Tots on Up
"Piglet's Big Movie" (G, 75 minutes). Genial Disney-animated Pooh adventure in which Piglet finds he's under-appreciated because he's little, until Pooh, Eeyore, Rabbit and Tigger can't find him one day and use his scrapbook for clues, while recalling his big deeds; inspired by stories from A. A. Milne's "The House at Pooh Corner," with songs by Carly Simon. Some fidgety stretches; little ones may be scared by swarming bees or sad when the gang can't find Piglet.
10 and Older
"Agent Cody Banks" (PG). Frankie Muniz in formulaic but amusing fantasy adventure as special teen "sleeper" agent trained by CIA; he must overcome shyness to befriend daughter (Hilary Duff) of scientist co-opted by evil cabal bent on destroying U.S. Much mild sexual innuendo -- adult female CIA agent (Angie Harmon) in low-cut jumpsuits; toddler shown at risk in runaway car while Cody races to the rescue via skateboard; other chases, fights more high-tech and kung fu, less scary.
"Bend It Like Beckham." Fresh, droll British comedy about teen daughter of traditional Indian family in London who longs to play soccer (in Britain, called "football"), idolizes British star player David Beckham and sneaks out to games with non-Indian pals because her family deems it unladylike; predictable but invigorating film portrays family fondly with respect. Mild sexual situation; occasional crude language.
"Head of State." Chris Rock in improbable but hilarious political spoof (he co-wrote and directed) as embattled Washington, D.C., alderman picked for cynical reasons to be presidential candidate of Democratic Party; he uses his neighborhood attitude to become populist hero; with funny Bernie Mac as his brother/running mate. Some profanity; sexual innuendo; comic assassination images may disturb younger teens. Not for middle schoolers.
"The Core." Hugely entertaining sci-fi thriller overcomes so-so special effects with smart script, fine cast in gripping tale of mission to save Earth -- with Aaron Eckhart as professor who realizes planet's core has stopped rotating; he and other "terranauts" (Stanley Tucci, Delroy Lindo) head to Earth's middle (in ship piloted by Hilary Swank) to jump-start core. Non-graphic scenes of violent death, destruction; authentic-looking non-fatal crash of space shuttle could upset some; rare profanity; smoking.
Rs and an Unrated Foreign Film
"All the Real Girls." Beautifully acted, evocatively filmed small-town tale -- slow, understated, like peeking at real lives -- with Paul Schneider as blue-collar mill town playboy, Zooey Deschanel as girl who makes him get serious, until human folly taints their happiness. Understated sexual situations; sexual innuendo; profanity; drinking, smoking. High schoolers.
"Nowhere in Africa" (Unrated, but has adult sexual situations). Poignant, unsentimental tale of German Jewish family fleeing Nazi Germany and settling in 1930s Kenya where father runs a farm, mother sulks, young daughter loves it and idolizes wise African cook -- done with nuance, not stereotypes. Explicit marital sexual situations, nudity; dead animals, hunting. In German, Swahili, English with English subtitles. 16 and older.
"Basic." John Travolta in terrifically entertaining turn as cocky DEA agent and former Army Ranger, sent to Special Forces training base in Panama to help investigator (Connie Nielsen) get facts about murder of a hated drill sergeant (Samuel L. Jackson). Understated, stylized violence uses dizzy camera moves instead of gore, but does include gross poisoning death, shootings, fights; profanity; rare sexual innuendo. High schoolers.