Parent Movie Review – Jurassic World

Posted by Paul Murray on Friday Mar 4, 2016 Under Parent Movie Reviews

Jurassic World Parent Movie Review
Jurassic World is the latest attempt by Universal Pictures to prove that using recovered DNA to bring dinosaurs back to life is a really, really bad idea. As with other entries in the series, by the end, the dinos are running amok, with much loss of life and property. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, the PG-13 film stars Guardians of the Galaxy’s Chris Pratt as Owen, an ex-military brought in to help maintain the park and Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing, a park administrator with a goal to maximize park attendance and profits.

To the surprise of anyone who saw the first three Jurassic Park movies, all is running smoothly in the park as the movie begins. This is a problem, though, as attendance and park profits are starting to decline, prompting scientists to combine dinosaur DNA in new ways, in hopes of finding a new attraction to draw in the crowds.
When the main park attraction, a genetically altered super predator named Indominus Rex, proves to be more intelligent than planned, chaos ensues, putting the staff and park visitors at risk, particularly Claire’s visiting nephews. Since they act as proxies for the teen and tween audience members, the scene where they’re imperiled while touring the park in a gyro sphere is both thrilling and possibly too intense for some younger viewers.

Positive Elements
Though brash, Pratt’s Owen is brave and selfless, putting others lives before his own repeatedly. Over the course of the film, Claire learns to put family ahead of business and also shows great courage. The nephews, Zach and Gray, stick together through the crisis, putting any difficulties at home behind them and reaffirming their bond as siblings. In addition to the endangered humans, Owen also shows compassion for the dinosaurs in his care, treating them as living animals, not science experiments.

Sexual Content
There’s some suggestive banter between Owen and Claire, eventually culminating in a kiss.

Violent Content
While much of the worst violence is implied, with the camera cutting away to leave the audience to hear, rather than see the most gruesome scenes, there are some more gruesome scenes. A window is spattered with blood, trees drip with blood following an attack, and a man leaves a bloody imprint when he slaps a car window.

As the humans attempt to fight back, there is extensive gunfire violence, as shotguns and automatic weapons prove insufficient against the massive I. Rex. A helicopter is destroyed with implied loss of life, and a bazooka is employed to stop a particularly large dinosaur.

Crude Language
Overall, language is infrequent, with a handful of s-words, an occasional “damn”, and a reference to Claire as a “b—-“. Jesus’s name is invoked once, along with a few, perhaps understandable under the circumstances, “Oh, my God”’s.

There’s a shot of margaritas in a bar and a brief mention of drinking tequila.

Too scary for the smallest dinosaur fans, Jurassic World earns its PG-13 rating more for intense action than any specific content issues. Less sensitive tweens and up should be thrilled by the state of the art special effects, depicting dinosaurs with a realism never before seen onscreen, while adults will enjoy the multiple heart jumping scares as well as the continuing maturation of Chris Pratt as a top level action star.


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Parent Movie Review – Dreamworks Home

Posted by Paul Murray on Friday Feb 19, 2016 Under Parent Movie Reviews


Upon review of the Dreamwork new animated film Home, one finds an interesting tale of a species called the Boov; small color-changing purplish-blueish aliens who invade Earth. This movie is rated PG for mild action and some rude humor. It is voiced by the talented Jim Parsons, Rhianna, Steve Martin, and Jennifer Lopez.

This movie begins with the Boov invasion; a non-violent relocation of humans by small bubble shaped spaceships filled with ball pits and ice cream cones. The humans are then sent to the continent of Australia where they find themselves in large cities, designed with every human comfort, while the Boov begin living in the human’s homes. The movie centers on an alien named Oh (Jim Parsons), who doesn’t conform to the other Boov standards, as well as their singular thinking and anti-fun ways.

In the movie, Oh makes the crucial mistake of sending out an email to the entire galaxy, (including their sworn enemy called the Gorg) inviting everyone to his house warming party. When Captain Smek (Steve Martin), the leader of the Boov finds out, Oh becomes a fugitive and begins to do what the Boov are best at – running away. He tries to escape punishment and in the process, runs into a teenage girl named Tip (Rhianna) and her cat named Pig. They too are attempting escape from the Boov to find Tip’s mother who was relocated during the invasion.

