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Movie Guide

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*1/2 A werewolf in Hollywood has infected several young people and ripped others to pieces. The survivors' struggle to escape the curse of becoming werewolves themselves leads to all manner of confrontation, most notably in a museum filled with wax effigies. Cast changes, reshoots, and reedits cursed this production from the beginning, and it shows. By M. K. Terrell

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Diary of a Mad Black Woman (PG-13)

Director: Darren Grant. With Tyler Perry, Kimberly Elise, Steve Harris, Cicely Tyson. (117 min.)

Sterritt * Angry, vengeful emotions arise when an abused African-American wife is unceremoniously dumped by her awful husband. The movie seesaws between crude comedy and sudsy melodrama, and it's hard to decide which aspect is more ineptly handled. Plenty of mad moviegoers will put this in their diaries as one of the worst pictures in ages.

Gunner Palace (R)

Directors: Michael Tucker, Petra Epperlein. With American soldiers in Baghdad. (86 min.)

Sterritt **** Documentary giving a grunt's-eye view of the Iraq war. Illuminating, disturbing, evenhanded.

The Jacket (R)

Director: John Maybury. With Adrien Brody, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kris Kristofferson, Keira Knightley. (102 min.)

Sterritt *** Accused of murder, a veteran of the Persian Gulf war with amnesia lands in a hospital for the criminally insane where a psychiatrist subjects him to bizarre experiments. While the time-bending story is offbeat and ambitious, Maybury is more interested in striking images than in top-drawer performances from his talented cast.

Sex/Nudity: 4 scenes, including nudity. Violence: 12 scenes.Profanity: 26 harsh profanities.Drugs: 4 scenes of drinking, 6 scenes with smoking.

Hitch (PG-13)

Director: Andy Tennant. With Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James, Amber Valletta. (118 min.)

Sterritt ** Smith is terrific as a "date doctor" who teaches klutzy men how to woo the women they fancy. But the screenplay is silly - anything for a laugh - and the comedy is far too long. Nice work from James and Valletta, perhaps inspired by Smith's refusal to let the material drag him down.

Staff ***Witty, sweet, fashionable.

Sex/Nudity: 6 scenes of innuendo. Violence: 6 scenes.Profanity: 31 profanities.Drugs: 8 scenes of drinking.

Million Dollar Baby (PG-13)

Director: Clint Eastwood. With Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman. (129 min.)

Sterritt **** Eastwood gives his deepest performance ever as an aging gym owner who reluctantly agrees to train a female prizefighter, played by Swank in excellent form. It's as bold as it is engrossing.

Staff *** Poignant, masterpiece, sad.

Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of innuendo. Violence: 13 fight scenes, often grisly. Profanity: 48 harsh profanities. Drugs: 2 scenes with drinking.

The Pacifier (PG)

Director: Adam Shankman. With Vin Diesel, Lauren Graham, Brad Garrett. (91 min.)

Staff ** Hardened Navy commando Shane Wolf (Diesel) gets the most challenging assignment of his career: protecting the children of an assassinated scientist from agents seeking the top-secret program he was working on. Fortunately, the combination of the bodyguard's military discipline and hidden soft side give the family children the tough love they need. The Disney-like plotting is too predictable for most adults and teens, and violence puts it off-limits for young children, but 8- to 11-year-olds should find the slapstick amusing. By M.K. Terrell