Parental Guidance: Mr. Peabody & Sherman and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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

In Theaters This Week:

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

79%

Rating: PG, for some mild action and brief rude humor.

Inspired by the cartoon series from those old Rocky & Bullwinkle episodes, this 3-D update finds Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell), the world's smartest dog, and his genius boy, Sherman (Max Charles), enjoying various time-travel adventures. It is way better than that description makes it sound, though, or than the commercials might suggest. This animated action comedy is lively, clever, smart and frequently funny -- even with Mr. Peabody's trademark, groan-worthy puns. It's totally suitable for kids of all ages, although a lot of the humor, historical details and pop-culture references clearly were intended for the adults in the audience. And there's even a lesson or two to be learned here, albeit in a Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure kind of way. There is exactly one fart joke, but the set-up for it actually makes it work. Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Ariel Winter, Stanley Tucci and Patrick Warburton are among the strong voice cast.

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New On DVD:

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

89%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of violence and action, some frightening images, thematic elements, a suggestive situation and language.

Totally unsurprisingly, given its source material, this second film in the Hunger Games trilogy is dark, suspenseful and very, very violent. Even more than its predecessor, 2012's The Hunger Games, there's an inescapable sense of totalitarian dread. This is a dystopian future in which young people must kill each other to save their home districts, with the unflappable Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the center as reigning co-champion. This time, she must fight again against other previous victors in a sort of sadistic all-stars round. It's heady and disturbing as well as bloody and gruesome. If you've seen the first movie, you know what you're getting into here. For older kids only.

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