Family Movie Guide
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.Skip to next paragraph
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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.
Film Critic Monitor Panel
o o Forget it
+ + Poor
++ ++ Fair
+++ +++ Good
++++ ++++ Excellent
FAST, CHEAP & OUT OF CONTROL [NOT RATED]
++++ Directed by Errol Morris. With Dave Hoover, George Mendona, Ray Mendez, Rodney Brooks. Running time: 82 minutes.
PLOT This documentary involves interviews with a lion tamer, a designer of computerized robots, a gardener who prunes trees into animal shapes, and the world's leading authority on mole rats.
MESSAGE Some people derive deep satisfaction from unusual, highly creative professions.
AARON'S MAGIC VILLAGE [G]
++ Directed by Albert Hanan Kaminski with additional material from Buzz Potamkin. With Tovah Feldshuh, Fyvush Finkel, Tommy Michaels. Running time: 78 minutes.
PLOT A 10-year-old boy visits Chelm, a town of well-meaning but silly folks, and helps defeat an evil wizard who's threatening the people with a monstrous golem.
MESSAGE Bravery and faith have no age limits.
VIOLENCE Animated violence involving the monster and other characters.
WASHINGTON SQUARE [PG]
+++ Directed by Agnieszka Holland. With Jennifer Jason Leigh, Albert Finney, Ben Chaplin, Maggie Smith, Judith Ivey. Running time: 115 minutes. +++
PLOT A plain, sensitive young woman is caught between a handsome but penniless suitor and her father, a cool-minded physician who's determined to prevent their marriage.
MESSAGE Male-dominated social customs deprive women of power over their lives, but realizing this can be a step toward liberation.
SEX Implied sex during one scene.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL Social drinking.
SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET [PG-13]
+++ Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. With Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, B.D. Wong. Running time: 134 minutes. ++++
PLOT During the World War II era, an Austrian adventurer climbs the Himalayas, lands in a British prison camp, then escapes and treks to the Tibetan city of Lhasa, where he and the young Dalai Lama strike up a friendship before China brutally invades the country.
MESSAGE Philosophical and spiritual enlightenment may come under unexpected circumstances.
SEX A little innuendo.
VIOLENCE Graphic scenes of combat and wartime destruction.
PROFANITY A few vulgarities.
BOOGIE NIGHTS [R]
++ Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. With Burt Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy, Heather Graham, Ricky Jay, Joanna Gleason. Running time: 152 minutes.
PLOT A money-driven pornographer invites a handsome teenager to earn lowdown fame and fortune as a sex-movie star.
MESSAGE The pornography business is shot through with decadence and corruption, but some can survive and even flourish in this sordid milieu.
SEX A very large amount of extremely graphic sexual activity and nudity.
VIOLENCE An extended scene of lurid mayhem, and other outbursts of violence.
PROFANITY A large number of harsh four-letter words and explicit dialogue about sexual matters.
DRUGS/ALCOHOL Drinking, drug abuse.
The Devil's Advocate [R]
++ Directed by Taylor Hackford. With Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron, Jeffrey Jones. Running time: 140 minutes.