new on DVD: what to watch, and not to watch, with the kids

There’s lot of new kids showing up on the DVD shelves this week, and some of them are even appearing in films that would be appropriate to let the kiddies watch. Like Dreamer (read my review/buy at Amazon), the Dakota-Fanning-and-her-horse tale that’s utterly predictable and also utterly charming. And of course we all know the story of Chicken Little (read my review/buy at Amazon)… or do we? This Disney redo significantly ups the ante for the little clucker, and injects so much goofy geekiness that grownups may get a bigger kick out of this terrific (and vastly underrated) film than their children do.

You’re probably gonna wanna keep the kids away from The Squid and the Whale (not reviewed/buy at Amazon) and Dear Wendy (not reviewed/buy at Amazon). The first one, a tragi-comedy about growing up in an intellectually and emotionally fractured home, may give them some, um, sticky ideas about how to act out. And the second is a Dogme-esque satire on kids, violence, and the American romance with guns and gunplay — nuff said.

Strictly for adults is actor Liev Schreiber’s directorial debut, Everything Is Illuminated (read my review/buy at Amazon), a beautiful film about one young man’s search for his family’s past. Gritty and less luminous, of course, is Capote (read my review/buy at Amazon), starring this year’s Best Actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman — his search for truth is a lot less, um, honest than the one Elijah Wood embarks upon in Illuminated.

Derailed (read my review/buy at Amazon) is pretty much unsuitable for everyone, but it’s delicious junk food anyway. Just don’t read too much about this flick before you see it — the less you know about it, the more junk-food-icious it is.

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