Family Movie Guide
By STEVE PERSALL
Published July 28, 2005
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.
SUITABLE FOR FAMILIES
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory C+
(PG) - Tim Burton's version of the classic children's tale is slightly darker than the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder without being nightmarish. Nothing objectionable except a few mature references in Willy Wonka's ramblings and a distinct lack of magic.
Herbie: Fully Loaded C-
(G) - Nothing to worry parents here. The cute, anthropomorphic Volkswagen wouldn't let down his fans; he's squeaky clean.
(PG) - A few mild profanities and crude jokes (mostly flatulence and poop gags) earned the rating, along with a few thematic elements of peril and abandonment.
Mad Hot Ballroom A
(PG) - Nothing objectionable in this documentary about elementary school students in ballroom dancing competition. Brief references about neighborhood drug dealers, but only as an example of a lifestyle to avoid. One of the best films of the year is also an inspiration to children.
March of the Penguins A-
(G) - A documentary that children will enjoy, with its adorable emperor penguins on an incredible journey to reproduce, nest and feed themselves in harsh South Pole conditions. Morgan Freeman's soothing narration keeps the science light-hearted. Nothing objectionable.
(PG) - Martin Lawrence tones down his profane act in a film aimed at the Kicking & Screaming audience, this time with junior varsity basketball as the theme.
(PG) - Essentially a live-action version of The Incredibles, with the same kind of sci-fi action violence that shouldn't worry parents of video game players. Brief, mildly crude language.
SUITABLE, WITH RESERVATIONS
Batman Begins B
(PG-13) - Children expecting a slam-bang comic book adventure may be bored by the film's first hour, before traumatized Bruce Wayne first appears as Batman. The film contains plenty of action violence and a few disturbing images created by the archvillain, Scarecrow. Mature themes, including the death of parents and psychosis.
Fantastic Four B
(PG-13) - More lighthearted and family-friendly than recent superhero movies such as Batman Begins, although it contains its fair share of sci-fi violence and perilous situations, plus a few mild profanities. Recommended for ages 10 and older.
(R) - A rare R-rated movie worth recommending for teenagers. Quadriplegics play wheelchair rugby, proving they're as cool, rowdy and inspirational as any athlete on two legs. Harsh profanity; one segment deals with sexual activities, with brief nudity. Ages 15 and older can probably handle such material in this context.
War of the Worlds C+
(PG-13) - Steven Spielberg directs another sci-fi adventure with aliens, but these aren't cuddly E.T. or Close Encounters of the Third Kind types. The film is filled with tense, disturbing images that could frighten young viewers. Children in peril is a key theme.
Bad News Bears C
(PG-13) - A grumpy alcoholic (Billy Bob Thornton) takes on coaching a Little League team. Loads of crude humor, and some of the players' mouths should be washed out with soap.
(PG-13) - Nora Ephron's movie would be offensive enough to fans of the 1960s television sitcom even if it didn't include jokes dealing with sexuality and drug abuse, profanity and Will Farrell's barely concealed total nudity in one spellbound scene. Rent the recently released DVD compilation set instead.
Dark Water B-
(PG-13) - Another remake of a Japanese horror film that, as usual, places a child in supernatural danger. The movie contains frightening images, nightmarish tension and mature themes, including divorce and profanity.
The Island B-
(PG-13) - Futuristic thriller starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson as clones sniffing out a conspiracy. Intense action violence, profanity, brief sexuality, mature themes.
Ladies in Lavender A-
(PG-13) - Brief profanity isn't likely to bother children, but do they really want to see a movie about two spinsters (Maggie Smith, Judi Dench) vying for the attention of a mysterious man washed up on their Cornish shore in the 1930s?
Mr. and Mrs. Smith B
(PG-13) - The heat between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie doesn't need nudity or graphic sexuality to be more than some parents want their children to view. The violence level is high, but mostly bloodless gunfire and explosions. Strong profanity.
Must Love Dogs
(PG-13) - Lonely woman (Diane Lane) searches for romance online, possibly meeting her perfect match (John Cusack). Middle-age love affairs don't appeal to many children, and brief profanity and sexual content may bother parents.
(PG-13) - Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel star in a 21st century Top Gun, playing fighter pilots alongside an android jet. Intense action violence, strong profanity, sexual innuendos.
[Last modified July 27, 2005, 09:54:07]
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