Saturday, January 16, 2021

Summer 2015 movie releases


We present here our notes on movies released (or to be released) during the summer of 2015. For each movie, we present the wide release date in the US, the age range we think the movie’s producers have tried to target based on the content of the movie, the age range for which we feel the movie will be best suited, and a short (280 characters or less) review of why we think the movie could be seen by US high school students.

Voxitatis does not receive advance copies of movies and sees them in theaters after they’re released, just like students do. Our reviews, therefore, will probably be available on this page a few days after the actual release.

Movies are listed alphabetically regardless of release date, but during the season, movies that are yet to be released are listed under the table of reviews by release date. Those movies from the last two weeks or so are shown with a blue background in the release date column.

Wide Release Target Age OK for Age Two-Tweet
Including Overall Grade
Aloha May 29 ≥13 17–18 D. Bad editing, no discernible story line in any of multiple forced attempts (Hawaii, romance, military privatization, …); do the right thing despite career risks, success & failure of relationships. Swearing 3/5, Violence & Sex 2/5.
Ant-Man July 17 ≥13 ≥12 B. Mad science superhero, unsurprisingly troubled childhood, but this hero packs sarcastic one-liners (Rudd) as much as any superpower; forgiveness, redemption for past mistakes. Violence & Swearing 3/5, Sex 2/5.
Avengers: Age of Ultron May 1 11–14 ≥13 B. Over-the-top fight for justice & overthrow of evil, satisfying sequel, worthy robot villain, new heroes who act w/ honor while overcoming adversity of initial selfishness. Swearing 3/5, Violence 4/5, Sex 1/5.
Dope June 19 ≥17 ≥17 A. Social commentary, not preachy, geek can go to Harvard while overcoming crime, drugs, violence in tough 'hood; good & bad stereotypes trump reality for black, poor kids, no matter what. Swearing, Violence & Sex 4/5.
Fantastic 4 Aug 7 ≥13 ≥14 D. Dull & disappointing back story, saving the world never explained, talent & time wasted, gory deaths; teamwork, belief in one’s life work, good use of superpowers. Violence 4/5, Sex 1/5, Swearing 3/5.
The Gallows July 10 ≥17 ≥15 D. Horror genre, ghost of teen killed in HS play accident haunts theater, found-footage nonsense and even for this genre, terrible acting & a video mess with no real scares; let sleeping dogs lie. Violence 3/5, Swearing & Sex 1/5.
Inside Out June 19 ≥6 6–11 A. Creative, emotions personified (joy, sadness, fear), child grows up & moves to new state; trust in family, sadness & joy co-exist to make us alive, new experiences may taint old memories. Sex, Violence & Swearing 1/5.
Insidious: Chapter 3 June 5 13–16 ≥12 B. Teenager seeks contact w/dead mom, coherent horror prequel, good scares & acting (esp Elise & Quinn) to save useless dialog; assume risk to help stranger, family stays with us in spirit. Swearing 2/5, Violence 4/5, Sex 1/5.
Jurassic World June 12 ≥13 ≥13 B. Fun banter, cheesy effects, well-attended amusement park, dinosaurs eat people, exciting chase scenes; protect children in your care, abuse of science & animals for our amusement. Violence 4/5, Swearing & Sex 2/5.
Max June 26 ≥6 10–14 B. Fallen soldier’s dog saves his brother, grief in plastic stereotypes, esp mil dad who won’t share feelings; heroes truthful regardless of consequence, patriotism, good rewarded bad punished. Violence 4/5, Sex & Swearing 1/5.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl June 12 ≥13 ≥14 B. Mom forces geeky teen to befriend girl dying of leukemia, but protagonist moves from apathy to empathy; true friendship & caring lead to more productive life. Swearing 3/5, Sex & Violence 2/5.
Minions July 10 ≥6 5–8 C. Loyal underlings who can’t pick a good boss, slightly tired jokes, slapstick, long for the limited new narrative material; loyalty, villainy, good nature & spirit in doing menial jobs. Violence 3/5, Sex & Swearing 0/5.
Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation July 31 ≥13 ≥13 B. Cruise: action hero without equal, 5th film in series, similar plot twists, detestable villains, thrilling action, death-defying stunts; tenacity, perseverance, loyal team, trade craft. Swearing 3/5, Violence 4/5, Sex 1/5.
Paper Towns July 24 ≥13 ≥13 B. Coming of age platitudes, HS kid pines for mystery girl next door, not so much her as the idea, convinces friends to track her out of state; girls aren’t objects but flawed humans. Violence 1/5, Sex & Swearing 2/5.
Pitch Perfect 2 May 15 12–18 ≥13 A. Contrived sequel, 1 sex gag & bad German stereotypes live throughout, excellent vocal scoring; girl(-friend) power, teamwork, friendship & loyalty in post-college life. Swearing 3/5, Violence 1/5, Sex 2/5.
Pixels July 24 ≥12 ≥13 C. Fun & fanciful premise of 80s video games coming to life & chomping on NYC, implausible characters, action violence is electronic; nerds = heroes, triumph vs failure, loyalty to friends. Violence 3/5, Sex 2/5, Swearing 1/5.
Poltergeist (2015) May 22 ≥13 ≥13 C. Pointless remake (1982 film is legendary), ending sacrificed, adds 3D & tech like drones, iPhones, going into light not as scary; family bonds to save young daughter abducted by ghosts. Swearing 4/5, Violence 3/5, Sex 2/5.
San Andreas May 29 ≥13 ≥15 C. Cliché but selfless helicopter rescue of daughter, good effects, mayhem & destruction throughout, earthquake deaths; teamwork, never giving up, solid vs selfish new friendship. Swearing 3/5, Violence 4/5, Sex 1/5.
Shaun the Sheep Aug 7 6–10 5–8 A. Stop-action animation, disguised animals see grass greener on other side; new friends, keep old ones, teamwork, don’t take people for granted, don’t give up on lost friends. Violence 1/5, Sex & Swearing 0/5.
Spy June 5 ≥17 ≥16 A, rated R. McCarthy is funny as a CIA worker clawing & punching her way to the top, clueless but astoundingly clever, lots of bloody violence; feminism, glass ceiling, belief in self. Violence & Swearing 4/5, Sex 2/5.
Straight Outta Compton Aug 14 ≥17 ≥17 B. Biopic about rap group N.W.A., a complex story told efficiently but with many omissions, police brutality against blacks; fame is dangerous, business is ruthless, see our full review. Violence & Sex & Swearing 4/5.
Ted 2 June 26 ≥17 ≥15 C. Predictably adolescent, pot worship, foul-mouthed, but Seyfried can sing; Dred Scott decision, define a ‘person’, no matter what the world calls me I know who I am. Violence 3/5, Swearing & Sex 5/5.
Terminator: Genisys July 1 ≥13 ≥12 C. Schwarzenegger is old, not obsolete, sci-fi violence throughout, parallel universe sequel, seems misplaced with previous installments; freedom of choice, feisty strength (a little). Violence & Swearing 4/5, Sex 2/5.
Tomorrowland May 22 8–10 8–11 C. Heavy-handed climate change message shoehorned into plot w/ smart, curious teen & boy genius, sci-fi visual spectacle, ad for a Disney park; future belongs to those who keep trying. Swearing 2/5, Violence 3/5, Sex 0/5.
Vacation July 29 ≥17 ≥17 D, rated R. Rusty, now a pilot, redoes Wally World trip, in crassness that should be funny shows no regard for police, sexuality or life; family vacations matter, loving marriages are eternal. Sex & Swearing 4/5, Violence 3/5.

