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Family Movie Guide

May 30, 1997

This guide includes family films, potential blockbusters, and movies that might interest young people. Only films with G ratings are tagged as all-family fare by Hollywood. Most have stronger MPAA ratings that call for extra alertness from parents.

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The Family Movie Guide and the Monitor's more-comprehensive movie guide appear on alternate Fridays.

Our star ratings indicate the overall quality of movies, not their suitability for children.

o Forget It

* Poor

** Fair

*** Good

**** Excellent

Mondo [Not rated]

+++ Directed by Tony Gatlif. With Ovidiu Balan, Philippe Petit, Jerry Smith, Maurice Maurin. Running time: 80 minutes.

PLOT As if out of nowhere, a 10-year-old gypsy shows up on the streets of a Mediterranean city, bringing magic and mystery into the lives of the people he meets until he vanishes as abruptly as he arrived.

MESSAGE A sense of wonder and adventure can make life satisfying even when material sustenance is hard to come by.


Ponette [Not rated]

+++ Directed by Jacques Doillon. With Victoire Thivisol, Matiaz Bureau. Running time: 92 minutes.

PLOT A four-year-old girl wrestles with differences between fantasy and reality after her mother is killed in an accident.

MESSAGE Children can be more sensitive, imaginative, and resilient than grown-ups often realize.

SEX None.

VIOLENCE None, although the consequences of a fatal accident are central to the story.

PRofanity None.

drugs/alcohol None

Shiloh [PG]

+++ Directed by Dale Rosenbloom. With Blake Heron, Scott Wilson, Michael Moriarty. Running time: 93 minutes.

PLOT A country boy steals a mistreated dog from its hard-boiled owner, keeping this a secret from his financially strapped and morally upright parents.

MESSAGE Some ethical dilemmas defy clear right-and-wrong answers, but simple compassion is always a good policy.


VIOLENCE A small amount of violence aimed at the dog and the boy, depicted in a very mild way.

DRUGS/ALCOHOL The mean-spirited dog owner drinks beer.

Warriors of Virtue [PG]

+ Directed by Ronnie Yu. With Angus McFadyen, Mario Yedidia. Running time: 102 minutes.

PLOT Taunted by bullies, a boy is magically transported to a legendary realm where a struggle between good and evil may be swayed by lore contained in a mysterious book.

MESSAGE One should cultivate skill and maturity in accord with accepted wisdom rather than peer pressure.

SEX A little innuendo.

VIOLENCE A great deal of action-movie violence, but nothing graphic; it's sometimes stylized but usually very aggressive.

PROFANITY Vulgar words and expressions.


Anaconda [PG-13]

Directed by Luis Llosa. With John Voight, Eric Stoltz, Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube. Running time: 100 minutes. ++

PLOT Documentary filmmakers enter the South American jungles in search of native tribes but run into a snake hunter who uses filmmakers' resources to hunt for 40-foot man-killing anacondas.

MESSAGE The quest for money corrupts, but evil is eventually destroyed by evil.

SEX A mild amount of sex talk.

VIOLENCE 20 scenes that range from the snake hunter strangling a woman between his legs to a man being squeezed to death by a snake.

PROFANITY 27 instances, mostly the mild variety.

DRUGS/ALCOHOL Some drinking and smoking.

Anna Karenina [PG-13]

+++ Directed by Bernard Rose. With Sophie Marceau, Alfred Molina, Mia Kirshner, Sean Bean, James Fox. Running time: 110 minutes. +++