6 and Older
"The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement" (G). Over-long, over-stuffed, more retro, less fun sequel to likable first "Princess Diaries" (G, 2001), this time with Princess Mia (charming Anne Hathaway), a college grad, back at her Euro-mini-kingdom, Genovia, being groomed to take the throne when grandmother (Julie Andrews) retires; Mia must marry or give up the crown, so she agrees to an arranged match, while falling for the handsome nephew (Chris Pine) of a scheming viscount (John Rhys-Davies). A 12-year-old boy asks Mia to let him blow in her ear; she cuddles all night with a fellow, but chastely.
"Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie" (PG, 91 minutes). Interminable, impenetrable (for adults), indifferently animated marketing ploy spinoff of TV show, comics, trading cards, etc.; teen hero Yugi and alter ego Pharaoh use mystical playing cards against longtime teen rival and reawakened Egyptian lord of the dead bent on world destruction. Mayhem pushes PG edge: skeletal, hollow-eyed mummies lose heads, arms, chasing kid heroes; dragon/dinosaur monsters demolish one another; female monsters in sexy gear do little for girl empowerment. Intense for some ages 6 to 8.
"Alien Vs. Predator." Inventive prequel unites four "Alien" (1979, '86, '92, '97) and two "Predator" (1987, '90) films and is less graphically violent than R-rated predecessors; Sanaa Lathan plays lead scientist on Antarctic expedition into mysterious underground pyramid, where shape-shifting Predator warriors battle Alien killer-beasts, and nosy humans are in the way; climax gets a tad silly. Little human gore, but much impalement with razorlike weapons, claws; slimy, reptilian, gut-piercing aliens, their young popping out of gooey eggs, can still turn stomachs; mild profanity; setting may bother claustrophobics. High school sci-fi horror, video game buffs.
"The Village." Well-acted, artfully filmed but stilted, stagy non-thriller -- really a parable with a weak surprise ending; isolated, 19th-century villagers fear unnamed creatures in the woods; blind, intuitive daughter (Bryce Dallas Howard) of village elder (William Hurt) braves woods to get medicine for her injured love (Joaquin Phoenix). A stabbing; skinned dead animals; mysterious hooded figure; verbal recollections of long-ago violent deaths. Not for preteens.
"Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut." Highly original, profound blend of science fiction, psychological drama about disaffected teenager (Jake Gyllenhaal) obsessing about time travel, having nightmarish visions, acting out; rerelease deserves bigger audiences than quiet 2001 debut or subsequent cult following. Implied sexual situation; brief muted reference to masturbation; other sexual innuendo; a shooting, someone run over; non-graphic verbal references to child pornography; profanity; ethnic slurs; bullying; teenagers doing drugs, drinking, smoking. High schoolers.
"She Hate Me." Spike Lee's social critiquing opus starts strong, but veers fatally into "Huh?" territory; Anthony Mackie plays African American VP at corrupt drug company who tries to be a whistle-blower; fired, misunderstood and presumed guilty, he earns money by impregnating his ex-girlfriend (Kerry Washington) and her lesbian friends in a crass, endless, off-putting segment. Man jumping graphically to his death; multiple explicit sexual situations with toplessness, rear nudity; strong profanity, explicit sexual language; racial slurs. 17 and older.
"We Don't Live Here Anymore." Searing, richly detailed portrait (based on two Andre Dubus stories) of two unhappy academic couples (Mark Ruffalo and Laura Dern, Peter Krause and Naomi Watts) whose midlife malaise leads to adultery, screaming fights and sad children. Very explicit sexual situations, implied nudity; strong sexual language; profanity; smoking, drinking. Literary-minded high schoolers 17 and up.
"Open Water." Tense, grimly effective, no-frills thriller, marred by bland dialogue and acting; a couple (Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis) on an island vacation are mistakenly left behind in ocean by a boat of scuba-diving tourists; they hope for rescue as predators size them up. Scary, non-graphic shark attacks; non-gory wounds, some blood; brief nudity; subtly implied sexual situation; profanity. 17 and older.
"Collateral." Sleek, gripping, if not always credible, thriller about timid L.A. cabdriver (Jamie Foxx), hijacked by hit man (Tom Cruise) for all-night killing spree. Intense, if stylized mayhem: shootings, stabbings, fights, body hurled out window, stowed in car trunk; strong profanity; mild sexual innuendo; scary stalking sequence in empty building; Cruise's cool man could seem oddly heroic to impressionable younger teenagers. 16 and older.