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Annabelle 2, Lowriders, Before I Fall and The Shack in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

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By Chris Kavan - 02/08/17 at 10:58 AM CT

It has been a bit of a dry spell for the MPAA board this year, but things pick up just a little this week. We have not one, not two but a grand total of four wide-release films earning their ratings this week. Up first is the horror sequel of the horror spinoff of that creepy doll that was introduced in The Conjuring, Annabelle 2. We have a film sure to appeal to a distinct audience with Lowriders. We have yet another attempt to a Christian audience with The Shack. Finally we have murder meets Groundhog Day when a woman finds herself reliving the last day of her life over and over, trying to unravel the mystery of who killed her - and what it means for those in her life. I like it - a nice number to have and hopefully I can look forward to more updates like this.

MPAA Official Logo

The most interesting films this week is surely Before I Fall. Zoey Deutch plays the main character, Sam, the girl who is murdered only to find herself re-living that day over and over and finding out that what she thought was a perfect life may be far from the truth. That single day may allow her to change things for the better - and alter the course of not only her life, but those closest to her. As I said, this sounds like Groundhog Day, but less comedy and more drama. The young cast (including the likes of Logan Miller, Halston Sage, Nicholas Lea, Elena Kampouris and Liv Hewson) has me slightly apprehensive this is going to veer too far in to Twilight territory with sappy romance and such, but I'm hoping it won't be too bad. For what it's worth, this at least is attempting a new spin on an old idea, so we'll see if it works. Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving drinking, sexuality, bullying, some violent images, and language-all involving teens.

I'm a big fan of The Conjuring - as well as the almost-as-good sequel. When I heard they were going to do a spinoff featuring the uber-creepy doll that made such a memorable opening, I was kind of excited. But I though Annabelle was a letdown. It seemed like a typical lazy horror film with a convoluted story and not nearly that scary. I guess it did well enough to warrant an Annabelle 2. This time around director David F. Sandberg (a good choice considering the success of Lights Out) takes the helm. The film stars Miranda Otto and Anthony LaPaglia as a dollmaker and his wife. When the lose their daughter in a tragic accident, years later they welcome a nun and several girls from an orphanage in to their home. But what they don't know is that that dollmaker has been working on a project and that the cursed creation will terrorize everyone under their roof. I hope this turns out better than the lackluster original - and we have another spinoff coming with The Nun, so they are really milking this for all the horror they can. Rated R for horror violence and terror.

Next we have a clash of cultures with Lowriders. The film follows a young street artist in East Los Angeles (Tony Revolori) who finds himself torn between following his ex-con brother (Theo Rossi) or being drawn into his father's (Demián Bichir) obsession with low-rider culture all while trying to march to the beat of his own drum. Melissa Benoist, Eva Longoria and Cress Williams round out the cast. It's glaringly obvious the filmmakers are targeting a specific audience with this one - and even if the film is great I'm not sure it's going to get that wide appeal but that doesn't mean it won't do well. I'm not going to say this film is for me, but I have a feeling it will do find without me. Rated PG-13 for language, some violence, sensuality, thematic elements and brief drug use.

If it wasn't for the excellent cast lined up for The Shack I would chalk this up as yet another film pandering to the conservative Christians with a moral wasteland of a message that usually plays way too sappy. The Shack follows a grieving father (Sam Worthington) whose youngest daughter has gone missing and soon after is presumed dead. He receives a mysterious letter, from none other than God, asking him to visit the shack - a location where it is very probable his daughter was murdered. After much soul-searched he decides to answer the call - and it will forever change his life. Granted, it sounds a bit suspect but Octavia Spencer is in this! So is Radha Mitchell, Alice Braga, Tim McGraw and Graham Greene. It has a pedigree most other Christian-leaning films lack and, for that, I am willing to offer a modicum of hope this film can rise above the typical Christian film and offer something beyond platitudes. Rated PG-13 for thematic material including some violence.

Those are the main four, but be sure to check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:


Rated R for horror violence and terror.


Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content involving drinking, sexuality, bullying, some violent images, and language-all involving teens.


Rated R for disturbing violent content, and language throughout.


Rated R for some language.


Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, some drug use and nudity.


Rated R for language and brief nudity.


Rated PG-13 for language, some violence, sensuality, thematic elements and brief drug use.


Rated R for some violence and language.


Rated PG-13 for some images of peril, sexual references and drug material.


Rated PG-13 for thematic material including some violence.


Rated R for violence and language.


Rated PG for thematic elements, suggestive content, brief language, and smoking.


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