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Sex/Nudity: 9 scenes with innuendo. Violence: 5 scenes. Profanity: 77 instances, mostly mild. Drugs: 5 instances.Skip to next paragraph
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Director: Tim Burton. With Albert Finney, Jessica Lange, Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudup, Alison Lohman. (110 min.)
Sterritt ** A young man (McGregor) tries to understand the life of his estranged, dying father (Finney) by sifting grains of truth from the mountains of tall tales he was forever telling. Burton spices it up with his trademarked surrealism, but it's swamped by John August's sentimental screenplay.
Staff *** Shallow story, bizarre, longish.
Sex/Nudity: 3 innuendoes, 2 scenes of brief nudity. Violence: 4 scenes. Profanity: 9 instances. Drugs: 2 scenes of drinking, 4 scenes of smoking.
Directors: J. Mackye Gruber, Eric Bress. With Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz. (113 min.)
Sterritt * A troubled young man gradually learns he's been traveling back in time, inhabiting his body in earlier stages of his life and altering events in ways that befuddle him when he returns to a present that's changed in unexpected ways. The premise is promising, nodding to Ray Bradbury's classic story, "A Sound of Thunder." Too bad the screenplay is as confused as the hero.
Director: Bart Freundlich. With Kristen Stewart, Corbin Bleu, Max Thieriot, Jennifer Beals. (92 min.)
Sterritt ** As her father lies ill, a young girl asks two of her preteen pals to get on their go-karts and help her steal money to pay medical bills - from the same bank where her mother is installing a new security system. There's a little humor, a little suspense, and not a hint of reality.
Staff * Unengaging, preposterous.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 11 instances. Profanity: 8 instances. Drugs: 4 instances of drinking.
Director: Anthony Minghella. With Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Renée Zellweger. (155 min.)
Sterritt ** Just as the Civil War is breaking out, a young couple fall in love, and the man (Law) deserts the Confederate army for a long trek home. The story builds melodramatic momentum, but is interrupted by episodes of suffering that smack more of sensationalism than candor. The fine cast is also misused.
Staff *** Poetic, book is better, Zellweger adds verve.
Sex/Nudity: 5 instances. Violence: 19 scenes. Profanity: 14 instances. Drugs: 5 scenes of drinking.
Director: Wolfgang Becker. With Daniel Brühl, Katrine Sab, Maria Simon. (121 min.)
Staff *** Faithful Communist Party member Christiane Kerner wakes from a coma in 1990, having slept through the German reunification. Fearing this news will cause a relapse, her adult children come up with inventive ways to explain the changes going on outside her East Berlin window. A charming blend of satire and pathos. In German with English subtitles. By M.K. Terrell
Director: Peter Jackson. With Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellan, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler. (301 min.)
Sterritt **The popular series comes to a close as Frodo and Sam struggle toward Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring in the fires where it was forged. This is one of the rare times when a trilogy's third chapter is the best of the bunch, thanks mostly to Gollum and the climactic battle scene.
Staff **** Incredible, stunning, built to last forever.
Sex/Nudity: None Violence: 97 scenes, including intense instances of battle gore. Profanity: None. Drugs: 2 scenes of drinking, 4 scenes with smoking.