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Deadpool, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, More in The Week's MPAA Bulletin

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By Chris Kavan - 01/20/16 at 10:25 AM CT

If you thought the first update after the break was a bit lacking, have no fear, for this week brings us a wide range of new ratings, from a superhero to horror to comedy to fantasy and even some faith. This is the update we deserve each and every week, but we'll take what we can get, right? Hopefully the hits keep coming in 2016, but for now these will have to tide you over until we can once again bask in the glory of the ratings board.

MPAA Official Logo

First up a very different superhero movie. I'm talking about Ryan Reynolds and his depiction of Deadpool aka the Merc with the Mouth is finally going to get a proper release, on Valentine's Day no less (nothing says love like an ultra-violent antihero!). One of the main reasons I am anticipating this is because it received an R rating for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity. That means the spirit of Deadpool will remain - probably quite a bit of humor (maybe of the dark variety) but not pulling any punches when it comes to the violence. Unlike The Avengers or Superman, Deadpool (along with someone like, say The Punisher) isn't afraid to, well, kill people. Plus Reynolds is perfect - I was disheartened to see how the character was treated in X-Men Origins: Wolverine - but it seems this film gets it right. The supporting cast includes Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein, Stefan Kapicic, Brianna Hildebrand and, of course, the obligatory appearance of Stan Lee (Excelsior!). Out of the many superhero films coming out - aside from Civil War this may be my most anticipated one of the year.

If bloody, violent action isn't your cup of tea, how about a more fantastical journey? In 2010 Tim Burton teamed up once again with Johnny Depp (along with Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway and many others) to bring us Alice in Wonderland. It certainly has that Burton touch, and made a lot of money ($334.1 million in the US over $1 billion worldwide). So there was little surprise when a sequel was announced. Thus we will get Alice Through the Looking Glass at the end of May. Pretty much all of the cast is returning (including on of the final roles for the late, great Alan Rickman who reprises his role as the voice of the caterpillar) - the plot finds the whimsical Wonderland in danger of being turned into a barren wasteland by Time himself (newcomer Sacha Baron Cohen) and Alice must travel back in time to rescue the Mad Hatter, the key to Wonderland's future. Depp is in serious need of a hit - his recent films (Mortdecai, Transcendence, Dark Shadows, The Lone Ranger and even Black Mass) have all fallen a bit flat with audiences. But, much like the Pirates films, Alice is an ensemble crowd-pleaser and should be success. And it's family-friendly, earning a PG for fantasy action/peril and some language.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding was an unconditional success - although it never took the top spot at the box office, the $5 million production ultimately made $241.1 million - not only the biggest romantic comedy of all time, but one of the highest-grossing films of 2002 and represents one of the best returns (cost vs. final gross) in history. Now, 14 years later, we are getting My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 with Nia Vardalos and John Corbett leading once again with much of the cast returning - Andrea Martin, Lainie Kazan, Michael Constantine, Gia Carides and Elena Kampouris all reprise their roles with John Stamos, Rita Wilson, Mark Margolis and Alex Wolff all joining the cast. Now, I admit, romantic comedies are not in my wheelhouse. I have never seen the original and wouldn't really pay to see the sequel. While I don't doubt the sequel will draw a crowd, I have a feeling it won't find the same success as the original. It should do well enough, but I'm not expecting another unexpected hit. Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material.

Let's change gears and talk about Lights Out. in 2013, David Sandberg made a nice little short by the same name (available on YouTube for those interested - it's pretty good!) about a woman who leaves the lights on because every time she turns them off, she sees a figure in the dark. Now, in 2016, we are getting a full-length version starring Teresa Palmer (and also being directed by Sandberg). Now, I know I'm wondering how they're going to stretch this into a full-length feature, but James Wan is serving as producer, so at least the horror credentials are there. The film gets a PG-13 for terror throughout, violence including disturbing images, some thematic material and brief drug content. Hopefully this isn't just an hour-and-a-half of jump scares and weird shadows, but it's nice when a director can get a pickup based on a short.

Way back in 1993, director Richard Linklater released a film that didn't get much attention at the box office, but has since turned into a cult epic. Dazed and Confused introduced the world to some pretty big names in the industry today, including Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey (along with Milla Jovovich, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, Rory Cochrane and Joey Lauren Adams). No, it wasn't necessarily the first film for many of these actors - but I say it is still one of the most memorable. Fast-forward to 2016 and Linklater is giving us a follow-up. The cast is different, but I hope the spirit remains the same. Everybody Wants Some moves the action to college where a group of baseball players navigate the time between freedom and adulthood. A few names may be somewhat familiar (Zoey Deutch, Blake Jenner, Ryan Guzman and Glen Powell among them) but, for the most part, Linklater sticks to casting relative unknowns. I also hope the soundtrack is just as good - Dazed and Confused remains one of my favorite non-score soundtracks of all time. Will this be able to match the original? It's going to be nigh impossible in my mind - but if Linklater can get anywhere close, I think it will be a good watch. And hey, if McConaughey shows up for a cameo - that would be alright, alright, alright. Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug use and some nudity (as it should!).

Finally, we end with Miracles from Heaven. If you couldn't guess from the title, this is yet another faith-based film in the mold of Heaven is For Real and God's Not Dead (which itself is getting a sequel this year). Based on the book, 'Three Miracles From Heaven', by Christy Beam, the film follows a young girl with a rare digestive disorder who finds herself cured following an accident. Jennifer Garner, Queen Latifah and John Carroll Lynch lead the cast and the film set the record for most trailer views by a faith-based film with 132 million views. Now, how many of those are people looking forward to the film vs people looking to make fun of the overly-sappy trailer - well, that's harder to judge. I avoid this type of film like the plague, but they seem to do well enough with certain audiences that I'm sure they will keep churning them out. Rated PG for thematic material, including accident and medical images.

The full MPAA Ratings Bulletin is below:


Rated PG for perilous situations.


Rated PG for fantasy action/peril and some language.


Rated R for some language.


Rated R for strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity.


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


Rated R for some strong sexual content, nudity, violence and language.


Rated PG-13 for sequences of martial arts violence and brief strong language.


Rated R for violence, drug/alcohol use and language throughout, and sexual content - involving teens.


Rated PG-13 for some violence and suggestive material.


Rated PG for thematic material, including accident and medical images.


Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material.


Rated R for crude and dangerous pranks, language throughout and sexual content.


Rated R for language including some sexual references.


Rated R for some language and disaster images.


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