“THE BEST FILM OF THE YEAR .” Movies MATTHEW JACOBS ‒ THE HUFFINGTON POST
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DECEMBER 23, 2016
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(PG) Age 7+ Musical has great songs, slapstick laughs, mixed messages. “Sing” is an animated comedy (with tons of music and singing) from the producers of the “Despicable Me” films. It centers on a theater-owning koala (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) who decides to run a talent contest to boost ticket sales for his financially flagging theater. The A-list voice cast, reality talent show premise, familiar pop songs and cute animal characters make this an appealing pick for families with young kids. But note that there’s some peril and danger: Angry gangster bears try to kill a cheating mouse, a gorilla thief is mean to his son, and a building collapses spectacularly, putting many key characters in danger. There are also slapstick laughs, silly ILLUMINATION ENTERTAINMENT/ jokes, risque moments UNIVERSAL STUDIOS (from bunny singers waggling their bottoms while they sing “oh my gosh, look at her butt!” to a pig exclamation). The film also husband passionately kissing offers a realistic look at the his wife after she performs in a racial tensions of the Civil sexy costume) and insult Rights era (segregated language (“stupid,” “porky,” etc.). bathrooms, libraries, schools, And while the movie clearly facilities), and audiences will promotes trying hard, being learn a lot about these brave, working together and pioneering women and what following your dreams, it also they had to overcome to make has some stereotypes and mixed their mark at NASA. They’re messages about lying, parentexcellent role models, and their child relationships and the story is full of positive messages value of motherhood and and themes, including integrity, homemaking. (108 minutes) perseverance, teamwork and communication. (127 minutes) (PG) Age 10+ True story of African American women at NASA. “Hidden Figures” is based on the inspiring true story of three brilliant African American women who worked at NASA in the 1950s and ’60s as “human computers,” making calculations and contributions that helped launch the manned spaceflight program. Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) were engineers and computers at NASA at a time when both women and African Americans were still widely discriminated against, particularly in segregated Virginia, where NASA’s Langley Research Center is based. There’s a little bit of romance (a few kisses, flirty comments and slow dancing) and a bit of salty language (mostly along the lines of “damn” and “Jesus Christ” as an
(PG-13) Age 13+ Great performances in emotional, intense biographical drama. “Lion” is an emotional biographical drama about Saroo Brierley, who was lost to his family in India at age 5 after ending up on a train bound more than 1,000 miles from his home town. Based on Brierley’s memoir, “A Long Way Home,” the movie chronicles how Saroo (Dev Patel) used Google Earth to track down his birth family after a 25-year separation. Children are shown in danger — including a disturbing scene in which homeless children are abducted as they sleep, one in which young Saroo is physically inspected in a creepy manner and others in which he’s forced to live on the streets with no shelter or food. When the action switches to Saroo’s adulthood, there are scenes of implied sex
The German pig Gunter (voiced by comedian Nick Kroll) joins a competition launched to save a theater in “Sing.”
(he and his girlfriend are in bed, half dressed) and passionate kissing. Adults (20-somethings) drink at dinner parties, restaurants and at home; there’s also cigarette smoking and infrequent strong language (”s---,” “ass,” etc.). Underlying everything are powerful lessons about perseverance, gratitude, family bonds and the power of technology. (118 minutes)
Assassin’s Creed (PG-13) Age 13+ Confusing, boring, violent videogame-inspired movie. “Assassin’s Creed” is a fantasy action movie based on the popular video game series. As in the games, the main issue here is violence — although the movie is far less brutally gory than the games. Still, there are several battles with knives, slicing and stabbing, bows and arrows, and some dead bodies, including a mother, who’s found by her son. The same boy performs a dangerous stunt on his bike and crashes. Capital punishment is depicted, and a man grabs a woman roughly by the neck. Strong language is infrequent but includes uses of “f---” and “s---.” The main male character (Michael Fassbender) is shirtless for about half the movie, and there are references to a “pimp” and to “drug addicts.” Fans of the game may enjoy the movie, but otherwise, it’s a confusing, humorless, boring mess. (115 minutes) Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsensemedia.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, television shows, websites and books.