The trio have a marvelous adventure trying to find Tip’s Mom (Jennifer Lopez) and stopping Oh’ email from reaching the Gorg. Along the way, they explore many aspects of humanity that Oh was unfamiliar with including the complexity of human emotions and relationships. Oh learns what it means to be a friend and comes to the rescue at the end as the deadly Gorg arrive.

Positive Content

A huge theme in this movie is the complexity of emotions and how they affect decisions. Happiness, creativeness, and the strength of friendship are all positive aspects of this movie.

When the Boov express emotions, they do so by changing color; pink for happy, blue for sad, and green shows when they are lying. Emotional expression, as well as the changing colors of the Boov, will help children to see how certain events affect each character.

The story shows us how staying true to oneself pays off as those around Oh start to realize they judged and treated him harshly when he was different from everyone else. Individuality and creativeness are applauded in the end.

Violence Content

Although the invasion of the humans is peaceful, there are some violent moments, primarily between Oh and Tip. Tip has violent outbursts and constantly takes them out physically on Oh by kicking him. It takes a while for Oh to realize she is just expressing her emotions.

Oh and Tip are constantly being hunted by the Boov, who wish to obtain Oh’s email password and “erase” him. The Boov carry an alien type of weapon that is very destructive as seen used by the character Officer Kyle.

Captain Smek also uses his “Shusher”, a walking stick with an oval rock at the top, to smack Boov on the head who don’t agree with him – effectively “shushing” them.

Sexual Content

As Tip is hiding, a Boov comes to claim her house after the human relocation and she sets traps; some glitter here, some makeup there, and the Boov ends up looking like a sparkly street walker when the pranks are over.

There is some dancing done by Oh as Tip plays some human music and he cannot control his body. The mild booty shaking is more entertaining than anything.

Near the end of the movie, at Oh’s home welcome party, one of the Boov’s (presumably the one that Tip glamorized earlier in the movie) comes to the party with a bright pink bra on its head.

Drug and Alcohol Content

There is, what presumably looks to be, alcohol being served at Oh’s home welcome party at the end of the movie. There is also a “drunk” Boov laying on the floor at the party.

Although there is no drug content, there are several aspects where certain characters’ qualities affect other characters negatively.

Oh is caught lying to Tip several times in the movie – conveniently it is easy to tell when he lies as he turns bright green. Tip tries to teach him that friends don’t lie to each other.

Captain Smek is very abusive to his followers. The word “dumb” is used frequently and the other Boov are constantly putting Oh down and trying to escape his friendly advances.

The Boov motto is “it’s never too late to run away” and they live by this motto by not standing up for themselves or defending each other.

Captain Smek says controversial things like “the internet doesn’t lie” and encourages all his Boov followers to shun Oh because he is different and makes mistakes.


This movie shows witty and subtle humor that even parents can appreciate. Although there is some persecution based on differences and unique character qualities, the general moral of the story comes through pretty loud and clear by the end of the movie; friends stick together and don’t judge people too harshly. Even the movie’s baddie Captain Smek, is forgiven at the end by acting as DJ at the first Boov dance!

It is very touching how Oh is willing to sacrifice himself to save Tip, the other humans, and Boov from the Grog. He develops greatly as a character through the movie and ends up being a great hero figure in the end.

This movie displays positive family values as displayed with Tip and her Mom’s relationship. It enforces honesty, tolerance, courage, and dedication to friendships. This movie is a film that shows how differences can be overcome and uniqueness is nothing to be afraid of.

