TWO BROTHERS (PG, 120 minutes)
This exotic, gorgeously shot adventure story includes harrowing footage of animals being stalked and trapped, making it more appropriate for kids 10 and older. The following description reveals key plot points: The adorable (and later on, powerful) tiger cub protagonists survive, but there are other non-graphic animal deaths. The cubs' father dies in a stylized, bloodless way. Potentially upsetting scenes show villagers chasing the cubs' mother away with guns and torches, tigers falling into a trap, being released and hunted for sport, and circus trainers using gunfire and other implied abuse to make a tiger jump though flames. Later, one of the tigers attacks a trainer, and the other, we're told, kills a household pet off-camera. Other elements include a vivid written description of a hunter's kill, read by a mother to her son. There is also mild sexual innuendo.
Set in colonial French Indochina, circa 1920, "Two Brothers" was shot in Cambodia amid mystical ancient temples. Guy Pearce plays dashing adventurer Aidan McRory. On an expedition to a jungle temple (to steal artifacts), he kills a male tiger, then discovers a cub. The cub's brother and mother get away temporarily, but the tigers can't avoid human contact. One cub lands in a circus act, the other in a royal menagerie. Their chance reunion and lucky escape are fraught with danger. Conscience-stricken, McRory and a little boy (Freddie Highmore) come to their aid.
WHITE CHICKS (PG-13, 105 minutes)
You know a comedy's in trouble when flatulence gets the biggest laughs. In this lame farce, Marlon and Shawn Wayans play doofus FBI agents charged with protecting a couple of brainless society debs on their way to a big event in the Hamptons. Through a ridiculous plot twist -- the movie's full of them; in fact it has way more plot than humor -- the girls (Maitland Ward and Anne Dudek) sustain minor injuries and refuse to be seen in public. So our two African American G-men get made up to look like skinny blond girls. They look like they're wearing rubber masks (which they are) and wigs. The movie never recovers from the failure of its central premise, but many teenagers will enjoy the slapstick and the irreverent spoof of racial attitudes.
In addition to the aforementioned crude humor, "White Chicks" contains sexual language and innuendo, some of it quite graphic for a PG-13, racial slurs, profanity, drug humor, drinking and implied semi-nudity. The mayhem features understated gun violence, loud fistfights, a snarling guard dog and another pooch shown in comic danger.
FAHRENHEIT 9/11 (R, 112 minutes)
Activist filmmaker Michael Moore comes out with guns blazing in this gripping polemic against President Bush and the war in Iraq. "Fahrenheit 9/11" is not a documentary that covers both sides of the issue. It is a seething editorial that preaches to the choir. Still, Moore's knack for juxtaposing interviews, sound bites and news footage for maximum humorous or emotional effect has punch. He accuses the Bush administration of shortchanging the war against al Qaeda in Afghanistan and pushing the United States into Iraq under false pretenses. Moore argues it's all about oil and the Bush family's ties to the Saudis. Inspired by Ray Bradbury's short novel "Fahrenheit 451" -- and the 1966 film -- about a futuristic civilization that bans writing, Moore also alleges government censorship of the facts.
For mature high schoolers who care about current events and are used to the mainstream media's coverage of the war, this film will be quite a conversation-starter. It loses momentum in the middle, but the finale is a humdinger as Moore follows a grieving American mother to Washington after the death of her son in Iraq. The well-deserved R rating reflects graphic footage of war wounded, including dead Iraqi babies, video of a public beheading (shot from a long distance but visible), footage of American corpses burned by an Iraqi mob, sexual language, profanity and slurs spoken by U.S. soldiers, some of it directed at Iraqi prisoners. There is also an audio montage of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.