The Lego Movie (PG). Kids 6 and older will have a blast at this animated 3-D comic adventure set in a Lego universe. Parents will grin at its dead-on spoof of modern life. The message is: “Embrace what is special about you.” Lego man Emmet eventually learns to embrace his specialness, but when we meet him he’s a worker at a construction site. He has no thoughts of his own, unless they’re in the rule book. His life turns upside down when he accidentally falls down a deep hole and encounters a glowing monolith. When he re-emerges with a special red Lego brick melded to his back, Emmet is identified as The Special, destined to become “the brightest, most talented, most interesting person in the universe” and to lead an uprising against the autocratic President Business. Business has secret plans to destroy the Lego universe. Resistance fighter Wyldstyle urges Emmet to think outside the box, but he doesn’t know how. After the climactic battle, the film takes a “real” turn to send home its message about kids and parents embracing creativity.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Bad Cop threatens to melt Emmet down, and President Business threatens to put his constituents “to sleep” if they don’t obey. Later battles against President Business and his minions look like old video games, but they include Lego characters that morph like Transformers.
The Monuments Men. Will teens — and this film is okay for most teens — find this lumbering World War II story of interest? If they love history and art, the movie’s subject will be tantalizing: How a motley crew of art historians, artists and architects ventured into Europe after D-Day and risked their lives to recover works of art looted by the Nazis. George Clooney plays Frank Stokes, a Harvard art historian. He convinces President Roosevelt to put him in uniform and let him recruit other experts to save European art. Along with other members of the team, they start by trying to save individual altarpieces and sculptures at churches and ultimately uncover huge caches of stolen art by Michelangelo, Raphael and Vermeer hidden in salt and copper mines. Matt Damon’s character tries to get a Paris curator, afraid the Americans will keep the art for themselves, to pass on her knowledge of what art was taken where.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Small scenes of war violence are not graphically depicted. Two characters are fatally shot and we see blood, but non-explicit wounds. Characters use occasional mild profanity and the ethnic slur “Kraut.” The dialogue includes brief, non-descriptive references to concentration camps. In one of the caves containing stolen art, the men discover barrels full of gold fillings, implicitly taken from murdered Jews in the camps.
I, Frankenstein. Based on a graphic novel, the story is more ridiculous than most but kind of a hoot at non-3-D and matinee prices. The violence is mild enough for middle-schoolers. Dr. Frankenstein’s monster has roamed the Earth for nearly 200 years, immortal, angry and alone. In an unnamed city, he is set upon by demons. He dispatches several to hell and is ultimately rescued by — wait for it — sacred gargoyle warriors who come to life from a cathedral’s carvings. The gargoyles’ queen explains that their holy mission is to fight demons and protect humankind. She renames the monster Adam and begs him to join them. Adam refuses. Then he learns that a bio-engineering magnate with demonic connections aims to steal Dr. Frankenstein’s journal and have his head scientist use it to reanimate corpses into demons.
The bottom line: Little blood flows amid the supernatural mayhem. Demons and gargoyles run one another through with medieval blades, but their wounds merely cause them to disintegrate into sparkly columns of light that either descend into hell or ascend to heaven. There is mild sexual innuendo and almost no profanity.
That Awkward Moment. Half frat-house farce, half romantic comedy, and the worst half of both, “That Awkward Moment” is too raunchy for viewers younger than 17. Jason, Daniel and Mikey are three college pals now out in the world. Mikey is a busy doctor whose wife has been cheating on him and wants a divorce. Jason and Daniel work as book cover artists. They hook up with women in bars, but do not “date” because dating is the path to marriage. Together, all three guys drink, talk trash, play video games and make bad toilet jokes. When Jason meets Ellie, the trio’s status quo seems in jeopardy.
THE BOTTOM LINE: “That Awkward Moment” contains much crude and graphic talk of sex and nonstop strong profanity. It shows people in bed together kissing, with nudity implied. The only actual nude scene shows two male characters naked in profile with essentials hidden from view. The characters drink a lot of alcohol. One loses a parent and experiences grief. Another gets hit by a car and mildly injured. There is a lot of toilet humor, too.
Horwitz is a freelance writer.
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