Ages 8 and up
Wreck-It Ralph (93 min., PG) Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) is a villain in an arcade game called “Fix-it Felix Jr.” But he’d rather be a good guy for a change, so he sneaks into another game. The level of mayhem and violence, even though much of it takes place in a virtual game environment made of candy, gets pretty intense in the last third of the film: chases, explosions, and one seemingly benign character turns evil. There’s also a lot of toilet humor.
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-racking 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. It 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.
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. On-screen 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. A couple of sexual situations become semi-explicit, some with nudity. One romantic subplot implies a sexual relationship between two men. The script contains occasional strong profanity and marijuana use.
The Details (102 min., R) Tobey Maguire plays a very flawed man in this dark, quirky comedy of human foibles and muddled morality, best geared to college-age filmgoers 17 and older. Adultery and some explicit sexual situations. Characters use pot, drink, swear strongly, and use sexual slang. There is one act of murderous violence. A cat dies (off-camera) and a raccoon is deliberately run over.
Flight (138 min., R) Not for under-17s, as it depicts serious drug and alcohol abuse. Denzel Washington acts up a storm as a brilliant commercial pilot who navigates a successful crash landing but falls from grace after it’s revealed that he was under the influence. Includes female nudity and nonexplicit sexual situations. Characters use strong profanity. Flight scenes are harrowing.
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.