Explanation of grades and scores

A grade of “A” means there’s a compelling reason, based on a movie’s themes, for the targeted age group to see the movie and talk about it with their families and friends. We also have confidence that the majority of students in the targeted age group will enjoy seeing the movie.

An overall grade of “B” means we believe the majority of students in the targeted age group will probably enjoy seeing the movie in theaters. A grade of “C” means we believe many students in the targeted age group won’t enjoy seeing the movie, but it has redeeming characteristics that provide opportunities for students in the targeted age group to talk about with their friends and families.

If we give a movie a “D,” we are saying the movie essentially missed its target—by a lot. A grade of “F” is rarely given, but it would indicate a movie that missed its target and has no redeeming qualities for teens or tweens, in our opinion.

The “swearing” score ranges from 0 to 5, and it’s not adjusted for the target age group. A score of 0/5 would mean there’s no bad language in the movie, a 3/5 means the movie might include some bad language, though some uses may be incomplete (e.g., “what the …” and so on), and a score of 5/5 means the movie has excessive and explicit profanity.

The “violence” score also ranges from 0 to 5 and is adjusted for the target age group. A score of 0/5 means the targeted age group will find the movie to be completely without violence, while a score of 5/5 means there’s too high a body count for most people in the targeted age group to feel comfortable seeing the movie, and the characters whose bodies make up the high body count most commonly met a violent end.

The “sex” score ranges from 0 to 5 as well and is also adjusted for the target age group. A score of 1/5 means there’s some material that many students in the targeted age range won’t feel necessarily uncomfortable around but believe should be kept private. A score of 3/5 would indicate there is some discomfort among viewers in the targeted age group during at least a few scenes in the movie, and a score of 5/5 means there’s too much sex for the targeted age group and it would most likely lead to uneasiness on their part as they watch the movie.

Upcoming releases, by date

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Aug 14

Underdogs (2015)
Aug 14

Sinister 2
Aug 21

Aug 28

War Room
Aug 28 (limited release)

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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