MOVIE REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Reel Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Reels

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence

Released in Theaters: June 3, 2016

Best for Ages: 11+

Genre: Action/Adventure, Sequel, Superheroes

Runtime: 112 minutes

Directed by: Dave Green

Studio: Paramount

Cast: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Stephen Amell

MOVIE SYNOPSIS: This movie continues the story of Turtle brothers Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael, still living in the sewers and confronting a supervillain named Krang.

MOVIE REVIEW: This sequel to 2014's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues the story of brothers Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), and Raphael (Alan Ritchson), who are still living in the sewers in the aftermath of Shredder's (Tohoru Masamune) imprisonment.

The superhero Turtles allowed Vern (Will Arnett) to take all the credit for bringing Shredder down, so he's living large with local fame and a key to the city. But when Shredder and two other criminals are transported to a maximum-security prison, the Foot Clan intervenes, rescuing their evil leader with the help of genius physicist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), who teleports Shredder away.

Shredder connects with a supervillain known as Krang, who tasks Shredder with finding parts of a super-machine that would allow Krang and Shredder to rule the world.

Meanwhile, April (Megan Fox) teams up with corrections officer Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) to help the Turtles find and bring down Shredder and his thugs.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a little better than the 2014 movie and will likely keep kids and grownups familiar with the franchise entertained.

Kids, in particular, will like the juvenile humor (fart and booger jokes) -- the turtles are, after all, teenagers -- and parents will like the fact that there's less focus on Megan Fox's sex appeal than in the first movie.

The addition of Shredder's dimwitted goons, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly) bring some new blood into the storyline. Likewise for Amell, star of The CW’s Arrow, who’s both handsome and funny and does a decent job of portraying Jones, the good-humored vigilante who uses hockey sticks and other sports equipment to battle deadly rivals.

And while there’s no major romantic developments between Casey and April, you can see that evolving down the line in the inevitable third film that’s sure to be made. In summary, this movie is entertaining, especially for fans of the TMNT franchise.

PARENT OVERVIEW: This movie includes plenty of action violence in the way of explosions, crashes, martial arts battles, and fighting. Language includes a few uses of “s--t” and “damn,” insults like “jackass,” and some bodily function humor. There's less innuendo than in the 2014 movie, but there are a few suggestive jokes, as well as April wearing a “sexy schoolgirl” outfit in one scene. The story features an overall theme of brotherhood and teamwork.
PARENT DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):
Violence/Gore: Lots of cartoonish violence, including hand-to-hand fighting, explosions, martial arts battles and crashes, but not much gore. Vehicles are flipped, blown up, and crashed. Characters are injured, and the Turtles square off against a supervillain with various types of weapons.

Sex/Nudity: Some innuendo, though not as much as in the 2014 movie. April wears a form-fitting top, mini-skirt and thigh-high tights to collect information from someone. Two men change into humanoid animals and check out their “packages,” then high-five each other approvingly.

Profanity: One “s--t,” plus “damn,” “hell,” “jackass,” “idiot,” “stupid” and “shut up.” Scatological jokes about farts, boogers, etc.

Drugs/Alcohol: Adults hold drinks, presumably alcoholic, at a party.

JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:

One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.

Two Reels – Coulda been a contender

Three Reels – Something to talk about.

Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!

Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at jboursaw@charter.net. Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.
MOVIE REVIEW: WARCRAFT
Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy violence

Released in Theaters: June 10, 2016 (2D, 3D, IMAX 3D)

Best for Ages: 12+

Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Based on a Video Game

Runtime: 123 minutes

Directed by: Duncan Jones

Studio: Universal

Cast: Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Travis Fimmel

 

MOVIE SYNOPSIS: The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another.

MOVIE REVIEW: Warcraft is based on the gaming universe, World of Warcraft, but you don’t have to be familiar with it to enjoy this movie. Stunning visuals, great character development, and a compelling story make this an entertaining film for both teens and grownups.

The story begins in a land inhabited by orcs, creatures that are similar to humans, but bigger, with more interesting teeth (and no relation to the Lord of the Rings orcs). With their homeland dying, the orcs survive by traveling through a glowing green portal to the world of Azeroth, inhabited by humans. As the orcs begin to take over, the human king, Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper), his best warrior Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), and a young wizard named Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer) try to stop them.

They summon their protector, a Guardian sorcerer named Medivh (Ben Foster), and also gain the trust of an orc-human refugee, Garona (Paula Patton).

Meanwhile, the noble orc Durotan (Toby Kebbell) teams up with the humans to thwart their cruel leader, who's using dark magic to retain power. Everything leads to a final battle, and if the portal opens again, all will be lost.

I was surprised when I found myself fully engaged and enjoying Warcraft. I know a little bit about the gaming universe, and even created a character at one point several years ago when my kids were just getting into it. But because of a good narrative arc and storytelling, you don’t have to know anything about it to follow the movie.

Part of that is not only because of the beautiful special effects, but also the great character development. With a lot of these fantasy or gamer-based movies, the characters all blend in together. Not so with Warcraft, where everyone stands on their own. I particularly love Paula Patton's strong female character, Garona.

