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Movie guide

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Sterritt ** The popular '70s television series inspired this campy romp, which has enough sassy lines - and enough of Diaz's radiant smile - to outclass most parodies of its ilk. Too bad the action scenes rarely rise above standard kung-fu comedy, diluting the film's otherwise considerable entertainment value.

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Staff **1/2 Lively, humorous, kitsch fun, actresses let their hair down.

Sex/Nudity: 1 implied sex scene. 1 scene with brief nudity and numerous scenes with scanty clothing. Violence: 3 scenes with violence, including a gun threat. Profanity: 4 expressions, mostly mild. Drugs: 16 scenes with drinking and smoking.

George Washington (Not rated)

Director: David Gordon Green. With Donald Holden, Candace Evanofski, Curtis Cotton III, Paul Schneider. (89 min.)

Sterritt **** Set in a rural corner of the American South, this utterly original comedy-drama spins the meandering story of several poor kids going through familiar routines of growing up: exploring their interests, falling in love, and figuring out the adult world they're about to enter. Among them is the title character, an African-American boy with a physical handicap and a gallant spirit that makes him a hero in ways he never expected. Green tells the tale through leisurely, eye-catching shots that allow the young cast members to imbue their characters with striking credibility and intensity.

The Legend of Bagger Vance (PG-13)

Director: Robert Redford. With Matt Damon, Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jack Lemmon, Bruce McGill, Joel Gretsch, J. Michael Moncrief, Lane Smith. (127 min.)

Sterritt ** Traumatized by World War I, a young Southern golfer travels a downward path until he meets a mysterious black caddy who cloaks wise words in a humble disposition. Few would argue with the film's message about being true to your own best instincts. The trouble lies in its stereotypical style, its schmaltzy emotionalism, and its romanticized view of a white man's world in which it's taken for granted that even the most enlightened African-American must be a servant as well as a sage. The movie aims only at our heartstrings and tear ducts, when it could have touched our minds and consciences.

Requiem for a Dream (Not rated)

Director Darren Aronofsky. With Ellen Burstyn, Marlon Wayans, Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto. (102 min.)

Sterritt ** This deliberately disturbing melodrama focuses on New Yorkers with different kinds of addictions: an aging woman hooked on fantasies of being thin and famous, and two young men hooked on drug dealing. Solid acting helps the story stay earthbound when Aronofsky's filmmaking gets addicted to its own flashy cynicism, but the picture sometimes seems as dazed and confused as the situations it wants to criticize. Based on Hubert Selby Jr.'s novel "Last Exit to Brooklyn."

A Time for Drunken Horses (Not rated)

Director: Bahman Ghobadi. With Ayoub Ahmadi, Rojin Younessi, Ameneh Ekhtiar-Dini, Mehdi Ekhtiar-Dini. (77 min.)

Sterritt **** The poignant story of a poverty-stricken family's quest to find medical attention for a child during a harsh winter on the Iran-Iraq border. The tale is simply told but stunningly photographed and superbly acted in the best tradition of Iranian cinema. In Kurdish and Farsi with English subtitles

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 5 instances, including a brief scuffle and men fighting. Profanity: None. Drugs: 2 instances of smoking and 2 instances of pouring liquor into mules' water to serve as antifreeze.

Venus Beauty Institute (Not rated)

Director: Tonie Marshall. With Nathalie Baye, Bulle Ogier, Audrey Tautou, Micheline Presle. (105 min.)