A guide to movies from a family perspective:
"Where the Wild Things Are"
Suitable for: First- or second-graders and up, keeping your child and the following in mind.
What you should know: This was inspired by Max Sendak's popular book, and while there is no single scene that will make you want to shield your child's eyes, it's dark overall.
Language: One stronger version of "darn."
Sexual situations and nudity: None.
Violence/scary situations: A boy runs away and sails, through choppy waters, to an island and arrives after nightfall and meets the creatures who live there. Also has a school lesson about the sun burning out some day, snowball and dirt-clod fights, destructive tantrums, talk (only) about bashing in brains and the accidental loss of a monster's arm.
Drug or alcohol use: Adults briefly are shown with wine glasses.
Suitable for: 15-year-olds and up.
What you should know: Four couples head to a remote resort where they discover that counseling is mandatory for all of them, not just the pair contemplating divorce. Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau and Jason Bateman lead the cast. The movie's initial rating of R was appealed and a PG-13 awarded.
Language: At least a dozen mild four-letter words along with a common three-letter word for "butt."
Sexual situations and nudity: Partial nudity of a man, photographed from behind; a scene in which a woman drips candle wax on her bedmate; a massage that results in unintentional arousal; suggestive yoga maneuvers and talk about sex partners.
Violence/scary situations: Sharks appear near swimmers.
Drug or alcohol use: Adults consume beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks.
Suitable for: Teens and above.
What you should know: Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish star in this love story about John Keats and his neighbor, Fanny Brawne, set in the years before the poet's death at age 25 in 1821.
Language: Nothing objectionable.
Sexual situations and nudity: Kisses are exchanged, and a woman becomes pregnant out of wedlock.
Violence/scary situations: Two young men, sick with tuberculosis, die off-screen. There is a quick shot of bloody linens and talk about bloody coughs. A character is overcome with grief upon learning a loved one has died. Men almost come to blows over a woman.
Drug or alcohol use: Adults are shown with drinks at parties or dinners, but it's all very tame.
"The Invention of Lying"
Suitable for: Teens and older.
What you should know: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner and Rob Lowe star in this movie set in a world where lying doesn't exist -- until Gervais' character somehow tells a lie and cannot return to strictly truth-telling. It builds to lots of talk about God and life after death, handled in a generally droll manner.
Language: One use of the f-word and a couple of other objectionable words, including a gay slur.
Sexual situations and nudity: Talk about masturbation and sex.
Violence/scary situations: An elderly woman dies.
Drug or alcohol use: Adults drink, on one occasion to excess.
Suitable for: Teens and older.
What you should know: Seventeen-year-old Bliss (Ellen Page) is a small-town Texan who goes along with her mom's beauty-pageant dreams while secretly following her own dream of skating to roller-derby stardom.
Language: A couple of uses of profanity, several uses of the s-word and milder expletives.
Sexual situations and nudity: A teen-age girl is seen in her underwear. A young couple kiss and cuddle in a swimming pool. A girl admits to her mother that she's had sex.
Violence/scary situations: The potential violence of roller derby is mostly toned down, although elbows are thrown and skaters take hard falls. One skater gets a bloody nose and we see a couple of ugly bruises. A girl pushes her taunter off a railing and slaps her neglectful boyfriend.
Drug or alcohol use: A woman briefly mistakes bongs for vases in a shop. Adults drink, alone and at a party. A teen-ager has a swig of beer with her father, and another teen is arrested for underage drinking.