Parents' guide to movies now playing

Ryan Reynolds in a scene from “Green Lantern”

'Green Lantern'

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action.

What it's about: A swinging single test pilot learns responsibility when he is chosen to join an elite corps that battles evil.

The kid attractor factor: A legendary comic book, a lot of green-tinted special effects and Ryan Reynolds.

Good lessons/bad lessons: "Face up to your fears," accept your responsibilities.

Violence: Lots and lots.

Language: A generous scattering of profanity.

Sex: No, but we do see the morning after.

Drugs: None.

Parents' advisory: Darker in tone than the summer's other comic-book fare, this suits a 12-and-older comic-book audience best.

'Mr. Popper's Penguins'

Rating: PG for mild, rude humor and some language.

What it's about: A workaholic, real estate developer learns about family when penguins come into his life.

The kid attractor factor: Chances are, they've had the book read to them, plus it stars Jim Carrey and lots of cute penguins.

Good lessons/bad lessons: "Put your heart out there. It might get broken, but that's how you know you have one."

Violence: Penguin pecking.

Language: Penguin potty jokes.

Sex: None.

Drugs: Champagne.

Parents' advisory: The penguin poo makes this one skew very young, though the wordplay might amuse older kids, OK for 5-and-up.

'Super 8'

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use.

What it's about: Small-town middle-school movie buffs try to shoot a zombie movie with a Super 8 camera only to have real horror show up on their doorstep.

The kid attractor factor: Smart and smart-mouthed kids make a bad movie and face off with monsters.

Good lessons/bad lessons: Sometimes, kids catch on a lot earlier than adults.

Violence: Quite a bit, graphic, without much blood.

Language: Kids of the '70s got into mild profanity in their tweens.

Sex: Young, chaste romance.

Drugs: Adult alcoholism is discussed.

Parents' advisory: A bit too scary-violent, adult and profane for the very young, but certainly OK for 10 and older.

'Transformers: Dark of the Moon'

Rating: PG-13 for intense, prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo.

What it's about: The Autobots and Decepticons go at it again, rewriting the history of the Space Race as they do.

The kid attractor factor: It's a toy. It's a movie. It's both. And lots of stuff blows up.

Good lessons/bad lessons: "When it's not your war, join that side that's going to win." "Relationships have consequences."

Violence: Humans are vaporized, but only robots bleed.

Language: Quite a bit of profanity for PG-13.

Sex: A model-actress wears low-cut, high-hemline dresses and a come-hither look.

Drugs: Not really, a little wine.

Parents' advisory: The violence, death, sexy clothing and profanity run this one right up to the edge of an "R" rating. Suitable for 13 and older.

'Larry Crowne'

Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language and some sexual content.

What it's about: A man of late middle age finds himself alone and out of work. So he goes back to college.

The kid attractor factor: It's the guy who voices Sheriff Woody! And Julia Roberts!

Good lessons/bad lessons: College enriches your life in ways you can never imagine.

Violence: None.

Language: Some profanity.

Sex: That Julia Roberts and her flirting.

Drugs: Alcohol is consumed in excess, abused even.

Parents' advisory: Mild-mannered and cute, this still doesn't hold a lot that would appeal to anybody under 13.