A Bad Moms Christmas 


Aggressive vulgarity is the incongruous hallmark of this holiday-themed sequel. As the trio of mothers (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) featured in the 2016 original deal with the wholly unrealistic problems caused when their own moms (Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon) show up for Christmas, with or without an invitation, the only thing more tiresome than their sex-obsessed wisecracking is their self-important resolve to take the feast back and celebrate it in their own fashion. Since that approach includes ogling male strippers dressed as “sexy Santas,” for one of whom (Justin Hartley) Hahn’s character falls, to say they’ve lost touch with the reason for the season is an understatement. Ditto returning co-writers and directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. Blasphemy, cohabitation, drug use, strong sexual content including partial nudity and much obscene humor, several uses of profanity, pervasive rough and crude language. O; R 



With its franchise’s shock value long since played out, this eighth “Saw” outing, yet another exercise in butchery, accompanied by siren-wail screaming, quickly descends into self-parody. The five trapped victims here, as always in this series, face gross-out hacking in a series of claustrophobic enclosures. Adding to their torment, a marionette, voiced by the evil Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) on taped messages, tells them that there’s always a way out if they obey his commands. According to his own warped thinking, the killer is operating as an agent of morality, repaying the quintet for their past sins, which typically involved the death of another person. Having revived their red-eyed villain from the dead who supposedly met his fate in 2006’s “Saw III,” directing brothers Michael and Peter Spierig give him little to do in his comeback, other than evade the pursuit of the police detective (Callum Keith Rennie) and duo of coroners (Matt Passmore and Hannah Emily Anderson) tracking him. Pervasive gory violence, gruesome images, including dismembered limbs, frequent crude and crass language. O; R 

Thor: Ragnarok


A healthy dose of humor keeps this sweeping Marvel Comics adaptation of the second sequel to the 2011 original on the boil, although it still registers as overlong. The straight-shooting Norse god of thunder (Chris Hemsworth) and his ever-wily brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), will have to patch up their differences if they are to defeat the schemes of their elder sister, the goddess of death, Hela (Cate Blanchett). She has been released from a long captivity by the demise of their father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and aims to dominate their home planet, Asgard. Along with Loki’s shifting loyalties, Thor must also contend with Hela’s destruction of his trademark hammer and with being taken prisoner by a bounty hunter (Tessa Thompson) who hands him over to the impresario (Jeff Goldblum) of a series of gladiatorial games. The mythological elements blended into director Taika Waititi’s superhero adventure, which also features Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk, are not for impressionable kids. But grown moviegoers will find relatively little to object to along the path of this spiffy intergalactic quest. Possibly acceptable for older teens. Constant stylized violence with little gore, brief partial nudity, a couple of mild oaths and crude terms, occasional crass language, at least one sexual reference, mature wordplay. A-III; PG-13

Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween 


In this follow-up to the 2016 original, writer-director Tyler Perry’s long-running muumuu-draped moral force played by Perry himself in drag, of course, sets out to rescue her grand-niece (Diamond White) from a fraternity party held at a campground where several people had been murdered some years before. The result is very much along the lines of a live-action Scooby-Doo cartoon with the manic matriarch’s familiar companions (including Cassi Davis and Patrice Lovely) taking the place of animated sleuthing teens. Perry’s Madea films of late have operated not on strongly limned original ideas but on the fumes of public goodwill at the memory of the character’s earlier outings. In those, she at least had some moral lesson to convey about the power of family ties and the importance of children obeying their elders. Here, her primary task is to shriek and toss off the occasional line about urinary incontinence. A brief scene of marijuana use, fleeting crude language, two instances of the N-word. A-III; PG-13 

The Snowman 


Director Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s best-selling crime novel occasionally dabbles in penny-dreadful sensationalism, then returns to plodding wearily across the frozen landscape of its unconvincing mystery story. Set primarily in Oslo, Norway, the film tracks the efforts of a gifted but alcoholism-plagued police detective (Michael Fassbender) to catch a serial killer who builds a snowman at each murder site. The officer’s search is complicated by the fact that his new partner (Rebecca Ferguson) seems to have a hidden agenda of her own and by his tangled relationships with his ex-girlfriend (Charlotte Gainsbourg), her son (Michael Yates) and her new live-in love interest (Jonas Karlsson). Needlessly shocking visuals punctuate the stilted proceedings while the killer’s motivation springs from the sordid personal lives of his victims as well as his traumatic childhood. Excessive gory violence and gruesome images, a suicide, strong sexual content, including aberrant behavior, an adulterous bedroom scene and brief upper female nudity, abortion, domestic abuse and cohabitation themes, a few uses of profanity and rough language, several crude terms. O; R 

USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting 


A-I – General patronage

A-II – Adults and adolescents

A-III – Adults

A-IV – Adults, with reservations

L – Limited adult audience

O – Morally offensive 

Motion Picture Association of America ratings: 

G – General audiences; all ages admitted

PG – Parental guidance suggested; some material may not be suitable for children

PG-13 – Parents are strongly cautioned to give special guidance for attendance of children under 13; some material may be inappropriate for young children

R – Restricted; under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian

NC-17 –No one under 17 admitted