The Elephant Queen (PG)

Age 6+

Big-hearted, beautiful documentary about matriarchal elephant herd.

The Elephant Queen,” narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is a wildlife documentary that focuses on a herd of elephants as they make a perilous journey for food and water. Directed by award-winning filmmakers Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone, the documentary has a story that’s accessible and entertaining for younger viewers while still respecting the unpredictability of nature. The film doesn’t shy away from the consequences of drought and starvation, and a few dead animals are shown. Especially sad are scenes that depict a baby elephant dying and the herd gathering to grieve her loss. There are also a few other shots of collapsing, dying or dead wildlife. Mating rituals are discussed or portrayed, but the joke about a species of frog’s “foam party” will go over kids’ heads. What won’t go over anyone’s head are the movie’s themes of perseverance and teamwork. (96 minutes)

The Addams Family (PG)

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Age 7+

So-so adaptation isn’t spooky, kooky enough; a few scares.

The Addams Family” is the latest take on the popular characters who’ve already been the subject of cartoons, a classic TV show, and two early ’90s movies. It’s not quite as macabre as its live-action predecessors, but there’s still plenty of dark humor, an emphasis on violence and weapons and incidents in which townspeople raise arms against the eerie Addamses. Insult language includes words like “freaks,” “monsters” and “lemmings,” as well as a few Addams family spins on endearments or encouragements (like “do your worst” and “kick your father good night”). As always, Gomez (voiced by Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) are presented as caring parents who are very much in love; the movie also promotes acceptance, teamwork and empathy. Chloe Grace Moretz and Finn Wolfhard co-star as Addams children Wednesday and Pugsley. (87 minutes)

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (PG)

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Age 10+

Powerful queens go to war in intense, dark fantasy sequel.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is the even-darker sequel to “Maleficent,” Disney’s live-action retelling of “Sleeping Beauty.” After Aurora (Elle Fanning) becomes engaged to Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson), his mother, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), threatens not only Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) but all the Moorfolk. The fantasy violence is more intense here than in the first film: Frightening sequences include war, mass destruction and a near genocide of the Fey (think “Avengers: Infinity War”-like deaths). Characters are seriously injured, and one beloved character sacrifices herself. At one point it seems like no one will get to live, much less find a “happily ever after.” Characters drink wine, and romance includes a few kisses, embraces and some longing looks — but it’s the love between mother and daughter that’s really at the core of this story. Themes also include empathy, collaboration and teamwork, as well as the possibility of reinvention and rediscovery. (118 minutes)

Zombieland: Double Tap (R)

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Age 17+

Cheerfully vulgar, gory sequel lives up to the original.

Zombieland: Double Tap” is the horror-comedy sequel to “Zombieland,” set 10 years after the first movie. It’s a worthy companion piece to the original, rather than a pale imitation, and the characters’ chemistry is as strong as ever. But iffy/mature material makes it best for older teens and up. Expect extreme (albeit comical) zombie violence and gore, with guns and shooting, blood sprays, severed heads, destroyed body parts and a monster truck running over hordes of zombies. Language is also strong, with multiple uses of “f---,” “s---,” “c---sucker,”
“motherf----r,” and more. Characters kiss, and there are two sex scenes; they’re more suggested than shown, but sex noises are heard through walls. There are suggestions of drinking (bottles/beer cans shown), and a bag of pot is shown, with spoken references to smoking pot. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin all return. (99 minutes)

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