"Glee: The 3-D Concert Movie" (PG): Teen and younger fans of the hit TV show "Glee," about talented glee club kids who feel, and are treated, like outsiders in their own high school, will probably have great fun at this pretty ordinary concert film. It was shot this summer during part of the "Glee Live! In Concert!" tour at the IZOD Center in New Jersey.
Made rather pointlessly in 3-D, it showcases favorite show characters, among them Finn (Cory Monteith), Brittany (Heather Morris), Puck (Mark Salling), Rachel (Lea Michele), Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Artie (Kevin McHale) singing songs from the show, such as "Raise Your Glass," "Don't Stop Believin' " and, of course, Rachel belting the Barbra Streisand hit "Don't Rain On My Parade." As with many concert films, many of the lyrics get drowned out by the glitz and screaming fans. What makes "Glee: The 3-D Concert Movie" special is not the Glee stars, who even play their characters in backstage scenes, but interviews with several "Gleeks" -- fans of the show who claim it gave them courage to be themselves.
The film stays mostly in PG territory, but occasionally veers toward PG-13. Some dance moves, including crotch-grabbing, are quite suggestive. The fans interviewed for the concert film talk about, among other things, being gay and harassed in middle school, and about having Asperger's syndrome.
"The Help" (PG-13): Teens who like full-blooded characters -- lots of them -- and tales rich in bygone-era atmosphere will be fully engaged in "The Help," even if they haven't read Kathryn Stockett's popular 2009 novel. Since it takes place in Mississippi in the early 1960s and deals with race, segregation and the civil rights movement, they'll get a vivid glimpse of that day and age. Refreshingly unfussy and terrifically acted, the film carries you along easily for more than two hours. The first person we meet is Aibileen Clark (wonderful Viola Davis), an African-American domestic in Jackson, Miss., telling the story of her life to a person we can't see. Later we realize it is a young white woman, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone), the only girl in her clubby crowd who has gone to college and developed skepticism toward the racial attitudes she grew up with. Skeeter wants to be a writer and, after witnessing some fraught interactions between her married friends and their maids, decides to interview the maids in secret and publish their story. It takes a while before Aibileen and her cranky best friend Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer) decide it's OK to talk to Skeeter. The young women they work for -- depressed new mother Elizabeth Leefolt (Ahna O'Reilly) and scheming Hilly Holbrook (Bryce Dallas Howard) -- don't stand for nontraditional behavior. Only the rich young wife, Celia Foote (Jessica Chastain), deemed "white trash" by Skeeter's friends, has a kind heart.
Most of the PG-13-ish aspects of "The Help" involve the use of the N-word by 1960s white Mississippians, and the weight of racism and segregation, as African-American maids hear employers talk about not letting "the help" use the same toilets they use. The script features midrange profanity. Characters smoke and drink.