Angel Has Fallen


Third installment in the series focusing on a dedicated and highly skilled Secret Service agent (Gerard Butler) who, this time out, is elaborately framed for a devastating assassination attempt against the president (Morgan Freeman) that left a slew of the operative’s comrades dead and the chief executive in a coma. As the vice president (Tim Blake Nelson) takes over and uses evidence of Russian involvement to push for a war that would benefit an old buddy (Danny Huston) of the protagonist’s who’s become a private military contractor, and an FBI official (Jada Pinkett Smith) tries to figure out the truth, he escapes and goes on the lam to get to the bottom of it all by himself. Director and co-writer Ric Roman Waugh’s addition to the franchise that began with 2013’s “Olympus Has Fallen” portrays marital and family solidarity by way of the response to the main character’s adversity by his wife (Piper Perabo) and estranged father (Nick Nolte), with whom he reconnects while on the run. But fidelity and reconciliation take a back seat to an amount of intense, relentless mayhem that may be too much even for many grown-ups. Frequent harsh and often bloody violence, some gruesome images, a couple of uses of profanity, several milder oaths, pervasive rough and crude language. A-III; R

Blinded by the Light

Warner Bros.

The hardscrabble world of 1980s Luton, England, provides the setting for this touching fact-based mix of drama and comedy from writer-director Gurinder Chadha. Amid political and racial tensions, a British Pakistani teen (Viveik Kalra) aspires to be a poet but is hemmed in by his overbearing father (Kulvinder Ghir), who wants him to pursue a more lucrative career. Introduced by a classmate (Aaron Phagura) to the music of Bruce Springsteen, the lad finds a fresh source of inspiration in the Boss’ working-class anthems. His newfound enthusiasm is shared by the fellow student (Nell Williams) for whom he’s fallen but not by his best friend since childhood (Dean-Charles Chapman) with whom his relationship has already become fraught. Abundant charm and an insightful depiction of the ups and downs of both friendship and family life make this a winner. Possibly acceptable for mature teens. Some mild sensuality, a scatological incident, at least one use of profanity, an ethnic stereotyping theme, occasional crude and crass talk. A-III; PG-13

Ready or Not

Fox Searchlight

Thoroughly unpleasant horror fantasy, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, about a bride (Samara Weaving) who belatedly discovers that one of her wealthy groom’s (Mark O’Brien) ancestors long ago made a devilish pact that could have fatal consequences for her. The terms of the Faustian bargain by which the clan obtained their fortune dictate that, on her wedding night, she play a murderous game of hide and seek during which her new hubby’s relatives (most prominently Adam Brody, Henry Czerny and Andie MacDowell), motivated by the belief, derived from family lore, that if she survives until dawn they will all die a ghastly death, pursue her through their vast mansion. Screenwriters Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy imbue the proceedings with pitch-black humor, but also consider outrageous gore part of the fun. Thus the violent encounters among in-laws become increasingly gruesome in the lead-up to a climactic sequence that must be among the bloodiest ever filmed. Excessive gory violence, drug use, about a dozen profanities, pervasive rough and crude language. O; R

Where’d You Go, Bernadette


Director and co-writer Richard Linklater’s adaptation of the 2012 bestseller by Maria Semple follows a devoted mom (Cate Blanchett) but an otherwise abominable human being as she goes through mental difficulties after devastating setbacks in her architectural career. When a proposed family trip with her successful computer programmer husband (Billy Crudup) and middle-school-aged daughter (Emma Nelson) sets off her anxiety, she perpetrates a few horrifying incidents, is subjected to an intervention and, in response, disappears. While the film has value as a springboard for conversations about something everyone has to deal with  namely, failure, it doesn’t quite live up to the quality of some of Linklater’s other work. Possibly acceptable for older teens. Drug use, a few crude and crass terms. A-III; PG-13



Faith and sports undergird this drama linking the fates of a track coach (Alex Kendrick), a cross-country runner (Aryn Wright-Thompson) and a hospital patient (Cameron Arnett) suffering from diabetes. Kendrick, who also directed and co-wrote the script (with his brother, Stephen) gets in his own way as evangelical sermonizing hobbles an otherwise appealing  if leisurely unfolded  story of conversion and reconciliation that would have been more effective if allowed to speak for itself. While objectionable elements are entirely absent from his message-driven film, some of the topics raised make this unlikely fare for kids. Mature themes, including narcotics use, a bit of marital discord. A-II; PG

The Peanut Butter Falcon


Heartwarming drama, primarily set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, in which a young man with Down syndrome (Zack Gottsagen) and no family to care for him escapes the retirement home where the state has warehoused him for lack of a more suitable facility and takes to the road. He crosses paths with a down-on-his-luck crab fisherman (Shia LaBeouf) who’s being pursued by two lowlife rivals (John Hawkes and rapper Yelawolf). Though his new companion is initially gruff, the two bond and the angler agrees to help the lad achieve his dream of meeting his idol, a professional wrestler (Thomas Haden Church). As the duo shares Tom and Huck-like adventures, a sympathetic caregiver from the old-age home (Dakota Johnson) is on their trail. Directors and co-writers Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz handle their Southern Gothic-tinged story with a light and dexterous touch. The result is an aesthetically accomplished, implicitly pro-life movie that subtly but resolutely upholds the dignity of all. A good deal of gritty talk, though justified by the context, probably puts this off-limits even for older teens, despite its valuable message. Brief partial nudity, mature themes, a few uses of profanity, at least one rough term, pervasive crude and some crass language, a couple of obscene gestures. A-III; PG-13

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