by Jay Bobbin
(NOTICE: Ratings for each film begin with a 'star' rating - one star meaning 'poor,' four meaning 'excellent' - followed by the Motion Picture Association of America rating, and then by a family-viewing guide, the key for which appears below.)
STARTING THIS WEEK: "TED": A foul-mouthed teddy bear supplied one of the year's top comedy hits, courtesy of "Family Guy" mentor and Oscar host-tobe Seth MacFarlane, the film's director and co-writer who also supplies the voice of the title toy. Magically brought to life when his owner was a youngster, Ted isn't happy when the fellow (played as an adult by Mark Wahlberg) considers moving his relationship with his girlfriend (Mila Kunis) to a more serious level. Joel McHale ("Community"), Giovanni Ribisi and Patrick Warburton also appear, and former "Flash Gordon" Sam Jones has an amusing cameo. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary; audio commentary by MacFarlane, Wahlberg and cowriter Alec Sulkin; outtakes. *** (R and unrated versions: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and Movies on Demand)
"THE BOURNE LEGACY": Another covert operative plots against the agency that apparently wants to eliminate him in this expansion of the screen franchise based on Robert Ludlum's novels. Succeeding Matt Damon in the series, Jeremy Renner builds upon the action-movie cred he started to establish in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," playing the operative who decides to turn the tables on his pursuers with the help of a similarly targeted government doctor (Rachel Weisz). Edward Norton co-stars, and Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Albert Finney return in the familiar but effective thriller from director and co-screenwriter Tony Gilroy, who also wrote earlier "Bourne" scripts. DVD extras: two "making-of" documentaries; audio commentary by crew members including Gilroy; deleted scenes. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and Movies on Demand)
"ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT": In their fourth movie adventure, the animated, prehistoric animal friends - again voiced by Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary - run into a whole series of complications, not the least being climate change that breaks their continent apart and causes a literal drift of the pieces. That phenomenon takes them into a surprising encounter with pirates, with "Game of Thrones" awardwinner Peter Dinklage voicing the captain. Queen Latifah also returns, with Jennifer Lopez and Jeremy Renner as newcomers. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and Movies on Demand)
"GIRLS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON": One of the year's most-discussed new cable programs, the seriocomic HBO series casts Lena Dunham - also the show's frequent director and a writer on every episode - as one of several female friends in their 20s struggling to negotiate New York life. Allison Williams (daughter of NBC newsman Brian Williams), Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet play the other comrades in the frequently frank saga, with filmmaker Judd Apatow an executive producer along with Dunham. DVD extras: "making-of" documentaries; audio commentary by cast and crew members. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"TRADE OF INNOCENTS": It's clear that Oscar winner Mira Sorvino has a big interest in exposing human trafficking, since she not only has starred in a Lifetime miniseries about the subject - which actually was titled "Human Trafficking" - but also in this similarly themed drama. She and Dermot Mulroney play a couple who channel their grief after losing their own child into saving young girls targeted by Southeast Asian felons who abduct and literally sell people. John Billingsley ("True Blood") co-stars. DVD extra: "making-of" documentary. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V)
FAMILY-VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.