7 and Older
"Herbie: Fully Loaded" (G). Cliched, charmless update of 1969 "Love Bug" and its offspring nearly saved by Herbie's anthropomorphic cuteness; Lindsay Lohan stars as young woman from a NASCAR racing family who unwittingly rescues the gifted VW bug, in all his headlight-winking glory, from the scrap heap and races him against a villainous NASCAR champ (Matt Dillon). Mild sexual innuendo -- race car driver demands photos of women who send him their phone numbers; Herbie's aerial goes up in a way adults (and some kids) may take as sexual when he sees a pretty VW bug; his risky stunts could frighten little ones.
8 and Older
"Rebound" (PG). Martin Lawrence swaggers and trash-talks (in PG terms) his way through a haphazardly written but entertaining comedy about Coach Roy, a hotshot basketball coach tossed out of collegiate sports for on-court tantrums and off-court antics; as a joke, kids on the pathetic hoops team at his old junior high invite him to coach there; his agent (Breckin Meyer) sees it as a way to fix Roy's image; he learns humility from the 13-year-olds (all excellently acted) and their shy geekiness; they learn teamwork from him.
"War of the Worlds." Tom Cruise stars as blue-collar divorced dad who must grow up and save his children (Dakota Fanning, Justin Chatwin) after aliens invade Earth in Steven Spielberg's claustrophobic, emotionally muted adaptation of H.G. Wells's classic novel. Intense lightning bolts, towering alien war machines destroy neighborhoods, vaporize people; their huge metallic tentacles also find humans, suck them up and spit them out; father and kids flee northward, see survivors rioting, killing, dead bodies floating in river, pools of human blood, wreckage of a passenger jet; they spend time in cellar with a crazed man; non-graphic gun violence; battle scenes; strong profanity for a PG-13. Not for preteens.
"Fantastic Four." Dull, dumbed-down adaptation of Marvel Comics' tales about four scientists who become superheroes after exposure to a cosmic cloud: Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), aka the elastic Mr. Fantastic; Sue Storm (Jessica Alba), aka Invisible Woman; her brother, Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), aka the flying Human Torch; and Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis), aka the Thing; their college nemesis, Victor Von Doom (Julian McMahon) becomes their superhuman enemy. Fights, leaps off buildings, transformations from human to superhuman are not gory but could scare under-10s; low-grade profanity; mild sexual innuendo; drinking.
"Dark Water." Moody, murky, unsatisfying thriller based on Japanese novel and film about newly divorced mom (Jennifer Connelly) and her daughter (Ariel Gade), who move into a gloomy apartment near Manhattan; the child begins seeing an imaginary friend and mom starts to question her own sanity, as brown gunk oozes from the ceiling and weird noises come from above. Themes of haunting, abandoned children, parental sacrifice; child shown in jeopardy; images of drowning and death; migraine pills that induce sleep; occasional profanity; mildly sexually threatening teenage boys; sexual innuendo. Not for preteens.
"George A. Romero's Land of the Dead." Gross, violent, but intriguing final (one hopes) installment in director George A. Romero's zombie oeuvre ("Night of the Living Dead," 1968, unrated, "Dawn of the Dead," 1978, "Day of the Dead," 1985, the rest Rs), shows security guards (Simon Baker, John Leguizamo) protecting a luxury high-rise residence and shopping mall created by a rich guy (Dennis Hopper) for the privileged few from hordes of living dead; soon it's every human for himself/herself. Severed heads, limbs; zombies eating human flesh, innards; humans shoot or ax them in the head; profanity; ethnic slur; sexual innuendo; liquor; marijuana. 17 and up.