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Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 25 Profanity: 1 mild theological expression. Drugs: 2 instances of drinking.Skip to next paragraph
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Director: Jon Turteltaub. With Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Harvey Keitel, Jon Voight. (131 min.)
Sterritt ** "The Da Vinci Code" meets "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in this slam-bang adventure about two teams, one good and one evil, scrutinizing patriotic artifacts for clues to a hidden Masonic treasure. Too bad the clever bits are swamped by no-brainer gunfights, rescues, and chases galore.
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of innuendo. Violence: 11 Profanity: 5 mild theological expressions. Drugs: 1 instance of drinking.
Director: Robert Zemeckis. With voices of Tom Hanks, Nona Gaye, Eddie Deezen, Peter Scolari. (100 min.)
Sterritt ** On its way to the North Pole, a magical train pauses on Christmas Eve to pick up kids who need more Christmas cheer. The movie is technically impressive, using high-tech "capture" methods that transform live action into animation. The story is too implausible even for a fantasy, though, and its message of "belief" refers to yuletide gifts, never so much as nodding to the holiday's religious meanings.
Staff *** Charming, fantasically animated, holiday-spirited.
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 and magnificent music compensate for a schematic story line.
Sex/Nudity: 7 instances. Violence: 6 instances. Profanity: 76 mild expressions. Drugs: 52 scenes, some with illegal substances.
Directors: Sherm Cohen, Stephen Hillenburg, Mark Osborne. With voices of Tom Kenny, Alec Baldwin, Bill Fagerbakke, Jeffrey Tambor. (87 min.)
Sterritt **** Our absorbent hero and his starfish pal leave Bikini Bottom for sinister Shell City on a mission to retrieve King Neptune's stolen crown and save wrongly accused Mr. Krabs in the process. Imagine a Jerry Lewis movie designed by Salvador Dalí and you'll have some idea what this animation is like.
Sex/Nudity: 1 mild innuendo. Violence: 24 cartoonish instances Profanity: None. Drugs: 2 instances of drinking.
Director: Peter Jackson. With Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler. (approx. 250 min.)
Staff **** The jewel in the crown, this final DVD with an extra 50 minutes tucked in, is an elegant conclusion to the Tolkien saga. The additions run the gamut from plot expansion to character clarification: Saruman's demise, the mouth of Sauron, Aragorn's direct challenge to Sauron, the relationship between Faramir and Eowyn and, oh, so much more. The extras are pure candy for all you "Ringers" - hours of interviews about the superb horse training, detailed weaponry, blacksmithing, even a bit on a visit to the set by famed mountain climber Sir Edmund Hillary. The only disappointment: the trilogy is finally over. There's always "The Hobbit." By Gloria Goodale