“Zookeeper” (Columbia/MGM)
Scattershot, sometimes earthy comedy in which a mild-mannered Boston zoo attendant (Kevin James, who also co-wrote the script) discovers that the animals under his care (voiced by an ensemble that includes Nick Nolte and Adam Sandler) can communicate with him.

Their “Wild Kingdom”-style mating advice, however, does little to help him recognize that a caring colleague (Rosario Dawson) is the gal he ought to be pursuing instead of the attractive but shallow ex-girlfriend (Leslie Bibb) with whom he continues to be infatuated.

Director Frank Coraci’s ill-matched crossbreeding of romance and children’s fantasy is too mushy – and occasionally too mature – for kids, yet too sloppy for their discerning elders. Probably acceptable for mature teens. Cohabitation, brief implied frontal nudity, some restrained sexual humor and a couple of mildly crass terms.

The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG – parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

“Cars 2” (Disney/Pixar)
In director John Lasseter’s winsome – and equally family-friendly – sequel to 2006’s “Cars,” some of the anthropomorphic vehicles of the first feature depart Route 66 for an around-the-world adventure as a veteran race car (voice of Owen Wilson) accepts a challenge to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix across three countries. With his best friend, a hapless tow truck (voice of Larry the Cable Guy), in tow, he takes on his main rival, a cocky Italian Formula One speedster (voice of John Tuturro).

A case of mistaken identity, meanwhile, sees the amigos mixed up in James-Bond-style intrigue involving an Aston Martin (voice of Michael Caine) who is the superspy of British Intelligence. Amid the sight gags and belly laughs are good lessons about family, friendship, self-esteem, environmental stewardship and acceptance of others. Some of the action, however – mainly the spy scenes showcasing explosions, gunfights, and car “torture” – may be too intense for younger viewers.

The Catholic News Service classification is A-I – general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G – general audiences, all ages admitted.

Talbot releases new CD

Popular Catholic recording artist and contemporary Christian music pioneer John Michael Talbot has released his long awaited new CD, “Worship and Bow Down.”

His first studio project since a fire destroyed several buildings at his monastery in Berryville, Ark., in April 2008, Talbot has literally “risen from the ashes” during the last two years with a new CD, a new look and a new simpler touring style with teaching and motivational speaking being as much a part of events as singing.

Included in “Worship and Bow Down” is Talbot’s new, appropriately titled “Mass of Rebirth” (New Roman Missal Translation) in a “Contemporary Chant” setting.

Of the 17 tracks on the disc overwhelming favorites during his current tour are the new compositions “Hail Mary,” “Breathe,” “In Remembrance of Me” and “Jesus Prayer.”

The CD is available in Catholic and Christian bookstores nationwide, available for digital download on all major distributors including iTunes.com and Amazon.com and from Talbot’s web site: www.johnmichaeltalbot.com/