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Southern Outdoor Cinema

About Paul B. Murray
Paul is founder of Southern Outdoor Cinema, an Atlanta outdoor movie equipment rental company for movie nights and a dad of 2 pre-teen girls. When he is not traveling the South creating outdoor movie nights for communities and schools, he is spending time playing board games, reading books and watching movies with his family

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Parent Movie Review – Minions

Posted by Paul Murray on Monday Jul 20, 2015 Under Parent Movie Reviews

Parent Movie Review: Minions

Minions by Universal Studios is a madcap, prop-fall film that focuses on the many (many) misadventures of the pill-shaped yellow henchmen originally introduced in Despicable Me, for which the movie serves as a prequel. The film does have a lot of room to giggle, although the giggles might start to get a little more difficult to sustain with the movie’s 104 minute run-time, and the eponymous Minions are downright lovable in their own gibberish-y way.

Plot Overview

Glossing briefly over the evolution of the Minions from single-celled organisms to their current state, the back-story of the Minions is given in a voice-over that explains how these silly little creatures constantly seek to serve the biggest and the baddest boss on the block and how their devotion usually brings that boss to an untimely end.

After a montage when the Minions establish their own society in an ice cave, we meet the hero of the story, a Minion named Kevin with the bright idea to head out into the world and find a new boss to serve. He enlists the help of Stuart, a girl-loving and guitar-playing sidekick, and Bob, who carries around a teddy bear and joyously bounces on every bed he finds. The trio head out into the wide world of 1968, and their bumbling adventure begins. They spend a small (and probably the most hilarious) section of the film in New York City before finding out about Villain Con being held in Orlando.

After hitchhiking to Orlando (Yes, hitchhiking; remember that it’s the 60s!), they eventually manage to attach themselves to the world’s first female super-villain, Scarlet Overkill. She jets them away to her palace, introduces them to her husband, and sends them off to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown. What follows is a bizarre and occasionally hysterical series of events that involves the sword in the stone, an abdication, a bizarre torture scene, and several chaotic action sequences before the film’s denouement.

Violent Content

All of the violence in the film is the cartoony, over-the-top kind that would have made Bugs Bunny feel right at home. There are lots of explosions from which people emerge safely, boulders and chandeliers dropped on people who get little more than a hair out of place in response, and lots of silly weaponry like the Lava Lamp Gun, which shoots real lava (that melts plenty of objects in the film, but never any people). There is never any blood, and the only deaths depicted are of villains like Dracula.

There is one sequence in which the Minions are meant to be tortured with medieval-like devices only to learn that, because of their unique physiology, they find the rack or the hangman’s noose hysterical. The extended “action” sequence at the end has a lot of explosions, and there may be a few tense moments that younger children might find unnerving.

Sexual Content

The Minions are largely asexual, or at least all male, so there’s definitely nothing untoward there. Stuart seems to like the ladies, and he spends some time snuggling with yellow fire hydrants, but it plays as cute and charming. There are a few shots of Minions in their underwear or bathing suits, their little rear-ends shown for comedic effect, and there’s a sequence where guards in the Tower of London strip and slap each other on the behinds which might be a little unnecessary, but – even considering the PDA-heavy relationship between Scarlet Overkill and her husband Herb – the movie is fairly clean with regards to sex and has no nudity.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Although the film is set in 1968, there’s no mention or allusion to drugs at all. The movie’s soundtrack includes The Doors and Jimi Hendrix, but the songs are sampled in the film to avoid any suggestion of drug use.

Alcohol isn’t expressly mentioned or highlighted, but there are several scenes where it seems to be imbibed. At least one Minion can be seen sipping what looks like a martini, and Queen Elizabeth is shown getting absolutely plastered in a pub, guzzling a beer. She also speaks drunkenly to Kevin for a time, but it’s never actually mentioned that she’s inebriated or what she’s drinking.


Minions is admittedly one-note joke that lasts almost two hours, but it’s not trying to be anything other than a silly film with silly gags. Although there are still giggles to be had at the way the Minions speak and act by the end of the film, especially when Bob gives his fantastic “speech” to the people of England, it might be hard to sustain the interest of younger children for the duration.

