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Aquaman, Fantastic Beasts, Bohemian Rhapsody, Hell Fest and More in the Week's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 09/05/18 at 10:04 AM CT

And here... we... go... BAM! The Ratings Board has my gratitude this week as apparently they have decided to go all out and have offered a smorgasbord of updates. This includes an aquatic DC superhero, more Fantastic Beast (and, hopefully, where to find them), an incredible biopic featuring a singer with a voice fit for a Queen, Michael Moore taking the piss out of Donald Trump, a drug tale that would be crazy if it wasn't true, an ex-con saving her sister from catfishing and violent theme park that a crazed serial killer turns into his personal playground. WHEW! I'm tired just listing all of these, but have no fear, I'm gonna go all out on the update as well.

MPAA Official Logo

I may not be the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world, but I quite enjoyed the novels and the films that were based upon them. When Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was launched, I was unsure if this more adult-leaning series could match the magic the original films brought. But thanks to deft directing from David Yates, some great castings decisions (including Eddie Redmayne in the title role, along with Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler and Ezra Miller among others), and, of course, amazing visual effects - the film exceeded my expectations and left me truly looking forward to the next installment. That wait is almost over as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimers of Grindelwald drops this November. The core cast is back, and adds Jude Law as a young Albus Dumbledore and ZoŽ Kravitz as Leta Lestrange. I was a bit surprised they went with Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, but if anyone can pull off crazy wizard, I guess Depp is as good as any. While plot details are still a bit scant, our magizoologist Newt Scamander (Redmayne) teams up with Dumbledore in order to combat a rising darkness in the wizarding world - a darkness we ultimately know will grow in power, unleashing Voldemort and his cadre of Death Eaters, but it should be interesting to see how things start out - and where they go wrong. Rated PG-13 for some sequences of fantasy action.

Speaking of series with an expanding universe, DC has struggled to keep up with Marvel in the superhero department. While Wonder Woman was a nice change of pace, pretty much every other film (Including Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad and Justice League) have left me less than thrilled. I'm hoping that Jason Momoa will have more luck with Aquaman. Now, in general Aquaman is kind of the black sheep of DC heroes, but Momoa is not going the "oh, I speak to dolphins" route here, he is a badass of the highest order and though the underwater setting is... strange, I will give him the benefit of the doubt here. I have watched almost every superhero film in the theater, so I will probably watch Aquaman as well. Momoa is joined by a good cast, at least, with Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Graham McTavish, Djimon Hounsou, Willem Dafoe, Randall Park, Dolph Lundgren and Temuera Morrison all on board. They need to balance the action with character, humor with heart and hopefully they can succeed where so many DC films have failed. James Wan is talented, so once again, I have hope. Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.

Biopics can be something beautiful or something terrible. Biopics based on musicians are even trickier as it seems that a lot of filmmakers get into the life and drama, but forget one of the most important aspects: the actual music. A film like Walk the Line worked because it had the actors and the music to back it up whereas something like All Eyez on Me may have been good at capturing the life of Tupac, but without his music it is missing a big part of the story. I'm happy to report that Bohemian Rhapsody, focusing on legendary Queen front-man Freddie Mercury (portrayed by Rami Malek) will feature plenty of classic Queen (based on the trailer) as well as the wild ups and downs the band experienced. Malek (who, let's face it, should be playing a young Mick Jagger) might not be my first choice, but, man, does he look great in the trailer I have seen. Joseph Mazzello, Mike Myers, Lucy Boynton, Aidan Gillen and Tom Hollander help round out the cast. Biopic aren't usually my bag, but this looks like one of the better ones in recent memory (certainly when it comes to musicians) and I hope it does well. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language.

