One Direction: This is Us. Tweens who know all the words to “What Makes You Beautiful” will no doubt clamor to see this documentary about the rise of British boy band One Direction. “Super Size Me” director Morgan Spurlock captures all of the quintet’s hits with footage from the band’s international tour. But the behind-the-scenes looks will be the bigger draw, with scenes of the boys playing tricks on each other, interacting with their families and, of course, singing the praises of their enthusiastic fan base.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Considering some of the tabloid stories about the band members’ exploits, the documentary shies from depicting anything more than the mild language, playful pranks and brief discussion of flatulence.
— Stephanie Merry
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 Ford Shelby Super Snake driven by Ethan Hawke’s character slows down and he 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 so the voice won’t kill his wife. At one point, an armed teen tries to carjack him. He’s ordered to get her gun and keep her in the car.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Car chases appear massively destructive. Bad guys seem to get hurt when there is gunplay. Brent’s wife is roughed up. There is moderate profanity.
The Grandmaster. Teens who love martial-arts movies from Hong Kong and who don’t mind reading subtitles will savor the kung fu and breathtaking cinematography in “The Grandmaster.” This story of real-life kung fu master Ip Man opens in 1930s China. It follows him through the Japanese invasion of China’s Manchurian provinces and his decision to leave his family and go to Hong Kong after the Communist takeover to start his life as a respected martial arts teacher.
The bottom line: The kung fu is highly stylized but bone-cracking by implication. Characters smoke heavily, and one character deliberately overdoses on opium.
Closed Circuit. Some high-schoolers may find “Closed Circuit’s” intellectual approach fresh and challenging. A truck bomb explodes in a busy London shopping area, killing 120 people, and is recorded on security cameras. Martin Rose is brought to court to argue on behalf of the Turkish man charged with the crime. Another defense attorney, Claudia, has clearance to view the government’s classified evidence but cannot show it to Martin. She’s also Martin’s former lover. Claudia and Martin uncover facts that cast doubt on the prosecution’s case. They quickly find themselves on the run, perhaps targeted for death.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Graphic injuries are not shown, but the bombing scene is deeply unsettling. A prisoner is shown hanged in his cell. Some characters are stalked by anonymous killers. High-schoolers who find the subject of terrorism too upsetting should stay away. The dialogue contains occasional strong profanity.
The World’s End. Not as thoroughly riotous as “Shaun of the Dead” or “Hot Fuzz,” this movie makes a fitting end to a wacked-out trilogy. “The World’s End” is okay for most high-schoolers, though it does involve much alcohol and cussing, plus fantasy/horror violence. Gary King is a 40-ish ne’er-do-well. His happiest memories are of a 1990 high-school pub crawl with his buds. He decides to get them all back together for another go at it. Gary meets up with Andy, Steven, Oliver and Peter in their drab suburban home town to finish the binge. They must drink at all 12 of the town’s pubs, finishing at the World’s End. Old gripes and rivalries crop up, and later, so do odd-acting townsfolk.
The bottom line: Crude language and profanity lace the dialogue, and the characters drink themselves blotto. There is mildish sexual innuendo and horror-style violence.
You’re Next. For slasher/horror fans 17 and older, “You’re Next” may provide sufficient homicidal entertainment. The Davisons invite their adult children to bring significant others to a family weekend. Not all the offspring think fondly of their parents or of one another. Crispian, a struggling college professor, and his taunting brother, Drake, get into a shouting match. Just then, another guest sees something move outside. The window bursts, he gets a glass shard in the throat and dies. Arrows from a crossbow fly in through the window and the bloodbath begins, as home invaders in animal masks rampage in.
The bottom line: The killings are graphic. A married couple has a non-explicit sexual moment with partial nudity. The script includes strong profanity.
Horwitz is a freelance writer. Read her previous reviews at On Parenting.