• Genre:  Animation, comedy, adventure

  • Run Time:  116 min.

  • Director:  John Lasseter

  • Voice Talents of:  Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Cheech Marin, George Carlin, John Ratzenberger, and Michael Keaton

  • Directed by John Lasseter, the guy who brought us classics like “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo,” and “The Incredibles,” “Cars” has all the elements of an Oscar-winning movie:  a perfect script with humor and heart, an all-star cast, an adorable love story, and a gripping score by a number of talented musicians. Hot-shot racecar Lightning McQueen learns some valuable lessons about pride and humility. We are beginning to think the Pixar storytellers are incapable of making a bad film. Hat’s off to this creative team that continues to prove good movies start with a good story, not mind-blowing special effects. This is not to say the visuals in “Cars” aren’t stunning, because this CGI film do not disappoint.

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    5.  THE PRESTIGE

    • Theatrical Release Date:  October 20, 2006

    • Rating:  PG-13 (for violence and disturbing images)

    • Genre:  Drama

    • Run Time:  128 min.

    • Director:  Christopher Nolan

    • Actors:  Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Andy Serkis, Piper Perabo, Rebecca Hall, Samantha Mahurin

    This mesmerizing tale of two rival Victorian-era magicians bent on revenge proves once again that Director Chris Nolan (with the help of his screenwriting brother Jonathan) is one of the world’s most innovative filmmakers. Viewers will puzzle over the films mysteries along with the stellar cast. Full of twists and turns, this morality play will keep you riveted and guessing until the end.

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    6.  OVER THE HEDGE

    • DVD Release Date:  October 17, 2006

    • Theatrical Release Date:  May 19, 2005

    • Rating:  PG (for some rude humor and comic action)

    • Genre:  Cartoon, Family

    • Run Time:  90 min.

    • Directors:  Tim Johnson, Karey Kirtpatrick

    • Actors (Voices):  Bruce Willis, Gary Shandling, Steve Carrell, Thomas Hayden Church, Nick Nolte, William Shatner, Wanda Sykes, Avril Lavigne, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Allison Janney, Omid Dajlili

    Usually in a given year you will see one stellar CGI film (usually from Pixar) and a handful of others that attempt to be as good. This year that computer animated field of play got especially dense, and the end result was a list of largely mediocre films. Rising above the fray, however, was Dreamworks entry, “Over the Hedge.”  Both clever and hilarious, “Hedge” pulled off the rare feat of being both great for kids, and interesting for adults. In this film, a merry band of forest critters wakes from winter hibernation to discover suburbia has arrived at their front door. This subtle dig at American materialism, through the eyes of these wonderful characters, never gets too heavy handed to distract from the high-jinks, when animal-kind have to deal with their new two-legged neighbors.

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    7.  AKEELAH AND THE BEE