The Nun

Warner Bros.

Made with a big budget, this fifth film in “The Conjuring” franchise pulls out all the stops in an attempt to rank as the “That’s Entertainment!” of Catholic-themed horror films. But a surfeit of questionable elements, including the tasteless treatment of a relic deserving the deepest possible reverence, makes this inappropriate for many. A creepy white-faced demon nun (Bonnie Aarons) skitters through catacomb tunnels and pops out of the darkness in an ancient, sprawling Romanian abbey for a nice series of jump-scares. A priest (Damian Birchir) and, unlikely as it seems, a cheerful novice (Taissa Farmiga) are dispatched by Vatican officials to investigate. The remainder of the movie consists of the familiar Catholic shtick of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the self-styled lay exorcism “authorities” of decades ago, lifted, by director Corin Hardy and screenwriter Gary Dauberman, to the heights of the old-time Hammer Studios horror outings. Navigating the close boundary line between sacred and profane, sometimes without success, the movie is likely to make grown viewers of faith slightly uncomfortable, to say the least. As for young and impressionable moviegoers, they should steer clear altogether. Occult themes, the misguided use of a sacred object, a scene of suicide, some physical violence and gore, a single rough term. L; R

Searching

Screen Gems

Gripping thriller in which a doting widowed father (John Cho) discovers he knows less about his teen daughter’s (Michelle La) life than he thought after she mysteriously disappears, and he has to aid the detective on the case (Debra Messing) by investigating the high schooler’s online social interaction for clues about her fate. The trail takes a number of surprising twists and turns, at least one of which places this off-limits for most younger moviegoers. Grownups will likely appreciate the clever way director and co-writer Aneesh Chaganty incorporates current technology into the plot of his feature debut as well as the script’s subtle but touching affirmation of family life in the face of death and grief. Possibly acceptable for older teens. Mature themes, including suspicions of incest, images of and references to drug use, a mild oath, at least one rough and a few crude terms, a single crass expression. A-III; PG-13

God Bless the Broken Road

Freestyle

Evangelical drama in which an Afghan War widow (Lindsay Pulsipher) and her young daughter (Makenzie Moss) both benefit from the upbeat presence in their lives of a racecar driver (Andrew W. Walker). As Mom struggles to regain her faith and pay the bills, the speedster grapples with his inability to slow down on the curves. Honorable but rather insipid, director and co-writer Harold Cronk’s film, inspired by a country music song, is suitable for a wide audience. How much of an impression it will leave on viewers of any age is another question. Mature themes and stylized combat violence. A-II; PG

Peppermint

STX

Jennifer Garner goes on the rampage in this gory, over-the-top revenge fantasy, directed by Pierre Morel. Garner plays a mild-mannered Los Angeles housewife whose mechanic husband (Jeff Hephner) flirts with, but backs out of, a scheme to rob a local drug kingpin (Juan Pablo Raba) only to have the gangster order his rubout anyway, a crime during which their 10-year-old daughter (Cailey Fleming) is also slain. Though she identifies the assassins, the fix is in at their trial and they walk free, after which she goes underground and transforms herself into a gun-toting, martial arts-skilled killing machine. Her slaughter spree eventually draws the attention of two of the LAPD officers (John Ortiz and John Gallagher Jr.) involved in her original case and that of the FBI (represented, most prominently, by Annie Ilonzeh) as well. Screenwriter Chad St. John tries to paper over the heroine’s wrongdoing by making her the champion of the denizens of L.A.’s skid row on whose behalf she improbably rids the area of crime. But the primary objects of her attention remain the criminals and corrupt officials who robbed her of justice, and she tortures and terminates them with aplomb. A benign view of vigilantism, excessive bloody violence, drug use, a few profanities, at least one milder oath, pervasive rough and much crude and crass language. O; R

Unbroken: Path to Redemption

Pure Flix

More artful than many faith-motivated movies, this sequel and conversion story continues the biography of Olympic runner-turned-war-hero Louie Zamperini (likable Samuel Hunt). Having survived the downing of his plane over the Pacific, a long period adrift at sea and torturous captivity by the Japanese, events related in the 2014 original, helmed by Angelina Jolie, Air Force bombardier Zamperini returns home, goes on the road to sell war bonds and falls for a cheerful and devout Florida native (Merritt Patterson). But all the while he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Troubled by nightmares and visions in which his chief tormentor (David Sakurai) returns to haunt him, he falls prey to alcoholism. Though his wife is patient and his older brother (Bobby Campo) helpful, it will take no one less a personage than the Rev. Billy Graham (played by his grandson Will) to straighten things out. Catholic viewers may have mixed feelings about the protagonist’s departure from the church in which he was raised. But director Harold Cronk’s drama adapted, like its predecessor, from Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 best-seller, is both appealing in its promotion of faith and forgiveness and suitable for a wide audience. Mature themes, scenes of domestic violence, a vague scatological reference. A-II; PG-13

White Boy Rick

Columbia

Somber fact-based drama, set in 1980s Detroit, chronicling the unlikely adventures of Rick Wershe (Richie Merritt) who, at the age of 14, became the youngest FBI informant in history, posing as a drug dealer. He then went on to sell narcotics for real in an attempt to break out of the seemingly endless cycle of poverty in which he, his gun salesman father (Matthew McConaughey), and crack-addicted sister (Bel Powley) were trapped. Intended as a critique of hypocritical federal (Jennifer Jason Leigh and Rory Cochrane) and local (Brian Tyree) law enforcement officials as well as of excessively harsh sentencing, director Yann Demange’s gritty slice of working-class life largely ignores the consequences of Wershe’s actions. Additionally, although it celebrates the close bonds Wershe shared both with his dad and his troubled sibling, the film also briefly glamorizes an adulterous relationship, making this fare for the most discerning only. Some gory violence, benignly viewed adultery, drug use, rear and upper female nudity, frequent profanities and a few milder oaths, pervasive rough and crude language. L; 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