Popcorn Parents - Family Movie Reviews

Family Movie Review: The Promise (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 132 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This historical drama about the Turkish government’s Armenian genocide during World War I involves a fair amount of war-related violence, including villages that are attacked and destroyed, people who are beaten, shot, and killed, mass graves of bodies, shootouts, and bombings. Also a scene set during a medical school autopsy, with a body opened for examination; some cursing; some gory and upsetting moments, including lots of blood and the description of what soldiers did to a pregnant woman; some drinking, some kissing, a scene at a belly-dancing club, and implied sex scenes.

The historical drama ‘The Promise’ focuses on a love triangle during World War I, when the Turkish government enacted large-scale murder against the country’s Armenian minority. The film benefits from strong performances, but the lack of proper historical context dampens its full historical relevance.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: F8: The Fate of the Furious (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: 136 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This is all typical stuff for the “Fast and Furious” franchise: cursing, vulgar and sexually themed jokes; some varying nudity, skimpy outfits, and an implied sex scene; and a variety of action and violence, including car chases, shootouts, hand-to-hand combat, cars being crushed and crashed, and countless characters dying in a variety of ways. Per usual, this isn’t gory or bloody violence, but it is omnipresent, and overall the body count feels higher than any preceding movies in this franchise.

‘The Fate of the Furious’ gets expectedly over the top, as ‘Fast and Furious’ movies tend to do. But the enjoyably ridiculous antics can’t fix a fissured film that sags under the weight of its divided narrative.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Gifted (PG-13)

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

MPAA Rating: PG-13       Length: 101 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 13+. This film about a custody battle between a son and his mother over his niece includes some cursing, crude jokes, and racially themed humor; some kissing, an implied sex scene, and implied nudity; a subplot about a character who took her own life; a bullying scene where a girl steps in and breaks a boy’s nose after his abuse of another student; adults drink, and in a few scenes are drunk and hungover; a scene in an animal shelter where three pets are about to be put down; and some mentions of bar fights and other physical altercations.

‘Gifted’ raises the question of what is more important: academic rigor and intellectual pursuit vs. a ‘normal’ childhood. It’s an interesting question handled without much nuance, and while the film pulls on heartstrings, the clumsy storytelling lacks impact.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG        Length: 129 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 8+. Most of the same elements of the animated original are rendered here again in this real-life adaptation: a pack of hungry wolves fight against the Beast (who looks more like a cat here than a buffalo); some kissing; Gaston is a smug creep who calls Belle “prey”; some flirting by village women with Gaston; mentions of characters who passed away from disease; a battle including gunshots, and a character dies from a long fall; and a moment where a male character seems to enjoy dressing in women’s clothes.

The latest Disney live-action remake, this time of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a faithful, if somewhat lifeless, recreation. Some of the animated film’s best moments are delivered well, but mostly this version lacks zeal.

By Roxana Hadadi

Family Movie Review: Smurfs: The Lost Village (PG)

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

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 89 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 7+. This “Smurfs” film is a reboot of the film franchise, so it is unrelated to the previous two films released a few years ago. The content is still pretty much the same: some bathroom humor and gross-out jokes; some mild violence and action sequences, including a river chase sequence, carnivorous fish, explosions, and fights between the Smurfs and the wizard who wants to kill them; some flirting and a sexually themed joke; and a major plot point about a female character trying to figure out her identity and her purpose in a community that is predominantly male.

‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ resets the film franchise, but the movie feels more made-for-TV than worthy of a 3D upcharge. Nevertheless, a focus on Smurfette and her struggle to define herself has some nicely insightful moments.

By Roxana Hadadi

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