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Movie Guide

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Staff **1/2Nail-biter, intense, goofy at times.

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Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 9 instances, some quite violent. Profanity: About 60 harsh expressions. Drugs: 6 scenes with drinking, smoking, including illegal drug use.

The Rookie (G)

Director: John Lee Hancock. With Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, Brian Cox. (129 min.)

Staff ***1/2 Quaid plays a teacher-turned-Major League Baseball player in this Disney film based on the true story of Jim Morris. While coaching another losing season of high school baseball, Morris cuts a deal: If his players start winning, he'll try out for the majors. By now an older father, Morris defies skeptics with his uncanny 95-m.p.h. fastball. For adults who believe G stands for "goofy," Quaid's intense performance will convince them to take this film seriously. By Ben Arnoldy

Staff ***1/2 Home run, avoids clichés, inspiring.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: None. Profanity: None. Drugs: 5 scenes with alcohol.

Son of the Bride (R)

Director: Juan José Campanella. With Ricardo Daré–n, Norma Aleandro, Héctor Alterio. (124 min.)

Sterritt *** Flustered by family and personal problems as he heads into middle age, a mildly successful restaurateur helps his elderly father and mentally failing mother have the church wedding she's always wanted. Energetic acting and filmmaking help this likable Argentine comedy-drama avoid the sentimentality that intermittently threatens it. In Spanish with English subtitles.

The Sweetest Thing (R)

Director: Roger Kumble. With Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, and Thomas Jane. (87 min.)

Staff * Best friends Christina and Courtney claim to love singlehood and a life of one-night-stands and unemotional flings. But when Christina finds her true love, they abandon their philosophy and chase him down. This not-quite-love story, not-quite-gal-pal movie is an unoriginal comedy that's nothing more than a recitation of platitudes and stereotypes. For fans of "Something About Mary," it is a letdown. By Katie Nesse

Time Out (PG-13)

Director: Laurent Cantet. With Aurélien Recoing, Karin Viard. (132 min.)

Sterritt **** Disillusioned with his life, a businessman stops working and conceals this from his family. He hooks up with a small-time criminal operation, abandoning this when he finds it just as spirit-killing as ordinary work. The story gathers power as he exhausts one option after another, making his future seem more ominous. Cantet's previous film, "Human Resources," also probed social and ideological problems tied to family and work. He provides rich insights, and brings them alive with sensitive acting and powerful filmmaking.

Umberto D. (Not rated)

Director: Vittorio De Sica. With Carlo Battisti, Maria Pia Casilio. (91 min.)

Sterritt **** The credo of Italy's fabled neorealist movement was that movies rooted in real, unadorned experience carry more dramatic impact than studio concoctions can dream of, and this 1952 masterpiece exemplifies that argument brilliantly. The title character is an aging man who needs a few lire to pay his rent; the story follows him and his little dog down the streets and sidewalks of postwar Rome as he tries to replenish his empty pockets. That's all. And you'll never forget it. In Italian with English subtitles.

Y Tu Mamé¡ También (Not rated)

Director: Alfonso Cuaré³n. With Maribel Verdéº, Diego Luna, Gael Garcé–a Bernal. (115 min.)

Sterritt ** Faced with serious problems in her life, a young Spanish woman living in Mexico takes off on an impulsive road trip with two adolescent boys fueled by youthful energy, various intoxicants, and hyperactive sex drives. Cuaron gives an offbeat flavor to this coming-of-age tale by combining up-close camera work with a modernistic third-person narration, and by touching on noteworthy social and political issues in the margins of the story. Too much repetition and an unconvincing finale take their toll on the film's overall effectiveness, though. In Spanish with English subtitles.

Staff *** Reckless, life-affirming, sexually graphic, beautifully shot.

Sex/Nudity: 9 scenes, very graphic, including full nudity. Violence: 3 instances, mild. Profanity: 109 very harsh expressions. Drugs: 19 scenes with smoking, 9 with drinking, 5 with marijuana.

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