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Sex/Nudity: 1 mild sex scene. Violence: 8 scenes of violence, including a severe beating. Profanity: 12 mild profanities. Drugs: 6 scenes with alcohol, 1 scene with drugs.Skip to next paragraph
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Director: Richard Linklater. With Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Mike White, Sarah Silverman. (108 min.)
Sterritt **** Kicked out of his band and desperate for rent money, a washed-up rock singer takes a job as a substitute teacher in a snooty private school, and decides to turn his fourth-grade class into a jivin' pop group. Black gives the performance of his career as the hilarious hero. Best of all, the kids are marvelous. Viewers of all musical tastes will find crisp comic pleasures in this amiable tale.
Staff *** One-man show, family film, the next "Spinal Tap."
Sex/Nudity: 3 innuendoes. Violence: 1 minor scene. Profanity: 13 mild profanities. Drugs: 4 scenes of smoking and drinking.
Director: Thomas McCarthy. With Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale, Paul Benjamin. (113 min.)
Staff *** In Hollywood, dwarves tend to play characters such as Mini-Me, R2D2, or a freak in a David Lynch movie. But in "The Station Agent" Peter Dinklage gets a rare opportunity to portray a dwarf as an ordinary person. Dinklage plays Fin, a solitary and taciturn outsider whose is passionate about trains. When Fin inherits an abandoned train station in New Jersey, he is gradually coaxed out of his self-imposed isolation by daily interactions with a Cuban hot-dog vendor and a broken-hearted painter. These three souls connect in a genuinely moving way in this gently humorous, subtle movie. By Stephen Humphries
Staff *** Profoundly touching, often hilarious, measured pace.
Sex/Nudity: 1 scene with partial nudity. 4 instances of innuendo. Violence: 2 scenes of violence. Profanity: 28 harsh profanities. Drugs: 19 scenes of cigarettes, 11 scenes with alcohol.
Director: Christine Jeffs. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Craig, Blythe Danner, Michael Gambon. (100 min.)
Sterritt *** Paltrow plays the great poet Sylvia Plath in this dramatized account of her meeting with future poet laureate Ted Hughes, their troubled marriage, and Plath's eventual suicide. Like most such movie biographies, this one shows artistic creation as a matter of strong feelings alone, not the intricate blend of emotion and intellect it actually is. Jeffs conjures up vivid moodsand atmospheres, though, and Paltrow is persuasive in her demanding role.
Director: Marcus Nispel. With Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, Erica Leerhsen, R. Lee Ermey. (98 min.)
Sterritt ** Far from home, five clueless 20-somethings run into a demented girl, a sinister cop, a cannibal family, and ... the title tells the rest. A lot more violent and a tad less creepy than the 1974 original, the much-changed remake delivers enough gory mayhem to keep horror fans screaming.
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: 26 instances of beatings, shootings, and torture. Profanity: 46 strong expressions. Drugs: 1 scene with alcohol, 2 with drug use.
Director: Joel Schumacher. With Cate Blanchett, Gerard McSorley, Brenda Fricker. (92 min.)
Sterritt *** The fact-based story of a courageous Irish reporter (Blanchett) who puts her life on the line in a dangerous crusade against Dublin's ruthless drug traffickers. The movie is closer to an action-adventure thriller than a journalistic account, but energetic acting and vigorous directing make it work harrowingly well on its own terms.
Staff *** Frenetic, jolting, newsworthy.
Sex/Nudity: 5 scenes of sex and innuendo, but no nudity. Violence: 13 instances of beatings, shootings, and threats. Profanity: 31 instances. Drugs: 13 scenes of smoking, 10 with drinking, and 1 graphic scene with people shooting up.
Director: Steven Spielberg. With Harrison Ford, John Rhys-Davis. (5 hours 59 min.)
Staff **** Get out the popcorn, break out the candy bars - it's time for an Indiana Jones marathon now that the three films plus a reel of featurettes are out on DVD. It's not worth fighting over which of the three films is the best. Hey, it's numero uno, but that's not even the point. Have some friends over, watch all three plus a few of the extra DVD goodies, which explain how they used to do stunts for real without the fancy digital add-ons. A great Saturday night of old-fashioned movie fun. By Gloria Goodale