Popcorn Parents - Family Movie Reviews

Family Movie Review: Home Again (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 97 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This comedy-drama follows a 40-year-old woman whose life gets complicated when three younger men move into her home and she begins a sexual relationship with one of them. There is some kissing, some implied sex scenes, a male character who is often shirtless, and the discussion of past one-night stands, sexual relationships, and marital infidelity. Also a subplot about the effect of divorce on young children, adult characters often drink beer and wine and there is a brief mention of marijuana use, there is a (mostly comical) fistfight between two men, and some language.

Reese Witherspoon brings her trademark cheeky charm to ‘Home Again,’ but she can’t redeem a film that can’t quite figure out what it’s trying to say about marriage, sex, or family. The cast has phenomenal chemistry, but the narrative doesn’t really work.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Leap! (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG         Length: 89 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 7+. This animated film about an orphan girl dreaming of being a ballerina in Paris features some juvenile bathroom humor (mostly flatulence, including some gas that is lit on fire upon exit); some cruel bullying in the form of hurtful names and insults; a lightly romantic triangle between the tween/teen characters that results in one fight between the two male participants; a romantic kiss on the cheek; and some lightly scary stuff involving high heights and threats by adults against children.

One of the few animated films this summer aimed squarely at female audiences, ‘Leap!’ is cute and heartfelt, even if the story itself is fairly typical. Familiar themes of trying your best and persevering in the face of adversity abound.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: In This Corner of the World (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 129 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 12+. This animated film set in Japan focuses on the life of a young woman who comes of age during World War II, marrying early and attempting to figure out how she fits into her new husband’s family. The film ratchets up the anxiety and intensity as it progresses, with air raid sirens, fighter planes bombing villages, explosions, destroyed buildings, the dropping of the nuclear bomb, and characters who either die or are gravely injured. Although this is an animated film, the images are still sometimes shocking, including one scene in which a young child doesn’t understand that her mother, depicted briefly as a decaying corpse, has died. Also a couple of romantic subplots, some kissing and implied sex scenes, and bullying.

The animated ‘In This Corner of the World’ follows a Japanese girl’s coming of age in Hiroshima during World War II. Although often beautifully animated and deeply sad, the film struggles to maintain a steady pace or provide enough detail to its characters.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: The Glass Castle (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 127 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This adaptation of the same-named memoir by writer Jeannette Walls focuses primarily on her relationship with her dysfunctional parents, including her alcoholic father and enabling mother; those heavy emotional themes, which include the emotional abuse and malnutrition Jeannette and her siblings suffered and the suggestion of childhood sexual abuse by another relative, would be too much for younger viewers. Also some cursing and sexually themed humor, adults drinking to excess, some suggested sexual content (including one implied sex scene that happens after a physical fight between husband and wife), an attempted sexual assault, and some frightening scenes like a young girl catching on fire, a nasty gash being stitched up, a character nearly drowning, and another is dangled out of a window.

The memoir adaptation ‘The Glass Castle’ boasts an exceptional cast, including magnetic performances from Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson. But the film unevenly handles its heaviest material, ending on a conclusion that feels falsely conciliatory for the emotional intensity that came before.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (PG)

Kernel Rating (out of 5): whole popcorn kernalhalf popcorn kernal (1.5 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 91 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 7+. This sequel to ‘The Nut Job’ has mostly the same comedic point of view as its predecessor, with most of its humor coming from characters being harmed, being put in danger, or just being mean to each other. Name-calling, bullying, and corrupt, selfish human children and adults; a few romantic subplots, flirting, and a few sexually themed jokes; and some gross bathroom humor, like dogs who won’t say no to exuberantly licking uninterested animals and a recurring joke with dogs vomiting up food and eating it again. Some explosions, a tornado, some characters threaten each other, and some physical fighting.

‘The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature’ is another lackluster summer offering for young viewers, a sequel that does very little different from its similarly irritating predecessor. The jokes are still mean-spirited and the animation uninspired.

By Roxana Hadadi

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Tue Oct 17, 2017 @12:00AM
Free Fall, Baltimore
Tue Oct 17, 2017 @12:00AM
Nickelodeon’s Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore, Baltimore
Tue Oct 17, 2017 @10:00AM
Fall Fun Festival, Mount Airy
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Tue Oct 17, 2017 @11:00AM
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Annual Free Fall, Baltimore
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Free Fall, Baltimore
Wed Oct 18, 2017 @12:00AM
Nickelodeon’s Dora and Diego—Let’s Explore, Baltimore
Wed Oct 18, 2017 @10:00AM
Fall Fun Festival, Mount Airy