Ages 10 and up
Here Comes the Boom (105 min., PG) Kevin James is a high school biology teacher who enters the mixed martial arts ring to raise money for the school. The fight scenes feature major mayhem, and some of it looks painful. There’s an episode of projectile vomiting. The script includes mildly crude language and mild sexual innuendo.
Ages 12 and up
Chasing Mavericks (109 min., PG) Based-on-fact story of a young surfer and the older surfer he idolizes (Gerard Butler). The kid gets bloodied once or twice and disappears under water for nerve-wracking stretches. His mother is pushed around by a man. A character dies on camera of a stroke. We see an implied drug purchase by a teen. A bully harasses the young surfer.
The middle ground
Alex Cross (102 min., PG-13) This thriller starring Tyler Perry as James Patterson’s forensic detective hero is graphic and violent enough to deserve an R. The film has scenes of strongly implied torture, including the severing of a victim’s fingers, and then, later, use of a severed thumb to open a fingerprint-sensitive vault. A kinky though nongraphic sexual situation revolves around sadomasochism and turns lethal. Multiple murders are shown with point-blank shootings. They are violent, if not hugely bloody. The film includes thunderous shootouts, car chases, and explosions. The dialogue includes occasional profanity.
Fun Size (90 min., PG-13) A comedy about a young teen who loses her 6-year-old brother on Halloween. The script includes sexual innuendo and barely subtle jokes about child molestation. There is occasional crude language, mild profanity, and toilet humor.
Argo (120 min., R) Ben Affleck directed and stars in this based-on-fact story of how the CIA rescued six US Embassy workers from Iran in 1980. There’s strong profanity throughout. One scene shows Iranian revolutionaries shooting a man in the street. Scenes depicting angry mobs and armed revolutionary guards bristle with tension. Real and reenacted footage of the 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran is upsetting to watch.
Cloud Atlas (172 min., R) Six story lines span past, present, and future, with a cast headed by Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Jim Broadbent. Onscreen violence includes stabbings, throat-slittings, gun violence, gun suicide, the whipping of a slave, and a character tossed to his death off a high-rise. A doctor poisons a patient in one story line. A couple of sexual situations become semi-explicit. One romantic subplot implies a sexual relationship between two men. The script contains occasional strong profanity and marijuana use.
Paranormal Activity 4 (88 min., R) This latest iteration of the shaky-cam horror series is set in an affluent Nevada development. The mayhem includes a snapped neck and a couple of victims thrown by an invisible force so violently it kills them. One character is nearly asphyxiated in a garage. Demonic spirits are depicted. Teen characters use the F-word a lot.
The Sessions (95 min., R) A based-on-fact story of a paralyzed middle-aged man (John Hawkes) and his sexual initiation. The sex scenes are very explicit and include female nudity. Characters occasionally use strong profanity.Jane Horwitz, Washington Post Writers Group.