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What to watch with your kids: ‘Summering’ and more


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Well-meaning but uneven tween drama has death, lies, swearing.

Summering” is a “Stand By Me”-like drama about four 11-year-old girls who find a dead body the summer before starting middle school. Although there’s much less violence, language and suggestive humor than in that 1986 classic, it’s still a potentially disturbing storyline. Preteens make iffy decisions regarding a corpse, and there’s an upsetting moment when one girl unexpectedly wields a gun to shoot at a lock. The main characters lie to their parents and break into a school after hours so they can keep solving the mystery together. Expect occasional strong language, including “s—,” “Jesus,” “stupid,” “sucks,” “weird,” “crazy” and “nerd.” The girls visit a bar where adults drink, and there’s a mature subplot about one of them having a father who’s missing/walked out on the family. Families may want to talk about the movie’s coming-of-age themes, as well as the importance of honest communication between parents and kids. (85 minutes)

Blood and gore in powerful anime fantasy/rock opera.

Inu-Oh” is an anime film that’s based on true events from 14th-century Japanese history but reimagined as a fantasy/rock opera. It rambles a bit, but once it gets going, it’s dazzling, tackling themes such as people in power trying to suppress the truth. Violence may be animated but is very graphic, with many scenes of blood and gore. A character is sliced in half (his body starts to slide apart); a child is blinded; and there are swords/stabbings, dying soldiers screaming and sinking into the water, blood spatters, bloody handprints, fighting, bullying, a person exploding, etc. There’s also some scary stuff, such as a woman giving birth to a supposed monster and, later, a man punching the grown “monster” (who’s actually a boy with physical differences) in the face. Dancers make humping/thrusting motions during performances. There are a few uses of “hell” and a use of “b——s.” (95 minutes)

Tween superhero adventure has sci-fi weapons, violence.

Secret Headquarters” is a family-friendly superhero film about a middle-schooler named Charlie (Walker Scobell). It’s a great pick for fans of movies like “Shazam!,” “Spy Kids” and “Ant-Man.” Charlie and his three best friends discover a secret basement under his divorced father’s (Owen Wilson) house and realize that Charlie’s dad might be world-renowned superhero known as the Guard. They run into trouble when the bunker is attacked by a team of corporate mercenaries. The kids use lots of sci-fi gadgets and weapons, and the villains have guns. Expect mostly mild language (“idiots,” “damn,” “piss”) and a combination of both comical and realistic violence. Most of it is aimed at the teen characters, who are taken hostage, chased and threatened with death. In one shocking scene, someone is shot and killed (no blood) for refusing to harm the kids. There are lots of jokes and physical comedy, as well as a couple of crushes/romances, one of which leads to a first kiss. Themes include courage, teamwork, perseverance and the importance of honesty between parents and kids. (89 minutes)

Available on Paramount Plus.

Middle-school musical has bullying, some positive messages.

13: The Musical” is a coming-of-age tale about a boy learning lessons about friendship and maturity on the eve of his bar mitzvah celebration. Forced to change cities and schools, main character Evan (Eli Golden) is quick to make friends, but he also takes one close friend for granted. He and other kids in his diverse eighth-grade class learn about respecting their peers, treating each other with kindness and also forgiving each other (and their parents) their mistakes. A middle-schooler is bullied when kids throw straws at her and laugh at her climate activism in the school cafeteria. Thirteen-year-olds sneak into a slasher film about an ax murderer called “The Bloodmaster.” (The violence isn’t shown, but the audience’s reaction is.) A main storyline involves two kids who have been texting all summer and are ready to date and have their first kiss. There are jokes about circumcision and the “hottest rabbi.” Mild language includes “suck,” “screwed up,” “love god,” “dumb,” “geek,” “fool” and “dissed.” (94 minutes)

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsense.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.



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