Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Project Almanac, Black or White and more

We give you what you need to know about the family-friendliness of this week's new releases.

by | January 30, 2015 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

Project Almanac


Rating: PG-13, for some language and sexual content.

An M.I.T.-bound teenager and his friends stumble across the blueprints and parts to build a time machine. In the process, they do all the fun things you’d do if you could go back in time but they also, you know, wreak havoc. Director Dean Israelite’s film explores a lot of the same what-if scenarios you typically see from this genre, with a few twists. One of those is the use of hand-held, shaky-cam footage, so if that usually gives you a headache or makes you nauseous, beware. Also: There’s quite a bit of language (these are teenagers, after all), some sexual joking, chaste partying and a few intense, destructive moments as the time machine kicks into gear. This is probably OK for mature, older tweens and up.

Black or White


Rating: PG-13, for strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight.

Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer star as grandparents fighting for custody of a mixed-race, 7-year-old girl (newcomer Jillian Estell). Costner’s character, a wealthy and high-powered lawyer, is also a functioning alcoholic, so there’s nearly constant drinking in the film. The girl’s biological father (Andre Holland), who’s been out of the picture most of her life, has been battling a crack habit. The two men end up tearing into each other in a vicious, bloody battle at night by a swimming pool. There’s some pretty mature material here as well as some strong language, including the repeated use of a racial slur. Still, despite some lapses into melodrama, the movie’s heart is in the right place and may even spark a dialogue about racial prejudices and relations afterward. Suitable for mature tweens and older.

Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of


Rating: Unrated.

The five members of the late-1990s/early-2000s boy band reunite for their 20th anniversary, complete with a tour and a new album, in this documentary. But Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough, A.J. McLean and Nick Carter aren’t boys anymore — and actually, they weren’t during the group’s heyday, either — so the film reveals them as men struggling to regain their former glory. In the process, they must revisit their individual pasts, some of which were quite troubled. There’s a lot of strong language as they reminisce and argue in the present day, as well as some frank discussions about the partying and womanizing they did at the height of their powers. Some of them — gasp! — even smoke, too. The documentary isn’t rated but is probably fine for viewers around age 10 and up — especially those One Direction fans in your house who think their boy band fandom is totally unique.

New On DVD:

The Book of Life


Rating: PG, for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images.

Inspired by Mexican folklore, this is a vibrant, richly colorful animated adventure which takes place across magical realms, including the underworld. The Land of the Remembered is full of Day of the Dead-type skeleton figures, which might seem slightly scary for smaller children. There are also some slightly violent bullfighting and battle sequences. And the plot concerns a longtime love triangle between childhood friends Manolo (Diego Luna), Joaquin (Channing Tatum) and Maria (Zoe Saldana). A few minor insults get tossed around and there’s some chaste kissing. For the most part, though, this is pretty wholesome and harmless.

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