Arctic Dogs (PG)

Age 6+

Strong voice cast can’t save bland animated adventure.

Arctic Dogs” is an animated adventure about Swifty (voiced by Jeremy Renner), an ambitious arctic fox who hopes to be a Top Dog in his isolated small town’s revered mail-delivery company. Most of the other characters are fellow Arctic animals who must rely on the brave dogs to deliver their supplies. There’s some peril and cartoonish violence, mostly involving a villainous walrus and his puffin goons who make threats, spray poisonous gas and abduct characters. No one is hurt, although there’s some slapstick physical humor, weapons that fire snowballs and a scary-looking drill. Animal characters kiss/embrace briefly, and there are subtle references to drinking. The story doesn’t get too heavy, but there are positive messages about teamwork and conservation. The all-star cast includes Heidi Klum, John Cleese, Omar Sy, James Franco and Anjelica Huston. (92 minutes)

Charlie's Angels (PG-13)

Age 13+

Super fun reboot mixes female empowerment, lots of violence.

Charlie’s Angels” is a reboot of the ’70s TV series about a trio of female secret agents (Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott). Elizabeth Banks directs, switching the franchise’s focus to female empowerment, with themes of curiosity, courage and teamwork. There’s also more violence than many might expect, some of it pretty intense: The Angels battle villains in scenes that are full of hard-hitting fights, explosions, and assault weapons. They take some punches in the process, and they also kill some of the villains (an impalement is particularly gnarly). As in the original show, the Angels are tough, strong, smart and savvy; they also rock a killer wardrobe. In other words, they’re aspirational, not sex objects. And they’re refreshingly diverse. The opening scene does pay homage to the original’s playbook, with Stewart’s character using her sex appeal to trap a villain — but it’s explained that the Angels succeed because society doesn’t expect attractive women to be cunning or capable. Profanity is infrequent but present (“d---,” “s---,” etc.), and there’s some social drinking. (119 minutes)

Ford v Ferrari (PG-13)

Age 13+

Entertaining, well-paced racing biopic has strong language.

Ford v. Ferrari” is a fact-based racing drama about events leading up to and including the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, it’s briskly paced and entertaining enough to appeal even to non-racing fans. But it does include car crashes, explosions, drivers on fire and people dying. Characters also fight, punch and wrestle, and there are some violent temper tantrums. Language is fairly strong, with uses of “f---,” “s---” and more. Era-appropriate brands are seen around the racetrack (Coppertone, Goodyear, Budweiser, etc.). One character takes prescription medication for a heart condition, but otherwise, substance use isn’t an issue. A married couple flirts briefly. (152 minutes)

Klaus (PG)


Age 6+

Santa origin story is a sweet reminder of generosity.

Klaus” is an animated holiday comedy about a possible origin story for Santa. The movie takes place in the fictional island village of Smeerensburg, where spoiled young postman Jesper (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) strikes up an unlikely friendship with local carpenter/toymaker named Klaus (J.K. Simmons). The whole town is involved in a generations-old feud between two families/factions that leads to lots of resentment and treating fellow villagers as “the enemy.” Expect lots of sight gags, plenty of physical comedy and some peril, as well as some mob scenes of village folk armed and ready to fight. There’s some romance (flirting, kissing and marriage); language includes mild insults like “loser,” “brat” and “idiot,” as well as a “what the …?” A few characters speak in the Sami language — their lines are subtitled. The story promotes moving past old grudges and celebrates the joy of children who want to have friends and to play. Parents and kids will be able to discuss the importance of generosity, compassion and teamwork in the movie. (96 minutes)

Available via Netflix streaming.

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