6 and Older
"The Polar Express" (G). Disappointingly somber, even creepy computer-animated adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's kid lit book about a little boy who goes on a magical Christmas Eve train journey to the North Pole, befriends other kids, renews his wavering faith in Santa, learns character lessons; technology weds movements, facial expressions of live actors (Tom Hanks in several roles) to computer-animation; result is chilly, charmless, even spooky -- characters' faces more like masks. On a big screen (and in 3-D at Imax theaters), the heightened action sequences could scare under-6s: train careering out of control down mountains; a ghostly hobo appearing and disappearing; a huge, desolate Santa's village.
7 and Older
"The Incredibles" (PG). Terrific, funny, innovative computer-animated feature about family of comic-book-style superheroes brought out of forced retirement to fight new villain, while dealing, often hilariously, with their personal issues -- Mr. Incredible (voice of Craig T. Nelson), now a miserable insurance man, his wife, Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), and their kids. Harrowing action sequences have violence too close to live-action to be mere "cartoon" mayhem; attempted suicide, gunplay, octopus-like killer robot, superhero boy chased by lethal flying discs, captured dad given electric shocks, missile attacks against superheroes' plane, scary parachute escape, brief kidnapping of superhero baby.
"After the Sunset." Disappointing, poorly plotted, crudely written caper comedy stars Pierce Brosnan as diamond thief, Salma Hayek as his lover and cohort, Woody Harrelson as FBI agent who interrupts their Caribbean retirement to lure them into one last incriminating heist. Crude, R-ish unsubtle sexual innuendo; awful, outdated homophobic jokes; steamy near-sexual situations in states of partial undress; relatively bloodless gun and knife violence; occasional profanity; unstated theme that crime pays. Not for middle schoolers.
"Finding Neverland" (PG). Johnny Depp in touching, idealized story of how shy Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie came up with "Peter Pan" in 1904 after the unhappily wed writer befriended a London widow (Kate Winslet) and her young sons, inventing fantasies to lift their spirits; delightful reenactment of the play's rehearsals and premiere (Dustin Hoffman as his producer). Themes of loss, grief; brief exchange between Barrie and a friend barely hints at people's suspicions that his time with the boys is unhealthy -- filmmakers side with biographers who discount pedophilia allegations.
"Kinsey." Liam Neeson in towering portrayal at center of brave, riveting, expertly acted biopic about flawed protagonist, Alfred Kinsey, pioneering Indiana University sex researcher whose 1948 "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" forever changed the culture, awakening society to broader definition of what is "normal"; fascinating capture of bygone era's moral climate; complex relationships between Kinsey, his wife (Laura Linney), assistants (Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Hutton, Chris O'Donnell). Explicit sexual situations; nudity; explicit sexual language -- profane and clinical; photos of sex organs; implied swapping of spouses; gay bar; profanity; racial slur; drinking; smoking. No one under 17.
"Seed of Chucky." Gross, flat-footed fourth sequel in R-rated series awkwardly mixes horror, comedy and puppetry; Chucky doll (voice of Brad Dourif) and mate Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) awaken to do more mayhem when their gender-confused offspring (Billy Boyd) finds them in storage at a movie studio where the live Tilly is doing a film about the Chucky "legend;" deaths by slashing, disemboweling, beheading, sulfuric acid; sexual situations; toplessness; strong sexual language; implied artificial insemination; profanity; toilet humor. 17 and up.
"Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason." Sequel to "Bridget Jones's Diary" (R, 2001), again based on Helen Fielding's books, proves equally droll, enjoyable, but slightly more contrived romantic farce for grown-ups; plumpish, thirtyish, unsure Bridget (Renee Zellweger) has won the love of her life (Colin Firth), but they argue; she goes to Thailand with her caddish former lover (Hugh Grant) and gets arrested. Mildly implied sexual situations; crude sexual language, innuendo; profanity; home pregnancy test; drugs; smoking, drinking; toilet humor; Thai prison scenes use grim conditions for humor. 17 and older.