Parental Guidance: Promised Land, The Impossible, and Looper

We give you what you need to know about the family-friendliness of this week's new releases.

With the holiday season officially behind us, we're relatively short on family-friendly viewing this week. In wide release is the eco-drama Promised Land starring Matt Damon and the family disaster thriller The Impossible starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. And on DVD, we've got twisty time travel with Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Read on to find out what's appropriate for the whole family.

In Theaters This Week:

Promised Land

52%

What's it about? Corporate salesman Steve Butler (Matt Damon) is dispatched to an economically depressed town to secure drilling rights for an energy company. However, he meets resistance from a grassroots effort by local residents.

Who's it for? It's rated R for "for language." Though there's nothing in the film that teens probably haven't heard before, it's likely they may be bored by this issue-driven drama.

Is it any good? Critics say Promised Land contains strong performances, but it's tonally uneven and overly earnest.

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The Impossible

81%

What's it about? Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor star as parents on vacation in Thailand with their three children when a brutal tsunami hits and forces them to fight for their lives.

Who's it for? It's rated PG-13 for "intense realistic disaster sequences, including disturbing injury images and brief nudity." In addition to its portrayal of a family in danger, it has a few scenes of graphic gore, so it's probably not safe for kids below high school age.

Is it any good? Critics say The Impossible is a powerful, inspiring tale of survival, and it's Certified Fresh to boot.

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New On DVD:

Looper

93%

What's it about? It's 2044, and control of time-travel technology is in the hands of the mob; when they want somebody rubbed out, they send them back 30 years for an assassin to kill. But when one such "looper" (Joseph Gordon-Levitt ) is tasked with killing a future version of himself (Bruce Willis), he finds himself on the run from perhaps fate itself.

Who's it for? It's rated R for "for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug content." Looper also features a home invasion and a child in constant danger, so it's too much for kids, but thoughtful older teens will find much to savor here.

Is it any good? Critics say Rian Johnson's Certified Fresh third feature pulls off that rarest of trifectas -- it's at once a provocative head trip, a tense thriller, and an intriguing character study.

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