Rating: PG-13, for mature thematic material involving mistreatment, some drug content and language -- all involving teens.
Following Spring Breakers, Vanessa Hudgens further sheds her good-girl, Disney-Channel packaging -- actually, she rips it off, tramples all over it and then sets it on fire -- to play a runaway pregnant teen in this conservative, preachy tale. Her character, the surly Agnes "Apple" Bailey -- whose real-life story inspired the film -- escapes a life of poverty with her drug-addicted mother (Rosario Dawson) to track down the biological father (Brendan Fraser) she's never met. Eventually, she ends up in a shelter with other pregnant young women. While the drug abuse is implied, the physical abuse is real and visible. Apple's scuzzy, desperate mother smacks her several times and, at one point, slices her face with a razor. Apple also considers having an abortion before dashing out of the clinic and wandering alone on the streets. So yes, there's some mature material here that's probably only suitable for older kids and merits discussion afterward.
Rating: PG-13, for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use.
One of the hardest PG-13 movies I've ever seen. Unlike so many summer blockbusters which are chock full of glossy, computer-generated destruction, here the violence is inescapable, intimate and real. Director Paul Greengrass' gripping thriller is based on the true story of Somali pirates who took over an American cargo ship in 2009. Tom Hanks stars as the title character: a veteran captain who must contend with his capricious captors, protect his crew, and communicate with emergency and military officials. Throughout this harrowing ordeal, there are shootings, stabbings, slicings, beatings and, ultimately, some bloody deaths in close quarters. But Captain Phillips' reaction once the cumulative trauma is over might be the hardest part of all to watch. For only the most mature young teens at the youngest.
Rating: PG-13, for mature thematic material, language and sexual content.
Cate Blanchett gobbles pills and swallows vodka nearly non-stop as the title character, a delusional former society wife struggling to rebuild her life. Blanchett will likely earn a best-actress Oscar for this tour-de-force performance as a fragile, damaged flower who nonetheless manages to maintain her sense of condescending snobbery. Flashbacks to her once-glittering life constitute the reasons for the film's PG-13 rating: frank talk about infidelity and the financial schemes of Jasmine's ex-husband (Alec Baldwin). There's also plenty of profanity. But for older, artsier kids with an interest in Woody Allen, this is one of his best films over the past decade.