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Gods of Egypt, Zootopia, Jane Got a Gun, Regression and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

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By Chris Kavan - 12/30/15 at 06:41 AM CT

The holidays aren't slowing down the ratings march, as we have four major releases getting their due this week including a special effects spectacle, a family-friendly animated title, an oft-delayed western and a dark, part-horror, part-mystery thriller. All told, not a bad update to close the year. Don't worry, I'll be back next year too - when I'm sure there will be plenty more to rant and rave about. Happy New Year to all!

MPAA Official Logo

Up first we have the next film from Alex Proyas (Dark Cirty, I, Robot, Knowing) the special-effects heavy Gods of Egypt. The film looks like a spiritual successor to 300, and not just because Gerard Butler plays a major role. Lots of CGI here - as the gods of Egypt (hence the catchy title) battle one another as the evil god Set (Butler) takes over the throne and plunges the nation into chaos. Along on this wild ride include Rufus Sewell, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Geoffrey Rush, Abbey Lee, Chadwick Boseman and Elodie Yung. The movie has caught a lot of flack for "white-washing" the cast - so much so that Proyas himself apologized for the lack of diversity. But, casting aside, let's face it - the movie looks absolutely ridiculous. This is the kind of high-budget disaster in the making that makes studios shudder - I'm seeing this as a kind of Lone Ranger/John Carter type return - it's not going to be that good (based on the rather laughable trailers) and no amount of special effects can fix that. I still love Dark City, but Proyas is a mixed bag and I think this is going to be one of his misses. The film earns a safe PG-13 for fantasy violence and action, and some sexuality.

On the other hand, Zootopia (also known as Zootropolis) should be another big hit for Disney. The film follows a wily fox in a big city full of anthropomorphic animals when he is accused of a crime he didn't commit and stumbles on a much larger conspiracy. The voice cast looks amazing - Idris Elba, Alan Tudyk, Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Bonnie Hunt, Shakira, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister, Tommy Chong, Jenny Slate and John DiMaggio all lend their talents. Many are voice-over royalty (Tudyk has become one of my favorites since Wreck-It Ralph) and the actors selected sound perfect for their parts. Plus, if you haven't seen their latest spoof posters (everything from Star Wars to Fifty Shades of Grey) you really are missing out. Point is, Disney rarely has a misstep and this looks like a lot of fun - for parents and their children - and I have a feeling when this comes out next March, it's going to be a huge hit. No surprise - PG for some thematic elements, rude humor and action.

Once upon a time, Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor got together well after the Star Wars prequels disappointment and decided to make a western. A woman watches her husband die - the victim of a vicious gang - and turns to her former fiance for help. I say once upon a time because Jane Got a Gun has gone through multiple cast changes, lost its original director and cinematographer, as well as going through a rewrite. At one time or another, Jude Law, Michael Fassbender and Bradley Cooper were all cast in the role that McGregor finally took. Also, Relativity Media, who was set to distribute, kind of went bankrupt. Set for release in August of 2014, The Weinstein Company took the reins and it will finally see the light of day on January 29, 2016. Now, January isn't considered prime time to release many films (exceptions are, of course, always there) so thus I think the film is destined for obscurity and may be buried with little fanfare. Now, the film could still be good - but I think with all the wrangling and behind-the-scenes drama, it will suffer. We'll see when it comes out, but my hopes are dim on this one. Earns its true grit with an R for violence and some language.

Finally, we have Regression. I usually don't cover limited release films, but this one looks intriguing to me. Emma Watson plays an abuse victim (satanic abuse at that!) with Ethan Hawke playing an investigator looking to get to the truth. Problem is, truth is hard to come by when fantasy bleeds into reality and you can't trust your own senses. This is the kind of thriller I love to pick out on Netflix (or wherever) - one that will probably fly under the radar (unless it does pick up a wide distribution) despite looking to have a good cast. It may be too dark and strange for general audiences, but I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how it turns out. Gets straight to the point with an R for disturbing violent and sexual content, and for language.

Check out the full release schedule below, before the ball drops:


Rated PG for action violence and some mild rude humor.


Rated R for violent images, graphic nudity, sexual content and some language.


Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and action, and some sexuality.


Rated PG for some thematic elements and mild language.


Rated R for violence and some language


Rated R for sexual content including dialogue, and some violence.


Rated R for strong language throughout, drug use, some sexuality/nudity and brief violence.


Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, and for language.


Rated PG for some thematic elements, rude humor and action.


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