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Director: Ron Howard. With Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti, Paddy Considine. (144 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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Sterritt **** Fact-based story of Jim Braddock, a 1930s prizefighter who suffered from Depression poverty as much as almost anyone, but captured the American imagination when he overcame injuries to take on Max Baer for the heavyweight title. The screenplay is a series of clichés, but Howard's rock-solid directing and superb acting by Crowe and Giamatti make this one of the all-time-great boxing films.
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes with innuendos. Violence: 13 scenes, including fighting. Profanity: 71 strong profanities. Drugs: 9 scenes with drinking, 18 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. Lively but also rude, crude, and mean-spirited.
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.
Director: Catherine Hardwicke. With Heath Ledger, Emile Hirsh, Rebecca De Mornay, William Mapother. (107 min.)
Staff **1/2 Three buddies in 1970s California revolutionize skateboarding when they put new polyurethane wheels on their boards and invade empty backyard swimming pools. Screenwriter Stacy Peralta, a member of this real-life trio, draws on material from his 2001 documentary "Dogtown and Z-Boys." Hardwicke's furiously paced directing doesn't measure up to the real thing in the earlier film. By M.K. Terrell
Directors: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath. With voices of Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith. (80 min.)
Sterritt * Bored with his life, a zoo animal takes himself and some friends on a quest for more agreeable climes. The animation is deft but the screenplay is stilted, the voice-performances are unimaginative, and the whole project is surprisingly clumsy in its efforts to please young and old alike. A major disappointment.
Sex/Nudity: 2 scenes of mild innuendo. Violence: 12 scenes, mostly for comic effect. Profanity: 2 mild expressions. Drugs: None.
Director: Ken Kwapis. With Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrara, Alexis Bledel, Blake Lively. (110 min.)
Sterritt *** The adventures of four 16-year-old girls who part for different summer vacations and stay in touch by mailing each other a special pair of jeans that mysteriously fit them all and may have magical powers - or perhaps just enhance the self-esteem of maturing young women who'll soon leave adolescence behind. Gorgeously filmed and nicely acted.
Director: George Lucas. With Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Hayden Christensen. (142 min.)
Sterritt *** Lucas wraps up his second "Star Wars" trilogy, centering on Anakin Skywalker's secret marriage to Padme, his friendship with Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his temptation to use the Dark Side of the Force for personal gain. As spectacle this stands with the best, although it falls flat when corny dialogue takes over.
Staff *** Fitting finale, poorly written, dark, violent.
Sex/Nudity: 2 instances of mild innuendo. Violence: 26 scenes, often grisly. Profanity: None. Drugs: None.