Kids 7 and older
Happy Feet Two (100 min., PG) Like the 2006 original, this animated penguin-fest mixes the cuteness of its characters with a theme about following your dream and not conforming to what others expect. The 3-D animation will make the breaking up of huge icebergs scary for kids under 7. Penguins are threatened by elephant seals. And there’s a sense that thousands of penguins could die of starvation after their colony is cut off. The humor includes very mild sexual innuendo.
The Muppets (98 min. PG) Not surprisingly, there’s little that’s off-color or nasty here. Even the bad guy (Chris Cooper) says “maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh,’’ instead of actually laughing maniacally. There’s that passionate spark between Piggy and Kermit, of course, and a human one between leads Jason Segel and Amy Adams.
Kids 8 and older
Arthur Christmas (97 min., PG) The sophistication of the British-accented dialogue and the occasional darkness of this story about Santa’s young son make the film better for kids 8 and older, though younger children can enjoy the eccentric characters, the animation, and the physical comedy. Some of the aerobatics could unsettle kids under 8. Also, the presence of a selfish, disingenuous grandparent could dismay little ones. The film contains mild sexual innuendo and toilet humor.
Kids 10 and older
Hugo (127 min., PG) The title character is a 12-year-old who lives inside a railway station clock in Paris in 1931. At one point, he dangles high over the city, clinging to the huge station clock. Another orphan boy is sent away in a sad scene. We see brief footage of World War I trench warfare. The script includes mild, subtle sexual innuendo.
Jack and Jill (91 min., PG) Fine for most kids 10 and older, “Jack and Jill’’ has Adam Sandler playing brother-and-sister twins. The PG rating covers some mildly naughty sexual innuendo that will be missed by most kids. Characters drink a bit, throw some punches, and engage in crazy stunts that should cause injuries, but don’t. There are loud intestinal distress bits, but they’re (thankfully) off-camera.
The Descendants (115 min., R) The film is a mild R for some strong language and a sexual infidelity theme. George Clooney plays a lawyer whose wife has been in a boating accident and lies in a hospital on life support. Now he has to care for their teen daughter and her little sister. Throughout the film, we revisit the hospitalized woman and focus on her family’s grief. The film deals directly and in detail with the decision to take someone off life support and the idea that she will die.
My Week With Marilyn (99 min., R) A based-on-fact story about Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and her friendship with Colin, a recent Oxford graduate (Eddie Redmayne), in 1956. In a couple of scenes Marilyn appears nude from behind or partially topless; at other moments it’s implied that she’s naked. The film includes no actual sexual situations, though there is sexual innuendo. Colin crawls into bed with her at one point, though nothing happens. He also joins her (in his underwear) when she goes skinny-dipping. Marilyn abuses prescription drugs. There is occasional strong profanity.
Jane Horwitz, Washington Post Writers Group.