Plenty of fake kung fu in a fun comedy with toy ninjas.
"The Lego Ninjago Movie" — based on the popular Lego Ninjago TV show and toy line — is appropriate for most kids, packing plenty of laughs along with clear (if not particularly deep) messages of empowerment, acceptance and courage. Although there's a fair bit of fighting/action (along the lines of earlier Lego movies), it's not constant — and because it's meant to evoke how kids play with toys, it doesn't resemble anything realistic, whether in the kung-fu-like scenes or when blasters are fired. There's talk of parents breaking up but no emotionally challenging moments related to the topic. Although it's not the lightning in a bottle that "The Lego Movie" was, it will entertain adults nearly as much as it will younger audiences. As with all Lego movies, shows and games, it also serves as a feature-length toy ad — but you may not care, because it's good fun. (101 minutes)
Moving dramedy serves up sexism, sexuality; lots of smoking.
"Battle of the Sexes" is a dramedy about the (in)famous real-life 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell). It tackles big issues such as gender equality, sexism and sexuality and has strong themes of perseverance, being true to yourself and standing up for what you believe in. A major part of the plot centers on King, who was married to a man at the time, acknowledging to herself that she's attracted to women. She and her lover are shown kissing, embracing, and in bed together; sex is implied, but nudity is limited to a shot of an underwear-clad woman from behind. Language isn't constant but includes "s---," "hell," "g--d---ed" and more. Men also refer patronizingly to women as "honey," "gals," "ladies" and "girls." Adults drink wine and cocktails, and there's a lot of smoking — Virginia Slims sponsors the women's tour, and one character (who's always holding a cigarette) frequently urges the players to smoke more. Riggs takes a ton of vitamins and mysterious pills in the lead up to the match; he's also an unrepentant gambling addict. If you're a tennis fan, the high-stakes match footage will be right up your alley — and even if you're not, you might find yourself holding your breath and cheering. (121 minutes)
Post-bomb gore, language, drinking in rehabilitation drama.
"Stronger" graphically re-creates the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, complete with severed limbs and plenty of blood. It also presents a culture in which drinking too much is a given and includes a brief sex scene with partial nudity (bare back, side of a breast). There's also quite a bit of swearing, from "f---" to "s---" and more. The main character (real-life bombing survivor Jeff Bauman, played by Jake Gyllenhaal) takes a long time to get there, but he eventually arrives at a better place than he finds himself in when the bomb takes his legs. The movie's messages of personal growth in the face of adversity and the strength drawn from family and friends will probably balance some of the less kid-friendly elements for many viewers. (119 minutes)
Fun sequel is just as over-the-top violent but more humane.
"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" is the sequel to 2014's popular "Kingsman: The Secret Service." Like the first one, it's an extremely violent, over-the-top action movie with comedy elements. This time around, though, there's a bit more empathy, and more value is placed on human life. Intense action violence includes tons of gun use/shooting, martial-arts fighting, punching, kicking, knives/stabbing, explosions, car chases, blood spurts, dead bodies and much more. Language is also strong, with many uses of
"f---," "s---" and more. On the sex front, there's a scene in which a woman offers to let a man pee on her; he then inserts his fingers (and a tracking device) under her panties and — it's implied — inside her. The main villain is a drug dealer, and all drug users are threatened with death. Pot and methamphetamines are seen, and there's plenty of social drinking, sometimes to excess. Colin Firth, Channing Tatum and Taron Egerton co-star. (141 minutes)
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