The middle ground
Beautiful Creatures (124 min., PG-13) Strange doings in a Southern town, based on the best-selling fiction series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Acts of witchcraft are not graphic. The film includes occasional profanity and one implied teen sexual situation. Nothing explicit occurs. There’s a potentially lethal shooting. Without preaching, the film says that good or evil is always a choice.
Safe Haven (115 min., PG-13) A young woman on the run falls for widower Josh Duhamel. A couple of flashbacks imply the possibility of murder and, later in the film, drunken spousal abuse. A child falls off a dock and must be rescued. The budding couple spend the night together, but aside from much kissing and removing of outer garments, nothing is shown.
Warm Bodies (97 min., PG-13) “Romeo and Juliet” gets the zombie treatment. The movie pushes the PG-13 envelope here and there, when zombies get blown away gorily or kill humans and eat their brains. Skeletal creatures called “Bonies” kill and eat other, fleshier zombies. The dialogue includes a little profanity. There’s mild sexual innuendo.
Bullet to the Head (92 min., R) Sylvester Stallone up to his old — very old — tricks: Point-blank shootings involve much blood and gore. Characters use cocaine. Naked women wander through a house party. An extremely graphic autopsy scene shows a victim’s entire thorax cut open. Bullets are pried out of wounds, and the wounds sewn up. Oh, and the script includes strong profanity.
A Good Day to Die Hard (97 min., R) Bruce Willis, as super-cop John McClane, rides again. The movie consists mostly of eardrum-shattering gun battles and explosions, and road-destroying, metal-shearing car chases and crashes. Wounds are mostly less than graphic, but not always. One character late in the film falls into a helicopter rotor, which produces a cloud of blood. The dialogue includes strong profanity.
Identify Thief (108 min., R) Cyber-bandit Melissa McCarthy gets accountant Jason Bateman’s vital information. Crude, explicit sexual slang and strong profanity earn the R, along with comically explicit sexual situations, though no nudity. The mayhem in the film is more comic than graphic, albeit with gunplay, fisticuffs, car chases, and crashes.
Side Effects (106 min., R) Therapist Jude Law has Rooney Mara for a patient. A drug he prescribes may have led to a murder. How can he clear his name? The film is ambiguous and ominous in the way it portrays depression. It includes a graphic stabbing death with considerable blood. Characters engage in a fairly explicit sexual situation with nearly full nudity, and a couple of others that are more understated. Characters misuse prescription drugs and utter occasional strong profanity.
Jane Horwitz, Washington Post Writers Group.