Film Fare...with Mark Moorehead
Spring film preview: A numbers game?

Editorís note: Based on the number of families in the Kyrene Corridor, Pecan Grove Estates resident and Wrangler News columnist Mark Moorehead tries to filter newly released films based on their suitability for family audiences. The following, a preview of upcoming productions, addresses that issue.

Scanning films that qualify for family fare is no easy task. There are few films in 2005 rated PG or PG-13. G-rated films are so rare now I double check to make sure itís not a typo. Hollywoodís preferred customer continues to be teens and 20-something folks. 

Another observation made during my search was the preponderance of familiar sequels and prequels this spring. 

The studios are playing it safe recognizing itís a numbers game. Just look at the lineup: Batman Begins, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Ring 2, X-Men 3, Mission Impossible 3, Spiderman 3, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Indiana Jones 4. 

(For a moment there, I thought I was looking at hockey scores.)

After an exhaustive search I did manage to find several films that seem to be safe bets for family entertainment, including a few of the aforementioned prequels and sequels. 

Because of Winn-DixieóA childrenís film based on the best seller of the same name starring Jeff Daniels, Cicely Tyson and Eva Marie Saint. This feel-good movie is about a lonely young girl who adopts an orphaned dog at a supermarket and, to memorialize the event, names the dog Winn-Dixie.

In addition to providing companionship, the dog helps her make friends in a small town and heal a troubled relationship with her father. Rated G. Opens 2/18. 

A Sound of ThunderóBased on a story by the king of sci-fi, Ray Bradbury, and starring Ed Burns and Ben Kingsley. Set in the future when time travel is not only possible but an integral part of the travel industry. 

The catch, however, is that one may only travel back in time before mankindís reign to prevent interference with history and possibly your own existence. You definitely want to buy travel insurance for this one. 

Kingsley plays the operator of a travel firm that sends wealthy clients back to the Jurassic period for hunting trips or maybe just to hasten the extinction of dinosaurs. Something goes terribly wrong, causing catastrophic historical change (Bush loses Florida?). Ed Burns goes back to correct the problem and save mankind before someone demands a recount. Opens 3/11. Rated PG-13. 

Star Wars: Episode II Revenge of the SithóGeorge Lucas swears this is the last film in the saga. Revenge completes the series and brings you up to the very first installment of Star Wars, released more than 25 years ago.

Most important, this episode answers that nagging question of why Anakin Skywalker decided to cross over to the dark side and become Darth Vader. And, no, itís not because Natalie Portman plays the role of a stripper in her current release Closer. Not yet rated. Opens 5/18. 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireóDaniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint return to see what is brewing at Hogwarts during their fourth year in school in this fourth episode in the Harry Potter series. 

My guess is this may be the last of the Harry Potter films, since Daniel and Emma will be old enough to get married in a few years. Ralph Fiennes, portraying the evil Lord Voldemort, is a welcome newcomer. Voldemort has something up his sleeve for Harry and gang during their participation in the interschool tri-wizard tournament. Opens 11/18. Not yet rated.

Kicking and Screaming is a comedy about the cutthroat, hyper-competitive world of Little League soccer, starring Will Ferrell (Elf) and Robert Duvall. 

Ferrell portrays Phil, an average suburban dad whoís had to put up all his life with an overly competitive father (Duvall). When Phil decides to coach his own 10-year-old sonís soccer team he goes head to head in a championship series with his nemesis. 

Picture club soccerís best against the finest from the Y.M.C.A. 

Opens 5/13. Rated PG.