Common Sense Media’s weekly recommendations.


Fun Pratchett adaptation has mature themes, scary scenes.

The Amazing Maurice” is a fun, fast-paced animated tale based on a book by Terry Pratchett. It touches on adult themes but remains warm and entertaining throughout. Main character Maurice (voiced by Hugh Laurie) is a streetwise cat who works with talking rats and a flute-playing human, Keith (Himesh Patel), to trick towns into paying them to solve a nonexistent rat problem. While the characters lie and manipulate others, they show strong dedication to one another and value the importance of friendship. Expect a few scary scenes, including the presumed death of a character, a threatening rat king with magic powers and glowing eyes, and rats being thrown into a pit to be killed by dogs — accompanied by betting among spectators. There’s some diversity among the human characters: Keith has darker skin and is voiced by an actor of South Asian descent, while female character Malicia (Emilia Clarke) is portrayed as clever, brave and good at problem-solving. Short scenes show characters smoking a pipe and drinking red wine, and there’s a kiss on the lips toward the end. (93 minutes)

Wrenching Belgian drama has suicide, homophobia, swearing.

Belgian director Lukas Dhont’s “Close” is an intense drama about suicide and grief. The main characters, 13-year-old boys Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Rémi (Gustav De Waele), are the targets of teasing and bullying at school for their close friendship. Classmates call them “f—–s” and joke that they’re on their period and like having their butts smacked. The film promotes support for close, physically warm male relationships and an awareness of the potential harm of bullying among adolescents. Parents, teachers and an older sibling are patient, attentive and supportive of children who are dealing with complex emotions, including grief. Kids tussle, fight and suffer injuries (including a broken arm) playing ice hockey. Strong language includes “s—,” “pansies,” “wimp,” “fool,” “fart” and “pee.” In French and Flemish with subtitles. (105 minutes)

So-so superfan comedy scores on age representation.

80 for Brady” is a sports-themed comedy produced by and featuring NFL quarterback Tom Brady and written by the women behind “Booksmart.” Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno and Sally Field star as four friends going to the Super Bowl. On one level, it’s a silly film intended to help bridge the gap between male sports fans and “football widows.” But it also counters stereotypes by centering four women over 70 and portraying them as three-dimensional people who are living fulfilling lives. While the story is primarily about the power of female friendship, romantic storylines are part of the women’s lives — one is married, one widowed, one single with an adult child and one lovelorn — and they’re depicted as being attractive/sexually appealing. There’s some suggestive humor — e.g., a fanny pack is naively referred to as a “strap on” — but nothing gets too bawdy. Wine, champagne and beer can be spotted, but no one is actually shown drinking. That said, the women do accidentally eat pot gummies at a fancy party, and fun/funny hallucinogenic high jinks ensue, casting cannabis use in a positive light. Expect a few instances of strong language: “s—,” “son of a b—-,” one use of “f—ing” for emphasis, etc. One character is a cancer survivor, and that plays into the plot. (98 minutes)

Strange, gruesome but effective thriller about compassion.

Knock at the Cabin” is a horror thriller from director M. Night Shyamalan about two dads (Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge) and their young daughter (Kristen Cui) who are asked by four intruders to execute one member of their family to save humanity. Based on a novel by Paul Tremblay, it’s a suspenseful, economical and even intimate film that wrestles with the question of what aspects of humanity are actually worth saving. Violence is intense: There are killings, bloody wounds/blood seeping through clothing, guns and shooting, a character slicing their own neck, fighting, bludgeoning with weapons, a hate crime, terrifying news footage, a concussion and more. Language includes “f—”/”f—ing,” “bulls—,” “b—-,” “b——,” “a–” and “goddamn.” A flashback takes place in a bar, with some drinking/drunkenness. Dave Bautista and Rupert Grint co-star. (100 minutes)

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