Family Filmgoer reviews ‘Insidious: Chapter 2,’ ‘One Direction’ and ‘Riddick’

September 12, 2013
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One Direction: This is Us (PG). This big-screen ode to all things One Direction will surely delight millions of teen and tween girls. Discovered by producer Simon Cowell in 2010 as separate non-winning contestants on the British version of his show “The X Factor,” the guys were brought together by Cowell in a moment of inspiration. The film follows them onstage and off during a world tour. We see them visit their home towns. They’re portrayed in a slightly sanitized manner.

THE BOTTOM LINE: There is little or no strong language in the film — just the guys kidding around backstage, a bit of flatulence humor and occasional crotch grabbing during performances.

PG-13

Insidious: Chapter 2. This film is way better than the first, but it has more and scarier violence that will be too intense for many middle-schoolers. Set shortly after the first movie ends, “Insidious: Chapter 2” sends its characters back in time and between the worlds of the living and the dead. When the first film ended, Josh Lambert had just rescued his elder son, Dalton, from a demon that had snatched the boy’s spirit into the netherworld, leaving his physical self in a coma. Josh’s wife, Renai, suspects that Josh became possessed while in the other dimension and murdered Elise, the medium who helped him get there. The sequel begins as the shell-shocked Lamberts are going to stay with Josh’s mother, Lorraine. Josh now acts distracted and menacing, and Dalton again hears voices and has bad dreams. So Lorraine calls in the late Elise’s assistants, who discover that this haunting began when Josh was a child. Now it’s back.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The demonically possessed Josh goes after his family with knives and bats, but with no fatalities. The evil spirit draws blood from one character and causes a baby to fall from its crib. We see bloody fingerprints on a strangled victim. A subplot involves a serial killer and an abusive mother. We see a roomful of corpses.

Getaway. Much rubber gets burned in this mega-car-chase thriller, and teens who appreciate visually exciting action flicks may find it gripping. “Getaway” showcases terrific stunt driving and ingenious high-speed editing. But whenever the souped-up Shelby Super Snake Mustang driven by Ethan Hawke’s character slows down and the actor interacts with Selena Gomez, the movie stalls. Hawke plays Brent Magna, a former racecar driver whose recklessness killed his career. We meet him blasting through the streets of Bulgaria, where he has moved with his wife, who has been taken hostage. Under orders from an anonymous voice, Brent has been speeding through the crowded city of Sofia. At one point, an armed teenager tries to carjack him. He’s ordered to take her gun and keep her in the car.

The bottom line: Car chases appear massively destructive, with police and civilian cars flying into the air and crashing. We don’t see other drivers hurt or killed. Bad guys seem to get hurt when there is gunplay. Brent’s wife is roughed up. The script includes moderate profanity.

R

Riddick. When escaped convict Riddick screws a piece of protective armor straight into his leg, you know you’re in for a blast of sci-fi macho filmmaking. Parents may deem the violence, profanity and crude sexual innuendo too intense for under-17s, but many kids will see it anyway. The endless first half-hour shows Riddick on his own, in loud and gory close-ups, fighting off the planet’s giant pincered serpents and flesh-hungry beasts. In a voice-over, Riddick explains how he was tricked out of a cushy gig on another planet and dumped here. He sets off an emergency signal that attracts two spaceships with rival bounty hunters, then plays them off each other, aiming to hop one of their ships to his home planet.

THE BOTTOM LINE: This sequel earns its R rating with numerous bloody impalings, bone-breaking fights, shootings, stabbings and a graphic beheading. The profanity features many F-words and crude sexual language. A flashback implying a group-sex situation shows nothing explicit but includes nudity.

Short Term 12. High-schoolers hungering for real drama on the big screen should see this indie film. Grace and her boyfriend, Mason, work as caregivers in a foster care facility for teens. They and their co-workers, a skilled and dedicated bunch, restrain and calm kids. The still childlike Sammy goes nearly catatonic when therapists take away his toys. Marcus, a smart 18-year-old, nearly implodes at the prospect of going out on his own. Jayden has a history of cutting herself. Her arrival forces Grace to deal with memories of her own rough childhood. The subject sounds dark, but the acting is delicate and makes you care.

The bottom line: The dialogue includes strong profanity, including many F-words and even stronger ones in an angry lyric Marcus writes about the mother who left him. A couple of teens cut themselves. We see Jayden’s scars. A central theme deals subtly with parental sexual abuse. A clothed sexual situation between Mason and Grace becomes fairly explicit. Jayden decorates her room with textbook drawings of male organs.

Horwitz is a freelance writer.
Read her previous reviews at
On Parenting
.

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