I'm going to go out of the way an say that Nobody's Fool is well outside my filmic wheelhouse. But I am also going to say that it is going to be huge with its target audience. The film finds Danica (Tika Sumpter) picking up and housing her wild, ex-con sister (Tiffany Haddish) even as she juggles a busy work life with a burgeoning online relationship. But even the snoop, her sister has a sneaking suspicion her relationship is all smoke and mirror - a catfish in other words, and is dedicated to sniffing out the suspect. This include jealous colleagues and the like with wacky antics to follow. Whoopi Goldberg is even here as their mother, while the rest of the cast includes the likes of Missi Pyle, Omari Hardwick, Courtney Henggeler, Amber Riley and Jon Rudnitsky. As I said, not my particular cup of tea, but Haddish has a huge following and the girl power is strong with this one. I have a feeling it's going to be a pretty big hit when it comes out early November. Rated R for sexual content and language throughout, and for drug material.

While movies based on a true story are never truly "real", those that are based on stories almost too crazy to be true (American Animals, American Made, American... Pie? - Scratch that last one) tend to be better, if only because you can't make this stuff up! I'm not saying White Boy Rick is going to shake up the establishment, but it follows the story of a teen who becomes an undercover FBI informant only to be sentenced for drug trafficking himself, and getting life in prison for his trouble. The film has had some shifts in release dates (not a welcoming sign) but it looks like it has finally nailed down its release. Newcomer Richie Merritt plays our informant, and he is just being thrown right in with the sharks as none other than Matthew McConaughey plays his father. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rory Cochrane (hey - Dazed and Confused mini-reunion!), Eddie Marsan, Piper Laurie, Bel Powley, Bruce Dern and Brian Tyree Henry round out the cast. This one looks to take a hard edge, none of the fun stuff here - all drama and danger - but maybe that's for the best. Romanticizing something like the drug trade is dangerous, and while I can enjoy some films for what they are, taking a hard edge is sometimes the best way to go. Rated R for language throughout, drug content, violence, some sexual references and brief nudity.

If you're a fan of horror (and if you're not, feel free to skip this entry), have I got a story for you. Best Rod Serling Voice: "Imagine, dear viewer, you have happened upon an attraction most evil. A theme park where horror and fear are he fare, and the patrons pay to be scared. But a new addition to the park is not an attraction, but rather a vicious killer - and a group of friends are about to find that out the hard way - while other visitors will be entertained by their horrific fates." That's right - we're about to enter Hell Fest. I'm pretty sure variations of this story have been done before, but who doesn't like people in mortal peril who other people think are just part of the show? Decapitations, vicious stabbings, eye gouging, strangling - I mean, that's just totally normal, right? Well, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. This looks like it's right in the wheelhouse of recent horror films and director Gregory Plotkin has worked as an editor on several high-profile horror films including Get Out, Happy Death Day and several of the Paranormal Activity films. What I'm saying is it looks like this is in good hands - even if those hands may well be severed. Rated R for horror violence, and language including some sexual references.

Finally, if the bad taste of Dinesh D'Souza hasn't been cleaned out of your palette yet, Michael Moore is here to save the day. The quite left-leaning documentarian is back with a scathing look into the 2016 election of current President Donald J. Trump and if there is anything we can do about it. The title, Fahrenheit 11/9 is an obvious play on words from the director's popular Fahrenheit 9/11 that played off then-president George W. Bush's war on terror. Tracking indicates this isn't going to be nearly as popular as that film, but maybe that's because at this point Trump is just too easy a target. But I hope against all hope this at least does loads better than Death of a Nation. I mean us Liberals are obviously ruining the world with Hollyweird and fake news and media and all other such stuff - the least we can do is support our fellow freaks. Rated R for language and some disturbing material/images.

That's a lot to process, I know - and there is even a little more if you want to check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:


Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.


Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, suggestive material, drug content and language.


Rated R for language and some disturbing material/images.


Rated PG13 for some sequences of fantasy action.


Rated R for horror violence, and language including some sexual references.


Rated PG-13 for some bloody violent images.


Rated R for sexual content and language throughout, and for drug material.


Rated PG for brief language.


Rated PG-13 for some suggestive material.


Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, violence/disturbing images, sexuality and language.


Rated R for language throughout, drug content, violence, some sexual references, and brief nudity.


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