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Director: Christopher Nolan. With Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman. (141 min.)Skip to next paragraph
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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 answers to the Joker's excellent question: "Where does he get those wonderful toys?!"
Staff *** Well plotted, dizzying, uneven, comical.
Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of innuendo. Violence: 29 intense scenes. Profanity: 11 mild profanities. Drugs: 4 with drinking, 1 with drug dealing.
Director: Tim Burton. With Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham Carter. (116 min.)
Sterritt **** A youngster wins a rare ticket for a guided tour of Willy Wonka's mysterious candy-making outfit, where zillions of surprises are in store. Depp wittily plays Willy as a sort of zoned-out hippie capitalist, and Burton lets his imagination soar to some of the most outlandish heights it's ever reached. Parents should check it out before taking very young viewers, though, since it's sometimes a patented Burton frightmare.
Staff *** Off-kilter, slightly insane, expressionistic.
Sex/Nudity: mild innuendo. Violence: 10 instances. Profanity: None. Drugs: 1 instance of drinking.
Director: Walter Salles. With Jennifer Connelly, Tim Roth, John C. Reilly (104 min.)
Sterritt ** A single mom, dogged by psychological problems and impending divorce, rents the world's worst apartment for herself and her little girl, and on top of this it turns out to be haunted. The themes are somber but the filmmaking is so soggy and clunky that sometimes you can't help laughing.
Staff ** Reasonably creepy, should help keep rents low on Roosevelt Island.
Sex/Nudity: 3 instances of innuendo. Violence: 6 scenes. Profanity: 10 strong and mild words. Drugs: 3 instances of smoking.
Director: Rob Zombie. With Sid Haig, Sheri Moon, Bill Moseley, William Forsythe. (101 min.)
Sterritt *** The aptly named filmmaker spins a nasty yarn about psychotic serial killers on the loose. If you're not in the mood for "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" meets "Last House on the Left," stay very far away. Horror fans will find what they're looking for, though.
Staff *1/2 Grisly, tongue in cheek (and all over the highway)
Sex/Nudity: 16 scenes. Violence: 38 instances. Profanity: 324 strong and mild profanities. Drugs: 16 with drinking, smoking, and drug use.
Director: Tim Story. With Ioan Gruffudd, Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Kerry Washington. (106 min.)
Sterritt ** The Human Torch, the Invisible Woman, The Thing, and Mr. Fantastic himself join forces for the Marvel Comics tale of astronauts who gain exotic powers from a radiation storm in outer space. It's fun to watch superheroes who aren't quite at ease with their abilities, but "The Incredibles" - last year's similarly themed animated film - is livelier and funnier.
Staff *1/2 Superfluous, miscalculated, some good effects
Sex/Nudity: some mild innuendo. Violence: 20 scenes. Profanity: 17 profanities. Drugs: 3 scenes with drinking.
Director: Craig Brewer. With Terrence Dashon Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, DJ Qualls. (116 min.)