Matthew Lickona noon, April 29
A grown-up movie for kids, if by grown-up you mean gleefully cynical about human nature, fascinated with ugliness, and spiced with sexual references of varying heat. Perhaps it would be better to call it a movie that views kids as little more than miniature grown-ups; all the best gags land squarely in the adult solar plexus. Eleven-year-old Norman can see dead people, so when dead people start making trouble for his town, it's up to him to solve the mystery at the heart of the problem. Don't be distracted by the heavily-preached anti-bullying message (or the J-horror special effects they ladle on to keep your eyes busy during the climactic sermon). The real point here is that life is nasty, brutish, and short, and so you better find that one decent thing in this rotten, ugly world and hold on for dear life, lest you wind up as another one of the zombie mob. 2012.