Fewer scares, plenty of blood in long but fun sequel.
“It Chapter Two” is the follow-up to the hugely successful “It” (2017); both films are based on Stephen King’s novel. This one — which is more centered on adults than kids — is very long and less scary than the first, but it’s definitely entertaining, with great characters and true teamwork. Violence/horror is very strong, with a shocking hate crime (bullies beat up a gay couple), a man abusing his wife (she hits back), and a character dying via suicide, as well as large amounts of blood and terrifying monster attacks. Children are skewered by oversized teeth, characters are stabbed with knives, and a gun is used in a scary fantasy scene. Language is also heavy, with multiple uses of “f---,” “s---” and more. Characters kiss, and there’s some sex-related talk. Adult characters drink socially, and smoking (including by a teen) is shown. A brief “drug trip” sequence involves a hallucinogenic root. Bill Skarsgard returns as Pennywise; Isaiah Mustafa, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader co-star. (169 minutes)
Gifted-kid comedy has charming cast, lightweight plot.
“Boy Genius” is a comedy about Emmett (“Black-ish” star Miles Brown), a 12-year-old prodigy who teams up with his eccentric test-prep instructor (Rita Wilson) to figure out who’s behind thefts at his high school. Like many comedies about supersmart kids, the movie makes jokes about Emmett’s personality — his maturity level, his overly formal speech and his borderline-inappropriate unrequited crush on a girl who’s at least four or five years older. Expect some insults (“pathetic,” “loser,” “homewrecker,” “stupid,” etc.), an unsupervised party where high school students drink and a character waves a baggie of weed around (but no one partakes), and a fight that leaves Emmett with a bloody lip and the other guy on the ground after being punched in the face. There are several conversations about race and privilege, as well as one mature-for-young-viewers discussion about marriage, adultery, mental illness, suicide and betrayal. Themes also include curiosity, the danger of making assumptions about others and thinking of failure as a learning opportunity. (93 minutes)
Available via iTunes and several other streaming platforms.
Excellent and timely doc is emotionally intense; cursing.
“ The Deported”is a 2019 documentary that follows four families facing deportation in the wake of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” stance on immigration. There are intensely emotional moments throughout the documentary: kids crying as one of their parents is deported; stressed-out parents angry and cursing after coming home to find someone had broken in and stolen their things; fear and anger over the threat of being deported to countries they’ve never been to, much less lived in. Occasional profanity throughout, including “motherf-----s,” and “f---” used several times. Photos of dead bodies. One of the subjects discusses how her father sexually abused her and threatened to kill her, her mom and her brother. Besides following the stories of these four families, the documentary also interviews officials in charge of implementing the current immigration policies, as well as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer whose job is to enforce these policies. Overall, this documentary puts human faces on a topic that’s intensely controversial. (91 minutes)
Available via YouTube streaming.
Eye-opening doc about rising social media star; cursing.
“Jawline” is a documentary that follows a 16-year-old boy as he seeks fame on social media. “I want to be a YouTube star” is the new catchphrase for countless young people living in the digital age. Director Liza Mandelup discovered one of those kids in Kingsport, Tenn. It was her wisdom and/or great luck to decide to film Austyn Tester’s quest for celebrity. The months during which Mandelup’s crew followed the optimistic, hard-working young man proved to be surprising, enlightening and ultimately poignant. Some swearing and profanity is heard throughout, including “f---,” “s---,” “p----” “crap,” “screw you.” There’s lots of hugging, quick kisses and short-lived emotional connections between Austyn and his intensely devoted female fans. Though he and other boy Internet stars are often bare-chested, it all feels innocent and nonsexual. Kids smoke and vape; a girl mentions her dad’s drug addiction. (99 minutes)
Available via Hulu streaming.
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