8 and Older
"Shark Tale" (PG). Fresh-yet-salty animated fish story set in colorful coral reef where sharks rule; big-talking little fish (voice of Will Smith) who pretends he's a shark slayer befriends timid great white (Jack Black) scared to tell his dad (Robert De Niro) he's a vegetarian; the new pals hang out happily till their secrets catch up with them. Sharks bare teeth, chase fish, talk tough; a shark slams into ship's anchor and dies; whale poop joke; mild sexual innuendo.
10 and Older
"Raise Your Voice" (PG). Perky Hilary Duff in a laughable vanity flick as Arizona teen who longs to hone her singing-songwriting skills at a summer conservatory in L.A.; sudden death of her brother (Jason Ritter) racks her with grief, but her mom (Rita Wilson) tricks her overprotective dad (David Keith) and sends her anyway; she meets a cute guy (Oliver James) and shows off her alleged musical gifts. Mild sexual innuendo, kissing; hints of past sexual tryst between students; rare crude language; briefly scary car wreck.
"The Final Cut." Robin Williams in chilly, cerebral, off-putting thriller set in a future when rich people have chips implanted at birth that store memories; when they die, Williams as sad, haunted video editor creates "rememories" for families to treasure, with all ugliness deleted. Scene that strongly implies (nothing shown) a father's intention to molest his little girl; among adult characters, a briefly explicit sexual situation, an implied tryst; two boys playing in factory where one seems to fall to his death; gun violence; rare profanity. High schoolers.
"Primer." Brainy, baffling but gripping low-budget sci-fi thriller about young engineer/physicists who build a device that lets them time travel for short periods and return before they left; gizmo leads to big moral quandaries. Implied violence; mild sexual innuendo. Teens.
"Friday Night Lights." West Texas high school football team strives for state championship in well-observed, well-acted sports film that falls into cliches, but also examines how fanatical high school sports culture can rule kids', parents' lives; Billy Bob Thornton as coach, Derek Luke as key player. Occasional midlevel profanity, crude language; one nasty racial slur; implied sexual encounter between teens; implied toplessness; teen and adult drinking; drunk dad (country star Tim McGraw) verbally abuses, hits son (Garrett Hedlund). Teens.
"Taxi." Queen Latifah as speed-happy cabdriver, Jimmy Fallon as barely competent, driving-challenged New York cop chase gorgeous female bank robbers in silly but enjoyable crime farce; with Ann-Margret as his tipsy mom, Henry Simmons as Latifah's beau. Occasional crude humor, profanity; sexual slang, innuendo; scene with female criminal frisking a female cop she's taken hostage in highly suggestive manner; wild car chases; rare, understated gun violence. 15 and older.
"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 conventional but effective drama. Fires, explosions, collapses feel real, quite scary; burned firefighter with skin grafts on his face; civilians, including children, shown in danger; some profanity; sexual innuendo; a homophobic joke; drinking, smoking. Teens.
"Around the Bend." Mildly diverting but overly precious, laboriously "quirky" fable with Michael Caine as dying patriarch and former archaeological grave robber; he orders his strait-laced grandson (Josh Lucas), his adorable great-grandson (Jonah Bobo) and his ex-con son (Christopher Walken) to scatter his ashes while retracing family history. Strong sexual innuendo, sexual language, profanity; references to long-ago violence against a child; themes of loss, grief. High schoolers.