"Fantasia 2000" (G, 1 hour, 30 minutes)
Disney artists have set a new batch of images to music, using computer-generated animation as well as the old-fashioned hand-drawn kind. As with the original 1940 "Fantasia" experiment, some kids will be bored, others happily hypnotized and very little ones (say, under 6) occasionally frightened.
"Galaxy Quest" (PG, 1 hour, 42 minutes)
The has-been stars of a 1970s sci-fi TV show wind up on a "real" alien spaceship fighting "real" alien monsters in this genuinely funny spoof, which kids 10 to 13 (and some younger) should enjoy on a basic adventure level, while teens and adults chortle at the satire. "Galaxy Quest" crackles along, with nary a wrong turn, as it pokes gentle fun at the original "Star Trek" and its cultish fans. It contains rare mild profanity and sexual innuendo, but the littlest kids might shiver at seeing the battles with space alien monsters. There are huge lizardy aliens, giant squidlike ones that morph into humans, a pig-lizard and a rock-monster.
"The Talented Mr. Ripley" (R, 2 hours, 19 minutes)
In this dark, elegantly told tale of envy, sin, betrayal and self-delusion, an ambitious young man from the wrong side of the social register insinuates himself into the lives of wealthy Americans living abroad in the late 1950s. Full of unspoken but clearly implied sexual longing and subtle shifts in emotion, "The Talented Mr. Ripley" isn't for teens under 16 or so. It could, however, intrigue older high-schoolers fascinated by Europe and by sophisticated, character-driven stories. The movie also has several instances of sudden violence, occasional profanity and considerable drinking and smoking.
"Cradle Will Rock" (R, 2 hours, 13 minutes)
"Cradle Will Rock" combines fact with fiction to tell a ripsnorting tale of freethinking artists vs. Establishment censorship. High-schoolers with an interest in social history and the Depression might find it fascinating and something of an intellectual challenge. The rating reflects a fairly explicit sexual situation, nude artists' models, occasional profanity, smoking and drinking.
Beyond the ratings game
OK for most kids:
"Stuart Little" PG (Droll, touching, slightly smart-alecky take on E.B. White kid-lit classic about mouse who becomes youngest son of nice human family; lacks book's dignified tone, but still mighty entertaining. Tots may jump when cats chase Stuart; cats also swear once or twice.)
"Toy Story 2" G (Clever, touching sequel has cowboy doll Woody kidnapped by collector, as Buzz Lightyear and fellow toys go to rescue. Idea that kids grow up, leaving toys lonely, could upset littlest; some kids spooked by idea of toys coming to life. 6 and older.)
More for kids 10 and older:
"Bicentennial Man" PG (Robin Williams as post-millennial robotic house servant with glitch that makes him long to be human in ruminative, sometimes drab adaptation of Isaac Asimov-Robert Silverberg book. Mild sexual innuendo; rare profanity; inevitability of death theme.)
"The Cider House Rules" (Tobey Maguire as orphanage-raised innocent off to see the world while mentor Michael Caine worries, in gentle adaptation of John Irving novel. Strong themes about abortion, incest; sick child dies; fairly graphic sexual situation; drug abuse; fighting; drinking; smoking; profanity.)
"Anna and the King" (Jodie Foster as Anna Leonowens, Chow Yun-Fat as 1860s king of Siam who hires her to teach royal children in absorbing, visually rich, nonmusical rehash of "The King and I" story with anti-colonialist tone. Violent for PG-13: off-camera executions with splattered blood; enemy soldiers kill villagers.)
"The World Is Not Enough" (Pierce Brosnan's Bond goes after terrorist in fast, funny 007 adventure. Muted bedroom scenes; sexual innuendo; action sequences seem to endanger bystanders; fistfights, gunplay.)
"Any Given Sunday" (Al Pacino scores as football coach having hard season in Oliver Stone's long, loud, bone-crunching, macho, semi-profound expose of big-time sports. Profanity; frontal nudity; blood, sweat, vomit; occasional racial, sexist slurs; drugs, liquor, cigarettes. High-schoolers.)
"Man on the Moon" (Jim Carrey in technically stunning but emotionally dry portrait of comedy groundbreaker of "Saturday Night Live" and "Taxi" fame Andy Kaufman. Profanity; topless dancers; sexual innuendo; sexist humor. Teens.)
"All About My Mother" (Glamorous, affectionate, happily subversive tale from Spain's Pedro Almodovar about grieving nurse who forms familial bonds with actors, nuns, prostitutes, transgendered folk. Graphic sexual innuendo; sexuality issues; profanity; smoking, drinking. Subtitles. 16, 17 and older.)
"The Green Mile" (Tom Hanks as prison guard heads fine cast in mystical take on Stephen King fable about condemned African American man with healing powers in 1930s South. Nauseating electric chair deaths; gun, fist violence; profanity; racial slurs; sexual innuendo; toilet humor; nonsexual nudity. High-schoolers.)