Popcorn Parents - Family Movie Reviews

Family Movie Review: The Space Between Us (PG-13)

Kernel Rating (out of 5): half-popcorn-kernal

MPAA Rating: PG-13         Length: 120 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This film about a boy who is born on Mars and dreams of a life on Earth is full of frustrating gender stereotypes: a woman who becomes pregnant is called “irresponsible” and her pregnancy a “mistake,” with no blame discussed for the father of the child; a teenage boy lies to a girl he likes and belittles her beliefs, but they start a relationship anyway; a teen romance with some kissing and an implied sex scene; teens steal and lie; a foster father is depicted as a hopeless drunk; and a subplot about the boy’s health, with a surgery scene and a prevailing threat of death.

‘The Space Between Us’ is basically 12-year-old-boy wish fulfillment, in every clichéd, frustrating way. Men act irresponsibly and women are around to clean up their messes in this horrendously forgettable teen romance pretending to be a sci-fi movie.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: A Dog's Purpose (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 120 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 12+. This film about a dog being reincarnated numerous times includes a fair amount of death as the animal’s spirit cycles through various bodies; dogs are caught and put down, are shot, become elderly and pass away, are neglected, and experience various other things that may be emotionally wrenching for young dog lovers. Also a few romantic subplots among the film’s humans, including some kissing; humans get drunk and smoke cigarettes; mentions of other characters passing away; sexually themed humor and gross bathroom jokes; some teen bullying; and discussion of the tense political environment of the ‘60s.

‘A Dog’s Purpose’ tries its hardest to make audiences weep with its story of a dog’s spirit being reincarnated through various bodies as it wonders about the meaning of life. That’s a lofty goal that doesn’t pay off in this mostly trite film.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: The Red Turtle (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 81 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 12+. This animated film about a shipwrecked man struggling to survive on an isolated island, because of its focus on the passage of time, includes some scenes about sickness and death, including a few in which animals die, are attacked, or killed. Also some scary scenes, including a tsunami; implied nudity when characters are swimming or standing in the water; and a romantic relationship that results in the birth of a child.

The animation of ‘The Red Turtle’ is exquisite, making the film a visual splendor. But the story itself is almost simplistic to a fault, flirting with the fantastical but not going far enough.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13        Length: 107 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This sequel to the 2002 film is more of the same: Lots of pervasive but not gory violence, in the form of gunfights, hand-to-hand combat, grenades, rocket launchers, snipers, and the like; a few curse words, including one use of the f-word; and tons of sexual content and sexually themed jokes. Literally every woman but one is sexually interested in the main character, which means there are some implied sex scenes, including an orgy; many scantily clad women and women in lingerie; and various jokes and puns about sex.

‘xXx: The Return of Xander Cage’ is a movie meant to boost star Vin Diesel’s ego and nothing else. Simultaneously aggressively stupid and begrudgingly entertaining, this ‘xXx’ sequel is filler for your brain.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: A Monster Calls (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13         Length: 108 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 12+. Although marketed for kids, ‘A Monster Calls’ is really more appropriate for tweens and older viewers because of its heavy thematic content and emotional elements. A boy deals with the stress, confusion, and grief caused by his mother suffering from cancer, lashing out at family members and peers; various scenes of physical and emotional bullying, including one scene that is somewhat homophobic; and some cursing. Also some fantastical elements with an anthropomorphized tree who comes to life and tells the boy stories that involve death, faith, and loss.

The latest young-adult-novel-turned-film, ‘A Monster Calls,’ approaches its narrative of grief and loss with equal parts nuance and ferocity, plus some beautiful animation. But this film, despite its marketing, is not for children, needing older tween and teen viewers to appreciate its depths.

By Roxana Hadadi

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Mon Oct 23, 2017 @12:00AM
Free Fall, Baltimore
Mon Oct 23, 2017 @12:00AM
Lighthouse Shelter Pumpkin Patch, Annapolis
Mon Oct 23, 2017 @12:00AM
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Mon Oct 23, 2017 @10:00AM
Gardening Preschool Class, Grasonville
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Be Your Own Superhero, Odenton
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Free Fall, Baltimore
Tue Oct 24, 2017 @12:00AM
Nickelodeon’s Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore, Baltimore
Tue Oct 24, 2017 @10:00AM
Fall Fun Festival, Mount Airy