6 and Older
"Valiant" (G). Witty computer-animated 'toon about British homing pigeons in World War II; kids will love the humor, adventure, vivid characters; older film buffs will get the clever spoofery of 1940s films; Valiant (voice of Ewan McGregor), a pint-size pigeon, joins the Royal Homing Pigeon Service and falls in love with a nursing dove (Olivia Williams); when his unit is sent into action, German falcons (Tim Curry as Von Talon) try to catch them. Slapstick silliness: eating bugs, belching the alphabet; harrowing sequences dodging antiaircraft fire, seeing a British plane crash; some pigeons downed by falcons -- no injuries shown; a pigeon says falcons will have "our innards spread like jam on toast"; mild sexual innuendo.
"Red Eye." Neat thriller with understated violence about woman (Rachel McAdams) who learns the cute guy (Cillian Murphy) next to her on a bumpy flight is a terrorist who will have her father (Brian Cox) killed unless she calls the hotel where she works and orders a government bigwig moved to a different room to facilitate an assassination. Mild mayhem includes gunplay, a throat stabbing, head-banging fights, white-knuckle turbulence; rare profanity; mild sexual innuendo; subtle verbal recollection of a sexual assault. Not for preteens.
"The Skeleton Key." Kate Hudson stars in inconsistent, accidentally funny thriller as hospice nurse who suspects the wife (Gena Rowlands) of her stroke patient (John Hurt) is dabbling in southern Louisiana "hoodoo" folk magic. Understated violence includes disturbing flashback to a lynching, an attempted strangulation, badly broken legs; a preserved fetus of indeterminate species, animal skulls; chopping up a newly killed bird; subtly implied toplessness; rare profanity; drinking, smoking; occult themes may incur religious objections.
Rs and an Unrated Film
"Pretty Persuasion" (Unrated, but on border between R and NC-17). Ultra-dark tragicomedy makes strong statements about American elites, American influence abroad, but nearly sinks under its own overstylized, overwrought metaphors; Evan Rachel Wood as poisonous, emotionally damaged Beverly Hills teenager who enlists her best friend (Elisabeth Harnois) and a new Muslim student (Adi Schnall) to accuse a teacher (Ron Livingston) at their posh school of sexual misconduct; her drug-and-sex-addicted dad (James Woods) is a bellowing boor, her real mother absent. Explicit teen and adult sexual situations; glimpses of porn videos with toplessness; steaming profanity; sexual language; racial, ethnic, homophobic slurs; teen suicide. Not for 17 or younger.
"The 40-Year-Old Virgin." Steve Carell shines with unironic innocence in riotous, bawdy, sometimes raunchy farce about a shy guy who has never had luck with girls; Paul Rudd, Romany Malco and Seth Rogen as buddies who try to solve his "problem"; film seems to say sex without love is soulless, but also seems to okay teenagers trying everything except intercourse; strong sexual language, visual innuendo, talk of sex acts, including bestiality; brief semiexplicit excerpts of porn videos with toplessness; nonexplicit to mildly explicit sexual situations; strongly implied masturbation; comic silliness about condoms, sex paraphernalia; nonsexual profanity; liquor, marijuana, drunken driving. 17 and older.
"Four Brothers." Director John Singleton's energetic, atmospheric urban revenge drama has charismatic turns by Andre Benjamin, Tyrese Gibson, Mark Wahlberg, Garrett Hedlund, but an utterly implausible, amoral plot; four foster brothers go after the Detroit gangsters they deem responsible for the murder of their foster mother (Fionnula Flanagan). Much point-blank gunplay -- some of it intense and bloody, but not exceptionally so for genre; beatings; strong profanity; graphic, sometimes misogynistic sexual language; racial slur; semiexplicit sexual situation; toilet humor; implied marijuana use; drinking. 17 and older.