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Movie Guide

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Sex/Nudity: 4 instances of innuendo, 2 of implied sex. Violence: Only threats. Profanity: 21 instances, nearly all mild. Drugs: At least 10 instances of drinking.

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Man on Fire (R)

Director: Tony Scott. With Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken, Dakota Fanning, Giancarlo Giannini. (146 min.)

Sterritt **An alcoholic, Bible-reading assassin (Washington) becomes the bodyguard of a little Mexican girl whose wealthy parents fear she might become a victim of kidnappers who are terrorizing their city. The first hour is sharply directed, character-driven drama that ranks with Scott's best work. Then he lapses into his usual mode - more a bombardier than an entertainer, filling the screen with sadistic violence and arbitrary plot twists. A wasted opportunity.

Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo, 2 of implied sex. Violence: 24 instances of violence. Profanity: 20 instances, mostly harsh. Drugs: 13 scenes with smoking, 8 with drinking, 3 with both.

Mean Girls (PG-13)

Director: Mark Waters. With Lindsay Lohan, Tina Fey, Rachel McAdams. (97 min.)

Sterritt *** "Clueless" meets "Election" in this sharp-eyed comedy about a girl (Lohan) who enters a regular high school after years of homeschooling, wangles her way into a snooty clique, and thereby betrays the nerds who have befriended her. Fey's screenplay is incredibly smart, and Lohan is captivating.

Staff *** Fun, fast-paced, with sly observations.

Sex/Nudity: 9 instances of innuendo. Violence: 3 scenes. Profanity: 49 instances, mostly mild. Drugs: 2 scenes with drinking.

New York Minute (PG)

Director: Dennie Gordon. With Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Eugene Levy. (85 min.)

Sterritt ** The insanely popular Olsen twins play suburban teens having a wild Manhattan day. As one heads for a scholarship speech, the other sneaks off to a rock-video taping session, and both wonder if the boy of their dreams might be just around the next crowded corner. The cast is cute and the action is colorful, but the comedy isn't as captivating as it sets out to be.

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 7 slapstick scenes. Profanity: 4 expressions. Drugs: 1 scene with drinking.

The Saddest Music in the World (Not rated)

Director: Guy Maddin. With Isabella Rossellini, Maria de Madeiros, Mark McKinney, Ross McMillan. (99 min.)

Sterritt **** The time is 1933 and the heroine is a wealthy Canadian woman (Rossellini) who sponsors a contest to see which country can come up with the most melancholy tune. What brings brilliance to this zany premise is Maddin's mad style, which follows his frequent practice of making the movie look like a long-ago production that's been heedlessly stored under somebody's bed for the past few decades. Utterly artificial, outrageous, and enjoyable if you're as adventurous a moviegoer as Maddin is a filmmaker.

Staff **** Quirky, intriguing, hauntingly beautiful.

Sex/Nudity: 9 instances, none graphic. Violence: 10 scenes, including a leg amputation. Profanity: 3 mild expressions. Drugs: 5 scenes with drinking, 1 with smoking.

Super Size Me (Not rated)

Director: Morgan Spurlock. With Morgan Spurlock, Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, Dr. Daryl Isaacs. (96 min.)

Sterritt ** Spurlock wanted to test the claim that eating fast food is making Americans too fat, so he went on a medically charted diet of McDonald's products and found that - surprise! - he got fatter. He also recorded the experiment in this documentary, which is far from persuasive since Spurlock didn't scarf his McDiet the way ordinary people do, but relentlessly stuffed himself like the human equivalent of a force-fed goose. The results have more journalistic flab than scientific muscle.

Staff **** Unsettling, witty, not entirely convincing.

Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: None. Profanity: 1 harsh expression. Drugs: 1 scene with smoking, 3 references to drugs.

13 Going on 30 (PG-13)

Director: Gary Winick. With Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Kathy Baker, Andy Serkis. (98 min.)

Sterritt **Snubbed by the cool chicks she envies, 13-year-old Jenna wishes she were 30 and flirty, and suddenly "wishing dust" makes her exactly that - editing a fashion magazine, sparring with a cool-chick rival, and hoping to capture the heart of a boy she spurned when she was too young to know better. The early scenes are full of too-familiar situations and stereotypes, but the story picks up steam when Jenna tackles a crisis at her magazine, and Ruffalo's laid-back manner helps maintain some plausibility and charm.

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