Tessa Thompson, left, and Chris Hemsworth star in “Men in Black: International.” (Giles Keyte/Columbia Pictures)
Men in Black: International (PG-13)
Age 12+

Reboot looks good but lacks spark; sci-fi/alien violence.

Men in Black: International” is the fourth movie in the MIB series. It serves as a kind of reboot, as it’s the first film in the franchise without original stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones — “Thor: Ragnarok” co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson take over as the leads. As is typical for the series, characters are often in peril, and there’s lots of over-the-top alien/sci-fi violence, including scary alien monsters, space guns and shooting (and some realistic guns, too), a scary melting face/body, punching, fighting, chases and more. Expect brief, mild sexual innuendo (including a masturbation joke). Hemsworth’s character wakes up in bed with a female alien; he removes her tentacled arm from his naked chest to get up. Language includes a few uses of “s---,” plus “a--,” “hell,” “d---” and a few other words. Strong alien alcohol and drugs are briefly shown. (115 minutes)

Mindy Kaling plays a comedy writer for a TV talk show in “Late Night.” (Emily Aragones/Amazon Studios)
Late Night (R)
Age 14+

Light tone, deep messages in female-centric comedy.

Late Night” is a comedy about a late-night TV talk show host (Emma Thompson) who tries to shake up her gone-stale show by hiring a woman (Mindy Kaling) for her all-male writers’ room. A subplot involves an extramarital affair, characters talk about off-screen sex and a couple of characters fall in love, but all viewers see on screen is kissing. Adults drink (and at least one smokes), but no one acts drunk, and there are no references to drugs. Language is infrequent but includes “f---,” “f---ing,” “son of a b----,” “b-----d,” “goddammit,” “dips---” and “bulls---.” Parents who watch with teens who can handle all of that content will appreciate the movie’s positive messages about hard work, courage, perseverance, tolerance and authenticity. One of the movie’s leads is a woman in her 50s and another is a woman of color — both are relatively rare main-character types, and both are given humanized, non-stereotypical, relatable roles in which they get to make many points about ageism, sexism, classism and racism. (119 minutes)

From left: Jessie T. Usher, Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree star in “Shaft.” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Shaft (R)
Age 17+

Violent action sequel has thin characters, iffy messages.

Shaft” is the sequel to “Shaft” (2000) and the fifth movie in a series that began with “Shaft” (1971). This installment resorts to dumb comedy and has lots of sloppy, glamorized violence with no consequences. Plus, its message is all about defining “being a man” as acting tough and objectifying women. Gender-fluid men and any man who’s not a fully red-blooded heterosexual are ridiculed. Expect to see tons of guns and shooting, blood spurts, fighting and more. There’s also frequent, graphic sexual innuendo, sex talk and other adult material. One woman is shown partially topless, and others are viewed as sex objects. Language is constant, with countless uses of “f---,” “s---,” “p---y,” the n-word, “t — s” and many more. The villains are drug dealers, and drugs are part of the plot; drug use and paraphernalia are shown. A main character gets drunk, throws up and passes out; other drinking is shown. Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Roundtree and Jessie T. Usher co-star. (111 minutes)

Wonders of the Sea (GR)


Age 7+

Docu beautifully highlights oceans’ delicate balance.

Wonders of the Sea” is a documentary that captures some of Earth’s most wondrous creatures in extraordinarily intimate detail. Members of historic oceangoing family the Cousteaus, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, narrate the film, which covers four different ocean habitats. Significant messages about the fragility of life on our planet underscore the majesty of the footage. The narration is kid friendly, and while the 102-minute running time may be too much for the littlest viewers, it’s thoroughly recommended for family viewing. (102 minutes)

Available via iTunes streaming.

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