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Movie Guide

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Staff ** Roused from a 200-year sleep by 21st century rock 'n' roll, Anne Rice's vampire Lestat becomes a rocker himself, inviting other vampires to "come out, come out, wherever you are" and co-exist with humans. His fame brings back his mentor, decidedly of the "don't ask, don't tell" school, and wakes the mother of all vampires, Queen Akasha (Aaliyah). Bouncing between campiness and bloodbath, this one's a failed effort, but your only opportunity to see the late Aaliyah in a starring role. By M.K. Terrell

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Sex/Nudity: 3 instances innuendo. Violence: 14 gory scenes. Profanity: 3 mild expressions. Drugs: 5 scenes, 2 with illegal drugs.

Return to Never Land (G)

Director: Robin Budd. With voices of Harriet Owen, Blayne Weaver. (72 min.)

Sterritt *** Fans of the 1953 animated classic "Peter Pan" will find familiar faces in this sequel, which follows Wendy's daughter on an adventure with Captain Hook, magical Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, and Peter himself. The story lacks the freshness of the original film. But kids will enjoy its action and humor. And in the age of "Monsters, Inc." it's refreshing to see a cartoon that looks like one rather than a conglomeration of computer-generated bits and bytes.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 16 scenes of cartoonish violence. Profanity: None. Drugs: None.

Scotland, PA (R)

Director: Billy Morrissette. With: James LeGros, Maura Tierney, Christopher Walken (97 min.)

Staff ** This reworking of Shakespeare's MacBeth is set in a rural Pennsylvania diner in the 1970s. Joe McBeth, an underappreciated cook and his waitress wife, Pat, conspire to eliminate the owner of Duncan's and transform the sleepy diner into a fast-food McDonald's clone. Walken gives a good performance as a Columbo-style, laid-back cop. Some creative adaptions to the Bard include Lady McBeth's guilt manifesting as a deep-fat fryer burn that won't heal. Director Morrissette tries too hard to make the dark comedy feel like "Fargo." By Seth Stern

Staff **1/2Quirky, low-budget feel, clever, dark.

Sex/Nudity: 8 instances, 2 with nudity. Violence: 10, including several murders. Profanity: At least 53 expressions, some harsh. Drugs: 41 scenes with smoking and drinking.

The Son's Room (R)

Director: Nanni Moretti. With Nanni Moretti, Laura Moranti, Giuseppe Sanfelice, Jasmine Trinca. (99 min.)

Sterritt ** In the modest Italian city of Ancona, a gentle psychotherapist and his family face unexpected trauma when his teenage son dies. Don't look for Moretti's comic touch and autobiographical approach in this drama, which relies on straightforward screenwriting for its emotional power. Moretti's acting skills aren't up to the demands of the main role, and his portrait of family life is too simplistic to be credible. In Italian with English subtitles.

We Were Soldiers (R)

Director: Randall Wallace. With Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear. (140 min.)

Sterritt * Gibson leads American soldiers through a blood-filled battle of the Vietnam war in this fact-based but cliché-riddled melodrama. The filmmakers take advantage of their 1965 setting to dish out guts-and-glory archetypes, ignoring the bitterness and cynicism that welled up among US troops when they started questioning the war's moral and political basis later in the decade. Meanwhile, every female character is portrayed as a midcentury stereotype that would make Ozzie and Harriet squirm. How can so much money and star power add up to so little authenticity and conviction?

Staff *** Convincing, grimly fascinating, horrific, square-jawed heroism.

Sex/Nudity: 1 instance implied sex. Violence: 14 violent battle sequences, some are gory. Profanity: 22 strong expressions. Drugs: 10 instances of smoking and drinking.

A.I. (PG-13)

Director: Steven Spielberg. With Haley Joel Osment, Frances O'Connor, Jude Law, William Hurt. (140 min.)

Sterritt *** The time is the distant future, and 11-year-old David is a new kind of android whose "artificial" intelligence is programmed with "authentic" emotions. But what if David's human love proves incompatible with his robotic nature? Spielberg took over this fantasy from the late Stanley Kubrick, but his own approach favors the pure fantasy styles of "E.T.," bringing the results closer to a high-tech joyride than a thought-provoking parable. Watch out for violence.

Staff ** Pointless, shallow characters, stale.

Sex/Nudity: 1 scene implied sex. Profanity: 1 expression. Violence: 20 scenes, one torture scene. Drugs: None.