Adventure Time: Distant Lands — BMO (TV-PG)


Age 8+

Worthy revival of classic series is cute and familiar.

Adventure Time: Distant Lands — BMO” is the first of four hour-long specials that are an extension of the popular animated series “Adventure Time.” It’s set in the same universe as the original but focuses on the small robot character BMO (voiced by Niki Yang). The amount of mature content is similar to the original series, with sci-fi weaponry/violence and scenes of battles and conflicts that are softened by a light tone and surreal visuals. Some characters shoot a “lava blaster” that makes puddles of blue goo. Other characters are shot out into space, where they’re shown floating. A backstory involves escaping an Earthlike planet, which is destroyed with a mushroom cloud hovering over it. Language consists of one “heck” and the insult “You no good rootin’ tootin’ four-flusher!” Positive messages are frequent and concern courage, compassion for others and the importance of even those who feel small and powerless. Characters team up for a heroic quest. (45 minutes)

Available via HBO Max.

History 101 (TV-14)


Age 11+

Smart, engrossing history series explores variety of topics.

History 101” is a documentary series that investigates various aspects of world history, how events played out in the past, and how they continue to affect us in the future. A variety of subjects are covered: space exploration, fast food, feminism, germs, robots, nuclear power and more. Some topics and imagery may be disturbing, such as mushroom clouds and information about the dangers of nuclear power and segments on climate change. There’s no cursing, but expect occasional potty humor, like when the show’s investigating climate change and we see cartoons of cows with green gases emanating from their butts and fart noises. Some subjects may touch on sex, like the mention of the effect of the invention of the birth control pill during the feminism episode. Viewers may find their curiosity and empathy stimulated by this series. (10 roughly 22-minute episodes)

Available via Netflix streaming.

Athlete A (PG-13)


Age 13+

Thorough documentary on exposing the abuse scandal in U.S. gymnastics.

Athlete A” is a 2020 documentary about the gymnasts who first spoke out against the sexual abuse they suffered from Larry Nassar while USA Gymnastics covered it up. There’s some graphic discussion of the ways in which Nassar, as a team doctor for USAG, would sexually abuse these young women while under the guise of it being a checkup or treatment of an injury. There’s also discussion of how the coaches would physically and verbally abuse the gymnasts, resulting in some of these teenage girls developing eating disorders. Some of the vile social media comments made toward the women who spoke out against Nassar are shown. “S---” used twice; “rat’s a--.” The bravery of the women who spoke out against both Nassar and a system that put winning and “selling that brand” over the health and safety of the gymnasts is an undeniable takeaway from this documentary, as well as the importance and necessity of quality investigative reporting to help get to the truth. (104 minutes)

Available via Netflix streaming.

The Old Guard (R)


Age 16+

Smart female-led action saga has heart; violence, language.

The Old Guard” is a fast-paced, gory action-adventure movie with two brave, highly skilled women (Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne) in the lead roles. It’s based on Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández’s graphic novels about a small team of immortals who travel the world over the centuries to help humanity. Frequently, their mission involves battles and fighting, so expect lots of violent sequences of bloody battles and their aftermath, both in the present and in historical flashbacks. Dead and wounded bodies abound. Weaponry includes guns (both handguns and automatics), swords, grenades, knives, an ax and brutal hand-to-hand combat. The lead characters can heal from even the gravest wounds (like Deadpool and Wolverine): Their gruesome, should-be-fatal injuries are shown often. Occasional profanity includes
­­“f-­--,” “s---” and “a--hole.” There’s one kiss. Adults drink in social settings, and one man carries a flask that he sometimes drinks from. A scene set on a plane involves illegal drugs. Underneath all of the fighting and blood are strong themes of teamwork, loyalty, integrity, perseverance and courage. (125 minutes)

Available via Netflix streaming.

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