The message is also a little wishy-washy. The Minions serve bad guys exclusively, which isn’t the best ideology for kids, especially since they never learn from their mistakes: they keep signing up to serve these bad guys, and something always goes wrong. But the movie does highlight the importance of perseverance and friendship, with Kevin, Stuart, and Bob sticking together through thick and thin to achieve their goal of finding someone to serve.

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Southern Outdoor Cinema

About Paul B. Murray
Paul is founder of Southern Outdoor Cinema, an Atlanta outdoor movie equipment rental company for movie nights and a dad of 2 pre-teen girls. When he is not traveling the South creating outdoor movie nights for communities and schools, he is spending time playing board games, reading books and watching movies with his family.

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Night at the Museum 3 is Twentieth Century Fox’s continued tale of Larry and his museum adventures. Just when it seems there will be an end to the magical nights in the New York City museum, Larry the security guard is once again called into action in a London museum. The movie is rated PG due to rude humor, mild action, and brief language. Directed by Shawn Levy, the cast includes Robin Williams, Dan Stevens, Ben Stiller, and Rebel Wilson.

In this film, Larry has returned to his job as a security guard in the American Museum of Natural History found in New York City. A single Dad, he is put in charge of operations during the night. He has also worked on an evening show to help raise awareness of the new planetarium. The highlight is the special effects. The special effects are the exhibits coming to life. Dr. McPhee, the museum’s director, doesn’t know they really are alive. The show has an amazing start, but once the golden tablet that brings them to life begins to deteriorate, things go sour.

To fix this problem before they all change back to plastic and wax, Larry, his son Nick, and Ahkmenrah travel to the British Museum of Natural History with the golden tablet. The beloved characters from previous Night at the Museum movies also manage to come along. When Larry opens up the crate holding the prince and his tablet he finds a big surprise, Dexter, Attila the Hun, Sacajawea, Jedediah, Teddy Roosevelt, and Octavius. He also finds a Neanderthal has come along as well.

This group coming to the British Museum opens up the opportunity to introduce many new characters. Among these are Sir Lancelot and a female security guard named Tilly who is starved for affection. Otherwise the action-filled plot of this film is not so different from previous Night at the Museum movies. Scenes contain plenty of mad capers and slapstick humor.

This finale to the series ends with a tender farewell to the group of historical figures we all have come to know so well. In a scene between Teddy Roosevelt and Larry, the president announces “it is time to let him go” as he mounts his horse one last time. It serves as a tender tribute to the memory of Robin Williams who plays Roosevelt.

Positive Element

The main theme of this film is to show children that our world is filled with things to learn about. It also tries to impress upon them that you just never know what you’ll discover when visiting a museum.

The historical characters are shown making personal sacrifices for their fellow companions. Even when the result will be that they can no longer come to life, they still choose others over themselves.

As a father, Larry is seen giving advice to his graduating son. He doesn’t always agree with Nick’s choices, but he backs off and supports his son no matter what he decides. Larry has conversations with the historical characters where he describes how important it is to stay connected with your children. He also talks about the difficulties involved in letting them go once they’re grown.

Sexual Element

One man makes some mildly suggestive remarks about the other man. The female security guard is shown flirting with men. A monkey and a man kiss each other on the mouth.

Violent Element

A male character attacks a young boy. There are animals that run wild during a benefit dinner. Things are started on fire by the characters. One man ends up shocking himself with a defibrillator, and another one uses it on a beast to kill it.

Characters are chased by flowing lava. One male uses his sword to ward off his attacker. A man ends up electrocuted while another one receives a hit on the head from a hammer. One man uses weapons to threaten others.

Drug and Alcohol Element

There is no drug or alcohol use in this movie, but other concerns include language such as name calling and mild profanity. There are several jokes made in regards to urination and defecation including a scene where a monkey is shown urinating on two men.


Night at the Museum 3 continues the antics of the characters we have come to love in the previous films. Larry is back as the one trying to resume control, only this time they are in a new location. Placing the characters in a new setting such as London opened up new opportunities for story lines along with the addition of new characters.

