Tots on Up
"Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie." (G) Traveling troupe of talking vegetable folk stop at a restaurant where three peaceful pirates teach them about compassion by telling the story of Jonah in an often funny animated fable (13th in a series -- the others just on video) that gives Christian overlay to Old Testament tale. Little ones may jump when whale gulps Jonah.
"Pokemon 4Ever" (G). Pokemon trainer Ash and his champion fighter Pikachu meet a time-traveling forest spirit and save it from an evil hunter in fourth feature of animated Pokemon adventures that only tiny fans of the Japanese video/toy "pocket monsters" will enjoy. Endless, violent battles; tots may tremble at huge twig monster but tell them all will end well.
8 and Older
"Tuck Everlasting" (PG). Strong cast, evocative setting overcome occasional soggy bits in wistful, romantic tale of Winnie, a stifled rich girl (Alexis Bledel) in 1914 America who meets the mysterious Tuck family, falls for their son (Jonathan Jackson) and his parents (William Hurt, Sissy Spacek) before realizing they're all immortal; with Ben Kingsley as man stalking the Tucks. Concept of death; brief violence; mild sexual innuendo.
"The Ring." Naomi Watts in visually arresting but narratively messy ghost story as journalist drawn into mystery of her niece's sudden death after the girl viewed a nightmarish cult video. Themes touch on murder of a child, mental illness, suicide, parental abuse; horse dies in freak accident off-camera, but blood shown; other violent deaths; an electrocution; mild sexual innuendo. Not for preteens.
"Abandon." Good cast helps but can't save pretentiously moody, illogical, under-cooked psychological thriller about successful college senior (Katie Holmes) haunted by memory of boyfriend (Charlie Hunnam) who vanished two years before; Benjamin Bratt as troubled cop investigating the case. Understated violence; mildly implied sexual situation; mild profanity. Not for preteens.
"The Grey Zone." Shattering, unprecedented dramatization of Holocaust by writer-director Tim Blake Nelson depicting inner workings of Auschwitz death camp in intimate, gripping, barely watchable detail, while recounting fact-based rebellion by group of Sonderkommando -- Jewish prisoners chosen to herd others to their deaths -- with Harvey Keitel, David Arquette, Mira Sorvino. Graphic brutality; nudity; profanity. Only mature high-schoolers 17 and older.
"Heaven." Somber, spare, at times overly portentous parable told in esoteric Euro art film style -- with Cate Blanchett as English teacher living in Italy who accidentally kills innocents in botched effort to assassinate a drug lord; Giovanni Ribisi as policeman who falls in love with her, helps her and shares her destiny. Brief violence; explicit sexual situation. In Italian (with subtitles) and English. Cinema buffs 16 and older.
"Punch-Drunk Love." Adam Sandler in cutting-edge performance as shy L.A. businessman given to volcanic rages whose life shifts profoundly after he comes into possession of a harmonium and meets a young woman (Emily Watson) in writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's surreal, hopeful movie. Profanity; strong verbal sexual innuendo involving a phone sex service; non-lethal violence. 16 and older.