Family Filmgoer reviews ‘Man of Steel,’ ‘This is the End’ and ‘The Purge’

PG-13

Man of Steel. Teens will respond to this Superman origin story. It includes religious imagery and phrases, giving the film a kind of weight that may have the power to move teens in search of depth in their movies. The story is told in flashbacks and flash-forwards, forcing an audience to pay close attention. “Man of Steel” opens on Superman’s home planet of Krypton. Jor-El sends his baby, Kal-El, in a space pod toward Earth as their planet is about to disintegrate, in hopes that he will become someone the earthlings can learn from. General Zod kills Jor-El and vows to trace Kal-El, retrieve the Kryptonian “codex” and get revenge. Cut to the farm where baby Kal-El lands. His adoptive parents urge the boy to keep his emerging powers secret until he discovers his purpose. The adult Clark meets Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane at an Arctic dig where an alien spacecraft has been discovered. Inside it, Clark learns his history. General Zod and his minions land on Earth and threaten to destroy humanity.

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THE BOTTOM LINE: The violence becomes highly destructive. Thousands surely die, though we only see one person up close, alive and pinned under wreckage. The climactic battle over Metropolis recalls images of Sept. 11. As a boy, Clark freaks out at school when his X-ray vision kicks in. Later, he saves a school bus sinking in a river. Characters use occasional crude language and toilet humor and a modified, abbreviated use of the F-word.

Now You See Me. Teens would do well to check out the glitzified but still arresting “Now You See Me.” In a prologue, we meet four struggling magicians — hypnotist Merritt McKinney, escape artist Henley Reeves, trickster Jack Wilder and brainiac J. Daniel Atlas. Anonymously summoned to a vacant New York apartment, they find mysterious instructions that cause them to unite in a glitzy magic act, the Four Horsemen. In their big Las Vegas show, they seem to rob a bank and then empty the bank account of their furious sponsor. All this catches the interest of FBI guy Dylan Rhodes and Interpol gal Alma Dray.

The bottom line: The dialogue contains semi-crude, but non-explicit, sexual innuendo and midrange profanity. A high-speed chase involves a flaming car crash and implied death. A fight and ensuing foot chase get pretty intense. Characters drink.

The Internship. High-schoolers may find it amusing to watch a couple of 40-ish dudes struggle to survive at a company like Google. Nick and Billy are watch salesmen whose boss sells the company. Billy gets the idea of applying for Google’s summer internships, using their ages as a give-us-a-chance ploy. The internship program director doubts they’ll survive amid all the young code-writing whizzes they’re competing against. Divided into teams, all the interns must ace various challenges; only a handful will land jobs with Google.

The bottom line: The script includes mild-to-midrange profanity and mild sexual innuendo. The team visits a club where there is pole dancing and lap dancing. One character is bullied because of his weight.

R

This is the End. This profane and monumentally crude farce aims its humor at 20-something guys and older. It is not for viewers younger than 17. The stars and creators of “Superbad,” “Pineapple Express” and other stoner flicks play versions of themselves. The film brings actor-pals Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogen together as themselves. Baruchel goes to Los Angeles to visit Rogen, who drags him to a party at James Franco’s house. Suddenly, there’s a huge earthquake. Chasms open up and swallow people, public order disintegrates, a huge satanic demon appears. Rogen and others hole up with Franco in his hopefully impregnable mansion. Things quickly go “Lord of the Flies.”

THE BOTTOM LINE: “This Is the End” has gory horror-movie-style violence, including a beheading, a demonic monster with a prominent phallus and a cannibalism joke. Characters engage in drug use and drinking and use continual strong profanity, graphic sexual slang, crude sexual innuendo and rape jokes. There is much gross toilet humor and a nude photograph from a porn magazine.

The Purge. High-school-age moviegoers with a fondness for small-scale action dramas and big ethical puzzles will dive right into “The Purge.” Once a year, the population gets to legally kill anyone they want. This bloodletting supposedly purges violent tendencies for the rest of the year and thins out the needy herd. James has made a bundle selling home lockdown systems. He, his wife, Mary, his son, Charlie, and teenage daughter, Zoey, have no desire to take part. But Charlie spies a man begging for rescue and lets him in. James shoots the stranger and Zoey’s boyfriend, who had sneaked into the house before lockdown. James and Mary try to capture the injured stranger. Hunters in pursuit of him appear outside, and their leader threatens to kill the family if they don’t hand the man over.

The bottom line: There are several point-blank exchanges of gunfire, a stabbing, bone-cracking physical struggles, a lot of blood and strong profanity. Zoey and her boyfriend have a steamy make-out scene.

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

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