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Blair Witch, Deepwater Horizon, Snowden and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

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By Chris Kavan - 08/10/16 at 09:53 AM CT

It has been a few weeks of, frankly, disappointing ratings. But this week, ho boy, do we have some much more interesting films that have long been on my radar. We have two based-on-true stories - one of a recent major disaster and another on a highly controversial figure (from a highly controversial director - should be good) and one surprise horror reboot that was just recently announced. All in all, a much more exciting update this time around - let's hope the board keeps things rolling.

MPAA Official Logo

First up is probably the once film I don't know if anyone really wanted, but given the track record of director Adam Wingard (the very good You're Next and the better-than-expected The Guest), maybe this won't be so bad. I'm talking about The Woods - sorry, I mean Blair Witch. Revealed at the most recent Comic Con, this reboot of the found-footage classic The Blair Witch Project once again follows a small group in the forest as James (James Allen McCune) searches for his missing sister after watching a video showing her experience in the demonic woods. Winegard has stated that the first Blair Witch was about being lost, but this one is about being chased. While found footage has pretty much run its course, I'm willing to give this a chance if only because of Winegard. I probably won't see this in theaters, but I'll put it on my radar to check out. Rated R for language, terror and some disturbing images

If the prospect of a horror reboot has you feeling let down, how about a true-life story filled with heroism, sacrifice and no political agenda. Peter Berg, who has proven with films like Friday Night Lights and Lone Survivor, that he can tackle both drama and grit, looks to bring both together with Deepwater Horizon. The story about the April 2010 oil rig disaster that led to the worst oil spill in history will stay out of the political and environmental landmine and instead focus on the men who were there - many of whom did not make it out alive. The cast includes Dylan O'Brien, Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez, Ethan Suplee and John Malkovich. If you want working-class heroics, Wahlberg seems like a solid choice as he seems to embody that kind of character. I just hope Berg doesn't go too overboard with the action and special effects - but if he treats this like Lone Survivor, I have a feeling we're in for a powerful treat. Rated PG-13 for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images, and brief strong language.

Upping the ante on the biography genre, Oliver Stone turns his directorial eye on one of the most polarizing figures of our generation - Edward Snowden. The former NSA employee is considered a hero by some as a hero for releasing thousands of classified - but on the same note, for the same reason many also consider him a terrorist. In any case, Stone has settled on Joseph Gordon-Levitt to portray the controversial figure. Levitt, even when stuck in less-than-stellar films, has proven his worth. The rest of the cast includes Scott Eastwood, Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Timothy Olyphant, Logan Marshall-Green, Joely Richardson, Melissa Leo, Rhys Ifans, Tom Wilkinson and Nicolas Cage. This has an above-average chance to catch the eye of awards voters as the combination of Stone and Levitt, along with the timely story, looks pretty inviting. This is one to watch out for this fall. Rated R for language and some sexuality/nudity.

All in all, a pretty good update but be sure to check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:


Rated R for language, sexual material and a brief bloody image.


Rated R for language, terror and some disturbing images.


Rated R for brutal bloody violence, strong sexual content including disturbing behavior, graphic nudity and language.


Rated R for some nudity and language.


Rated PG-13 for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images and brief strong language.


Rated R for sexual content, language and drug use.


Rated R for sexual content and language.


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


Rated R for some disturbing violence, and language throughout.


Rated R for language and some sexuality/nudity.


Rated R for drug use and language throughout.


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