War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

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UNMISSABLE

War for the Planet of the Apes is the third entry in the rebooted Planet of the Apes trilogy that has gotten better and better with every film. Matt Reeves has accomplished something incredible by creating such a technically impressive film with amazing motion capture technology as well as an emotional and meaningful story from start to finish where the audience cares a great deal for the characters, and he has made it even better than Dawn, which he in turn made superior to Rise. Andy Serkis as always does an amazing job of acting in motion capture and Michael Giacchino delivers one of the best scores of his career. I highly recommend watching or rewatching Rise and Dawn then going to see War for the Planet of the Apes because it is a beautiful, technically and emotionally impressive, masterpiece.

This is a fairly dark movie at times but if your kid has seen the first two films, they can probably handle the third.

Currently in Theaters.

 

Colossal (2017)

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Colossal is a sci-fi dramedy about a young alcoholic woman named Gloria (Anne Hathaway) who is kicked out of her life in New York city and moves back to her hometown, meanwhile a seemingly unrelated giant monster is attacking South Korea. This movie is wholeheartedly original and fairly compelling, however, even though it is advertised as a comedy, it is much more a drama than a comedy. The characters are complicated but somewhat unrealistic. Although it suffers from these flaws, Colossal is still a fresh and entertaining story I recommend viewing.

Colossal is much darker than advertised so I wouldn’t propose kids younger than 13 see it.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.

TV Review: Breaking Bad (2008-2013)

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UNMISSABLE

Breaking Bad is a crime drama about Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer who starts cooking crystal meth, and I regard it as the closest to perfection any filmmaker has ever gotten, especially on TV. The acting and characterization are outstanding and the writing is beyond phenomenal. The cinematography as well as the music, original and otherwise, are extremely favorable. Breaking Bad is unparalleled as the best Television series I’ve ever watched so I strongly urge you to start binge-watching right away if you haven’t already seen it.

I wouldn’t advise kids younger than 13, maybe 12, watch Breaking Bad.

Available on iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon.

The Book of Henry (2017)

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The Book of Henry is a drama/thriller focused around a family made up of Henry, a genius 11 year old that takes care of everything for his family, sometimes self-doubting single mother Susan, and Peter, the younger brother that looks up to Henry. The film is about their discovery of a dangerous secret relating to Henry’s classmate that lives next door, and their plan to help. This is a very intelligently made, superbly shot, and well written (the script supposedly took 20 years to write) film that deals with some pretty dark subjects. The Book of Henry has a sudden intentionally jarring shift in tone but I believe it was executed quite well, the acting here is excellent, especially from the child actors, Michael Giacchino also delivers yet another great score for this movie. I would recommend going to see The Book of Henry if you’re looking for a well-crafted drama, but just remember it’s a tearjerker.

I wouldn’t particularly recommend bringing kids younger than 12 to this movie, most of the darker content is off-screen but I don’t think younger kids would enjoy it anyway.

Currently in Theaters

The Lost City of Z (2017)

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The Lost City of Z is a biographical drama based on the life of British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who attempted to find a supposed ancient city deep in the jungle of Amazonia. The acting is very good and I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful score that helps kept the movie afloat. This film was beautifully shot in actual parts of the Amazon jungle and it really shows, The Lost City of Z is a visually amazing movie. This a rare breed of film nowadays and I recommend you see it.

I’m pretty sure kids 12 or 13 and up could see this movie.

TV Review: Babylon 5 (1994-1998)

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Babylon 5 is a complex space opera that centers around the space station known as Babylon 5 and it’s mission to create piece between humans and aliens in the year 2258. Unlike most science fiction TV at the time this series was created, Babylon 5 is set in a “five season video novel format” which entails that the many plot lines of the series last multiple seasons and aren’t wrapped up in 40 minutes. You may dislike or even hate the pilot episode but if you stick with it you will be rewarded with great character development and a startlingly realistic tense political drama, in space. My only large complaint about Babylon 5 is that season five feels very tacked on, this is because during production of season four it was looking like the series was going to be canceled, so nearly all main plot lines were wrapped up before the final season even started. Overall I think Babylon 5 succeeded at its goal of creating a long novel-esque political space opera with very good characters, so if you can find it I recommend giving it a try, and remember it gets a lot better than the pilot.

All of the content in Babylon 5 is likely suitable for kids 10 and up, however they may not enjoy it until around 13.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

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Ghost in the Shell is a sci-fi action film that takes place in a future where technological advances have allowed humans to cyber-enhance themselves with synthetic/robotic parts. The film centers around Major, the first of her kind, a human who’s brain has been implanted into a fully synthetic body and is placed in Section 9, an intelligence department tasked with taking down dangerous criminals. The amazing CGI and great music that are seamlessly blended into the film along with the well done cinematography create an extremely well realized world, with a very unique atmosphere and style. Though I cannot compare them to the original performances in the 1995 anime having never seen it, I really enjoyed the characters who are quite unique as well. The 1st and 2nd acts did feel a little bit slow to me, but within acceptable standards so I would still recommend going to see this movie even if you’re not a fan of the original and especially if you like stylized and visually developed science-fiction.

I think kids 13 and up should be able to handle everything in this film.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.