Family Movie Guide
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 28, 2002
The Family Movie Guide should be used along with the Motion Picture Association of America rating system for selecting movies suitable for children. Only films rated G, PG or PG-13 are included in this weekly listing, along with occasional R-rated films that may have entertainment or educational value for older children with parental guidance. Compiled by St. Petersburg Times film critic Steve Persall.
The Santa Clause 2 B- (G) -- Tim Allen returns as a divorced father contracted to be Santa Claus, with a codicil for the sequel: He must get married. Nothing objectionable to report, because Disney keeps things squeaky-clean.
Treasure Planet C+ (PG) -- Disney updates Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island to the space age with mixed results. The action animation is equal to the studio's animation standards, yet the characters and re-worked story are forgettable. Bloodless sci-fi violence, perilous scenes and a few mildly scary alien creatures.
Recommended with reservations
Bowling for Columbine A (R) -- Rarely does an R-rated film make the Family Movie Guide, but Michael Moore's provocative documentary about America's gun violence is an exception. (Previous ones include Schindler's List and Get on the Bus.) Parents would be wise to see the film with teenagers and discuss Moore's slanted views on teen violence and gun control, offering contradictory information. Harsh profanity, mature themes and real-life footage of gun violence, including the Columbine High School shootings.
Die Another DayB+ (PG-13) -- James Bond returns for his 20th "official" film adventure (Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again were renegade productions outside the loop). This one contains the usual amount of sanitized sex and violence, but the fantasy elements and popularity of Agent 007's long career have probably taught parents what to expect. Moderate profanity, blow-'em-up action and seductive women such as Halle Berry.
The Emperor's Club (PG-13) -- Kevin Kline stars as a prep school teacher whose passion for classic literature makes a connection with a rebellious student (Emile Hirsch). The PG-13 rating is due to sexual content.
Extreme Ops (PG-13) -- Teenagers who enjoy extreme sports such as snowboarding and stunt skiing may get a kick from this movie. Devon Sawa (Idle Hands) and Rufus Sewell (A Knight's Tale) co-star as documentary filmmakers chased by a Serbian war criminal. Profanity, dangerous stunts, brief nudity.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets B (PG) -- Everyone's favorite junior wizard returns in the second film based on J.K. Rowling's popular book series. This time, Harry and his friends endure a scarier adventure than in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, including nightmare-inspiring creatures and malevolent adult authority figures. The film contains more intense violence, including Harry's bloody duel with a monster and an attacking tree. Harry's involvement with occult practices may concern some parents. The movie will also test the patience of small children with its 161-minute running time.
Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights (PG-13) -- The former Saturday Night Live star makes an animated comedy about Hanukkah, but don't expect anything as heartwarming as It's a Wonderful Life. Sandler's humor, as usual, includes numerous crude jokes and sexual references, moderate profanity and drug and alcohol references.
Far From Heaven B+ (PG-13) -- Julianne Moore plays a 1950s housewife discovering that her husband (Dennis Quaid) is gay, then developing a close relationship with a black gardener (Dennis Haysbert) at a time when interracial friendships were uncommon. The mature themes of Todd Haynes' film are obvious and addressed with candor that movies 50 years ago -- a thematic inspiration here -- weren't allowed. Profanity, including one f-word. Strong sexual situations.
The Ring B+ (PG-13) -- This creepy horror flick is definitely not for children, with its nightmarish images and an unsavory subplot about child endangerment (and worse). Only minor profanity and brief sensuality, but this film might deserve an R rating.
Solaris B+ (PG-13) -- Don't be fooled by the film's science fiction setting. This isn't another Star Wars space adventure, rather a slow-moving meditation on mature themes such as death, fate and insanity. Brief rear nudity, moderate profanity including an f-word, disturbing images.
Wes Craven Presents: They (PG-13) -- A psychology student is haunted by her childhood fears, brought to life with the kind of graphic terror endorsed by the man who created Freddy Kreuger in the Nightmare on Elm Street series. The film includes terror violence, sexual situations and profanity.
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