Family-friendly mystery will be most fun for Pokémon fans.
“Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” is a mystery adventure set in a fictional city in which humans and Pokémon coexist. Starring Ryan Reynolds as the voice of a Pikachu who can speak to only one human, Tim (Justice Smith), the story explores how the two team up to investigate the supposedly accidental death of Tim’s detective father. There’s definitely some violence: Pokémon battle one another and humans, and there’s destruction (including a fatal car crash) and injuries, but nothing gets bloody or graphic. Main characters are frequently in peril, but — despite some close calls — no one dies. Language is limited to “hell,” “stupid” and “good God,” and there’s nothing more risque than flirting and a couple of double-meaning jokes (when Pikachu sees a shirtless man, he quips that all he can see is “tattoos and nipples”). The story promotes teamwork, courage and friendship, and shows how even the seemingly inexperienced can make a difference. (104 minutes)
Cautious biopic about the “Lord of the Rings” author has intense war scenes.
“Tolkien” is a biopic about J.R.R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult), the author of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” books. It includes intense war violence, with guns and shooting, exploding shells, a pile of dead bodies, a blood-colored pool of water, bloody wounds, a flamethrower and a man on fire. Characters die. Kids fight, and a character is punched. Language is infrequent and mild but includes “a--” and “hell,” plus some minor insults. A couple kisses, nude paintings are briefly shown and there’s a bit of sex talk. There’s also some social drinking, and characters get drunk — the main character very much so, while in a state of anguish. While it’s inoffensive and has some nice moments, the movie spreads itself a bit thin, and it doesn’t spend as much time on the writing of the famous books as fans might hope. (111 minutes)
Cheers for saucy comedy with winning multigenerational cast.
“Poms” is an uplifting friendship comedy starring Diane Keaton as a woman dying of cancer who lives out her dream of becoming a cheerleader. The humor is sharp and female- focused; it often revolves around one character’s matter-of-fact sexual assertiveness and the “Bring It On”-style rivalry between groups of older and younger cheerleaders. Expect to hear quite a bit of language, both swearing (“a--,” “b----,” “s---”) and sexual innuendo (“erection,” “prophylactic”). Characters also drink and talk about “reefer,” and there are exchanges that include sexual put-downs (“slut”). The cancer story isn’t handled heavily, but Keaton’s character is shown vomiting frequently to remind viewers that the disease is taking its toll. It’s worth noting that these women aren’t presented through a Hollywood lens: Everyone looks authentic, with a diverse cast and various realistic body types. Other messages include the idea that you’re never too old to pursue your dreams and that the only opinion that matters is your own; themes also touch on teamwork, courage and perseverance. (91 minutes)
Sympathetic teen scams a family in edgy sitcom.
“No Good Nick” is a Netflix series about a teen who cons a family into taking her in by posing as a hard-luck relative, all while plotting to swindle them out of lots of money. The enigmatic show casts Nick (Siena Agudong) as a genuinely likable, sympathetic figure who’s been victimized by the adults in her life, even as she schemes against the kind people who welcome her into their home. This makes the series a somewhat complicated watch, despite the moments of levity related to family dynamics and otherwise sitcom-y feel. While violence isn’t shown on-screen, it’s implied at times, most notably in a scene in which a man’s face is bloodied and his arm is in a cast after what’s implied was a beat down for financial default. This show’s decidedly dark themes, occasional salty language and adult drinking make it a more appropriate watch for tweens and up than for younger viewers. (10 roughly half-hour episodes)
Available via Netflix streaming.
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