A scene from “Kong: Skull Island.” (Warner Bros Pictures)
Kong: Skull Island (PG-13)
Age 14+

Battles are brutally violent in diverse, ’70s-set reboot.

Kong: Skull Island” is a very violent, action-packed reboot of the King Kong story. Set in the 1970s, the movie follows a group of scientists on a mission to survey a mysterious island in Southeast Asia. That’s where they encounter several dangerous giant creatures, including an ape trying to protect his habitat (there are also giant birds, a spider, an octopus and reptilian creatures). Things get pretty brutal, with victims being dismembered, stomped on, eaten and tossed around; helicopters also crash and are ripped apart. So you can expect a high body count, with scene after scene of jump-worthy action, death and gore. The language can also be strong, with one use of “f---,” plus several uses of “s---,” “ass,” “bitch,” etc. There’s also some social drinking, but sex is limited to embraces and very brief implied prostitution in a couple of scenes set in Vietnam and Thailand. Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Oscar winner Brie Larson star, accompanied by a diverse supporting cast; themes include teamwork and courage. (120 minutes)

Shirley MacLaine stars as Harriet Lauler in ”The Last Word.” (Beth Dubber/Bleecker Street)
The Last Word (R)
Age 14+

Refreshing comedy about abrasive woman has strong language.

The Last Word” is a dramedy about an abrasive, wealthy, retired woman (Shirley MacLaine) who decides she wants to reinvent herself/improve her legacy before she dies. This leads to a friendship with a young newspaper obituary writer (Amanda Seyfried) and turns the movie into a female-focused buddy/road-trip film. The main issue here is strong language, including “f---,” “s---” and more, some of which is said by a young girl. There’s also some drinking, a possible pill overdose and some flirting/kissing, but the swearing is the biggest red flag — and is the sole reason for the film’s R rating. (108 minutes)

Po and Master Shifu in "Kung Fu Panda." (DreamWorks Animation LLC)
Kung Fu Panda (PG)


Age 6+

Appealing kid-friendly comedy; some scary scenes.

Kids are sure to enjoy “Kung Fu Panda” (2008), which stars Jack Black as the voice of the relatable main character, Po. And its humor and heartwarming story will appeal to grown-ups, too. The movie boasts positive messages about being who you are and believing in yourself, but it is martial arts-themed, so expect plenty of fast-paced battle scenes with kicks, punches, falls and more. Even though they’re animated, some sequences — especially the one in which intimidating villain Tai Lung escapes from prison — may be too scary for kindergartners and younger. (92 minutes)

Via Netflix streaming, Amazon video and iTunes.

Jurassic Park (PG-13)


Age 12+

Terrifyingly realistic dinos run amok in sci-fi landmark.

Kids who watch “Jurassic Park” (1993) will see lots of people — and a few innocent animals — being hunted and eaten by realistic-looking dinosaurs, but there’s little actual blood and gore (although one somewhat gruesome scene involves a severed arm). There’s tons of suspense, many “jump” scenes and some chases/crashes; basically, the characters, including children, are in near-constant peril. Expect a bit of swearing (as well as one “s---”) and some smoking and drinking, too. In the less intense environment of home, kids as young as 9 may be able to handle the fright factor with an adult at hand, but sensitive children should skip this one. (127 minutes)

Via Netflix streaming, Amazon video and iTunes.

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