Ages 8 and older
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (94 min., PG) — The third go-round in the series based on the popular children’s books. A scene in a pool involves a lot of toilet humor. A locker-room scene right before that shows a kid horrified at the sight of men with hairy backs or bending over in swimsuits and showing a little derriere cleavage.
Ages 10 and older
The Odd Life of Timothy Green (104 min., PG) — After years of trying to have a baby, a couple writes down all the wonderful traits a child of theirs might have had, and buries the scraps of paper in a box in their yard. Soon a smiling, muddy little boy appears in their home. He’s not a normal boy, and the townsfolk react narrow-mindedly at first to his oddness. By the end, the film becomes a testament to adoption. There are jokes about flatulence. The school bullies are mean but not vicious.
ParaNorman (93 min., PG)
A little too spooky for kids under 10 unless parents determine they can handle it, “ParaNorman” tells a corker of a story about an oddball 11-year-old named Norman Babcock who sees and talks to ghosts. Made with stop-motion animation, the film has a surreal picture-book look. Kids under 10 might quail at the zombies and ghosts, exposed brains and decomposing corpses, though they’re portrayed with whimsical humor, not realism. Similar to “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (PG, 1993) or “Corpse Bride” (PG, 2005).
The middle ground
The Bourne Legacy (134 min., PG-13) — Jeremy Renner isn’t named Bourne, but like Matt Damon’s character in the three previous Bourne movies, he’s a CIA assassin on the run. The mayhem features drone attacks, explosions, gun battles, and bone-cracking hand-to-hand combat, as well as occasional midrange profanity. A man’s multiple murder of his co-workers in a pharmaceutical lab is very unsettling.
Total Recall (109 min., PG-13) — This remake of the 1990 sci-fi movie about manufactured memories may be too relentlessly intense for middle schoolers. The fights are bone-crushing, the chases more cool than scary, with futuristic vehicles zooming along elevated highways. There is little gore, but the hero bloodily uses a glass shard to cut an under-the-skin cellphone-global positioning device out of his hand. Early on, in a red-light district, we see prostitutes in suggestive clothes and one who bares her triple-breasted chest. The script includes midrange profanity.