"The Peacemaker" (R, 2 hours, 2 minutes)
Clumsily made, with less-than-convincing heroes, this nuclear terrorism thriller may still keep high schoolers (and younger teens, with permission) on the edge of their seats. That is, if they can make it through the nearly endless, murky, subtitled prologue. The rating, a middling R for mayhem, encompasses bloody shootings (including a suicide), nose-breaking fistfights, children and other innocents in danger, property-destroying car chases and occasional profanity. The chilling re-enactment of a nuclear explosion may give kids the nighttime shivers. Renegade Russians use the blast to cover the theft of bombs they plan to sell to Bosnian and Iranian zealots. George Clooney and Nicole Kidman -- likable but not weighty enough as nuclear anti-terrorism experts -- chase down the loose nukes; a more believable scenario than "Air Force One," but not nearly as well-executed.
"The Edge" (R, 1 hour, 57 minutes)
An adventure about two men, polar opposites, stranded and stalked by a bear in the Alaskan wilderness, "The Edge" plays out neatly despite a stilted theatrical premise. A relatively mild R, it will appeal to high schoolers who value nuanced acting and crackling dialogue (by David Mamet). The rating refers to bloody bear attacks and other graphic injuries, as well as profanity, a reference to cocaine and mild sexual innuendo.
Anthony Hopkins plays a wary, bookish billionaire married to a supermodel (Elle Macpherson). Alec Baldwin is the fashion photographer who envies him his wife and money. On location for a photo shoot, the men are in a harrowing plane accident and must scramble to survive. The best thing in "The Edge" is Hopkins' portrayal of a man's midlife rebirth.
Beyond the ratings game
For 6 and up:
"Hercules," G (Musical toon burlesques Greek myths with riotous results. Monsters, fiery scenes in underworld may frighten youngest.)
"George of the Jungle," PG (Big guy hits tree, smiles in funny Tarzan takeoff. Rare crude language; ape, elephant poop gags; mild sexual innuendo. Unusual animals may scare littlest.)
Appropriate for teens:
"In & Out," PG-13 (Small-town high school teacher "outed" as gay on TV in hilarious, warm-hearted comedy about homophobia versus acceptance. Occasional crude language, profanity; strong verbal sexual innuendo; romantic kiss between men.)
"L.A. Confidential" (Spectacular, dark thriller of corruption in 1950s L.A. Bloody gunplay, fighting; rotting corpse, rats; hints of rape, torture, seduction; erotic photos; gay subplot; rare strong profanity, sexual innuendo; liquor, cigarettes. Mature high schoolers.)
"The Game" (Chilly millionaire warmed by Scrooge-like trials in high-priced game. Mostly bloodless gunplay; non-graphic flashback of parent's suicide; rare strong profanity; sexual innuendo; non-explicit hints of porn videos. High schoolers.)
"A Thousand Acres" (Well-acted but disjointed saga of tragic family misunderstanding based on Jane Smiley novel and "King Lear." Rare strong language; understated adulterous sexual situation; verbal memories of childhood molestation, beatings. Teens.)
"Fire Down Below" (Tough guy Steven Seagal bashes polluters in good story marred by silly hero. Bloodless martial arts mayhem, muted gunplay; strong profanity, toilet humor, reference to incest; homosexuality joke; talk of marijuana. Teens.)
"G.I. Jane" (Female officer trains with Navy SEALs in nifty action drama. Crude sexist language, profanity; fistfights, mild gunplay; semi-nudity. Mature high schoolers.)
"Money Talks" (Action comedy kept afloat by comic Chris Tucker's profane patter. Verbal sexual innuendo; insults to Asians, gays; bloody gunplay, fights. High schoolers.)
"The Full Monty" (Unemployed British steelworkers try to become male strippers in hilarious, human comedy. G-strings, bare behinds; profanity; sexual innuendo; sexual dysfunction talked about; gay subplot; graphic toilet humor. Older high schoolers.)