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Hacksaw Ridge, Jack Reacher, Beauty and the Beast, Great Wall and More in This Week's MPAA Bulletin

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 10/05/16 at 10:03 AM CT

Ask and ye shall receive. So many weeks I only get one or two - maybe three big movies, but this week the floodgates have opened. A Jack Reacher sequel, Matt Damon fighting monster on the Great Wall of China, a live-action Beauty and the Beast, a couple of war films and an unconventional love story - man oh man, if only every week could be this exciting. So sit back, relax and let the wave of new ratings wash over you - I know I'm going to enjoy myself this time around.

MPAA Official Logo

It's hard to pick the most exciting film this week, so I'll start off with the one I think is probably going to be the biggest. Disney has had great success at breathing new life into their classic animated films by spawning live-action versions of them. And I think the upcoming Beauty and the Beast has an excellent chance of being their biggest hit yet. It's based on not just a classic fairy tale (as old as time) but one of Disney's biggest animated hits. Plus, you have a dynamite cast led by the charming Emma Watson (as Belle), Luke Evans as the primordial Gaston, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Emma Thompson as Ms. Potts, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Kevin Kline as Maurice, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette and Stanley Tucci as Cadenza. Besides the knockout cast, you have Bill Condon behind the camera - the man who brought Chicago and Dreamgirls to the big screen to great acclaim (he even made Eddie Murphy look good!). Some people may say Disney is running out of ideas by essentially rehashing their animated films but the live-action versions have turned out really good, for the most part, and I don't see why this is going to do anything but soar to new heights. Rated PG for some action violence, peril and frightening images.

Maybe singing isn't your thing. Maybe you like action. Maybe you like Tom Cruise in action movies. As I have said before - I may not agree to the man's personal life, but when it comes to the big screen, Cruise commands my respect. From Mission: Impossible to sci-fi epics, he has the hero down-pat. Now, the original Jack Reacher may not have been as popular as some of the others (especially since the character in the book is written as a beast of a man and Cruise is kinda short for a Storm Trooper, if you get my gist), but we're getting another round with Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. This time, the title character is accused of a crime and has to go on the run - but the false accusation is just the beginning as Reacher uncovers a conspiracy - one that goes to the top and is tied to his past. Granted, it sounds like a pretty generic set-up, but the first trailer is full of action and even humor. Throw in Cobie Smulders, Robert Knepper, Danika Yarosh and Aldis Hodge and you have a recipe for success. Reacher may not be the next Mission: Impossible, but it's a good bite-sized action film until the next Cruise franchise rolls around. Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements.

Up next is arguably the most unique film on this list. A joint effort between American and Chinese studios, it has Matt Damon and Andy Lau together at last - as two of the soldiers facing a mysterious threat during the construction of the Great Wall of China. Oh, and it's called The Great Wall, big surprise there. The very diverse cast includes Willem Dafoe, Eddie Peng, Pedro Pascal, Tian Jing, Numan Acar, Lu Han and Kenny Lin. It's hard to say whether this joint effort is going to bring about a new age in U.S./Chinese cinema or if is going to utterly fail. One thing is for certain - it's going to be interesting and they are doing everything they can to hype this one - hopefully they don't over-extend themselves too soon. Rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy action violence.

If you are more into war than anything else, there are two big films getting their ratings this week. First up is Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name written by Ben Fountain, the story concerns 19-year-old Billy Lynn (played by newcomer Joe Alwyn) who is brought home for a victory tour after surviving a harrowing battle in his Bravo Squad. But the story is mostly told in his flashbacks, and shows the real story behind the battle and how the realities of war contrast with much of America's perception. Lee is a great visionary - a director I have really liked ever since The Ice Storm. The big news surrounding this film is that it is being directed in 120 fps - that means the 3D will literally feel like you are there - some might feel it is disconcerting and even a bit too realistic, but leave it to Lee to push the boundaries. I'm not sure how audiences will react, but I bet critics are going to love it. Rated R for language throughout, some war violence, sexual content, and brief drug use.

Another war film seeing its rating release is going in a much different direction. Based on a true story, Hacksaw Ridge concerns the life of army medic Desmond T. Doss, who, during the Battle of Okinawa, saved many lives but refused to take the life of any enemy combatant. Despite his stance, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, becoming the first Conscientious Objector to win the military's highest praise.. This one is being directed by Mel Gibson, who, let's face it, has had a rough go of things in his personal life. This is also being billed as a drama and romance, so I'm not sure how much is going to be the actual war and how much will be about his personal life. In any case, Andrew Garfield is playing the lead with Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Vince Vaughn, Luke Bracey and Rachel Griffiths (among others) supporting. The subject matter might turn off typical war movie crowds but we'll see if it can win over at least a few of them by not being too preachy. At least we know Mel isn't afraid of getting bloody gory. Rated R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images.

Rounding out our mighty ratings update is the romance Rules Don't Apply. The film stars Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich as a young actress and her driver who both happen to be employed by the eccentric, inegmatic billionaire Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty). Hughes has a very strict set of rules for the people who work for him and one of those rules is no dating between actors and employees. But that doesn't stop what happens between the two - despite the fact that the driver is a strict Methodist and engaged to be married to boot. I, for one, don't usually go for romance but I'm a sucker for anything set during the so-called "Golden Age" of Hollywood (for better or worse). So while I doubt I'll be busting down the theater door opening night - color me intrigued. Rated PG-13 for sexual material including brief strong language, thematic elements, and drug references.

That was quite the update - but be sure the check the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:


Rated R for a scene of violence.


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


Rated PG for mild thematic elements.


Rated PG for some action violence, peril and frightening images.


Rated R for language throughout, some war violence, sexual content, and brief drug use.


Rated R for language, violence and brief nudity.


Rated R for sexual material/references.


Rated R for violence, language and brief drug use.


Rated PG for thematic elements and some language.


Rated R for drug content and language.


Rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy action violence.


Rated R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images.


Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements.


Rated R for brief strong violence and some language.


Rated R for some disturbing violence.


Rated PG-13 for bloody images/ER medical procedures and brief strong language.


Rated R for pervasive language and some drug material.


Rated R for violence and gore throughout, language, and some sexual material and nudity.


Rated PG-13 for sexual material including brief strong language, thematic elements, and drug references.


Rated PG for thematic elements.


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