After her husband (Oscar Isaac) returns as the lone survivor of a secret Army mission and falls mysteriously and critically ill, a soldier-turned-biologist (Natalie Portman) volunteers to join an expedition into the remote area he and his team had been dispatched to explore, which is being affected by an unexplained and ever-growing atmospheric phenomenon. There she and the other researchers (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and Tuva Novotny) on the trek discover bizarre animal and plant mutations by turns beautiful and terrifying. Writer-director Alex Garland’s blend of sci-fi and horror, adapted from the first in a trilogy of novels by Jeff VanderMeer, starts off promisingly, its understated tone and matter-of-fact dialogue ratcheting up audience dread. But the payoff fizzles. Along the way, a couple of blood-soaked scenes, though brief, put this off limits for most. Fleeting but extreme gore, semi-graphic adulterous sexual activity, scenes of marital intimacy, partial upper nudity, references to lesbianism, at least one use of profanity and a milder oath, several rough and crude terms. L; R 

Early Man 


This enjoyably silly, generally family-friendly animated comedy pits a teenage caveman (voiced by Eddie Redmayne) and his tribe against a tyrant (voice of Tom Hiddleston) who wants to turn their home valley into a mine. Accidentally finding himself in the Bronze Age city the despot rules, the young troglodyte gets him to agree that a soccer match should determine the outcome. In preparing for the game, the good guys are helped by a talented female player (voice of Maise Williams) who’s been barred from taking the field because of her gender. Directed by Nick Park and written by Mark Burton and James Higginson, the film celebrates kindness, family and teamwork. It also sends the message that greed will get you nowhere. Brief animated rear nudity, one crass term, some suggestive humor. A-I; PG 

Game Night 

Warner Bros. 

Family values and much enjoyable humor are offset by numerous distasteful jokes and an excess of vulgar language in this comedy from directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. A competition-loving couple (Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams) find their usually placid game night transformed when his suave brother (Kyle Chandler) comes to town for a visit and arranges a fake kidnapping that the duo and their friends (Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Billy Magnussen and Sharon Horgan) will have to vie with each other to solve. As the audience realizes before the characters do, something all-too-authentically criminal soon begins to unfold amid the entertainment. Though the film’s premise rests on an unlikely coincidence, and a couple of its sight gags are quite gory, those few grownups for whom it makes suitable fare will note the portrayal of a strong marriage and a positive view of parenthood in Mark Perez’s script. Much sexual humor, more than a dozen uses of profanity and several milder oaths, pervasive rough and crude language. L; R 

Death Wish


Even dressed up with some style and the presumption of wit, this remake is the same nihilistic racist vigilante fantasy that the five films in the first series were years ago. Director Eli Roth and screenwriter Joe Carnahan have set the tale of Paul Kersey, originally a New York architect played by stone-faced Charles Bronson, in Chicago, where this Kersey (Bruce Willis) is a smirking, yet highly dedicated and compassionate, emergency room surgeon. Vigilantism theme, skewed view of law enforcement, frequent gore, pervasive gun and physical violence, frequent rough language and profanities. O; R 

Red Sparrow 


Gruesome violence and gratuitous sexual content ruin this otherwise engaging espionage thriller. Disabled in an onstage accident, a Russian ballet star (Jennifer Lawrence) is recruited by her uncle (Matthias Schoenaerts), a highly placed and ruthless intelligence official, to train as a seductress of foreign agents in a school (run by Charlotte Rampling) perversely dedicated to the purpose. Her eventual target is a veteran CIA operative (Joel Edgerton) who serves as the contact for an unusually valuable Kremlin mole. But her ultimate loyalty, throughout the zigzagging plot, remains intriguingly uncertain. Director Francis Lawrence’s adaptation of Jason Matthews’ 2013 best-seller, the first volume in a trilogy, leaves nothing to viewers’ imagination as Rampling’s over-the-top character drills her proteges in amorality and as Edgerton’s undergoes an unbearable interrogation. Excessive graphic violence, including horrific torture, strong sexual content, including explicit brutal activity and full nudity, themes of incest and vengeance, at least one use of profanity, numerous rough and a few crude and crass terms. O; R 

Every Day 


Strange teen romance in which a high school student (Angourie Rice) falls for a spirit who inhabits the bodies of different people for a day at a time, originally encountering the androgynous sprite when it takes over her normally self-absorbed and inattentive boyfriend (Justice Smith), transforming him into the kind of caring companion for which she naturally longs. Director Michael Sucsy’s screen version of David Levithan’s novel, which also features Owen Teague as the classmate the protagonist ought to be dating, sends the honorable, if less than original, message that relationships should be about more than surface attraction. But this theme entails a further subtext suggesting that gender differences are an insignificant factor where matters of the heart are concerned. Taken together with the script’s indication that physical interaction before marriage is a given, and that Christians are devil-fearing fools, that implicit agenda item makes the film unfit for its target audience of adolescents. A denigrating portrayal of Protestant Christianity, a benign view of homosexual acts, two off-screen premarital bedroom encounters, an adultery theme, a same-sex kiss, at least one use of profanity, several crude and crass terms. A-III; PG-13 

The Strangers: Prey at Night 


Sadistic horror flick in which a couple (Christina Hendricks and Martin Henderson), their rebellious teen daughter (Bailee Madison) and her more compliant older brother (Lewis Pullman) arrive at a lakeside trailer park to visit relatives but find the place eerily deserted. They are soon set upon by a trio of masked, marauding strangers (Damian Maffei, Emma Bellomy and Lea Enslin) engaged in a wholly unmotivated but relentless killing spree. As the villains delight in inflicting suffering for its own sake, director Johannes Roberts’ sequel to 2008’s “The Strangers” waxes gruesome and gory. And things only deteriorate morally once the victims start to fight back since the audience is invited to revel viscerally in their brutal revenge. Excessive bloody violence, including acts of vengeance, some profanity, frequent rough and crude language, some sexual references, two obscene gestures. O; R  

USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classifications: 

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