Tots on Up
"Clifford's Really Big Movie" (G). Sweetly amusing animated feature in which giant red pooch (voice of the late John Ritter) joins sideshow (Jenna Elfman as tightrope-walking cow, Wayne Brady as trapeze-flying ferret) to win a lifetime supply of dog food so his little girl can afford him. Tots may get nervous when dog-food magnate's guards chase Clifford, animals have comical high-wire disasters.
10 and Older
"New York Minute" (PG). Bankable, perennially perky twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in trifling feature as sibs who resolve differences during Manhattan misadventure. Giggly sexual innuendo iffy for under-10s, with twins in bath towel and robe around cute guys; implied nudity; toilet humor; racial stereotypes; dog put in comic peril; scary snake; fight; car chase; theme about loss of parent.
PG-13s and an Unrated Documentary
"Van Helsing." Effects-laden monster epic plays like nifty theme-park ride in fairly thrilling, relatively bloodless (if deafening) style, deflated by endless finale of monster-vs.-human smackdowns. Hugh Jackman as Bram Stoker's vampire-killer takes on Dracula (Richard Roxburgh), Frankenstein monster (Shuler Hensley) and more; Kate Beckinsale as fighting Transylvanian damsel. Impalings, sliced-off limbs, gross transformations into werewolves; gargoylish vampire babies; muted sexual innuendo. Not for the timid or phobic or preteens.
"Super Size Me" (Unrated). Morgan Spurlock's entertaining, disturbing journal chronicles deterioration of his health in month he spent gorging on McDonald's meals; witty nonfiction film should entertain, perhaps wake up high schoolers to fast-food foibles. Graphic discussion of depressed sex drive briefly puts film on outer edge of PG-13. Profanity, vomiting, video of stomach surgery. Iffy for middle-schoolers.
"Mean Girls." Lindsay Lohan in sunny turn as girl home-schooled in Africa who enters real jungle of suburban American high school in wickedly on-target comedy with heart; Rachel McAdams as evil cool-girl queen, screenwriter Tina Fey as math teacher. Abstinence, sexually transmitted diseases, condoms spoofed; tampon joke; nonexplicit sexual situation with partial undress; misogynistic, homophobic slurs; bus-pedestrian accident; drinking. Iffy for middle-schoolers.
"Laws of Attraction." Pierce Brosnan charms as devil-may-care divorce lawyer in pallid imitation of old-style romantic comedies; badly miscast Julianne Moore as uptight courtroom rival he woos. Gently implied sexual situations; mildly lewd jokes about sexual addiction, brothels, an oft-divorced character; occasional profanity; drinking.
"Godsend." Lame, poorly executed, boneheaded thriller with Greg Kinnear, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos as couple whose son dies, Robert De Niro as doctor who clones them an identical child -- they think. Car hits boy off-screen but strongly implied; clone hallucinates, fantasizes killing, arson; implied murder of another child; mild sexual situation with implied nudity, other sexual innuendo; strong profanity; birthing scene. Not for middle-schoolers.
"Envy." Ben Stiller as middle-management drone who goes a little nuts when his pal (Jack Black) strikes it rich with a spray that makes dog doo disappear. Sometimes inspired spoof of entrepreneurial spirit is often marred by forced tone, unfunny visual jokes. Crude talk about male organs; mild sexual innuendo; strong profanity; drinking; off-camera death of horse. Not for middle-schoolers.
"13 Going on 30." Fresh, funny reimagining of "Big" (PG, 1988) stars Jennifer Garner as adult version of 13-year-old who wishes she were grown up; she awakes as shallow magazine editor, flawed by her teen choice to join the in-crowd; Mark Ruffalo as adult version of childhood pal she dissed. Much mild sexual innuendo; comic would-be seduction; teens discuss drinking, "grown-up" protagonist drinks; rare profanity.
"Man on Fire." Denzel Washington stars as former agent-assassin who reconnects with his humanity guarding a wealthy child (Dakota Fanning); she's abducted, he wreaks bloody vengeance in distasteful thriller. Depiction of torture (cut-off fingers, ears), shootings, explosions, suicide; photos of kidnapped, injured children; strong profanity; muted sexual innuendo; drinking, smoking. 17 and older.
NC-17 Art Film
"Young Adam." Gritty parable about amoral drifter (Ewan McGregor) in 1950s Scotland who seduces women, causes trouble in people's lives, walks away from the consequences; Peter Mullan, Tilda Swinton as river bargeman and wife whose family he destroys. Excellently acted, starkly beautiful, but a grim business. Highly graphic sexual situations, including sadomasochism, full nudity; a drowned corpse; rare profanity; drinking. No one under 17 allowed.