Parents will have few concerns when taking their children to see this film. Although it does contain mild action, some violence, and sexual elements, all are done in a subtle and humorous way. The slapstick humor remains entertaining for all ages.

The morals that come through in this movie enforce positive feelings towards family and friendship. Characters work together to help each other, always placing those around them first. The bond between parent and child is also portrayed in a positive light as the film explores the difficulties in watching one’s child grow and become more independent.

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Southern Outdoor Cinema

About Paul B. Murray
Paul is founder of Southern Outdoor Cinema, a rental company for outdoor movie nights and a dad of 2 pre-teen girls. When he is not traveling the South creating outdoor movie nights for communities and schools, he is spending time playing board games, reading books and watching movies with his family.

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Penguins of Madagascar - Parent Movie Review

In Penguins of Madagascar the story of the four beloved penguins from “Madagascar,” “Madagascar: Escape from Africa,” and “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” is continued. Once again, this group of elite escapees from New York’s city zoo are being led by Skipper through their many challenges. Kowalski, Rico, and Private are also back in this latest Dream Works Animation film. Directed by Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell, the cast includes the voices of Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, and Christopher Knights. The music composition is by Lorne Balfe, and it is rated PG.

In this movie the team starts out on a new adventure when they hear that penguins around the world are disappearing from zoos. The villain is Dave. Dave is an octopus who was once the star of his animal facility. That was until a group of penguins arrived and stole the show from him. After losing his place as the most popular attraction, Dave seeks revenge.

The penguins of Madagascar set out on the trail of Dave, but there is also another group after him. This is the North Wind, a group consisting of Agent Classified, Short Fuse, Eva, and Corporal. They have been given the assignment of corralling this tentacled villain.

During the story, our Madagascar friends resort to the usual cartoon elements while chasing Dave. Viewers will find plenty of slapstick humor and frenetic action that includes tranquilizer guns, explosions, and a Taser. The audience will also find questionable jokes, rude humor, and sexual innuendo. Most of these questionable aspects are based on the spy genre and will go over the children’s heads while being entertaining to the adults.

Positive Element

The moral of this movie is that “It doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s what you do.” The penguins are shown learning how teamwork can be very important in reaching our goals. As always, these guys teach us these valuable lessons through humorous situations.

The character of Dave learns that by seeking revenge he is left with an empty feeling. He discovers that getting revenge doesn’t satisfy us as much as one would first think.

Sexual Element

Two male penguins are shown kissing. Other characters are seen slapping each other on the buttocks. The characters do make crude sexually related comments during this film. That includes the phrase “grab your coconuts.”

Violent Element

Along with name calling, characters participate in cartoon style, non-graphic violence. This includes punching, slapping, pushing, and shoving. There are characters that are eaten. Action scenes show abductions, explosions, car chases, and car crashes. One of the characters gets tasered. Some of them are sucked into a machine while others are run over.

Characters participate in a break-in and are shown stealing things. Later on they are shot with the use of tranquilizer darts. There are a few scary scenes as well as many moments of peril. One character is seen choking on a paper clip.

Drug and Alcohol Element

Characters are shown drinking champagne. Characters are also seen being shot with tranquilizers.


Penguins of Madagascar continues the story of our favorite arctic birds from the New York City Zoo. They learn to work together for a common goal while going after the villain. Dave learns the mistake of his ways, and he shows us that revenge isn’t such a good thing after all. These messages are sent to the audience along with the traditional slapstick humor these penguins are known for.

Parents do need to be aware that some scenes depict images they may not want their smaller children exposed to. They need to expect plenty of action and cartoonish violence throughout the film. Their decision on whether or not to let young children see it will depend on each child’s tolerance for the action scenes and crude humor. Those who are familiar with the characters will know what to expect.

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Southern Outdoor Cinema

About Paul B. Murray
Paul is founder of Southern Outdoor Cinema, a rental company for outdoor movie nights and a dad of 2 pre-teen girls. When he is not traveling the South creating outdoor movie nights for communities and schools, he is spending time playing board games, reading books and watching movies with his family.

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