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Staff *** Charming, fantasically animated, holiday-spirited.Skip to next paragraph
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Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: None. Profanity: 1 mild expression. Drugs: None.
Director: Taylor Hackford. With Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell, Regina King. (152 min.)
Sterritt *** Fictionalized biography of Ray Charles, the late singer, pianist, and songwriter. Foxx is just about perfect, allowing us to identify and empathize with Charles even as we experience his failings, including drug addiction that threatened to sabotage his career before he kicked the habit in the 1960s. Fine acting, a convincing view of the South in the Jim Crow era, and magnificent music compensate for simplified psychology and a schematic story line.
Sex/Nudity: 7 instances. Violence: 6 instances. Profanity: 76 mild expressions. Drugs: 52 instances, some with illegal substances.
Director: James Wan. With Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Monica Potter, Danny Glover. (103 min.)
Sterritt *** It's a hacksaw rather than a chain saw this time, but there's gore, gore, and more gore as two strangers find themselves trapped in a madman's scheme. Horror fans will find plenty to shriek about. Everyone else should keep their distance.
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: 21 scenes, mostly graphic. Profanity: 51 expressions, mostly strong. Drugs: 2 instances of smoking.
Director: Don Mancini. With Jennifer Tilly, John Waters, Redman, Tony Gardner. (87 min.)
Staff * The serial killer doll is back and the bodies - dismembered, disemboweled, decapitated, and incinerated - start to pile up. Tilly, whose character became doll-bride Tiffany in episode 4, again supplies Tiffany's voice and she also plays herself shooting a movie called "Chucky Goes Psycho." Saying this movie is deliberately bad is no excuse. Set in Hollywood, filmed in Romania. By M. K. Terrell
Director: Peter Chelsom. With Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Lopez. (106 min.)
Sterritt * For inexplicable reasons, a middle-aged man decides to take dancing lessons but keep this secret from his wife, who suspects something worse is going on. The cast is promising, but this remake of the popular Japanese movie falls flat, with more "sound design" than delicious music, more slick film editing than graceful ballroom gliding.
Sex/Nudity: 5 instances of innuendo. Violence: None. Profanity: 19 expressions, mostly mild. Drugs: 5 scenes of drinking.
Director: Jon Favreau. With Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen. (95 mins.)
Staff *** Will Ferrell's specialty is playing adult characters who haven't quite grown up, so he's pitch- perfect as Buddy, an orphan adopted by Santa's elves, who hasn't outgrown his childlike naiveté or his yellow tights. The hilarious story about Buddy's quest to find his father in New York is low on snarkiness and high on charm, making it perfect viewing for all ages. The extras include a look at the North Pole sets built by Hollywood's elves, but other bonus features - such as segment about a surfer who dons a Santa Claus suit - seem like filler not even fit for a Christmas stocking. By Stephen Humphries