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Director: Paul Schrader. With Stellan Skarsgard, Clara Bellar, Billy Crawford, Gabriel Mann. (115 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt **** While grappling with his faith, a Roman Catholic priest battles a demon in an East African outpost. The material is right up Schrader's alley, and while his vision of the first "Exorcist" chapter isn't a masterpiece, it's far superior to the Renny Harlin prequel to "The Exorcist" released last year.
Director: Garth Jennings. With Martin Freeman, Zooey Deschanel, Mos Def, John Malkovich. (110 min.)
Sterritt * An ordinary man is beamed to safety by an interstellar friend just before Earth is demolished by aliens who need room for their new hyperspace highway. This long-awaited movie adaptation of the late Douglas Adams's book, TV, and radio franchise is surprisingly bland. Die-hard fans should enjoy it, though.
Director: Jaume Serra. With Elisha Cuthbert, Jared Padalecki, Paris Hilton, Chad Michael Murray. (105 min.)
Sterritt *** This remake of the 1953 horror classic, minus Vincent Price and the 3-D effects, brings a group of college kids to a haunted town where wax rules, along with terror, derangement, and other nasty things. As a frightfest it's better than today's average.
Director: Sydney Pollack. With Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, Sydney Pollack. (123 min.)
Sterritt *** Kidman plays a UN interpreter who says she overheard a death threat against an African tyrant - whom she turns out to have reasons for hating. The thriller is swiftly told and smartly acted, with an idea or two on its mind as a bonus.
Director: Jesse Dylan. With Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall, Kate Walsh, Mike Ditka. (90 min.)
Sterritt *** Ferrell plays a soccer dad who coaches a preteen squad with his klutzy son as a member and his hotly competitive father (Duvall) determined to lead his own team to the championship. Some scenes are just silly, others are dead-on uproarious. Ditka, a real-life football legend, is a real find as our hero's assistant.
Director: Ridley Scott. With Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, David Thewlis, Jeremy Irons. (138 min.)
Sterritt ** Scott turns to history again in this epic about crusaders fighting Muslims in the Holy Land several centuries ago. The screenplay aims for relevance to current world conflicts, but the story's medieval setting and the camera's obsession with action, action, action dilutes its potential as sober commentary. Adventure fans should like it.
Director: Charles Dance. With Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Daniel Bruhl, Natasha McElhone. (103 min.)
Sterritt *** Two elderly women find a young musician stranded on shore after a shipwreck during the World War II era and decide, for differing reasons, to nurse him back to health. Dance's directorial debut isn't exciting, but it's deeply felt and engagingly acted.
Director: Tommy Davis With Guapo, Oso, Viejo. (65 min.)