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Staff *** The wild and droll canine Scooby-Doo and his villain-chasing friends reunite for a spooky adventure in this live-action adaptation of the animated TV series. A theme-park owner calls on the Mystery gang to uncover the reason visitors leave the park as monster-possessed zombies. Many clues lead them through fun-house twists and turns as they seek the desperado behind it all. The characters are well portrayed and the ending is unexpected, but some scenes are clichés and others grotesque. The qualities that enable this quintet to succeed include adaptability and an appreciation of friends. The story offers incentive for adults to stay and kids to watch so give yourself a Scooby Snack! By Chase Clements (age 13)Skip to next paragraph
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Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes of provocative behavior. Violence: 18 instances of cartoonish violence. Profanity: 3 instances of mild profanity. Drugs: None.
Director: Phil Alden Robinson. With Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Liev Schreiber.
Staff **1/2 The fourth in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series to make it on screen, this film imagines the US after a terrorist nuclear blast destroys Baltimore. It arrived amid much speculation about America's readiness to see terrorism on screen, but the director chose to show little damage. More chilling may be the US president's calm willingness to deploy government agents to assassinate the bad guys, rather than bring them to face the law.
By Gloria Goodale
Staff **1/2 Thrilling, gripping, unrealistic.
Sex/Nudity: 2 mild scenes. Violence: 13 scenes, including a hanging. Profanity: 7 harsh expressions. Drugs: 8 scenes with drinking, smoking.
Director: John Sayles. With Edie Falco, Timothy Hutton. (141 min.)
Sterritt ** This ambitious drama sweeps through a Florida town with a skeptical eye, focusing on people including a civic booster with an artificial smile, an unhappy motel manager with too many men in her life, and an African-American woman revisiting her home after years of absence. Sayles has assembled an impressive cast, but he's so busy orchestrating these lives into a large symphony that he doesn't manage to give each individual the fine details a persuasive portrait needs.
Director: Christian Frei. With James Nachtwey, Christiane Amanpour, Denis O'Neill. (96 min.)
Sterritt **** Nominated for best feature documentary in the 2002 Oscar race, this strikingly original movie chronicles Nachtwey's career as a news photographer in countries torn by war and poverty, often situating its own video lens directly behind his camera. Indelible images and brilliant use of unconventional music make this a nonfiction film that must be seen and heard to be believed.
Director: John Woo. With Nicolas Cage, Adam Beach, Christian Slater, Roger Willie, Peter Stormare. (134 min.)
Sterritt * A wounded-in-action marine sergeant is ordered to accompany a Navajo code talker into battle and protect him from harm or kill him if there's a danger he'll be captured and tortured for information. The film claims to celebrate native American contributions in World War II, but its main priority is to let Woo create lots of the choreographed violence he's built his career on. It doesn't help that Cage is the opposite of subtle, grimacing so much he seems to be acting with his teeth.
Staff ** Thin story line, gory, grim, bad acting.
Sex/Nudity: 3 instances innuendo. Violence: 9 scenes, including graphic battles. Profanity: 55 harsh words. Drugs: 15 scenes with smoking, drinking.