Of course, "family film" usually translates into "kiddie film," with the parents and older siblings left to grit their teeth and endure while the tykes laugh at the singing chipmunks. Rare is the film that is truly entertaining for the entire family -- which is why I'm always excited about a new Pixar project, since they're the only ones who pull it off regularly.

Pixar's Up (due May 29) is this year's entry, and there's no reason to suspect it will be any less admirable than the company's previous work. Coraline (Feb. 6), from the director of Nightmare Before Christmas, looks like it could be an imaginatively macabre treat for grown-ups and kids. There's also a Harry Potter movie due in July, though that series becomes darker and less kid-oriented as it progresses, so you might want to leave certain younger family members at home.

Here's as complete a list as I can muster for what family-oriented flicks are coming in 2009, including live-action, animation, and whatever the Jonas Brothers are.

January: Hotel for Dogs, Inkheart.
February: Coraline, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.
March: Race to Witch Mountain (Disney + The Rock = $$$), Monsters vs. Aliens.
April: Hannah Montana: The Movie.
May: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Up.
June: Imagine That (warning: contains Eddie Murphy).
July: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (is this a prequel? How are the dinosaurs dawning after the mammals?), G-Force, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
August: None, unless you count G.I. Joe, which is based on a line of children's dolls.
September: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
October: Toy Story (3D re-release), Where the Wild Things Are, Astro Boy.
November: A Christmas Carol (one of those crazy 3D motion-capture things, like Polar Express), The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Old Dogs (aka John Travolta and Robin Williams remake Daddy Day Care).
December: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel (GET IT?!!!?!?!?), The Princess and the Frog.