Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: The Lego Movie, Vampire Academy and Monuments Men, Plus Free Birds

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

by | February 7, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

The Lego Movie


Rating: PG, for mild action and rude humor.

A hilarious and high-spirited adventure that adults actually might enjoy more than their kids. (At least that was the case in our house with our 4-year-old son.) Chris Pratt provides the voice of Emmet, an ordinary construction worker Lego who discovers a mysterious piece of red plastic, thereby fulfilling a prophecy from an ancient mystic (Morgan Freeman). Emmet is now believed to be The Special, the one who will save the Lego universe from destruction. There’s nothing really shocking or inappropriate here; the bad guys, including the megalomaniacal Lord Business (Will Ferrell), are too amusingly cartoonish to be scary. The obliteration of Lego worlds that occurs looks a lot like what happens when kids create towers and characters and then smash them to bits. But there is a third-act twist that supplies a surprising amount of emotion; it may shake your kids up a bit and bring a tear to grown-ups’ eyes, too.

Vampire Academy


Rating: PG-13, for violence, bloody images, sexual content and language.

Based on the series of young adult novels about teen vampire royalty and the guardians assigned to protect them from the evil, immortal vampires who want to lure then over to the dark side. Best friends Lissa (Lucy Fry) and Rose (Zoey Deutch) also must navigate the daily dramas of high school, which they accomplish with the help of cheeky banter. Plenty of blood-sucking, hand-to-hand-combat, stabbings and general peril abounds. There’s also a subplot involving bloody animal mutilation, which is a tad gnarly. And among the high-school gossip about various hook-ups is the suggestion that one of the female characters took part in a ménage a trois with a couple of male classmates. So that awkward conversation awaits you. Mostly suitable for the tween/teen girl audience the books targets, as well.

The Monuments Men


Rating: PG-13, for some images of war violence and historical smoking.

George Clooney directed, co-wrote and stars in this World War II drama about a ragtag band of art historians who pretend to be U.S. Army soldiers to rescue priceless paintings and sculptures that Adolf Hitler stole. It’s based on a real-life story but doesn’t have much life to it, despite a starry cast that includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and John Goodman. Still, because the film takes place during a war, not all members of the team make it out alive. There’s also a ton of gunfire, explosions and a tense scene in which one of the characters discovers he’s stepped on a landmine. Plus, you know, there’s that pesky dilemma of having to explain who Hitler was. Fine for tweens and teens.

New On DVD:

Free Birds


Rating: PG, for some action/peril and rude humor.

One of the flattest and least funny animated films I’ve ever seen. But if this is the only movie available for the whole family to watch, it’s pretty harmless. Owen Wilson provides his distinctive, nasal twang as the voice of Reggie, a turkey who realizes he and his buddies are all being fattened up for Thanksgiving dinners. He and an amped-up turkey named Jake (Woody Harrelson) go back in time to the first Thanksgiving to keep their kind off the menu for good. There’s a jumble of stuff going on here – characters, themes, ideas – as well as a big battle scene, but it provides more spectacle than scares. And a metaphorical subplot involving the plight of Native Americans in the United States will probably go over kids’ heads.

