Short Circuit (PG)

Streaming

Age 6+

Delightful animated shorts from emerging Disney talent.

Short Circuit” is a collection of short films produced by emerging talent at Disney. The content varies from short to short — some are appropriate for very young audiences, whereas some are slightly edgier because of mild violence, flirtation and some references to death. It may be helpful to review the synopsis of each individual short for sensitive concepts. The sad parts and mild violence will be similar in intensity to scenes in Disney/Pixar movies (such as the sad montage in the beginning of “Up,” or non-explicit fight scenes in “Mulan”). It’s inspiring to learn about animators and what goes into the creative process and collaboration of producing a short film. (14 approximately two-minute-long shorts)

Available via Disney Plus streaming

Animal Crackers (TV-Y7)

Streaming

Age 6+

Fantastical tale has wacky characters, music, cartoon peril.

“Animal Crackers” is an animated family-friendly comedy with magic, music and plenty of cartoon peril in a circus setting. It moves fast, with a busy story and lots of imaginative, quirky characters to follow. There’s a jealous, bullying villain who wants to take back the circus he abandoned years earlier and will do anything to make it happen. Action includes chases, falls, wild rides/crashes, fierce animals fighting and a threatening mythic monster. A fire, shown from a distance, destroys the big tent, presumably with the owners inside. Insults used include “nincompoop,” “nitwit,” “sap,” “fool” and “featherbrain.” While there are messages of perseverance and teamwork and some ethnic diversity, viewers will also see a couple of stereotypical/farcical characters (a circus fat lady, a clown who overeats, a gypsy) and a few skimpy costumes. The movie is recommended for kids who can distinguish between real and pretend violence. Voice actors include Ian McKellen, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. (105 minutes)

Available via Netflix streaming.

The Kissing Booth 2 (TV-14)

Streaming

Age 13+

So-so teen rom-com sequel has cursing, alcohol, sex.

The Kissing Booth 2” is the sequel to “The Kissing Booth,” Netflix’s super-popular movie based on the e-book by Beth Reekles. The story picks up just after the original movie ended, with main character Elle (Joey King) starting her senior year at an upscale private high school while her boyfriend goes off to college. This film is tamer than the original, with less underage drinking/drunkenness, undressing, and anger-management issues — and more dancing. But the cliched, teasing rich kids in the background have been joined by a stereotypically portrayed gay teen who’s on the verge of acknowledging his sexual orientation. Underage drinking (beer, shots) is tacitly approved, and sex is shown as a requisite part of teens falling in love. Dreamy, romantic montages show kissing and passionate foreplay, but there’s no nudity or explicit sexual activity. Expect to hear words like “s---,” “damn,” “ass,” “crap,” and one use of “c---.” Characters lie, and Elle, who narrates her emotional journey, has trouble asserting her independence and making choices separate from the males in her life.
(132 minutes)

Available via Netflix streaming.

Radioactive (PG-13)

Streaming

Age 13+

Inspiring if frustratingly conventional Marie Curie biopic.

Radioactive” is a biopic about Marie Curie (Rosamund Pike), who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity and ultimately won two Nobel Prizes for her valiant efforts. The depiction of love and a steady, supportive relationship is at the forefront of the movie, with Marie’s husband, Pierre (Sam Riley), heavily involved in her discoveries. Overcoming both prejudice over being an immigrant — she’s called a “dirty Pole,” among other derogatory terms — and a woman, Marie is inspiring, displaying great compassion and sacrifice to help others during World War I. Because of the themes of conflict, violence is alluded to throughout, and with the devastating effects of war evident — limbless soldiers are depicted. A key character is also crushed by a cart and horse, with some blood seen. Marie’s discoveries are used by others for destructive gains — i.e. atomic bombs — something that plays heavily on her conscience. Some characters are shown suffering and dying from radiation poisoning. There’s brief nudity when two characters run naked toward a lake (they’re shown from behind), kissing and one non-explicit sex scene. Characters drink, and some background characters smoke. (109 minutes)

Available via Amazon Prime streaming.

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