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Sterritt ** How a young man became the Caped Crusader instead of just Bruce Wayne, millionaire playboy. Neeson plays a ninja, which shows how desperately the story stretches for angles. But you finally get good answers to the Joker's excellent question: "Where does he get those wonderful toys?!!?"Skip to next paragraph
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Staff *** Well plotted, dizzying, uneven, comical.
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of innuendo. Violence: 29 intense scenes. Profanity: 11 mild profanities. Drugs: 4 scenes with drinking, 1 scenes with drug dealing.
Director: Ron Howard. With Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti, Paddy Considine. (144 min.)
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. 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: Chris Terrio. With Glenn Close, Jesse Bradford, Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden. (93 min.)
Sterritt **** A young actor, a middle-aged actress, a snoopy journalist, a rising photographer, and her possibly gay fiancé are among the diverse characters of this psychological comedy-drama, which unfolds in New York in a 24-hour period. There's much subtle beauty in the last movie completed by Merchant Ivory Productions before Merchant's untimely death.
Director: Hayao Miyazaki. With voices of Emily Mortimer, Christian Bale. (119 min.)
Sterritt **** Miyazaki outdoes his flamboyant "Spirited Away" with this fantasy about a vain prince, a fireplace with a talkative flame, and a girl trapped in an elderly body by a wicked witch. The story doesn't always make sense, but the visuals are dazzling. One version in English with subtitles, the other dubbed into English.
Staff ***1/2 Grand, fantastical, wryly funny.
Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 12 action scenes. Profanity: None. Drugs: 1 instance of 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.)