. Family Movie Review: The Jungle Book (PG)
  30. Family Movie Review: Wildflower (PG-13)
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  32. Family Movie Review: Midnight Special (PG-13)
  33. Family Movie Review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (PG-13)
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Sat Mar 25, 2017 @12:00AM
Easter Bunny at Arundel Mills, Hanover
Sat Mar 25, 2017 @12:00AM
Going Wild, Baltimore
Sat Mar 25, 2017 @12:00AM
National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C.
Sat Mar 25, 2017 @12:00AM
Y Spring Eggstravagana, Various locations
Sat Mar 25, 2017 @10:00AM
Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails, Baltimore
Sat Mar 25, 2017 @10:00AM
Maryland Day, Edgewater
Sat Mar 25, 2017 @10:00AM
Flower Show: Modern HOMEsteading, Davidsonville
Sat Mar 25, 2017 @10:00AM
Maryland Day, Annapolis
Sat Mar 25, 2017 @ 8:00PM
A Symphony of Colors, Annapolis
Sat Mar 25, 2017 @ 8:00PM
The Taming of the Shrew, Baltimore