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Sterritt **** An inside look at the Qatar-based TV network Al Jazeera, bringing out the mixed feelings many of its journalists have toward aspects of conflict between the United States and the Middle East, and underscoring the deeper message that all media reportage is controlled by editors, producers, and ideologies before it gets to its audience. Although it enters a spin room of its own at times, the movie is generally more fairer and more balanced than much day-to-day TV programming. In English and Arabic with subtitlesSkip to next paragraph
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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.
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 expressions, mostly mild. Drugs: 2 instances of drinking.
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.
Directors: Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, Conrad Vernon. With voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz. (92 min.)
Sterritt *** The gentle ogre is dragged by his new spouse, Fiona, to meet her royal mom and dad, stirring up trouble with a fairy godmother who's furious with him for beating Prince Charming in the race for Fiona's hand. At its best, this "Shrek" sequel draws up a brilliant new blueprint for all-ages animation, blending fairy-tale whimsy with edgy social satire. Too bad it ends with worn-out homilies far less imaginative than the story as a whole.
Staff *** Worthy sequel, playful, slam-dunk finish.
Sex/Nudity: 6 instances of innuendo. Violence: 12 scenes. Profanity: None. Drugs: 3 instances of drinking, 1 of drugs.
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 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 a force-fed goose. The results have more journalistic flab than scientific muscle.
Staff **** Unsettling, witty, not entirely convincing.