Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

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Still very much a live-action cartoon, but one with considerably more charm than its predecessor, thanks in no small part to the game commitment of everyone involved to making a film that feels remarkably like it was conceived and created by (as opposed to merely for) 12-year-old boys. It’s chiefly a matter of tone, but it shows up in all sorts of particulars as well, e.g., the villain refers to his destruction in terms of breaking toys. So yes, we’ll need to find a way to get girl reporter Megan Fox into a Catholic schoolgirl uniform for one scene, but the icky girly romance part need never progress beyond a flirtatious look. And girls aren’t the point of things, anyway: what counts here are friends: the bro-tastic turtles who must learn to work together despite their differences, sure, but also Bebop and Rock Steady, dimwit bruisers who welcome their transformation into mutant animals by smashing stuff and checking what’s in their underpants. “Aw yeah” – fist bump. The plot is pure silliness, involving a baddie’s collection of various gizmos in order to open a dimensional portal that will allow the alien invasion to commence…come to think of it, the whole endeavor is pretty much the first Avengers, just with less-witty quips and less-menacing action. With Laura Linney, Will Arnett. Directed by Dave Green. (2016) — Matthew Lickona

Rated PG-13 | 1 hour, 52 minutes
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