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Arrival, Split, Rock Dog and More in This Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

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By Chris Kavan - 10/19/16 at 10:40 AM CT

After a couple of weeks of some major ratings releases, things are once again slowing down.This week we have just a trio of big movies this week, with a previously R-rated horror film getting a more audience-friendly PG-13 re-rate. The two new ones include a pretty interesting-looking alien invasion film that looks to be more cerebral than your typical offering. There is also an upcoming animated film about a rockin' canine that has an impressive cast lined up. I always say the more the better, but I'm also always happy to take what I can get.

MPAA Official Logo

On the surface, there is a lot about Arrival that looks good - a winning cast, an accomplished director and an intriguing premise. But dig a little deeper, and I think this has a chance to be right up there with Moon as one of the more interesting sci-fi movies to come out in our generation. Denis Villeneuve, who has directed Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario - heads away from crime and turns towards sci-fi. In this case the film follows linguist expert Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) as alien vessels land around the world and attempt to communicate. Banks must work to decode their language and learn the reason they have arrived before mankind decides they are a threat and resorts to (what else) violence. Villeneuve isn't playing this safe - the film looks a bit trippy, but also looks a lot smarter than most alien invasion movies (looking at you Independence Day: Resurgence). It reminds me a bit of Contact - but hopefully without the spiritual mumbo-jumbo. In any case, Adams is joined by Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Tzi Ma and Mark O'Brien. It looks like one of the more interesting films coming out towards the end of the year, and I'm certainly anticipating something good. Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.

One of the more interesting trailers and premises for a film comes from the master of the twist, Mr. M. Night Shyamalan. Now, I admit, I had all but written him off after a string of misfires starting with Lady in the Water, continuing with The Happening, the atrocious Last Airbender and the truly mind-boggling After Earth. Yet a funny thing happened. I saw The Visit and realized all he needed to come back was to find his roots in horror. Now The Visit wasn't perfect, but it was entertaining - and, yes, there was a twist to it, but it was actually pretty good. It was creepy, effective and twisted - just the way I like my movies. Thus we come to Split. James McAvoy plays Kevin - and also 23 other personalities - all which reside in his head and come out at various times. The trailer is truly unique and I welcome everyone to check it out. In any case, three girls are kidnapped (Anya Taylor-Joy - a wonder in The Witch, Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula), and Kevin begins to manifest a final personality "The Beast" - which I'm sure is just the nicest guy. In any case, the girls must work with his other personalities to try and escape. McAvoy looks amazing - I mean, 23 different personalities - even Tatiana Maslany would be impressed by that. This looks more thriller than horror - and I hope it's as tense as the trailer makes it. Can't wait to see what Shyamalan has up his sleeve this time - but once again, this looks like a return to form. Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language.

Animated films are often box office gold with even the most rudimentary coming out ahead. The upcoming Rock Dog, from Lionsgate and directed by Ash Brannon (co-director of Toy Story 2 and director of Surf's Up), looks to have a bit more pedigree but is still a toss-up, especially with the higher-profile Sing arriving just before it. The story follows a Tibetan Mastiff named Bodi (Luke Wilson) who is told all his life he will amount to nothing more than guard dog, until a radio falls from the sky and sets him on an adventure to be the musician he has always dreamed of being. Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon and Sam Elliott (as Fleetwood Yak... not kidding) round out the impressive cast. The fully original idea looks entertaining enough - but its early 2017 release is a bit of a puzzler - not exactly a hot time for movies (unless you're a small-budget horror). Still, animation tends to be, for the most part, bullet-proof, so we'll have to wait and see if this dog is going to have its day. Rated PG Rated PG for action and language.

On the re-rating front, the horror film The Bye Bye Man has dropped from an R to a more audience-friendly PG-13 for for terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking. Guess this means there will be an unrated version coming out for home viewing pleasure.

That's all the news that fits this time around but please check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:


Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.


Rated R for brutal bloody violence, language throughout, and drug use


Rated PG for thematic elements, some nude and suggestive art images, language and brief


Rated PG-13 for terror, horror violence, bloody images, sexual content, thematic elements, partial nudity, some language and teen drinking. (NOTE: EDITED FOR RE-RATE. CONTENT IS DIFFERENT FROM "R" RATED VERSION BULLETIN


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


Rated R for language and violence.


Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence and language.


Rated PG for action violence throughout, some scary images, and language.


Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.



Rated PG for action and language.


Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language.


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


Rated PG for some mild thematic elements.


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