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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: 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. (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, 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.
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes with innuendos. Violence: 6 scenes, including fighting. Profanity: 12 mild profanities. Drugs: 4 scenes with drinking, 6 scenes with smoking, plus subplot about caffeine addiction.
Director: Ridley Scott. With Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Eva Green. (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.
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of innuendo. Violence: 2 scenes. Profanity: 1 harsh profanity, 1 mild. Drugs: 5 scenes with drinking, 6 scenes with smoking.
Director: Peter Segal. With Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, James Cromwell, Burt Reynolds. (114 min.)
Sterritt * The wicked warden of a Texas prison engineers a rigged football game between guards and inmates, with the convicts led by a former pro who's been jailed for reckless behavior. Lively but also rude, crude, and mean-spirited. A little relief comes from Sandler and from Reynolds, who starred in the 1974 movie on which this remake is based.
Sex/Nudity: 10 scenes of innuendo, 2 with minor nudity. Violence: 18 scenes, including fights and torture. Profanity: 130 harsh profanities. Drugs: 4 scenes with drinking, 7 scenes with drinking.