6 and Older
"The Wild Thornberrys Movie" (PG). Delightfully offbeat, funny, informative animated adventure based on Nickelodeon show about spunky 12-year-old Eliza Thornberry, who secretly talks with animals and whose family shoots nature documentaries in Africa; she escapes from school to rescue a cheetah cub. Under-6's may cringe at chase scenes, Eliza dangling from helicopter, animals wounded or threatened by poachers.
PG-13's and a Misrated PG
"Kangaroo Jack" (rated PG but very PG-13ish). Crass, over-broad comedy with Jerry O'Connell as ne'er-do-well stepson of Brooklyn mobster (Christopher Walken), sent with his pal (Anthony Anderson) to Australian Outback to deliver cash; but a kangaroo hops off with the dough after they hit it with their car. Much sexual innuendo; drunkenness; line about a dingo (wild dog) snatching a baby; joke that someone's "testicles will fall off"; mobsters with guns; flatulent camels.
"Darkness Falls." Lame, nonsensical horror flick about vengeful ghost of 19th-century woman known as the Tooth Fairy who swoops down, snatches and kills children and others; cheap, lightbulb-flickering moments, dizzy camera moves will make teens jump. Non-gory mayhem, but deafening sound effects, thud of victims falling to earth; profanity; fisticuffs; lurid portrayal of frightened child. Not for preteens.
"National Security." Martin Lawrence as loudmouth police academy dropout, Steve Zahn as tightly wound L.A. cop he gets fired by charging brutality, wind up as bickering security guards chasing guys who killed Zahn's partner; hilarious spoof of political correctness, but too many stunts, chases, shootouts pad barely serviceable plot. Much sexual innuendo; profanity; intense gunplay, fighting, not all of it comedic. More for high-schoolers.
"Just Married." Newlyweds (Brittany Murphy, Ashton Kutcher) return from disastrous Italian honeymoon ready to kill each other in derivative, often lewd, sloppily made rich girl/poor boy romantic comedy with a bit of redeeming slapstick. Strong sexual innuendo; milder sexual situations; dog falls to an off-camera death in allegedly comic scene; toilet humor; gag about airport security cavity search; ethnic stereotypes; some profanity. More for high-schoolers.
"Catch Me If You Can." Leonardo DiCaprio shines in Steven Spielberg's sly, hugely entertaining 1960s saga of real-life con man Frank W. Abagnale, who, as unhappy teen runaway posed as airline pilot, doctor and lawyer, cashing bad checks and fleeing a dogged FBI man (Tom Hanks). Themes of adultery, divorce; mild sexual situations; profanity; sexual innuendo; graphic depiction of bloody broken leg.
"City of God." Terrific but shattering Brazilian film about gangs of violent, drug-dealing youths who rule a hopeless, mostly black housing project outside Rio de Janeiro; told in jumpy cinema verite style through eyes of a boy who photographs the mayhem. Bloody gun violence -- more stylized than graphic, but hard to watch; little kids, teens killing, getting killed, using drugs; sexual situations; nudity; profanity. Portuguese with subtitles. Cinema buffs 17 and older.
"Confessions of a Dangerous Mind." Fascinating character study, artfully directed by George Clooney, based on autobiography of game show guru ("The Dating Game," "The Gong Show") Chuck Barris (terrific Sam Rockwell) and his dubious claim to having been a CIA assassin; with Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Clooney. Mildish R with sexual situations, including encounter between adolescents; profanity; man nude from rear; gun violence. Pop culture buffs 16 and up.
"The 25th Hour." Spike Lee's tough, moody, fine film about drug dealer (Edward Norton) making peace with pals (Barry Pepper, Philip Seymour Hoffman), girlfriend (Rosario Dawson), dad (Brian Cox) before he goes to prison. Profanity, ethnic slurs, strong sexual language, innuendo; graphic beatings; sounds of dogs fighting, one shown injured; drinking, talk of drugs. 16 and older.