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“Nine Lives”

Rated PG

Suitable for ages 8 and older

Kevin Spacey stars as Tom Brand, a New York real estate tycoon who is narcissistic, arrogant, and prone to neglecting his family, including his second wife Lara (Jennifer Garner), 11-year-old daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman), and 28-year-old son David (Robbie Amell). As the movie begins, he’s more concerned with putting his name on the largest building in Manhattan than his daughter’s birthday, but it turns out he does care about his daughter enough to go last-minute shopping before her party. Even though he despises cats, he finally decides to get her the one gift she’s always wanted — a cat. Fate leads him to Purrrkins Pet Shop, where an eccentric and mysterious store owner named Felix Perkins (Christopher Walken) sells him a cat, Mr. Fuzzypants. An accident happens similar to “Freaky Friday” and Tom ends up in the cat’s body. As Mr. Perkins explains, Tom will remain in the cat’s body unless he can figure out why he deserves a second chance at being a husband and father.

“Nine Lives” hopes to capitalize on the Internet’s favorite animal, the cat, and it’s certainly cute in a frivolous fun kind of way. However, it’s not nearly as entertaining as it could be given its well-known cast.

Watch it or skip it? Watch it, with caution.

What’s good: Tom learns that greed is bad and that being an involved father and husband is important.

What’s bad: There’s mild profanity, name calling and a scene involving alcohol. There are also numerous scenes of peril.

***

“Alice Through the Looking Glass”

Rated PG

Suitable for ages 6 and older

In this sequel to “Alice in Wonderland,” Alice (played by Mia Wasikowska) returns home from her adventures as a sea captain, only to find her father’s company now belongs to someone else, who doesn’t believe women are capable of being more than wives, mothers and desk clerks. It just so happens she discovers a magic mirror that leads her back to Underland, where she learns that her truest friend, the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), is wasting away due to the remembered grief of losing his family. Her other friends, including the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), beg her to travel back in time to save the Hatter’s family and cure him. Unfortunately, to do so, she must steal a time-traveling device from Time (Sacha Baron Cohen), which threatens to destroy Underland.

Story-wise, “Alice Through the Looking Glass” is a lot of the same as the first movie, with an adult Alice journeying through one fantastic scene after another. This time, however, there is a strong theme of family, friendship and forgiveness.

Watch it or skip it? Watch it.

What’s good: It’s more kid-friendly than “Alice in Wonderland.”

What’s bad: There are some intense scenes that might scare young and sensitive children, but none are as bad as those depicted in the original film.

***

“Nerve”

Rated PG-13

Suitable for ages 13 and older

If you have older kids and want an exciting movie to watch, try watching “Nerve.” Emma Roberts plays high school senior Vee Delmonico, a shy, straight-arrow girl who’s too afraid to tell her mother she was accepted to Cal Arts for photography and too timid to speak to her high school crush. On the other hand, Vee’s best friend Syd is the opposite of her — outgoing, popular, and not afraid to take risks. Enter the online game Nerve, which operates through a smart-phone app, allowing users to choose to be a player or a watcher. Players, who are depicted as teens, of course, complete dares assigned to them by watchers, and for each dare they complete, money is immediately deposited into their bank accounts. Syd is in the top 10 of Staten Island’s Nerve game board. She’s in it for the fame, not the money, but after having her feelings hurt, Vee decides to break out of her comfort zone and become a player, too. Vee immediately meets Ian (played by Dave Franco), a mysterious young man on a motorcycle, and the watchers pair them together for a series of adrenaline-fueled dares that stream live over the Internet. The dares for all players soon progress from mildly embarrassing to completely dangerous, and Vee learns the hard way that the watchers have access to all of her personal information and have the power to control her every move.

Watch it or skip it? Watch it

What’s good: It’s certainly edge-of-your-seat entertaining enough that audiences of all ages will find it fascinating to watch. It also has a good message about the dangers of social media.

What’s bad: The story takes a dark turn and characters do very stupid things for fame and money.

Take note

Also releasing this month: “Finding Dory” – Nov. 15; “Kubo and the Two Strings” – Nov. 22; and “The Wild Life” – Nov. 29.

Find more at www.upstateparent.com

Looking for things to do with kids in Greenville-Spartanburg? More stories relevant to families? Visit www.upstateparent.com.

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