Popcorn Parents - Family Movie Reviews

Family Movie Review: Black Panther (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13      Length: 134 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 10+. ‘Black Panther’ is pretty far for the course for most Marvel films: there are numerous action scenes, including a few one-on-one dueling fight scenes with spears, shields, and other weapons; larger-scale battles, with similar weaponry but also flying aircraft; many characters die, including a few from gunshots; a scene where young women are being kidnapped; some cursing, rude language and jokes, and someone giving another person the finger; and a few kisses.

‘Black Panther’ is a revelation, the first film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe that truly feels like an of-the-moment masterwork that also happens to be a comic book movie. The themes are multifaceted, the details are rich, the visuals are staggering. ‘Black Panther’ is a radical entry in a franchise that is improved by its energy and its complexity.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Early Man (PG)

Kernel Rating (out of 5): whole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernal (4 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG        Length: 89 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 7+. This clay-animation film from the company who produced Wallace and Gromet, ‘Chicken Run,’ and ‘Shaun of the Sheep’ has that same kind of dry British humor: we see dinosaurs buried after a meteor hits the earth and various skeletons; there are scenes of humans hunting animals, who always get away; we see the behind of a character when someone accidentally stumbles into his shower, and some implied nudity; a few bizarre monsters who may be slightly scary to young viewers, like a gigantic, pointy-toothed duck, a spider unknowingly used as a pillow, and some large worms; some bathroom humor, including the duck defecating all over a person; and some insults and rude language.

British Aardman Animations gives viewers what we didn’t know we needed: an animated origin story for football—soccer to us Americans. ‘Early Man’ is eccentrically funny and mostly warm-hearted, a story about embracing change while retaining your own identity.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Peter Rabbit (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 93 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 7+. The classic children’s character from author Beatrix Potter gets an edgy update with this live-action film, which relies mostly on slapstick, somewhat violent humor to bridge the gap between humans and animals. A lot of pranking goes on, some of it quite dangerous (electrocutions, explosions, garden tools as weapons, homes are destroyed); a few characters die, including one who was turned into a meal and other who suffers a heart attack that we see occur; animal characters party hard and destroy a home, including one animal who goes streaking during the festivities; and a human character suffers a breakdown, destroys property, and plans the demise of Peter Rabbit and his friends. Otherwise, some name-calling and characters taunting/mocking each other; some characters are shown in their underwear, while others don’t wear pants at all; some bathroom humor; and some kissing.

The live-action ‘Peter Rabbit’ update is snarkier and edgier than Beatrix Potter’s original books, relying on pranking humor and violent antics to sell its new humor style. It has moments of poignancy, but feels mostly perfunctory.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Bilal: A New Breed of Hero (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: 105 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This film is about a historical figure in the Islamic faith, who served as the religion’s first Muezzin, or the individual who calls Muslims to prayer. But the film is telling a story that is primarily about wealth, corruption, poverty, and faith, with the prevailing message that all people are created equal and that no person should own another or subjugate another. There is a fair amount of violence, though, including various battle scenes with hand-to-hand combat, arrows, sword fights, and other bloody images; slave owners whip slaves off-screen, including women and children; and some other disturbing scenes, including a slave owner threatening to kill a child his own age and another where a corrupt priest plots to hurt a young boy.

‘Bilal: A New Breed of Hero’ is the rare animated film that is rated PG-13, but its messages about equality and oppression are timely and will spark conversations with tween and young teen viewers. How individuals struggle for freedom from mental and physical ‘chains’ is explored in the educational ‘Bilal.’

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Maze Runner - The Death Cure (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 142 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 14+. Similar to its predecessors, this finale of the “Maze Runner” trilogy has a ton of violence: there is a deadly virus that has infected countless people and turned them into zombie-like creatures; dozens of people die during a major fight sequence; lots of one-on-one violence, during shootouts, assassinations, and knife fights; some explosions; some action sequences with speeding trains and in midair; and a kind of gross-out character who is missing part of his face. Also a few kisses; a variety of cursing; some rude jokes; and a core story in which practically all adults are bad guys.

The ‘Maze Runner’ trilogy concludes with ‘The Death Cure,’ which goes through many of the same motions as the first film and preceding sequel ‘The Scorch Trials.’ The action sequences are often thrilling, but almost everything else is forgettable.

By Roxana Hadadi

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Fri Feb 23, 2018 @12:00AM
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Lead On, Harriet, Annapolis
Fri Feb 23, 2018 @ 8:00PM
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Sat Feb 24, 2018 @12:00AM
Celebrate Black History Month at the B&O,Baltimore
Sat Feb 24, 2018 @12:00AM
Disgraced, Annapolis