Family Filmgoer reviews ‘The Wolverine,’ ‘The To Do List’ and ‘Crystal Fairy’

6 and older

Turbo (PG). A garden snail named Theo, a.k.a. Turbo, dreams of racing in the Indianapolis 500 in this animated fable that should more than please kids age 6 and older, as well as teenagers and parents. Turbo longs for speed, even though it takes him 17 minutes to travel one foot. One day, Turbo is watching traffic from a bridge when he falls and lands in the midst of a drag race. He emerges with the power to zoom at blinding speeds. When a crow snatches his brother Chet, Turbo vrooms to the rescue, and the chase ends on a taco truck driven by Tito, who has a collection of snails he races for fun. When he sees Turbo’s hyper-speed, he raises money and takes Turbo to the Indy 500.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Some of Turbo’s adventures will look a little harrowing to viewers younger than 6, especially in 3-D, when he gets sucked into a racer’s exhaust system and when he rescues Chet. Turbo is nearly wiped out by debris or run over by racecars. There’s also a multi-car crash that looks scary.

PG-13

The Wolverine. Dark, moody and very violent for a PG-13, “The Wolverine” may be too extreme for some middle-schoolers. The prologue takes place in a prisoner-of-war camp near Nagasaki, Japan. Logan is chained up in solitary. With his healing powers, he protects a humane young guard from the atomic-bomb blast. Cut to the present. A depressed Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine, lives alone in the Yukon. He picks a bar fight with the hunter who killed his favorite grizzly. This reveals Logan to Yukio, a petite martial arts fighter from Japan. She tells Logan that the now elderly and wealthy former guard, Yashida, is dying and wants to say farewell. Logan goes with her to Tokyo and finds Yashida’s family threatened by gangsters.

THE BOTTOM LINE: “The Wolverine” shows or strongly implies many impalements. Partly off-camera, Logan makes an incision into his chest to remove an implant from his heart. The script features some fairly mild profanity.

R.I.P.D. A loud, blustery bore of a movie, “R.I.P.D.” may send teen audiences straight to sleep. The concept behind this fantasy — police officers killed in the line of duty working off their earthly sins from beyond the grave — just feels clunky. Nick is a Boston cop whose partner, Hayes, murders him and makes it look like criminals did it. Nick is sucked into a vortex and lands at R.I.P.D. headquarters. Everyone there is a dead cop. Nick was crooked in life, so he’s given a chance to lessen his final judgment by working after death. He heads back to the streets of Boston to capture “deados” — sin-laden souls disguised as humans and hiding from judgment.

The bottom line: Little or no blood flows in “R.I.P.D.,” but the film has much skull-cracking mayhem, point-blank gunfire and destructive car chases. The dialogue includes frequent use of the S-word and mild sexual innuendo. One character uses a slur.

R

The To Do List. This is a good-natured but crude film and is emphatically for the 18-and-older crowd. Aubrey Plaza plays brainy high school senior Brandy Klark. A virginal valedictorian, she’s heading off to college and is mortified at her lack of sexual experience. With help from friends Fiona and Wendy, she makes a list of sex acts to experience over the summer, then sets about checking off each item. She learns that sex without emotion isn’t much.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The film contains several explicitly mimed sexual situations, extremely graphic sexual slang and other clinical language, very strong profanity and gross-to-the-max toilet humor.

Crystal Fairy. College-age fans of the quirky actor Michael Cera may find “Crystal Fairy” a trip. It is definitely not for viewers younger than 17. Cera plays Jamie, a monumentally self-absorbed young American who goes to Chile to experience a particular psychedelic substance he’s read about. It involves cooking up a special cactus. He talks a few local guys into driving him near the sea to find it. Jamie meets a hippie-ish young woman named Crystal Fairy and invites her to join them. They camp out on the beach. Jamie cooks the plant up and has the bad trip he richly deserves.

The bottom line: This movie, which isn’t rated, would be a very strong R or perhaps even NC-17 due to the prolonged frontal nudity of the title character. The film also shows graphic, sadomasochistic drawings in a notebook. In addition to the hallucinogen, the characters snort cocaine and use strong profanity.

The Conjuring. High-schoolers who savor tales of the occult will find satisfying chills in “The Conjuring.” Roger and his fragile wife, Carolyn, move with their five daughters into an old house, where they start hearing noises. Two “demonologists” come to the house and try to expel the demon. The finale involves a violent but not-too-graphic exorcism.

The bottom line: Most of the demons and scenes of possession are relatively understated and without gore. It is the film’s ever-increasing sense of menace, the endangerment of children, suicide themes and the violent treatment of a possessed character that earn the R rating.

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

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