8 and Older

"Shark Tale" (PG). Fresh-yet-salty animated fish story set in colorful coral reef where sharks rule; odd friendship between a big-talking little fish (voice of Will Smith) who pretends he's a shark slayer and a great white shark (Jack Black) scared to tell his dad (Robert De Niro) he's a vegetarian; the pals hang out at the whale wash till their secrets and lies get them in trouble; droll story's subtext will resonate for kids dealing with any different-drummer issues. Sharks bare their teeth, chase fish; one shark slams into an anchor and dies; a fish is taken hostage; whale poop joke; mild sexual innuendo; gangster sharks talk tough.

10 and Older

"First Daughter" (PG). Katie Holmes and a solid cast can't save painfully cute, wholly artificial fable about dutiful daughter of U.S. president (Michael Keaton) trying to enjoy her freshman year of college, but finding that a pop tart roommate (singer Amerie), beer, parties and a cute guy (Marc Blucas) land her in the tabloids. Considerable mild sexual innuendo for a PG -- references to getting "a little action"; drunkenness; emergency moves by Secret Service could startle under-10s.


"Ladder 49." Joaquin Phoenix in fine turn as Baltimore firefighter, recalling his career while trapped in a burning grain elevator; his superior (John Travolta, rather miscast) leads rescue effort in simple, focused drama about why firefighters love what they do and why their families worry -- effective despite its conventionality. Fires, explosions, collapses feel real and scary; burned firefighter with skin grafts on his face; civilians, including children, shown in danger; occasional profanity; sexual innuendo; a homophobic joke; drinking, smoking. Teenagers.

R's and Limited Releases

"I {heart} Huckabees." Weird, wonderful, sometimes overextended philosophical farce by David O. Russell details disappointments of modern life, from personal angst to red state/blue state fault lines, in tale of Albert (Jason Schwartzman), a dorky environmental activist who hires eccentric existential detectives (Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin) to trace source of his malaise; trail leads to Huckabees, a retail store Albert accuses of environmental sins, Jude Law as its slick exec, Naomi Watts as his spokesmodel-girlfriend; Mark Wahlberg as firefighter who joins Albert's quest. Strong profanity; explicit, clothed sexual situation; other sexual innuendo. Philosophical high schoolers 16 and up.

"Woman Thou Art Loosed." Absorbing, though preachy parable of young woman's redemption, buoyed by Kimberly Elise's searing performance as former drug user/prostitute, in prison for murder; evangelist, Bishop T.D. Jakes (as himself -- his book and play inspired the film) counsels her; flashbacks show childhood memories of molestation by her mother's (Loretta Devine) boyfriend (Clifton Powell). Strongly implied (but not shown) rape of child by a man; a bloody dress as evidence; gun death; other mild sexual innuendo; drug use. High schoolers.

"Shaun of the Dead." Funny British comedy spoofs zombie flicks and young men who lay about, zombielike, playing video games and glugging beer; flatmates Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) gradually realize their neighbors have become zombies; with a few loved ones, they try to get to the pub, unbitten. Hordes of undead gorging on human flesh; bloody violence; profanity; sexual innuendo; marijuana jokes; smoking, drinking; toilet humor. 17 and older.