PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language | In Theaters 11/6 | Ok for Kids 14+ | Columbia/Sony | Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels | 007.com
A friend just said that James Bond movies are like comfort food, and I so agree. There’s something really endearing about the longtime film franchise, especially if you were around when the first ones were released. And yet, each new film is fantastic (in my view!), and I love the brooding Daniel Craig as 007. Directed by Sam Mendes, this latest film finds the handsome agent on a rogue mission to Mexico City (throwback to 1973’s “Live and Let Die”) and then Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organization known as SPECTRE.
Back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE and the chilling connection between Bond and his enemy, played by one of the best cinematic villains ever, Christoph Waltz.
Along with the nostalgia factor, one reason I love Bond movies so much is that you know what you’re getting. A thrilling opening sequence, luxurious locales, exotic cars (Aston Martins, but of course), and beautiful people. It all adds up to a fulfilling movie experience.
PARENT INFO: In the James Bond tradition, this 24th film includes plenty of car chases, explosions, shoot-outs, and some unbelievable stunts, after which Bond gets up and walks away. Cringeworthy moments include a guy’s eye being gouged out, a suicide by gunshot, and a drill into someone’s skull. Some swearing, including “s–t,” and the requisite kissing, groping and martinis – shaken, not stirred. Ok for kids 14 and up.
THE PEANUTS MOVIE
Rated G | In Theaters 11/6 | Ok for Kids 4+ | 20th Century Fox | Reel Review: 5 of 5 Reels | Peanuts
There’s fear and uncertainty in our world, but at the theater, all is well with the Peanuts gang. Directed by Steve Martino, this new CGI-animated movie is just what the doctor ordered — and “the doctor is in!” It features everything we love about the Charles M. Schulz franchise: Charlie Brown building courage to talk with the Little Red-Haired Girl; Lucy’s psychiatric advice booth (still just five cents!), those classic Peanuts dance moves, Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy music, Snoopy’s vivid fantasy life, Pigpen’s dust cloud, and Linus’ wise advice. This movie is a little softer than the older Peanuts (in terms of people picking on Charlie Brown), and it all adds up to a sweet, gentle and nostalgic story for everyone (with not a computer or cellphone in sight).
PARENT INFO: Positive messages about trying hard, embracing your unique self, and treasuring friendships are featured. A few childhood crushes and some gentle peril with Snoopy’s WWI flying ace scenes. Ok for ages 4 and up.
PG-13 for a disaster sequence and some language | In Theaters 11/13 | Ok for Kids 13+ | Warner Bros. | Reel Review: 3.5 of 5 Reels | The 33
Expect a few cliches in this movie directed by Patricia Riggen that’s based on the real-life story of 33 trapped Chilean miners (including Antonio Banderas and Lou Diamond Phillips) who were buried alive by the catastrophic explosion and collapse of a 100-year-old gold and copper mine in 2010. The owner of the mine is a corrupt uncaring person who’s willing to let the miners die a slow death in their underground tomb, but thankfully, some heroes swoop in to save the day. For 69 long days, an international team worked to free the men as their loved ones (including Juliette Binoche) waited outside the mine, setting up a small village, including a temporary school for their kids. Despite the stereotypical characters, it’s an uplifting story of faith and resilience in the face of disaster. Stay through the credits to see the real-life miners.
PARENT INFO: The mine’s collapse is scary and intense, and the miners struggle to survive with little food and water. Some fights break out, and one alcoholic character goes through detox while trapped underground. Ok for kids 13 and up.
MY ALL AMERICAN
PG for thematic elements, language and brief partial nudity | In Theaters 11/13 | Ok for Kids 11+ | Clarius | Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels | My All American
Like most sports movies based on real-life events, I didn’t know the story of this one before seeing it. What can I say? When you’ve got the Detroit Lions as your state team, it’s hard to get too excited (though yay for their win over the Packers this weekend! See? I know stuff.) But you don’t have to know anything about football to appreciate “My All American,” the story of small-framed Freddie Steinmark (Finn Wittrock), who trains hard and ends up playing for the University of Texas Longhorns. Working with legendary coach Darrell Royal (Aaron Eckhart), Freddie and his team enjoy success until an injury leads to a shocking diagnosis that will affect his future, both on the field and off, with his high school sweetheart Linda (Sarah Bolger). While this movie probably won’t go down as one of the greatest sports movies ever, it’s still a heartfelt story about a young man whose faith never waivers, even in the most dire of circumstances.
PARENT INFO: The PG rating is on target, with just a few uses of “damn,” “ass” and “bulls–t.” A few scenes involve kissing, and one shows a football player “mooning” the field. There’s some intense gridiron action, and a fight breaks out at a war protest. Ok for kids 11 and up.
LOVE THE COOPERS
PG-13 for thematic elements, language and some sexuality | In Theaters 11/13 | Ok for Kids 14+ | CBS Films | Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels | Love the Coopers
Nothing like a good Christmas movie to get us in the holiday spirit, and “Love the Coopers” does the job. I had heard it was like the goofy “Vacation” movies, but it struck me as more “Love, Actually,” which is a good thing. The story centers on the Cooper clan, four generations of extended family who come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration. But as the evening unfolds, a series of unlikely events and secrets (affairs, lies, crumbling marriages and loneliness), turn things upside down. Never fear, though, the ending is super uplifting and will leave you smiling. Directed by Jessie Nelson, the all-star cast includes Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Ed Helms, Diane Keaton, Anthony Mackie, Amanda Seyfried, and Olivia Wilde, with Steve Martin as the narrator (“Rags” the family dog). Thumbs up from me, and I especially love the soundtrack, which features Bob Dylan, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, among others.
PARENT INFO: Mature themes include divorce, adultery, unemployment, dementia and loss. A few scatological jokes involve poop and body odor, and some discussion of sex and relationships. Language includes “s–t” and “p—y,” with some kissing, including teens learning how to make out (with inappropriate use of tongues!). Ok for kids 14 and up (but probably won’t appeal to most teens).
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Images in this feature used courtesy of the studios and distributors.