Brahms: The Boy II


After being traumatized by a violent home invasion, a British businessman (Owain Yeoman), his American wife (Katie Holmes) and their young son (Christopher Convery) temporarily relocate from London to a house in the English countryside where the lad unearths an antique doll that turns out to be more terrorist than toy. Returning director William Brent Bell’s follow-up to his 2016 film alternates between the occasional good jolt and long periods of tedium, with the silliness of the premise never out of the frame. While there’s little to object to in a horror flick that most teens can likely handle, there’s not much entertainment value to the proceedings either. Occult themes, some stylized violence, a few gruesome images, veiled references to marital sexuality, a single instance each of profane and crude language. A-III; PG-13



Delightful screen version of Jane Austen’s classic novel in which the young British gentlewoman of the title (Anya Taylor-Joy) tries her hand at matchmaking on behalf of a fortuneless friend (Mia Goth) while flirting with a visitor (Callum Turner) to her small country town and repeatedly locking horns with an old friend (Johnny Flynn). Director Autumn de Wilde’s feature debut captures perfectly Austen’s droll insights into human nature, from the medical paranoia of Emma’s father (Bill Nighy), with his perpetual fear of drafts, to the good-hearted dullness of a trivialities-spouting neighbor (Miranda Hart). Only the momentary introduction of a bit of visual earthiness, presumably meant to balance off the overall painterly elegance of the picture, need give parents pause. Possibly acceptable for older teens. Fleeting rear male and partial female nudity in a nonsexual contest, an illegitimacy theme, one mild oath. A-III; PG

I Am Patrick


Written and directed by Jarrod Anderson, this docudrama, subtitled “The Patron Saint of Ireland,”  seeks to debunk many of the myths and legends that have grown up around its subject over the centuries and to capture who he really was as a man and a proclaimer of Christ. The film follows Patrick (played in youth by Robert McCormack, in middle age by Sean T. O’Meallaigh and at the end of his life by John Rhys-Davies) from his abduction as a teen by Irish raiders marauding in fifth-century Roman Empire-controlled Britain, through his six years of slavery, his escape back to Britain, his ordination and his voluntary return to Ireland as a missionary bishop. The live-action and documentary elements blend well, keeping the pace moving along as the story unfolds with the help of Moe Dunford’s narration. The actors successfully capture the excitement, determination and zeal Patrick consistently displayed while interviews with historians and authors weave a narrative that reveals him for the amazing evangelist he was. For theater and ticket information, visit: Brief stylized violence. A-II. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association.

Impractical Jokers: The Movie


On a road trip from their native Staten Island, New York, to Miami, the four comedians of the eponymous truTV series (Brian Quinn, Joe Gatto, James Murray and Sal Vulcano) compete in playing pranks on unsuspecting members of the public and on one another. The quality of the escapades in director and co-writer Chris Henchy’s adaptation, which has a thin backstory involving singer-songwriter Paula Abdul, who plays herself, varies noticeably and some veer into bad taste. But the air of camaraderie that underlies the silly proceedings and the pals’ efforts to goad each other into ever greater outrageousness goes a long way to keep this bit of fluff amiable enough for most grown-ups. Glimpses of rear male nudity in a nonsexual context, a scene of strippers involving partial female nudity and sensuous behavior, drug references, a couple of uses of profanity, a few milder oaths, at least one rough term, considerable crude and crass talk. A-III; PG-13

The Way Back

Warner Bros.

Director Gavin O’Connor’s sports drama tells a story of hope and redemption after devastating loss. When the basketball coach at the Catholic high school he attended suffers a heart attack, a former hoops star-turned-alcoholic-construction-worker (Ben Affleck) reluctantly agrees to take over the program. As he exerts a positive influence on the players (most prominently Brandon Wilson and Melvin Gregg), he finds a new sense of purpose and begins to heal. The film, penned by Brad Ingelsby, does nothing to break free of the traditional formula of sports movies. Yet Affleck carries the proceedings with able acting and the younger members of the cast, especially Wilson, give believable performances as well. An upbeat tale, though one permeated with off-color dialogue. Mature themes, including alcoholism, a few instances of profanity, frequent crude and crass language, a vulgar sexual reference. A-III; R




Vin Diesel plays a Marine whose macho dreams come true when a doctor (Guy Pearce) uses nanotechnology to bring him back from the dead and endows him with superhuman fighting abilities in the process. He employs his new powers to track down and slay the crazed assassin (Toby Kebbell) who killed both his beloved wife (Talulah Riley) and him. But, as the fellow patient (Eiza Gonzalez) for whom the widower rapidly falls, knows all is not as it seems. Director David S.F. Wilson’s passable Valiant Comics adaptation mostly avoids gore but the warrior’s drive for revenge is only partially made less problematic by twisty plot developments. A vengeance theme, much harsh but bloodless violence, a few gruesome images, a marital bedroom scene with partial nudity and some sensuality, about a dozen uses of profanity, one milder oath, a single rough term, considerable crude and crass language. A-III; PG-13

I Still Believe


Fact-based romantic drama tells the love story of future Christian music star Jeremy Camp (KJ Apa) and the fellow college student (Britt Robertson) for whom he fell at first sight. Their relationship is initially hindered by the fact that his friend and professional mentor, an already established singer (Nathan Dean), also loves the young lady. But a much greater challenge arises later when she is diagnosed with cancer. Directors and brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin’s winning film, which the former co-wrote with Jon Gunn, also features Gary Sinise and Shania Twain as Camp’s parents. In keeping with the song and book from which the movie takes its title, nondenominational affirmations of faith permeate the ups and downs of the tale as well as the musical interludes by which it’s paced, making this congenial fare for Christians of various stripes while the absence of objectionable elements renders it suitable for all but the youngest moviegoers. Mature themes, brief medical gore, a couple of marital bedroom scenes. A-II; PG

The Hunt


Clever commentary on contemporary political and cultural divisions in the United States is lost amid an orgy of bloodletting as a group of elite fat cats (led by Hilary Swank) hunt a dozen kidnapped red-state types for sport, only to discover too late that one of them (Betty Gilpin) is prepared to put the combat skills she learned while serving in Afghanistan to good use against them. As scripted by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, director Craig Zobel’s parable is deliberately outrageous in its gruesome portrayal of characters being maimed and killed. But the overall effect is more sadistic than satiric. Excessive gory violence, frequent profanities, a few milder oaths, pervasive rough and crude language, a bit of sexual humor. O; R



Using a spell, two teenage elven brothers (voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) bring their father back from the dead for 24 hours. But the magic goes awry so that he is only resuscitated from the waist down. To acquire the mystical gem that can restore him fully, they embark on a hazardous quest, trailed by their fiercely protective mom (voice of Julia Louis-Dreyfus), her centaur boyfriend (voice of Mel Rodriguez) who’s a police officer, and a lion-like creature (voice of Octavia Spencer) who has the ability to defeat the dragon that, unbeknownst to the boys, guards the jewel they seek. Though it reaches a heartwarming conclusion, director and co-writer Dan Scanlon’s animated adventure is loaded down with an overly detailed mythos, values focused primarily on self-empowerment and a passing allusion to a same-sex relationship that, though brief, amounts to propaganda aimed at youthful viewers. Occult themes, considerable peril, a reference to homosexuality, one mild scatological joke. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

 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