Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Originally written for The Milpitas Post Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, David Thewlis Rated: PG for frightening moments, creature violence and mild language. Parental Notes: although particularly young children will find some of the sequences far too intense, older children and preteens will doubtless enjoy the film. Be sure to warn your kids that this film is very different from the book, though, or they might be disappointed by the changes from page to screen.

The Haunted Mansion

Directed by: Rob Minkoff Starring: Eddie Murphy, Marsha Thomason, Nathaniel Parker, Terrence Stamp Rated: PG for frightening images, thematic elements and language. Parental Notes: This is a fun spooky movie for kids. Very young children will likely find the spiders, animated skeletons, ghosts, and tastefully filmed suicides too frightening, but kids who love the Disney ride will enjoy this film.

Freaky Friday

Directed by: Mark S. Waters Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Mark Harmon, Harold Gould, Chad Murray Rated: PG for mild thematic elements and some language. Running Time: 93 min. Parental Notes: This is a great film for all ages, especially for those who live with a teenager. The film’s message – that life isn’t easy, no matter what your age, and that your family really does love you, no matter how lame they can be at times – is a good one, and the acting is a delight.

Spy Kids 3d: Game Over

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez Starring: Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Ricardo Montalban, Robert Vito, Ryan Pinkston, Bobby Edner, Courtney Jines Rated: PG for action sequences and peril. Running Time: 89 min. Parental Notes: Although some sequences may frighten very young children or kids afraid of heights, this film is harmless for kids under 10. Teens and adults, however, may find the cliches, lack of plot, and general incoherence tiresome.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Kenneth Brannagh, Alan Rickman, Richard Harris Directed by: Chris Columbus Rated: PG for scary moments, some creature violence and mild language. Parental Notes: There are several scenes which may be too intense for young children, including one which involves hundreds of giant spiders. However, children who are fans of the books will no doubt be thrilled.

Star Wars Episode II: Atack of the Clones

Directed by: George Lucas Stars: Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Christopher Lee Rated: PG for action/violence Notes for Parents: Like the other Star Wars films, this is a kid-friendly action flick. Although younger children might find the aliens too frightening and the action sequences too intense, older kids and teens will probably like it.

Ice Age

Rated: PG Director: Carlos Saldanha and Chris Wedge Starring: Raymond Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Jack Black Parental Notes: This film contains Roadrunner-and-Coyote style violence in small doses, and several intense sequences which might upset younger children.