This is director (and son of the late David Bowie) Duncan Jones’ first foray into this genre (his previous sci-fi movies include Moon and Source Code), and he brings that same smart, emotional storytelling to Warcraft. I saw the IMAX version, and it was well worth the extra bucks.

With plenty of kingdoms, land and characters to cover in the World of Warcraft universe, I wouldn't be surprised if more movies hit the big screen. The ending of Warcraft definitely left things open.

PARENT OVERVIEW: Warcraft includes plenty of gaming-type violence, including fighting and weapons. Characters are injured or killed, but not much blood is shown. A CGI orc baby is in peril. Romance includes some flirting, and a female character wears skimpy clothing.
PARENT DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):
Violence/Gore: Plenty of battle scenes and fighting, including stabbing with swords, bashing with giant hammers, slicing with knives and crushing of skulls. Characters are injured and die, but not much blood is shown. A horse smashes against a tree. A CGI-digital orc baby is put in danger. Scary scenes involve monsters, dark magic, and the life force being sucked from a human.

Sex/Nudity: Some flirting and near-kissing. A woman wears a skimpy outfit.

Profanity: Fairly mild, including one use of “hell.”

Drugs/Alcohol: None.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.

Two Reels – Coulda been a contender

Three Reels – Something to talk about.

Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!

Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at jboursaw@charter.net. Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.
NEW MOVIES IN THEATERS: JUNE 17, 2016 - FINDING DORY, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE
New movies in theaters this week include Finding Dory (a sequel to Finding Nemo), and Central Intelligence, an action-comedy starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. Let's take a closer look at the new movies in theaters this week.
FINDING DORY
Rated PG for mild thematic elements | In Theaters 6/17 (2D, 3D, IMAX) | Ok for Kids 6+ | Disney Pixar | Reel Preview: 5 of 5 Reels

This sweet Disney Pixar movie centers on Dory, the loveable memory-challenged Blue Tang fish, as she searches for answers about her past. The story takes place six months after Finding Nemo, as Dory suddenly recalls her childhood memories, including something about “the jewel of Monterey, California.” Thus, she sets off to find her family, accompanied by friends Nemo and Marlin. When Dory arrives at the Monterey Marine Life Institute, she meets Bailey, a white beluga whale; Destiny, a whale shark; and Hank, an octopus, who becomes her guide. Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, this movie features the voice talent of Ellen DeGeneres, Ed O'Neill, Ty Burrell, Albert Brooks and Kaitlin Olson.

 
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE
Rated PG-13 for crude and suggestive humor, some nudity, action violence and brief strong language | In Theaters 6/17 | Ok for Kids 14+ | New Line/Warner Bros. | Reel Preview: 3 of 5 Reels

This action comedy follows a one-time bullied geek who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent (Dwayne Johnson), coming home for his high school reunion. Claiming to be on a top-secret case, he enlists the help of the former big man on campus (Kevin Hart), now an accountant who misses his glory days. But before the staid numbers-cruncher realizes what he’s getting into, it's too late to get out. His increasingly unpredictable new friend drags him through a world of shoot-outs, double-crosses, and espionage that could get them both killed in more ways than he can count.

 
NEW MOVIES IN THEATERS: JUNE 24, 2016 - INDEPENDENCE DAY 2, FREE STATE OF JONES & THE SHALLOWS
 

New movies in theaters the week of June 24 include an Independence Day sequel, Matthew McConaughey in Free State of Jones, and Blake Lively battling a shark in The Shallows. Let's take a closer look at the new movies in theaters this week.
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and destruction, and for some language | In Theaters 6/24 (2D, 3D, IMAX 3D) | 20th Century Fox | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

After 1996’s Independence Day redefined the event movie genre, this next epic chapter continues the sci-fi thrills. Taking place 20 years after the events of the first film, the international community has recovered, and the United Nations has created the Earth Space Defense (ESD), a united global defense program that serves as Earth’s early warning system. It’s also our main defense force, using technology salvaged from remains of the alien forces. However, the aliens sent a distress signal to their other battalions before their final defeat, while others went into hiding elsewhere around the world. The aliens in deep space received the signal and sent a larger battle fleet, threatening the human race yet again. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction. Directed by the king of the blockbusters Roland Emmerich, this movie stars Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch and Vivica A. Fox.

 
FREE STATE OF JONES
Rated R for brutal battle scenes and disturbing graphic images | In Theaters 6/24 | STX Entertainment | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Directed by four-time Oscar nominee Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) and starring Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, this action-drama is set during the Civil War and tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy. Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones. Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, distinguishing him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War. This movie also stars Keri Russell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mahershala Ali.
THE SHALLOWS
Rated PG-13 for bloody images, intense sequences of peril, and brief strong language | In Theaters 6/24 | Sony | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

This taut thriller stars Blake Lively as Nancy, a woman who’s surfing alone on a secluded beach when she’s attacked by a great white shark and stranded just a short distance from shore. Though she’s only 200 yards from her survival, getting there proves the ultimate contest of wills. The Shallows is Jaws for a new generation. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, this movie also stars Oscar Jaenada.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.

Two Reels – Coulda been a contender

Three Reels – Something to talk about.

Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!

Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Images in this feature used courtesy of the studios and distributors.