Popcorn Parents - Family Movie Reviews

Family Movie Review: Queen of Katwe (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG        Length: 124 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 10+. The film is about a young Ugandan girl who discovers a passion and extreme talent for chess, and attempts to develop her skills while navigating her family life and representing her town. Discussions about a war in Uganda that left children orphaned and involved in violence; our protagonist’s father has recently passed away, leaving the family in poverty; conversations about “sugar daddies” and some sexually themed language and jokes; a teenage girl becomes pregnant; married people kiss on a bed; some bullying; a child is hit by a motorcycle and taken to the hospital, where his wounds are stitched without anesthetic; another child almost drowns; and a few mentions of Christian faith.

‘Queen of Katwe’ is an unlikely sports release from Disney, with its focus on chess and a Ugandan female prodigy. But this kind of inclusion is a good thing, and ‘Queen of Katwe’ is a great film.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Storks (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG        Length: 89 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 8+. This animated film follows a stork and human duo who attempt to deliver a baby to a family who requested it, and who are trailed by other birds and wolves who want to derail their plan. A few different scenes with action violence, including a plane crash, a chase with the wolves, and a scene where characters beat each other up to amuse the baby; a variety of bathroom and vomit humor, including a pixelated bird behind; a child asking his parents where babies come from; and some romantic tension between the main stork and human characters.

Moving at a breakneck pace and with a few too many plot twists, ‘Storks’ places a convoluted adventure in a world where anthropomorphic storks deliver packages instead of babies. But the film has a few good gags amid the over-activity.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Sully (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13        Length: 95 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 14+. The film about the emergency landing of a commercial airplane on the Hudson River includes some frightening imagery in the form of nightmares and daydreams in which the plane didn’t successfully land, but crashed in New York City, exploding into fire and killing everyone on board; those images are evocative of Sept. 11, 2001, and are undoubtedly troubling. The water landing itself is also fairy stressful, and could be scary for viewers of all ages. Also some cursing.

‘Sully’ is the kind of American story that director Clint Eastwood loves to tell, of individual heroes facing off against misguided bureaucratic judgment. Tom Hanks’s haunted, evocative performance elevates the film to a level of humanity that is life-affirming.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: The Wild Life (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG        Length: 90 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 6+. This animated film tells the story of how Robinson Crusoe arrived on a deserted island and came to befriend the local animals living there. A shipwreck and thunderstorm that may be frightening; a lovable character dies in an explosion; a few different vomiting scenes; various scary scenes involving fire; jokes about cannibals; a few different insults are used, like “idiot”; some sexually themed dialogue about a female character’s “curves”; pirate characters drink alcohol; a cat is pregnant and has a litter of kittens; and there is a violent fight toward the end of the film between various animals.

Almost completely unfunny and mostly uninspired, ‘The Wild Life’ coasts by on attractive visuals alone. Otherwise, this is a painful 90 minutes.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Kubo and the Two Strings (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 101 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 10+. This film includes some action violence, including a couple of very creepy aunts; fights with swords, flying hooks on chains, bows and arrows, and other weapons; fragments of paper that are stylized as blood spurts during a story involving origami; a giant beached whale, a large skeleton, floating eyeballs, and an insect-like dragon; some romantic tension between a couple of characters; and a lot of talk about family honor, death, and grief. Its themes will probably be too advanced and its presentation a bit too scary for younger kids.

Dazzling, complex, and unforgettable, ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ effectively combines layered emotional themes with a stop-motion visual style that is gorgeous and immersive. ‘Kubo’ is one of the year’s standout films, animated or otherwise.

By Roxana Hadadi

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