6 and Older
"The Santa Clause 2" (G). Tim Allen as accidental Santa from 1994 hit (a PG) learns he must marry or lose job he loves in wildly uneven, ungainly sequel with long, unfunny stretches but several funny bits (i.e. toy Santa who runs the North Pole like a dictator while real Santa's away) too sophisticated and infrequent to amuse tots. Mother Nature warns Santa not to annoy her because she's "pre-El Nino;" Comet has gas.
PG-13's and a PG-Rated Art Film More for Teens
"Naqoyqatsi" (PG). Trippy 89-minute montage with music by Philip Glass, it's title from Hopi language referring to war and violence. A nonverbal, nonfiction preachment about high-speed communications, globalization, science, violence in popular culture, real wars, Third World poverty and other modern realities comprised of digitally manipulated images. Third in filmmaker/philosopher Godfrey Reggio's series ["Koyaanisqatsi" (Unrated, 1983), "Powaqqatsi" (G, 1988)]. Non-gory images of war, poverty, riots. Philosophical teen cinema buffs.
"I Spy." Pointless, sloppily made buddy comedy with little relation to 1960s TV show stars Owen Wilson as American agent, Eddie Murphy as loudmouth boxing champ he must work with on mission in Budapest to trap dangerous arms dealer (Malcolm McDowell). Understated gun, knife violence;sexual innuendo;crude language;toilet humor.
"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.
"8 Mile." Rap star Eminem excels as Detroit factory worker with hip-hop dreams, urged by pals (including Mekhi Phifer) to enter local rap contest, but impeded by family troubles (Kim Basinger as his dissolute mother), rival rappers, in satisfying inner-city drama that neatly balances urban bleakness, hip-hop energy, optimism. Fairly explicit sexual situations; semi-nudity; profanity; sexual innuendo; racial slurs, homophobic jokes; non-lethal violence; marijuana. 16 and older.
"Femme Fatale." Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Antonio Banderas in self-consciously stylized, convoluted thriller by filmmaker Brian De Palma about female thief (Romijn-Stamos) in France, later married to a U.S. ambassador, who is pursued by her old gang; she uses a papparazzo (Banderas), to her own advantage. Explicit sexual situations; strong sexual innuendo; semi-nudity; gun violence, a suicide, bloody truck accident; profanity. 16 and older.