Rating: PG, for some mild action and thematic elements.
Why this family-friendly animated film gets a PG rating is sort of baffling. It's colorful, lively and has a positive (if overly simplistic) message for all ages: Dream big. Ryan Reynolds provides the voice of a garden snail who wants to be fast. After getting mixed up in a drag race (and sucked into a car's nitrous oxide tank) he gets his chance, and eventually ends up competing in the Indianapolis 500. There, Turbo is in constant danger of getting squished by cars, but even that doesn't play out in terribly frightening fashion. I took my 3 ½-year-old son and a couple of his friends to see it and they were all enraptured the entire time.
Rating: PG-13, for pervasive action and violence including frenetic gunplay, and for some language and drug material.
There's an insane amount of gunfire in this sequel, which finds the aging special agents from Red -- played by Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren -- getting dragged out of retirement, again, to save the world, again. Yes, it's intentionally over-the-top, given that the original source material is a graphic novel. Countless rounds fly through the air but there's nary a drop of blood to be found when they hit their targets. Mirren's character takes out a bad guy in a bathtub full of acid, but the carnage is merely implied. Oh, and a nuclear weapon goes off. No biggie.
Rating: PG-13, for violence, sci-fi/fantasy action, some sensuality and language including sex references.
Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges play mismatched buddy cops who've been killed in the line of duty during different centuries but are thrown together in a sort of purgatory to keep the dead from infiltrating the living world. It's based on a graphic novel but feels like an inferior Men in Black rip-off, complete with grotesque and menacing beasts who transform before our eyes. They're disgusting to look at but are never really scary, partly because the 3-D conversion is so shoddy. There's also quite a bit of gunfire but it's of the cartoonish variety coming from souped-up, supernatural weaponry.
Kristen Wiig stars in this overly wacky comedy as a once-promising Manhattan playwright who quickly loses her boyfriend, job and apartment. When she pretends to commit suicide, she's placed in the care of her gambling-addict mother (Annette Bening) and forced to return to her tacky childhood home on the Jersey shore. The more mature themes of suicide, frisky sex and infidelity are probably fine for pre-teens if you don't mind having some potentially awkward conversations with them to talk them through. There's also the one F-bomb you get with a PG-13 rating, delivered in subtitled Chinese.
Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements including language.
The language is really the only thing to be concerned about in this uplifting, well-made drama recounting Jackie Robinson's historic breaking of Major League Baseball's color barrier. Chadwick Boseman exudes quiet but forceful dignity as the Brooklyn Dodgers star who suffered intolerable cruelty from opponents and his own teammates alike. One scene in particular is incredibly uncomfortable to watch, as Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman hammers Robinson with an increasingly vitriolic tirade of racial epithets. It's difficult for any viewer, regardless of age, but it's also a great example of how 42 can serve as a teaching moment.