DARKNESS FALLS (PG-13, 85 minutes)

In the prologue of this cheesy horror flick, a boy who's just put his last baby tooth under the pillow is visited by the Tooth Fairy. But in the gloomy coastal town of Darkness Falls, the fairy is no sprite -- she's the angry ghost of a 19th-century spinster unjustly hanged by the townsfolk. She swoops down like a bird of prey and kills her victims. Even with its lame dialogue and cheap, light-bulb-flickering thrills, this movie will make many a teenager jump. The creature is mostly shadow and sound effects, and there's little gore, but the sudden swoops, the frantic camerawork and the thud of her victims falling back to Earth all make "Darkness Falls" a creep-out and a bad bet for preteens. It also includes moderate profanity and fisticuffs.

Meanwhile, back in the prologue, the Tooth Fairy kills the boy's mother and stalks him right into adulthood. The depressed and sleep-deprived Kyle (Chaney Kley) survives by avoiding the dark, since the Tooth Fairy can't function in light. He returns to Darkness Falls to help his childhood sweetheart (Emma Caulfield), whose little brother (Lee Cormie) now has the same night terrors that haunt Kyle. The film's portrayal of the terrified boy and his hospital treatment is tasteless and lurid.


Only high schoolers 16 and older with a keen interest in the history and pop culture of the 1950s, '60s and early '70s will appreciate this excellent film about the life and career of TV game show producer-host Chuck Barris. It's really for adults in that it's about looking back on one's life with a rueful gaze. The film is a relatively mild R but does contain understated sexual situations, including an intimate encounter between pre-adolescents, lots of verbal sexual innuendo, considerable profanity, several views of a man's bare behind, crude humor and non-graphic gun violence.

Based on Barris's autobiographical book, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" recounts how, as a brash kid, Barris (played with electric conviction by Sam Rockwell) became an NBC page at Rockefeller Center and worked his way up. He eventually created "The Dating Game," "The Newlywed Game" and "The Gong Show." The film covers Barris's roving romances (with Drew Barrymore in the role of his longest-suffering love) and his possibly delusional contention that while a TV mogul, he was recruited and trained as a CIA assassin. Julia Roberts plays a fellow spook, and George Clooney stars as the agent who recruits him. Clooney also directed with a sure hand, giving the CIA stuff a neat air of mystery amid the showbiz crassness.