Category Archives: Movie Reviews and Features

Love Actually

Directed by: Richard Curtis Starring: Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon, Laura Linney, Thomas Sangster, Alan Rickman Rated: R for sexuality, nudity and language. Parental Notes: This is a sweet and charming film, but not one free of sorrow. Teens and mature preteens with a taste for romance will like it, but other young folk will likely find it dull. If you and your children enjoyed Curtis’ other films, this one is a good bet.

Runaway Jury

Directed by: Gary Fleder Starring: John Cusack, Rachel Weisz, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman Rated: PG-13 for violence, language and thematic elements. Parental Notes: This is a standard Grisham thriller, appropriate for all teens and mature pre-teens. The violence is not particularly gory but youngsters may find it a bit intense.

Kill Bill, Vol. 1

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino Starring: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, David Carradine, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, Sonny Chiba Rated: R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexual content. Parental notes: Hyper-violent, full of distressing images, and barrels of gore, this is not a movie for the weak-stomached and definitely too intense for younger teens. It’s probably too intense for some adults, too.

School of Rock

Directed by: Richard Linklater Starring: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Miranda Cosgrove, Joey Gaydos, Kevin Clark. Rated: PG-13 for some rude humor and drug references. Parental Notes: As other reviewers have noted, this movie does not deserve a PG-13 rating. There is some rude humor and drug references, but this is a movie kids will love, especially if they like rock music.

Bubba Ho-Tep

Directed by: Don Coscarelli Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Bob Ivy Rated: R for language, some sexual content and brief violent images. Parental Notes: This is a strange film. Teens who love Campbell’s work will doubtless enjoy it, but those without an odd sense of humor and a strong appreciation of adult themes will find it disappointing.

Duplex

Directed by: Danny DeVito Starring: Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore, Eileen Essel, Harvey Fierstein, Robert Wisdom Rated: PG-13 for sexual content, language and some violence. Parental Notes: Plenty of slapstick comedy and some dark themes, but little objectionable material for teens or mature preteens.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke, Enrique Iglesias Rated: Rated R for strong violence, and for language. Parental Notes: Teens who loved “Desperado” may find “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” a bit of a disappointment but it’s a fine film for teens and above. Numerous blood-spattering gunfights and some disturbing special effects make it too intense for younger children.

Underworld

Directed by: Len Wiseman Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Shane Brolly, Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy Rated: R for strong violence/gore and some language. Parental Notes: Although “Underworld” is neither as violent nor as gory as it could be, it is still likely too intense for preteens. Teenagers who like vampire and werewolf stories will probably love it.

The Medallion

Directed by: Gordon Chan Starring: Jackie Chan, Claire Forlani, Julian Sands, Lee Evans Rated: PG-13 for action violence and some sexual humor. Parental Notes: The content of “The Medallion” is fine for preteens and above, provided they can endure the mediocre fight scenes and atrocious dialog and acting.