Family-friendly threequel has peril, bloodless battles.
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is the third (and supposedly final) of the popular “How to Train Your Dragon” movies, which were inspired by Cressida Cowell’s books. With themes of taking on grown-up responsibilities, this threequel finds young Viking chief Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his trusty alpha dragon, Toothless, facing big decisions and going up against dark forces who want to kidnap and enslave dragons. Although the violence is bloodless (and occasionally played for laughs), there’s plenty of it: Battles are dragons vs. humans, humans vs. humans, and dragons vs. dragons. Expect suspense and peril; one character presumably falls to his death. Characters also exchange a few insults, possibly drink ale, and flirt and kiss chastely. There are strong messages of teamwork, courage, inclusion, rising above self-doubt and familial support. (104 minutes)
Some language, lots of pro wrestling in funny biopic.
“Fighting With My Family” is a fact-based dramedy about a wrestling family from Norwich, England. Based on the life of WWE superstar Paige, it centers on Raya (Florence Pugh) and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden), who were raised by hard-living wrestler parents (Lena Headey, Nick Frost) and aspire to join the WWE. Expect some racy humor, a fair bit of strong language (including both British slang and words like “s---,” “d---” and
“c--k”), minor teen drug dealing and skimpy outfits. There’s also a lot of pro-wrestling action (including staged face smashes, chokes, throws and kicks), as well as more realistic fighting that happens outside the ring. Underneath the rough stuff, though, are strong messages about courage, perseverance and familial loyalty and support. Writer-director Stephen Merchant also co-stars, along with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vince Vaughn. (107 minutes)
Slapstick tale with lots of old-time celebs; comic drug use.
“Grand-Daddy Day Care” is a direct-to-DVD comedy about an author with writer’s block who opens a senior citizens’ day-care center in his home. The movie features a profusion of longtime favorite television and movie actors and actresses (Hal Linden, Linda Gray, George Wendt and more) as seniors who are the enthusiastic “clients.” Viewers can expect plenty of slapstick action, e.g., falls, chases, a taser, bumps on the head, a brief fistfight, a bee menacing a carload of people. No one gets hurt. The movie hopes to find humor in such stereotypical aging issues as deafness, bickering, urinating often and problems with grown children. And it briefly deals with the onset of dementia in a serious way. A few curse words are heard (“damn,” “crap,” “b-----d,” “screw ’em”) and folks refer to peeing and defecating in multiple scenes. A sequence in which a group of older folks unwittingly ingest a mind-altering substance results in silliness, overeating, distorted senses. Though there’s plenty of farcical physical humor, and grown-ups will appreciate seeing media celebrities from past decades, it’s doubtful that most kids would find the subject matter of interest. (96 minutes)
Available on DVD and streaming via YouTube Premium and Google Play.
Affecting mini-doc about students follows a tragic shooting.
“Song of Parkland” is a documentary about a group of drama students at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who decide their show must go on after 17 students and teachers are killed by a shooter at their school. We hear students describe the effect of the incident on their lives, and see footage of teens running out of the school, terrified, the day of the violence, while we hear the 911 audio. We see students grieving, flowers and mementos laid on graves, and the pictures and names of the teenagers who were killed. The name of the shooter is not mentioned, and the focus is on the survivors and their healing process. Their teacher, Melody Herzfeld, is supportive and thoughtful, committed to helping her students cope with the shooting. Viewers may want to talk about school violence and gun control after watching. (29 minutes)
Available via hbo.com, HBO Go and HBO Now streaming.
Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsensemedia.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.