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Staff ** Telly Paretta (Moore) is a smart and independent freelance editor whose life seems to have no other purpose than to devotedly remember Sam, her 8-year old son, who passed away a little over a year ago. Grief, however, is quickly replaced by angry despair as she learns that even those closest to her deny her child ever existed. Telly's unrelenting search for the truth, although depressingly predictable at times, does deliver a few good jumps and allows Julianne Moore to display her acting prowess once again. By Gabino VillanuevaSkip to next paragraph
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Sex/Nudity: 2 mild innuendos. Violence: 14 instances. Profanity: 20 expressions. Drugs: 4 instances of drinking.
Director: Peter Berg. With Billy Bob Thornton, Derek Luke, Garrett Hedlund. (117 min.)
Staff ***1/2 Every fall west Texans' fancy turns from the boom and bust oil economy to high-school football. Friday night's game makes a coach the town hero or a whipping boy. Thornton, in an unusually sympathetic role, is Coach Gaines of the Odessa-Permian Panthers, whose tough love and character-building pep talks mitigate the fanaticism pouring from the stands. Director Berg treats the usual sports-movie conventions with freshness and excitement. Based on H.G. Bissinger's nonfiction book on the Panthers' 1988 season. By M.K. Terrell
Sex/Nudity: 4 instances. Violence: 11 instances. Profanity: 34, mostly mild expressions. Drugs: 7 instances of drinking and smoking.
Director: Jay Russell. With Joaquin Phoenix, John Travolta, Morris Chestnut. (115 min.)
Staff *** As firefighter Jack Morrison (Phoenix) waits for his buddies to evacuate him from a collapsing warehouse, he relives his 10 years with the department. The clunky flashback storytelling doesn't detract much from the believable vignettes of fire fighting, rescues, and sudden death, as well as the job's pressures on home life. It may keep you asking why men and women choose this lifestyle. It will make you grateful they do. By M.K. Terrell
Director: Walter Salles. With Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo de la Serna, Mía Maestro, Mercedes Morán. (126 min.)
Sterritt **** Fictionalized version of the freewheeling travels around Latin America that gave young Ernesto "Che" Guevara, still a middle-class medical student, a glimpse of his future calling as a revolutionary fighter. Some will find this movie a whitewash, given the violence Guevara became famous for in Cuba and elsewhere, but from a psychological angle it's a fascinating study of an energetic personality hunting for a route to a meaningful life. Superbly acted. In Spanish with subtitles.
Director: Shane Carruth. With Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Carrie Crawford. (78 min.)
Sterritt *** See review, page 15.
Director: Alexander B. Witt. With Jared Harris, Milla Jovovich, Thomas Kretschmann. (94 min.)
Staff ** Alice (Jovovich) wakes up in a hospital to find authorities have sealed off her city because a virus that turns creatures and humans into zombies has escaped a corporate lab. Banding together with survivors, Alice searches for a way to escape. The action is entertaining, but be prepared to be terrified. This film's true monster, however, is the ruthless Umbrella Corporation. By Tim Rauschenberger
Directors: Vicky Jenson, Rob Letterman, Eric Bergeron. With voices of Will Smith, Renée Zellweger, Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie. (90 min.)
Sterritt ** Animated feature about a little fish who poses as a macho underwater dude after a shark's accidental death makes him look like a hero, pleasing the late shark's vegetarian brother but irking his Mafia boss- like dad. The screenplay isn't remotely as funny as it tries to be, and the visual style is equally unexciting.