Ages 6 and older
The Croods (98 min., PG) A feature-length cartoon about a family that’s paleolithic but sitcom-modern. The Croods manage to survive various calamities — earthquakes, meteorites, eruptions, avalanches, as well as their encounters with enormous tropical plants and huge creatures with teeth — from land-lubber whales with feet to saber-tooth tigers. The Croods sometimes disappear into the dust, fog, and smoke of one catastrophe or another, but they always reappear. Seeing the film in 2-D rather than 3-D would be less intense. The script includes very mild sexual innuendo. A character wishes openly for his mother-in-law’s demise.
The middle ground
Admission (107 min., PG-13) Tina Fey is a Princeton admissions officer. The dialogue includes occasional strong profanity and at least one misogynist slur. The plot involves out-of-wedlock pregnancies. It is implied that Fey’s character and Paul Rudd’s spend a night together. Characters remark on one rich lady’s racist jockey statues. In a fantasy element of the admissions officers’ meeting, college applicants appear in the meeting room and, if rejected, fall through the floor.
The Host (121 min., PG-13) There are no vampires or werewolves in this adaptation of a Stephenie Meyer novel. Apart from a few fistfights, understated chases, and some lethal but nongraphic gunplay, “The Host” contains little violence. The sexual innuendo is also understated, involving kisses and muted talk of longing. A child receives an injury that threatens his life. A rebel doctor uses a scalpel to bloodlessly cut alien creatures out of their human “hosts.”
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (101 min., PG-13) Fighting and feuding among magicians in Las Vegas. They include Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, and Jim Carrey. Some of their crazy stunts involve bedding down on hot coals, holding in urine for days, drilling a hole into a skull, and seeming to crush a puppy (it’s not hurt). The script contains midrange profanity, including, briefly, the F-word and the B-word, plus a lot of sexual innuendo. One major trick involves the use of an illegal drug.
The Sapphires (103 min., PG-13) Based on a true story of three Aboriginal sisters who form a singing group in Australia and entertain US troops during the Vietnam War. Characters smoke marijuana, though it’s only vaguely implied. The script includes moderate profanity and hints of unwed motherhood. The depiction of racial insults and segregationist laws against Aboriginal people in Australia is not pretty. Even worse, Aboriginal children who looked white are shown being taken away from their families to be raised as whites. War scenes are not graphic, though we do see people killed or injured.
The Call (90 min., R) A 911 operator (Halle Berry) feels she may have contributed to a teenage girl’s murder. The film becomes semigraphic and creepily psychosexual once we meet the killer up close, so it’s too much for under-17s. We see him drug and hit another teen as he shoves her into his trunk, and we see him bash a man’s head with a shovel and later stab him. He sprays gasoline onto a gas station attendant and sets him on fire. He cuts into a girl’s scalp with a surgical knife. A strong incest theme in his past is implied in photographs and in his actions. Characters use rare but strong profanity.
Olympus Has Fallen (119 min., R) North Koreans hit Washington, D.C.! Lethal gunshots become graphic, including a spurting throat wound, and fights are bone-crushing. Buses and other large vehicles are used as bombs and many innocents fall. Gerard Butler’s character kills an invader with a bust of Lincoln and stabs another in the head. The invaders torture members of the Cabinet and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, trying to get nuclear codes from them. Characters use strong profanity.
On the Road (124 min., R) This adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s classic novel is definitely for audiences 17 and older. It is far too explicit sexually and shows too much dangerous drug use and drinking for younger teens. Also, the attitude toward female characters among the supposedly rebellious, anti-bourgeois guys is cringe-makingly sexist and dismissive. The movie shows female toplessness and male backview nudity. The dialogue includes profanity. Themes of romantic and marital infidelity run throughout.
Spring Breakers (94 min., R) Girls just want to have, uh, fun. The movie includes frequent drug abuse and binge drinking, much toplessness and other near-nudity, as well as many explicit sexual situations, strong profanity, and sexual language. Lethal violence occurs near the end, and is mostly portrayed in a slow-motion stylized way that makes it slightly less graphic.
Starbuck (109 min., R) A French-Canadian sperm donor is so good at donating that he’s fathered 533 children, 142 of whom have now sued to learn dad’s identity. The opening scene shows him at work (from the waist up, that is). A character grows marijuana. Several indulge in occasional profanity.Jane Horwitz, Washington Post Writers Group.