Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Still Alice, Plus Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on DVD

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

by | December 4, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

Still Alice

85%

Rating: PG-13, for mature thematic material, and brief language including a sexual reference.

It’s doubtful that a drama about a linguistics professor suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease would appeal to any of the kids in your house. But if you have a loved one who’s struggling with this cruel affliction, perhaps this film might provide a bit of comfort and catharsis for tween viewers and older. Julianne Moore stars as the title character, a brilliant and accomplished woman who starts forgetting words, losing items and becoming disoriented. A visit to a neurologist provides her with a diagnosis, and it isn’t long before the bottom drops out from underneath her. Moore gives a heartbreaking performance, and the terrifying way in which the disease strips her character of her ability to communicate and connect with others is difficult to watch. There’s also a bit of language here, including an argument between grown children which features some vague sexual references.

New On DVD:

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

90%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language.

The sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes is probably OK for kids around age 10 and older. Director Matt Reeves’ film is intimate and thrilling but it’s also extremely violent — packed with gun battles and massive amounts of firepower. Intelligent and intense, it’s vividly rendered and visceral in its huge action sequences. And the apes themselves — which are more textural and realistic than ever, thanks to some extraordinary computer-generated effects — are probably way too frightening for most young viewers when they?re in full-on rampage mode. Andy Serkis once again offers his immersive and technically exquisite powers of transformation to play Caesar, the leader of a group of highly sophisticated apes who’ve taken over after a virus devastates the planet. He works reluctantly with a human (Jason Clarke) who hopes to get a dam running to provide power to the few survivors left in San Francisco. Mistrust and misunderstanding bring both groups to the brink of war.

The Hundred-Foot Journey

68%

Rating: PG, for thematic elements, some violence, language and brief sensuality.

Aside from a couple of moments of brief violence, this delightful (and conventional) multicultural romance is probably just fine for kids around 10 and older. Helen Mirren stars as the uptight owner of an elegant restaurant in the south of France. Om Puri plays the boisterous patriarch who moves his family into her quaint village and opens a new Indian restaurant directly across the street — 100 feet away, hence the title. Their competition, and the way they sabotage each other, is petty and cruel but amusing. And eventually their rivalry leads to greater understanding and even friendship, you’ll be shocked to learn. At the beginning of the film and in the middle, vandals attack the Indian family’s restaurants, setting fire to them and even causing a death. But in both scenes in director Lasse Hallstrom’s film, these are opportunities for rebuilding and redemption.

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