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Movie Guide

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Staff ** Terrific music, poor editing

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Sex/Nudity: 3 instances. Violence: 3 scenes. Profanity: 5 instances. Drugs: 6 scenes with drinking, 5 with smoking.

50 First Dates (PG-13)

Director: Peter Segal. With Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Sean Astin, Dan Aykroyd. (99 min.)

Sterritt * A womanizer (Sandler) falls for a woman (Barrymore) whose short-term memory has been destroyed by an injury, which means each time he woos her is the first time for her. Set in picturesque Hawaii, this could have been a tasty romantic comedy, but the filmmakers swamp the story with tasteless jokes, phony animal stunts, and bathroom humor.

Staff *** Lighthearted, fun, corny.

Sex/Nudity: 19 instances. Violence: 10 scenes. Profanity: 18 instances, mostly mild. Drugs: 10 instances.

Hidalgo (PG-13)

Director: Joe Johnston. With Viggo Mortensen, Omar Sharif, Zuleikha Robinson, Louise Lombard. (136 min.)

Sterritt ** A rough-riding cowboy (Mortensen) leaves a Wild West show to enter himself and his mustang in a high-stakes race across the Middle Eastern sands, hindered and helped by a sheikh (Sharif) who has an interest in the outcome. The action is often gorgeous, but the screenplay is a collection of clich├ęs, and Mortensen's performance hits one note at the beginning and stays with it for the whole movie. You might expect "Seabiscuit" meets "Lawrence of Arabia," but overall, it's a big, beautiful bore.

James' Journey to Jerusalem (Not rated)

Director: Ra'anan Alexandrowicz. With Siyabonga Melongisi Shibe, Arie Elias, Sandra Schonwald. (87 min.)

Sterritt *** A young African makes a pilgrimage to Israel on behalf of the small, underdeveloped village he hails from, but lands in jail as a suspicious alien and falls into the clutches of a stranger who offers food and shelter in return for hard labor at menial jobs. Then he realizes he can play this game too, making money off unfortunate fellows like himself and running a risk of never reaching Jerusalem at all. The movie has multicultural insights and entertainment value to spare. In English, Hebrew, and Zulu with English subtitles.

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (PG-13)

Director: Peter Jackson. With Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellan, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Liv Tyler. (181 min.)

Sterritt **The hugely 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, while unwittingly paving the way for humans to replace hobbits as Middle-earth's lasting survivors. 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.

Miracle (PG)

Director: Gavin O'Connor. With Kurt Russell, Patrick O'Brien, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich. (136 min.)