"The Grudge." Sarah Michelle Gellar as social worker trainee in Tokyo enters a house haunted by chalk-faced specters who avenge their own violent deaths by taking more lives in remake of confusing Japanese horror hit "Ju-On: The Grudge" (R, 2003); initially quite shuddery, but then slow, repetitive, stagy. Not overly graphic, but themes of violence, revenge too intense for middle schoolers; sometimes bloody ghosts suck breath from victims; dead body swings from rope; corpse falls from attic; suicide jump; understated sexual situation; smoking. High schoolers.

"Surviving Christmas." Ben Affleck mugs through crass, contrived comedy about big-time ad man who pays family of strangers (James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara, Christina Applegate, Josh Zuckerman) living in his childhood home to pretend he's their son so he won't be alone on Christmas; his intrusion on the dysfunctional brood brings chaos, and, improbably, reconciliation. Suggestive photos of women, teen boy's obsession with sexy Web sites; milder sexual innuendo; crude joke about baby's penis; gags about incest, suicide, marijuana. High schoolers.

"Shall We Dance?" Likable, if not brilliantly danced American remake of 1996 Japanese comedy (rated PG); Richard Gere as lawyer who finds new lease on life taking ballroom dance, Jennifer Lopez as instructor who tutors his tango, Susan Sarandon as wife who fears he's cheating. Sexual innuendo includes jokes about a male dancer afraid of being perceived as gay, women in skimpy outfits, sexually charged dance moves; drinking; occasional profanity. Teenagers.


"Being Julia." Annette Bening does luminous, vulnerable turn in elegant, droll period piece (from W. Somerset Maugham's novel "Theatre") about a star of the 1930s London stage who taunts middle-age by having an affair with a boyish American fan (Shaun Evans) and exacting revenge on a presumptuous young actress (Lucy Punch); Jeremy Irons as Julia's suave husband. Explicit sexual situations with nudity; rare profanity; drinking, smoking. Literary and theater buffs, 17 and older.

"The Machinist." Haunting but hard-to-watch fable about factory worker (Christian Bale, slimmed down to cadaverous) plagued by sleepless nights and weight loss; the mystery of his condition is gradually revealed, with many oblique references to Dostoevski and dark nights of the soul. Awful factory accident severs man's arm; bloody scene after car wreck; boy's epileptic seizure; graphic sexual situations; partial nudity; sexual innuendo; bloody hallucinations, dead bodies; profanity; smoking, drinking.

"Undertow." Unrelentingly grim saga set in rural Georgia, acted to an overripe fare-thee-well; teenager (Jamie Bell) and his ailing kid brother (Devon Alan) barely escape their ex-con uncle (Josh Lucas), who has just murdered their dad (Dermot Mulroney) and is coming after them; backwoods atmosphere seems cliched, script a little arty. Bloody knife murders; boy's foot punctured by nail; child eats paint, dirt, then vomits; sexual innuendo; profanity; smoking; drinking. 17 and older.

"Team America: World Police." Guffaw-inducing spoof of post-9/11 world and Hollywood hooey by makers of Comedy Central's {grv}{grv}South Park" using marionettes on little sets; anti-terrorist team begins by laying waste to central Paris in pursuit of terror cell. Searing profanity; highly explicit montage of sexual situations (all with marionettes); repeated, unfunny oral sex jokes, homophobic slurs; bloody gun violence; shameless ethnic stereotypes of Arabs, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. 17 and older.