The bottom line: The scenes of violence in “Upside Down” are not graphic, but there is shooting with intent to kill. The language in the script includes occasional mild profanity.
Emperor. World War II must seem a very distant set of events to teens today. But for those who like history, “Emperor” does a bang-up job of making one corner of that era come vividly to life. It dramatizes what happened in 1945 when the war was over and the U.S. military occupied Japan. Before helping to rebuild and democratize the bomb-shattered former empire, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and his staff will decide which Japanese officers and cabinet ministers to prosecute for war crimes. MacArthur assigns Gen. Bonner Fellers to investigate whether the Emperor of Japan, worshiped by his people, should face trial and even execution.
The bottom line: The depiction of a bomb-ravaged Tokyo is highly evocative. There is a brief flashback sequence of war violence with bayonet stabbings. The dialogue includes rare mild profanity.
Dead Man Down. For crime movie buffs 17 and older, “Dead Man Down” offers multiple cinematic rewards — electrifying action sequences, inventive use of the camera lens and a script with a vengeful moral code that warrants post-movie debate. Victor is a hit man/enforcer for drug lord Alphonse. Alphonse has been receiving threatening letters containing bits of a cut-up photograph. He and his thugs want to piece the puzzle together and learn the identity of his tormenter. Living in the high-rise building opposite Victor’s is Beatrice, half of whose face was badly disfigured in a car accident. Beatrice often waves to Victor flirtatiously from her balcony, and they finally meet. Her reasons are not just romantic. From her window, she saw Victor kill someone and demands that he kill the drunken driver responsible for her disfigurement, or she’ll report him to the police. Beatrice and Victor enter a whirlpool of violence, possible romance and big moral choices.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Violent and morally complex, “Dead Man Down” is truly for viewers 17 and older. It features intense gun violence. The mayhem also includes strangulations, beatings and one unfortunate character who is set upon by sewer rats. The film contains a steamy sexual situation interrupted by violence. The script includes occasional strong profanity. Local teens shove and bully Beatrice and call her “monster” because of her facial scars.
Horwitz is a freelance writer. Read her previous reviews at On Parenting.