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Friday, April 22, 2005; Page WE37

10 and Older

"The Game of Their Lives" (PG). Interesting, fact-based sports tale, badly flawed by clumsy writing, directing, painfully earnest, even jingoistic tone, about American soccer team (recruited among amateur club players from St. Louis's Italian neighborhood, East Coast and one Haitian immigrant) that went to Brazil in 1950 to compete in the World Cup and, against all odds, beat the top-rated British team; told in flashback by an aging newspaperman (Patrick Stewart; Terry Kinney as his younger self); exciting match against Brits, followed by touching present-day closer with D.C. United team honoring men of the 1950 team. Mild profanity, ethnic slurs; crude languge; harrowing plane trip; cigars, beer.


"Fever Pitch." Amiable, low-key, nicely atmospheric comedy (adapted from Nick Hornby's novel) about a Boston schoolteacher (Jimmy Fallon) and his high-powered executive girlfriend (Drew Barrymore), whose romance goes swimmingly until baseball season, when she sees what insane Boston Red Sox fans he and his buddies become. Occasional crude language, profanity; funny/gross sequence about vomit; much mild sexual innuendo (by today's PG-13 standards); passionate kissing scenes leading up to implied sexual situations, then morning-after cuddling; subplot about possible out-of-wedlock pregnancy; memories of parents' divorce, childhood depression over it.

"Sahara." Matthew McConaughey as macho archaeologist/adventurer/tomb raider hilariously named Dirk Pitt and Steve Zahn as his lifelong pal, Al, hunt for a long-missing Civil War-era ironclad battleship; trail leads to Africa, where they meet a beautiful doctor (Penelope Cruz) tracking a mysterious illness; their two quests converge in wildly derivative (paging Indiana Jones), disjointed, ultimately boring action adventure. Sexual innuendo, profanity; much violence with minimum gore -- stabbings, gunplay, head-banging fights, cannon fire, attack helicopters, powerboat chases.


"Kung Fu Hustle." Asia's action comedy star/director/writer Stephen Chow in wild, witty Kung Fu farce as Sing, a small-time criminal klutz in early 20th century China who tries to join an ultra-violent, ax-wielding gang by passing a killing test; but he's incompetent compared with the aging, comical denizens of a ramshackle apartment building, all of whom are Kung Fu masters ready to take on the Axe Gang; after many failures as a bad guy, Sing becomes a heroic fighter for right. Stylized violence from slapstick to superhuman flying; head-banging mayhem, occasional heads, limbs lopped off; flashback shows Sing beaten, urinated on by bullies as a boy; crude language; sexual innuendo; bare behinds; smoking; drinking. 15 and up.

"The Amityville Horror." Reasonably creepy (for horror buffs) remake of 1979 film (also an R) borrows heavily from other classics, but has nice, nervous, modern edge; a woman (Melissa George), her kids (Chloe Grace Moretz, Jesse James, Jimmy Bennett) and their new stepfather (Ryan Reynolds) move into an old Victorian house on Long Island where a family had been murdered by a teenage son; ghosts appear to some; stepdad hears voices urging him to violence. Children shown in danger, enduring verbal abuse, threats; gunshots; blood-spattered flashbacks showing murdered children, other dead torture victims; bloody, cadaverous ghosts; swarming flies, maggots; suicide theme; pet killed; explicit sexual situation; implied seminudity; drug use; profanity. 16 and up.

"Frank Miller's Sin City." Visually stunning, well acted, verbally sharp, yes, but also overlong, brutal, sadistic, sexualized rendering of stories from Frank Miller's "Sin City" graphic novels; on digital video with live actors in a special-effects world made to look like the novels; antiheroes played by Bruce Willis as an aging cop, Mickey Rourke as an ex-con, Clive Owen as a tough-guy do-gooder, Brittany Murphy as a waitress, Benicio Del Toro as her abusive ex, Rosario Dawson as leader of Sin City hookers. Ultra-stylized violence feels real: heads, limbs lopped off, odd-colored blood, shootings, electrocution, whipping, smashed skulls, gun suicide; strong hint that men's privates are mutilated; explicit sexual situation; seminudity; profanity; drinking. 17 and up.

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