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.
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 Truth About Charlie." Mark Wahlberg, Thandie Newton chase around Paris in Jonathan Demme's enjoyable but schizy, style-over-substance reworking of 1963 thriller "Charade," lacking crucial Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn panache, yet paying interesting homage to 1960s French New Wave films with camera moves, lightning edits. Semi-nudity; sexual innuendo; stylized non-graphic violence. Not for preteens.
"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.
"Ghost Ship." Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Isaiah Washington as members of salvage crew who find long-vanished Italian luxury liner drifting, full of treasure and ghosts in initially intriguing, but weakly scripted, visually dull thriller. Flashback of revelers on ship's dance floor sliced in half by cable in stylized but bloody moment; victim impaled on hook; skeleton; gun violence; mild sexual innuendo; toplessness; profanity. High-schoolers.
"Frida." Salma Hayek in vibrant portrayal of Mexican artist, feminist icon Frida Kahlo, in glorious intensely dramatic biography, director Julie Taymor injecting brilliant bits of magic realism to embody Kahlo's artistic inspiration; with Alfred Molina as her husband Diego Rivera. Explicit sexual situations; nudity; stylized but intense portrayal of bus accident that injured young Kahlo; drinking, smoking; muted violence. 16 and up.
"Roger Dodger." Campbell Scott in extraordinary turn as caddish New York ad man whose crass chatter offends women; his 16-year-old nephew (Jesse Eisenberg) comes for lessons in how to be a ladies' man, unaware his uncle's a disaster, in Dylan Kidd's odd, funny, sad, intensely up-close fable of lovelessness. Explicit sexual language; muted sexual situations -- one nearly a date rape; nudity; profanity; drinking, smoking by a teen character. 17 and older.
"Paid in Full." Convincing if sketchy cautionary tale evocatively set in 1980s Harlem -- wild fashions a highlight -- among get-rich-quick cocaine dealers (Mekhi Phifer, Wood Harris, rapper Cam'ron) whose greed soon draws blood, tragedy. Muted, rare violence until last act when gun deaths, beatings are graphic; endangerment of a child; explicit video sexual situation; profanity, racial slurs. 16 and older.
"Comedian." Jerry Seinfeld in authorized documentary (he produced it) following his quest, post- "Seinfeld," to create a new stand-up comedy act from scratch, testing it at clubs in 2000-01. Mildish R, with profanity, muted sexual innuendo. High-schoolers into stand-up comics, Seinfeldiana.
"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; nonlethal violence. 16 and older.