Big-Screen Cheat Sheet: Which Movie Should You See This Weekend?

From Kick-Ass 2 to Paranoia, get the scoop on what's playing in theaters

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is once again kicking butt as his superhero alter ego in Kick-Ass 2, Forest Whitaker is making a difference in The Butler and Liam Hemsworth is under a lot of stress in Paranoia. These are the movies to check out -- will you be grabbing your popcorn and seeing one of them this weekend?

'Kick-Ass 2' (Aug. 16)

Kick-Ass 2 Review

Universal Pictures

Short Story: Feeling inspired by high-school hero Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), normal citizens in town begin wearing masks and joining the superhero force. For a while, the team of crime-fighters has a good thing going... until the police tell New Yorkers to turn in anyone wearing a mask. Also starring Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the nemesis formerly known as Red Mist.
Click here for the official movie site!

What They're Saying: "Kick-Ass 2... is significantly less confident and less brazen. It's a have-a-go affair that tries out the same blend of red-blooded action and salty-blue humour, but serves mainly to bolster the bravery of the original." -- The Guardian

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 44%

Good for Kids? As it turns out, not all superhero movies are for kids. According to Common Sense Media, the R-rated flick contains "graphic violence, strong language, some alcohol consumption and sexual content."
Click here for the full Common Sense review.

Lee Daniels' 'The Butler' (Aug. 16)

The Butler Review

The Weinstein Company

Short Story: Based on a true story, The Butler follows African-American Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), who recounts the many years he spent as a butler in the White House and how certain societal events shaped his life.
Click here for the official movie site!

What They're Saying: "Lee Daniels’ work (Shadowboxer, Precious, The Paperboy) has been flavorful, sometimes to a fault. But The Butler, inspired by a true story, raises Daniels up." -- New York Daily News

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%

Good for Kids? The Butler is only rated PG-13, but it explores some heavy issues that may be too much for young kids, including the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.

'Paranoia' (Aug. 16)

Paranoia Review

Relativity Media

Short Story: When Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) takes an entry-level job at a major corporation, he has no idea what he's getting into. By the time his boss, Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) asks Adam to spy on Wyatt's old mentor (Harrison Ford) and steal secrets, Adam becomes the middle-man in a very dangerous situation.
Click here for the official movie site!

What They're Saying: "As bad as the attempts at tension may fare, Paranoia is even worse when it attempts to smarten up." -- Variety

Good for Kids? Tweens and teens looking to swoon over Liam Hemsworth may need parental accompaniment to this PG-13-rated film. Common Sense Media tells parents to expect "sex, violence and strong language in this corporate crime thriller."
Click here for the full Common Sense review.

'Elysium' (Aug. 9)

Elysium Review

TriStar Pictures

Short Story: In the year 2154, only the wealthy are privileged enough to live on Elysium, a man-made utopia orbiting Earth. But when lower-class Earth inhabitant Max (Matt Damon) becomes desperate to save a friend, he pushes back against Elysium's legal system and ruthless Secretary of Defense, Delacourt (Jodie Foster).
Click here for the official movie site!

What They're Saying: "People expecting another District 9 or who expect a little more substance from their science fiction films will most likely be disappointed by Elysium, but those who like their videogame-style sci-fi shoot-em-ups will have no problem here." -- FOX News

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 67%

Good for Kids? The R-rated Elysium deals with class and immigration issues, which might not make it the most thrilling film for young viewers. In addition, Common Sense Media says the movie includes "plenty of violence, heavy political themes, mature content and strong language."
Click here for the full Common Sense review.

'Planes' (Aug. 9)

Planes Review

Walt Disney Studios

Short Story: Crop-dusting plane Dusty (appropriately named, and voiced by Dane Cook) has one dream: to fly in a round-the-world race. The only problem? He's afraid of heights. It will take a healthy dose of courage, plus help from his high-flying friends, in order for Dusty to take on the competition. Additional voices provided by Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and John Cleese.
Click here for the official movie site!

What They're Saying: "Young children may enjoy the colors, may fall in love with Dusty, enjoy seeing him win in 3D and want to buy all the toys… but the story gives them nothing new, and nothing clever." -- IGN

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 24%

Good for Kids? Definitely! As expected from a Disney flick, Planes "looks appropriate for all ages," according to Common Sense Media.
Click here for the full Common Sense review.

'Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters' (Aug. 7)

Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters Review

20th Century Fox

Short Story: Based on the novel by Rick Riordan, the film follows Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) and his friends as they try to find the mythical Golden Fleece.
Click here for the official movie site!

What They're Saying: "The sequel effectively executes its simple vision -- to provide clever PG entertainment for preteens whose parents are too strict to let them watch The Wolverine." -- San Francisco Chronicle

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 36%

Good for Kids? Although Percy Jackson is only rated PG, Common Sense Media says the film "does include violence and peril-filled scenes (and a few presumed deaths) that could scare younger kids."
Click here for the full Common Sense review.

'We're the Millers' (Aug. 7)

We're the Millers Review

Warner Bros. Pictures

Short Story: When suburbanite pot dealer David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is told to drive to Mexico and smuggle marijuana over the border, he recruits a stripper (Jennifer Aniston) and two hapless teens to pose as his wife and kids and help carry out the job.
Click here for the official movie site!

What They're Saying: "Even in raucous R-rated comedies there's a line that is best not crossed. In its zeal to be outrageous, We're the Millers is tone-deaf, mistaking the cringe-worthy for edgy humor." -- USA Today

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 42%

Good for Kids? Not exactly. The film's R-rating for crude sexual content, language, drug material and brief nudity should be warning enough. If not, here's what Common Sense Media has to say: "Although it ultimately has a fairly heartwarming message about the definition of family, this is far from a family movie."
Click here for the full Common Sense review.

Rebecca Iannucci is an iVillage contributing writer. Follow her on Pinterest, Twitter and Google+.

 

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