Popcorn Parents - Family Movie Reviews

Family Movie Review: A Quiet Place (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13        Length: 90 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This horror film about an alien race that tracks humans using sound is masterful in building suspense, and it may be quite scary for younger tweens. Many characters die, including children and the elderly, and although no deaths are directly shown onscreen, they are implied to be somewhat brutal and bloody. Also some scary sequences where children and adults are chased and attacked by the creatures; some gross-out moments, including someone stepping on a nail; the design of the creatures themselves is kind of disgusting, like gigantic, slimy, armored spiders; a woman goes into labor, and you see her water break and some blood spill; and there are some romantic moments between a married couple.

‘A Quiet Place’ is a tightly paced, compellingly acted horror film that delivers maximum impact without much bloodshed or much gore. The key here is the unceasing tension, a kind of persistent creepiness that burrows under your skin and stays there for the film’s entire run time.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Rampage (PG-13)

Kernel Rating: whole popcorn kernalwhole popcorn kernal (2 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG-13           Length: 107 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 12+. For a PG-13 film, ‘Rampage’ actually has a surprising amount of bloody violence and gore: bloody limbs and body parts float around in a space capsule; numerous characters die, are crushed by debris, are torn apart, or are eaten, and there is a lot of blood splatter throughout; there are plane crashes, explosions, and the destruction of Chicago; and various animals are killed, including a flashback scene to poachers killing a gorilla with machetes. Some cursing; some sexually themed humor and flirting; and some rude jokes, including the middle finger being given numerous times.

‘Rampage’ is a movie in which none of the pieces fit together well—the characters, monsters, action set pieces, and emotional tone all seem like they belong in separate films. It’s a strange combination that doesn’t really deliver thrills or humor.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Ready Player One (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 140 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This adaptation of the cult classic novel by Ernest Cline is about a virtual reality world that is threatened, and the teenagers and young adults who come together to defend its existence. There is a lot of virtual violence here; when people are killed or injured in the virtual world, their bodies or limbs explode into arcade coins, and so there is a lot of that throughout as people are killed in fighting games, in car crashes, when facing off against King Kong, and in a climactic battle scene with explosions, drowning, and other varieties of violence. It may be a lot for younger viewers. Also some cursing; some declarations of romantic love and some kissing; a subplot in which people who become overcome by debt are sent to a company’s worker camps; some deaths in the “real world,” including assassinations; and a recreation of a long scene from the classic horror film “The Shining,” including ax attacks, a chase through a maze, implied nudity, and a decaying reanimated corpse.

‘Ready Player One’ is jam-packed with ’80s references, from music to movies to video games, and some of the visual effects are thrilling, horrifying, and fun. But Steven Spielberg’s latest is only infrequently successful, more often relying on viewer recognition of things they already like than actual character development or narrative engagement.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Love, Simon (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 110 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 14+. This teen drama focuses on a high school senior and his decision to come out to his friends and family. Some cursing and homophobic slurs, some bullying, some sexually themed humor and conversations, a party where teens drink to excess, some kissing and flirting.

‘Love, Simon’ is the kind of earnest coming-of-age story that focuses on a teen boy’s coming of age and his first love—he also just happens to be gay. The film is gentle and generous, with a captivating performance from Nick Robinson as the titular Simon.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Pacific Rim Uprising (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 111 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 10+. The sci-fi-themed action film is similar to its predecessor in terms of content, with various fights between alien monsters and gigantic robots, explosions, and destruction of cities; some hand-to-hand combat and fights between various human characters; some characters die, either in explosions or robot vs. alien combat; some cursing; some drinking and partying; some flirting between characters and some kisses on the cheek; and some gross-out moments with the alien kaijus.

‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ is a dumbed-down version of its predecessor, an imitation of the first film that doesn’t live up to its creative imagination. John Boyega is having a lot of fun, but neither the supporting cast nor the plot match his energy level.

By Roxana Hadadi

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