Popcorn Parents - Family Movie Reviews

Family Movie Review: Zoo (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG        Length: 98 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 10+. The film, “inspired by true events,” is about a group of children in Belfast, Ireland, during World War II who decide to save the elephant from a local zoo so it is not preemptively “destroyed,” or killed, by the British government in case bombings cause its escape. Because of the WWII setting, the film has some bombing-related scenes that may be scary for young viewers; there are explosions, fires, destruction, and loud noises; characters are injured and killed during these bombings, and characters who died in World War I are discussed; and children are shown wearing gas masks and conducting bombing-related drills in school. Some bullying, including rude words and some cursing; two boys develop crushes on the same girl; some bathroom humor, both human- and elephant-focused; adults drink to excess; and a traumatizing scene where the protagonist sees the British government sending soldiers to kill a number of animals in the local zoo, including some that the movie had already introduced to viewers in an affectionate way (you hear the gunshots and see soldiers raising their weapons).

‘Zoo’ tells the heart-warming real-life story of a group of Irish children who decided to save and hide a young elephant during World War II. The movie has good intentions and will be entertaining for animal-loving tweens, but it makes some frustrating missteps.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Incredibles 2 (PG)

Kernel Rating: whole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernalhalf popcorn kernal (4.5 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 118 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 8+. “Incredibles 2” tweaks some elements of the first film but is mostly in line with its predecessor, including a variety of action and chase scenes; some scenes of fighting and hand-to-hand combat, including both children and parents; and some scary scenes involving heights and hypnotism, including one fight scene that is very loud, very disorienting, and may be especially frightening for younger kids. A teenage girl experiences her first crush and talks about dating, a couple discusses their marriage, a character’s death is described, and there is some talk about the negative effect of screens.

The 14-year wait for ‘Incredibles 2’ is finally over, and the film delivers timely messages about marriage equality, female empowerment, and technological oversaturation along with engrossing, colorful visuals. It’s another delight from Pixar after the beauty of last winter’s ‘Coco.’

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Ocean's 8 (PG-13)

Kernel Rating: whole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernalhalf popcorn kernal (4.5 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG-13          Length: 110 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This female-focused extension of the 'Ocean's' franchise has a lot of the same elements as those films, which focused on elaborate heists and schemes in casinos, European cities, and more casinos. Characters plan to steal a fortune, they lie and obfuscate to pull off the heist, and you see the main character serving time in prison. Some cursing and vulgar language; some flirting, making out, and sexually themed content, including an implied night together that involves handcuffs and a slap in the face; characters drink and smoke marijuana; and one character threatens another with a weapon crafted in prison. Also, much like the preceding 'Ocean's' films, there is a focus on wealth, money, and luxury here, with a fair amount of product placement as well.

The unbelievably talented cast assembled for 'Ocean's 8' makes this movie one of the most fun visits to the movie theater this summer. The film is packed with style and charisma, and its focus on female friendships and relationships is a welcome respite from the typical summer blockbuster.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13        Length: 135 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 12+. Mostly the same elements of preceding ‘Star Wars’ films, with a variety of violence (people, other races, and robots are enslaved; the Empire is waging war on other planets, and we see some trench warfare, explosions, and shootouts; dead bodies are shown, characters fight and duel, and we see a character who sacrifices themselves by blowing something up). Also some kissing, some implied romantic tension between characters, and a character nearly curses using the s-word, but the scene cuts away before the word is completed.

‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ is a sometimes exciting, sometimes funny, and sometimes boring addition to the ever-expanding ‘Star Wars’ universe. This is a movie that has all the composite parts for success but isn’t actually successful that often.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Show Dogs (PG)

Kernel Rating: half popcorn kernal (0.5 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG         Length: 92 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 8+. The content of ‘Show Dogs’ is actually quite strange. This movie about an undercover police dog attempting to break up an illegal animal-smuggling ring relies often on humor related to the dog’s genitals and behind, and there’s a subplot focused on how the dog responds to someone touching those parts of his body. It’s weird! Other jokes are also surprisingly adult-themed, including a dog who is shown as a police informant because of his addiction to catnip and another whose trailer subjected him to plastic surgery. Also a romantic subplot with two dogs crushing on each other; some violence, including a shootout and a wild tiger attack; some scary moments, with a dog purposefully acting aggressive and hostile toward others, and other scenes where dogs attack and bite; and some bathroom-related humor, implied cursing, like use of the word “bull,” and use of the word “crazy” as an insult.

‘Show Dogs’ is strange, a sort of canine-centric update of ‘Miss Congeniality’ in which a NYPD officer from ‘the streets’ crashes into the unlikely world of dog shows. It is often adult in its humor and derivative in its plot, and the amount of time this movie devotes to a dog’s private parts is extremely weird.

By Roxana Hadadi

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