Popcorn Parents - Family Movie Reviews

Family Movie Review: Ferdinand (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 107 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 7+. This movie about the bull that prefers smelling flowers to fighting matadors channels the spirit of the original children’s book by Munro Leaf, and is a profoundly kind work. To beef up the novel, the film adds a few subplots, including one that focuses on what happens to bulls after they lose (and touches on losing a parent), another on what happens at the chophouse, and some bullying, involving name-calling and some pushing around.

John Cena brings kindness and calmness to ‘Ferdinand,’ the animated adaptation of the classic children’s novel about a bull that would rather smell flowers than charge matadors. The movie is satisfying for all ages.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (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: 152 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 10+. The level of violence and the content and themes are fairly similar to “The Force Awakens,” so you have soldiers attacking ships and people, and it’s implied that hundreds of resistance fighters die; lots of hand-to-hand combat and of course a few lightsaber duels, ending in many people’s deaths; ships are blown up or shot down; and the desire of the First Order is to control and oppress the galaxy. Some very lightly implied romantic tension between a few characters, including the setup of what could be a love triangle; some discussions about death, life, and the light vs. dark natures of the Force; and the implication of cursing and one or two slightly off-color jokes.

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is a visual spectacle that expands our understanding of the Force and how it shapes a ‘galaxy far, far away,’ adding to the mythology and lore of this franchise. But the pacing is slightly off and the characters remain slightly underdeveloped.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Coco (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 109 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 10+. The latest from Pixar shares with viewers the nuances and details of the Mexican holiday the Day of the Dead, and so a lot of that holiday’s imagery is present, including skulls and skeletons, and there are themes about what happens to you after you die and after you are forgotten by the living. Also a subplot that reveals a character’s death may not have been an accident; a character who, in her very old age, may be suffering from dementia; the young boy protagonist lies, steals, and says some very hurtful things to his family; adult characters drink; and an implied joke about women’s breasts.

Pixar expands its world view with ‘Coco,’ a vibrant, emotionally resonant animated film that educates viewers about Mexican Día de Muertos traditions while sharing a story about the importance of family love and creative fulfillment.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Justice League (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 120 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. Much of the same as most comic book movies: lots of action sequences against an alien villain with seemingly unstoppable strength and violence; a demonic army of minions that, with their pointy teeth and glowing eyes, may scare younger viewers; lots of hand-to-hand combat and characters shown being killed during those battles; some cursing; some sexist behavior by the de facto male leader of the team to the female leader; some drinking; and some male shirtlessness.

‘Justice League’ thankfully leaves the punishing, exhausting darkness of ‘Batman v Superman’ behind and goes for a looser, more humorous vibe. With that tonal change and a charismatic cast, the movie goes down easier, even if it suffers from an overly complicated narrative.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Wonder (PG)

wonder movie

Kernel Rating (out of 5):  (3.5 out of 5)

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 113 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 10+. The plot focuses on a tween boy with a genetic condition that other children and bullies like to mock, so there is a lot of bullying here, including name-calling, rumor-spreading, mean notes, the suggestion that the boy is ugly or infected, and an exchange where the boy is told to kill himself. It may be overwhelming for younger viewers who like the protagonist and don’t understand the cruelty of the other children. Otherwise, a teen romance with some kissing; adults joke about drinking, and some grownups are shown drinking to excess; some rude jokes, some bathroom humor, and a few fistfights; a beloved pet dies.

This adaptation of the bestselling young-adult novel ‘Wonder’ is warm and kind, and young viewers will identify with the charming protagonist who is curious about when people will stop caring about what he looks like outside and will be more interested in who he is inside.

By Roxana Hadadi

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