Inclusive but imperfect take on classic story of hope, love.
“A Wrinkle in Time” is director Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of author Madeleine L’Engle’s classic children’s fantasy book. The tween-friendly movie follows brilliant 13-year-old Meg Murry (Storm Reid), her genius little brother and her friend on an epic, dangerous journey to find her long-missing father. They’re guided on their dangerous voyage across time and space by three supernatural beings: Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey). Like the book it’s based on, the movie features some intense scenes of peril: Kids nearly plunge to their deaths, are whisked away in a twister or are stuck for eternity, and there is a scary moment when three people are dragged to an evil overlord. But although the kids are bruised and knocked down, no one dies or is seriously injured, and the frightening moments are temporary. The movie, which is remarkably diverse, promotes positive messages about trusting in your abilities, asking for help and believing in the power of love. Courage, perseverance and teamwork are also themes. (115 minutes)
Strong language, drug content in over-the-top action-comedy.
“Gringo” is a mature, over-the-top action-comedy with a complex plot that involves drugs, violence and more. Expect lots of guns and shooting. Plus, characters are killed, blood spurts, people hit and punch one another, and cars crash. And a toe is snipped off, with bloody results. Language is extremely strong and nearly constant, with uses of “f---,” “s---” and much more. Characters have sex with multiple partners, and there is a pretty graphic sex scene (although nudity isn’t a factor). A woman uses her sexuality (including her cleavage) to manipulate men, and there is strong innuendo/sex talk. Drugs are a key part of the plot: A drug company invents a marijuana pill, and there are dealers and a drug mule. There are references to smoking pot as well as drinking — the main character gets very drunk — and pills. David Oyelowo, Joel Edgerton and Charlize Theron co-star. (111 minutes)
Space-set animated comedy not that funny, pretty violent.
“Final Space” is an animated show about a lug named Gary (voiced by Olan Rogers) who is traveling through space in search of an end to the universe. Violence and language are the two main concerns here. The former is frequent and can be surprisingly intense. Characters have their arms ripped off, are eaten alive, get shot by futuristic laser weapons as they scream in pain and have their arms, legs and heads wrenched out of their sockets. Many battles are between faceless robots and other nonhuman creatures, which may make it less scary for young viewers, but the camera lingers on details like spouts of blood, disembodied limbs and other disturbing (even when animated) sights. Meanwhile, Gary swears constantly, although he usually uses mild words in place of actual profanities. “Freaking crap,” “Shut your face-hole,” “Bag of wet turds” and lots of other examples are heard in every episode. Women and people of color have central roles, but most of the characters are white guys. (30-minute episodes)
Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on TBS.
Wonderful animated series about life in occupied France.
“The Long, Long Holiday” is a beautifully animated French series about two young Parisian children living in the French countryside during the early years of World War II. The show deals with complex topics ranging from bullying to prejudice. Even more intense subjects — including food rationing, prisoners of war, French collaborators and the rounding up of Jews — arise when the country is occupied by the Germans and the war progresses. The realities of wartime are presented matter-of-factly but not graphically. Tweens, teens and parents — especially those with an interest in history — will find plenty to appreciate here. (Five 48-minute episodes)
Via Netflix streaming.
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