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Director: Adam Shankman. With Vin Diesel, Lauren Graham, Brad Garrett. (91 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Staff ** Hardened Navy commando Shane Wolf (Diesel) gets the most challenging assignment of his career: protecting the children of an assassinated scientist from agents seeking the top-secret program he was working on. Fortunately, the combination of the bodyguard's military discipline and hidden soft side give the family children the tough love they need. The Disney-like plotting is too predictable for most adults and teens, and violence puts it off-limits for young children, but 8- to 11-year-olds should find the slapstick amusing. By M.K. Terrell
Director: Chris Wedge. With voices of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Jennifer Coolidge. (89 min.)
Sterritt ** The animated adventures of a young robot with big ambitions, and an old robot who's been kicked out of his own business by a profit-hungry upstart. The visuals are spectacular at times, but the screenplay is trite, intermittently vulgar, and just not funny.
Director: Mike Binder. With Joan Allen, Kevin Costner, Evan Rachel Wood, Mike Binder. (118 min.)
Sterritt ** A mother and her four daughters cope with bitterness and confusion after her husband abruptly vanishes from the household. Allen and Costner give admirably understated performances as the woman and her eccentric next-door neighbor, but the story feels more cleverly contrived than deeply felt.
Director: Philip Saville. With Henry Ian Cusick, Stuart Bunce, Daniel Kash, Diana Berriman. (280 min.)
Staff ** Narrated by Christopher Plummer, this is a lushly filmed attempt to bring the apostle John's version of the life of Jesus to the screen. The film received mixed reviews for its somewhat stiff literal faithfulness to every word as written in the American Bible Society's Good News Bible. Nonetheless, it remains an interesting depiction of a story that is certainly worth revisiting this time of year. The extras include an interactive map of the Holy Land with the miracles of Jesus delineated on it, historical background, and an interesting featurette that takes you into the making of the film. By Gloria Goodale.
Director: Brad Bird. With the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson. (121 min.)
Staff ****When society turns on those with superpowers, Bob and Helen Parr hang up their Spandex suits and Zorro masks, enter the equivalent of a witness-protection program for superheroes, and try to raise a family. But each family member struggles with an identity crisis as they try to fit into regular life. That, in turn, leads to tensions within the home that would flummox Dr. Phil. To save itself, the family has to unite to save the world from a villain. In a lively commentary track, director Brad Bird offers an absorbing look into his vision and doesn't shy from discussing conflict between himself and the film's producer over artistic decisions. In addition to an equally candid "making of" featurette and a quirky film by actress Sarah Vowell, the second disc includes a cute short about Jack-Jack, the family baby who turns into a Tasmanian Devil at will. By Stephen Humphries.