“Vampire Academy” (PG-13): Part serious, part satire and mostly just silly, “Vampire Academy” may prompt yawns from high schoolers. The level of sexual innuendo in the film makes it iffy for middle schoolers. Based on the books by Richelle Mead, the movie takes place mostly at St. Vladamir’s Academy – a Hogwarts wannabe – where young vampires of a mortal, peaceful variety called Moroi study how to master their magical powers. Alongside them are the half-human/half-vampire Dhampirs, who study to be the Moroi’s guardians. We meet Moroi princess Lissa (Lucy Fry) and Rose (Zoey Deutch), her Dhampir pal and guardian-in-training. A sarcastic hipster, Rose also narrates the film. She allows Lissa to suck blood from her neck when no other options for benign feeding are available. This has vaguely sexual overtones, mocked by the “kids” at St. Vladamir’s, where snarkiness rules. Rose and Lissa have run way from school when we meet them, but a self-defense teacher (and Rose’s big crush), Dimitri (Danila Kozlovsky), tracks them. He fights off an attack by evil red-eyed vampires called Strigoi, and brings the girls back to school. Petty teen rivalries and romances mix with vampire feuds and lead to supernatural blood-letting confrontations. The headmistress (Olga Kurylenko) may be evil, and fellow student Mia (Sami Gayle) holds a major grudge.
All the bloodsucking has a distinctly sexual charge. Other sexual situations are nonexplicit, but one becomes steamy and includes implied nudity. Characters fight with knives and stakes. We see a dead fox and cat, both cut open. The script includes some crude language and one strong profanity that is never fully pronounced.
“The LEGO Movie” (PG): Kids 6 and older will have a blast at this animated 3-D comic adventure set in a LEGO universe. Parents will grin at its dead-on spoof of modern life (i.e., $37 for barista coffee). The message is: “Embrace what is special about you.” That’s not a new theme in kids’ flicks, but this film’s approach is fresh and funny.
LEGO man Emmet (voice of Chris Pratt) eventually learns to embrace his specialness, but when we meet him he’s a worker at a construction site in the LEGO world. He sings “Everything is Awesome” and has no thoughts of his own – unless they’re in the rule book. His life turns upside down when he accidentally falls down a deep hole and encounters a glowing monolith. When he re-emerges with a red LEGO brick, The Piece of Resistance, melded to his back, Emmet is identified as The Special, destined to become “the brightest, most talented, most interesting person in the universe” and to lead an uprising against the autocratic President Business (Will Ferrell).
Business has secret plans to destroy the LEGO universe because he can’t abide the Master Builders who keep changing the shape of things. Resistance fighter Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), the hair-tossing girl of Emmet’s dreams, urges Emmet to think outside the box, but he doesn’t know how at first. After the climactic battle (which looks comically like a 1980s video game), the film takes a “real” turn to send home its message about kids and parents embracing creativity.
Bad Cop threatens to melt Emmet down, and President Business threatens to put his constituents “to sleep” if they don’t obey. Later battles against President Business and his minions look like old video games, but include LEGO characters that morph like Transformers.