8 and older
Beauty and the Beast 3D (G). Disney has digitally remastered its lovely 1991 animated musical classic in 3-D, and it remains a delight. But parents of kids younger than 8 should note that the wolves that surround Belle’s father in the forest, and that later threaten her, are even more frightening in 3-D. In 1991, this was a groundbreaking film because it mixed hand-drawn animation with backgrounds created using computers. The result is still stunning, and the songs still great.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Aside from the more intense 3-D scenes with the wolves, other elements that catch one’s attention two-plus decades later: The girls in Belle’s village are a tad more buxom than they’d probably be today. The big fight shows Gaston falling to his (presumable) death. The Beast is wounded.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Teens who respond to strong drama and historic events will embrace this quirky film about the emotional fallout of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, Oskar Schell (extraordinary newcomer Thomas Horn) is a brilliant, anxiety-plagued 11-year-old who is trying to absorb the fact that his dad, Thomas, died in the attacks. Oskar adored his father, a fun-loving jeweler who understood his son’s emotional issues (Oskar tells us he may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome). Now, a year after 9/11, Oskar can’t open up to his still-grieving mother. He has found a mysterious key in his father’s closet, in an envelope with the name “Black” on it. He decides that finding what lock the key fits is crucial to his peace of mind.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The movie explores how children and adults deal with grief. It has images both real and stylized of the burning World Trade Center towers and of falling bodies. While intense and upsetting, the images are not graphic. The script includes occasional crude language and midrange profanity.
Red Tails. Teens will absorb a slice of history about World War II and the pre-civil rights era in this unsubtle action picture. Some of the dialogue is awfully clunky, but a strong cast and thrilling aerial dogfight sequences largely overcome that. Though fictionalized, “Red Tails” is based on the fabled Tuskegee Airmen. The film follows the struggle of the pilots and their commanding officers to be taken seriously in a military stymied by racist attitudes.
The bottom line: Injuries and crashes during the aerial dogfights are not overly graphic. The script includes rare midrange profanity, racial slurs and crude language. There is an implied overnight tryst between a pilot and an Italian woman.
Joyful Noise. Kids 12 and older who like comedies about grown-ups acting silly and a touch of spiritual revival might have a little fun with “Joyful Noise.” Vi Rose Hill is named director of the church choir in a financially struggling Georgia hamlet, which miffs G.G., a wealthy choir member. G.G.’s wayward grandson comes to stay and immediately starts courting Vi’s daughter. There’s too much poorly directed plot, but the singing and corny humor make up for it — kinda.