Live-action remake has charming stars, intense moments.
“Aladdin” is Disney’s live-action adaptation of its own 1992 animated classic. As with previous remakes such as “Dumbo,” “The Jungle Book,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” there are lots of computer-generated special effects, including the quite scary Cave of Wonders and co-star Will Smith as the huge, comedic, blue-skinned Genie. The effects and the live-action factor make the scenes of peril and danger feel more intense than in the cartoon (although this is pretty tame for a Guy Ritchie-directed movie). There are chases, falls and near deaths, as well as one confirmed fatality when villain Jafar pushes a man down a dark well. The cave crumbles and spews lava, a giant bird pursues the characters, guards are armed with weapons, and there are references to dead parents. Language is very tame, with just a few insults along the lines of “street rat”; characters flirt and kiss, and Genie tosses back a couple of martinis. Thanks to stars Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Jasmine), this musical remake keeps the spirit of the original and adds a boost of female empowerment to messages about friendship, courage, integrity and honesty. (128 minutes)
Superb, smart teen comedy has drinking, strong sex talk.
“Booksmart” is a delightfully intelligent, raucously funny coming-of-age comedy about two responsible high school girls (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever) who, on the last day of senior year, decide to go to a party. The movie has the potential to become a classic of the genre, but the mature material gears it toward older teens and adults. Teens inadvertently take a hallucinogenic drug and go on a “trip,” and there’s teen drinking, pot smoking and other brief drug use. Language is extremely strong and nearly constant, with many uses of “f---” “s---,” “b----” and more. While there’s no graphic nudity, audio from a porn video is heard, teen girls start to have sex in a bathroom, and there’s pretty explicit sex talk/banter/innuendo, including mentions of masturbation, “scissoring,” sex dungeons, oral sex, same-sex experiences, manual stimulation and more. An animated sequence includes naked Barbie dolls. A delivery driver shows teen girls the gun he has in his glove compartment, but violence isn’t an issue otherwise. Amid all of the iffy behavior are strong messages about what it means to be a good friend, and a lot of how the two main characters talk to each other/support each other is framed around being confident, smart and body positive. (97 minutes)
Language, violence, substance abuse in dark teen mystery.
“The Society” is a dark drama about a group of teens who are mysteriously dropped off in what looks like their hometown — but it’s abandoned and seemingly cut off from the rest of the world. Life-or-death stakes underlie this drama, and characters do die on screen, usually suddenly and violently, like when a main character is shot or a girl is bitten by a snake and dies, crying for her mother. Deaths may involve a little blood but no gore, and dead bodies are sometimes shown at length. Sexual content is also mature; expect same- and opposite-sex kissing and scenes like one in which a boy buries his head underneath a girl’s skirt (for implied oral sex) as she moans. Teens drink and use drugs casually; we see scenes in which students share a joint close to their school and one in which a boy takes a Xanax prescribed to his mom. In other scenes, teens guzzle beer and drink from Solo cups. Language is frequent: “f---,” “f---ed,” “b----,” “a--hole,” “hell,” as well as sexual language. The cast lacks ethnic and racial diversity, but a main character is deaf and uses sign language; other characters frequently sign with him. (10 roughly hour-long episodes)
Available via Netflix streaming.
Cyberpunk anime features violence, some clunky storytelling.
“Ingress: The Animation” is a Japanese anime series based on a popular mobile game of the same name. As is common in the genre, there’s lots of fantasy violence, including people being gunned down, chased and physically assaulted, and folks being incinerated. There’s also lots of discussions about taking over (and potentially destroying) the world. The series is dubbed in English, and the word “damn” is used frequently. (11 23-minute episodes)
Available via Netflix streaming.
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