Tag Cloud

Nickelodeon Spectrum Originals psychological thriller TCA Winter 2020 TIFF Sundance Now Film Festival TV PBS Ellie Kemper Rom-Com Toys cars PaleyFest YouTube Premium MTV chucky cancelled TV shows IFC Crunchyroll Summer franchise Action technology Winter TV composers cinemax Peacock screen actors guild Marvel Studios National Geographic war based on movie Awards Sundance TV First Look ABC Family Family breaking bad movie Nominations Bravo hispanic asian-american ITV TCM Mary poppins Superheroes christmas movies HBO Awards Tour Year in Review BAFTA films Hallmark Christmas movies hollywood golden globes MCU latino justice league Rocky Adult Swim GLAAD Ghostbusters science fiction RT21 APB dramedy Thanksgiving E3 Calendar Interview 24 frames Infographic MSNBC History Mary Tyler Moore Kids & Family free movies strong female leads Film Music teaser biography 21st Century Fox Writers Guild of America CBS All Access Lifetime Christmas movies richard e. Grant X-Men ghosts 2019 2020 Set visit DC Universe reboot superhero nature Black History Month Trivia Hallmark sports sag awards dark DC Comics canceled festivals dc Acorn TV San Diego Comic-Con Mudbound Spike OWN all-time 20th Century Fox Epix Spring TV Paramount Network indie dogs Warner Bros. 4/20 comedies reviews Apple TV+ documentaries SundanceTV worst harry potter Pop SXSW USA Western 2018 green book Holiday police drama Sundance Showtime The Purge Ovation kids Cosplay Mindy Kaling true crime TCA Awards television medical drama Amazon Studios DC streaming service toy story Masterpiece renewed TV shows Academy Awards Paramount Rocketman 45 Sony Pictures 2017 The Arrangement ratings Funimation romantic comedy Creative Arts Emmys parents YA ABC Lifetime Disney+ Disney Plus spy thriller universal monsters Discovery Channel Anna Paquin Nat Geo TV renewals stoner Logo vampires streaming Syfy slashers Drama Opinion Red Carpet Disney Channel concert blockbuster children's TV Stephen King BET miniseries crime drama 2016 anthology Marathons casting name the review book game show Crackle screenings Watching Series First Reviews Television Academy TV Land Winners IFC Films Heroines directors travel Television Critics Association The CW Fall TV Dark Horse Comics DGA Universal Avengers video on demand video E! Mystery CMT rotten NYCC Britbox Trophy Talk Turner Classic Movies mockumentary Walt Disney Pictures Quiz mutant RT History FXX Rock child's play thriller PlayStation indiana jones Amazon Tubi Election TruTV Song of Ice and Fire Reality unscripted Elton John news series TCA aliens stand-up comedy Box Office adventure Marvel Television YouTube LGBTQ cops elevated horror movies stop motion versus award winner laika boxoffice doctor who psycho Comedy Central Hulu Star Trek diversity Martial Arts Mary Poppins Returns VH1 Grammys Super Bowl natural history Lionsgate emmy awards werewolf Vudu CBS sequel Character Guide Sneak Peek what to watch Pet Sematary Classic Film Binge Guide WarnerMedia twilight politics Black Mirror supernatural Shudder revenge a nightmare on elm street LGBT canceled TV shows BBC Disney Chernobyl YouTube Red discovery documentary Tomatazos Star Wars comic Endgame Lucasfilm ESPN dceu NBC Freeform Horror SDCC Comic Book Women's History Month Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Fox News Podcast foreign TLC FOX OneApp Emmys Photos Brie Larson Tumblr Disney streaming service space adaptation fast and furious Biopics zombies crime thriller romance American Society of Cinematographers Superheroe facebook Emmy Nominations TCA 2017 Countdown Teen Amazon Prime Netflix Christmas movies Food Network spanish language game of thrones cats cancelled TV series animated quibi independent cartoon joker talk show AMC 72 Emmy Awards political drama historical drama Cartoon Network Travel Channel BET Awards A&E hist El Rey dragons south america 2015 GIFs TBS FX on Hulu Oscars cults finale social media crossover GoT binge theme song Starz CNN critics Trailer comics The Walking Dead classics obituary Pop TV Pirates cancelled spinoff sitcom USA Network period drama Hear Us Out President FX robots Captain marvel Columbia Pictures Disney Plus See It Skip It Musicals tv talk scary movies best Comics on TV Reality Competition Arrowverse Baby Yoda docudrama HBO Max Comedy Polls and Games jamie lee curtis Musical Christmas Turner Shondaland Best and Worst 71st Emmy Awards rotten movies we love Animation DirecTV Amazon Prime Video Pride Month witnail 007 Premiere Dates comiccon nbcuniversal mission: impossible Fantasy serial killer zero dark thirty spain TNT Schedule Valentine's Day batman VOD VICE Pixar CW Seed blaxploitation BBC One cancelled television halloween HBO Go die hard cooking zombie criterion Video Games crime Certified Fresh A24 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt New York Comic Con Extras WGN Tarantino Netflix satire anime Esquire The Witch Country Apple TV Plus Apple BBC America Holidays Marvel singing competition Sci-Fi transformers Cannes disaster spider-man