Tension, some peril in intense father-daughter drama.
“Leave No Trace” is an intense, moving drama from the director of “Winter’s Bone” about a loving father and daughter who are shaken out of their comfortable (if alternative) existence and struggle to cope with society’s demands. It deals with complex, realistic topics including homelessness, alternative living and occasional exposure-related peril, all involving a 13-year-old girl (Thomasin McKenzie). Her father (Ben Foster) is a veteran who’s suffering from PTSD; he makes choices that aren’t meant to harm anyone but that could upset/disturb younger viewers. He also sells his prescription meds to a drug dealer. But there’s no strong language or sex; the girl is intelligent, loving and brave; and the movie ultimately has themes of understanding, love and compassion. (109 minutes)
Funny, action-packed sequel is lighter Marvel fare.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is Marvel’s sequel to “Ant-Man.” It takes place between the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War” and is less intense and less violent than either of those films. Paul Rudd returns as Scott Lang, who’s under house arrest and at odds with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne/the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) as the movie opens. The biggest issue here is the action violence; there’s plenty of it, though not on the scale of many other Marvel movies. Still, you can expect frequent peril/danger, hand-to-hand combat (with weapons including guns and knives), abductions and destructive chase sequences. Children are shown hurt, sad and losing their parents in flashbacks, and people are injured, but (spoiler alert) no major characters are killed. Language isn’t frequent but includes “s---,” “ass” and “damn.” On the romance front, there are a few quick kisses between established couples. Like the original, this is a fun, lightweight Avengers adventure, with lots of jokes, and less death and destruction. It also promotes forgiveness, redemption, courage and teamwork — and marks the first time a female superhero has been included in the title of a Marvel film. (125 minutes)
Unique Korean anime has violence, scary imagery.
“The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow” is a Korean anime in which an out-of-commission satellite falls in love with a down-on-his-luck musician who has turned into a cow. There’s some cartoon violence — characters fight with lasers, fire and kicks. They fall from high places and crack the pavement when they land on their heads. Some imagery might be too scary for younger kids, including scenes in which the bad guy is shown hunting for and taking out the livers of his victims. There’s also some bathroom humor — scenes of the cow sitting on the toilet accompanied with sounds of flatulence and defecation. In addition, the story itself might be a little too intricate for younger viewers. The symbolic meaning behind the transformations of the characters — satellite becomes girl, boy becomes cow, tree becomes a talking roll of toilet paper — might go over their heads. Nonetheless, fans of anime will find plenty to enjoy and appreciate. (80 minutes)
Available on DVD and streaming via Google Play and YouTube.
Brain condition ravages young reporter’s life.
“Brain on Fire” is based on Susannah Cahalan’s same-named memoir. As a talented young reporter on the staff of the New York Post, Cahalan (Chloë Grace Moretz) begins exhibiting unusual behavior and experiencing strange physical symptoms. With no diagnosis apparent, she and her loved ones are left without hope of recovery — until the arrival of a brilliant doctor who refuses to give up. Cahalan’s behavior is volatile at times; she’s out of control and subject to violent seizures. Swearing includes use of “s--,” “ass,” “hell” and “damn.” A young couple kisses and embraces; it’s implied that they’ve slept together. In one humorous scene, a young man is nude, his genitals covered by the guitar he plays. Both the memoir and the film were created in the hopes of educating the public about anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a rare autoimmune disorder. (89 minutes)
Available via Netflix streaming.
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