"Ray." Jamie Foxx in outstanding, soul-baring turn as music legend Ray Charles in gorgeous, moving, all-around well-acted biopic that explores in detail not just his music, but his tragic 1930s childhood (his little brother's drowning, his subsequent blindness), his early career, troubled marriage, infidelities, heroin use, his charm and occasional hurtfulness, and his 1966 triumph over drugs. Tough scenes of drug abuse; graphic drug-withdrawal sequence; steamy scenes before and after implied sexual situations; much sexual innuendo; racial slurs; profanity; out-of-wedlock pregnancy; liquor, cigarettes. High schoolers.
"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.
"P.S." Wonderful performances, visuals, folk-pop soundtrack save narratively flawed tale of lonely admissions officer (Laura Linney) at Columbia University, who starts impulsive affair with twenty-something art school applicant (Topher Grace) because he reminds her of a high school love who died; rocky relations with her family and ex-husband (Gabriel Byrne) complicate her feelings, as does an old rival (Marcia Gay Harden). Very graphic sexual situation; sexual innuendo; talk of sexual addiction; profanity; smoking; drinking. 17 and up.
"Sideways." Marvelously acted, funny, poignant comedy about 30-and-then-some pals -- a sad-sack teacher/wine connoisseur (Paul Giamatti) and a not-too-bright TV soap actor/playboy (Thomas Haden Church) who celebrate the actor's upcoming nuptials by going on a California wine-tasting tour; the actor has a fling (with Sandra Oh); the teacher falls in love (with Virginia Madsen). Graphic sexual situations with nudity; profanity; sexual innuendo; homophobic slur; suicide reference; toilet humor; drinking; marijuana -- once in front of a child; cigarettes. 17 and up.
"Fade to Black." Self-congratulatory hip-hop-umentary features rap star/producer Jay-Z (aka Shawn Carter) in behind-the-scenes creation of his "The Black Album," shows his impressive improvisations, collaborations with other artists; intercut with 2003 Madison Square Garden concert; mere fraction of his often clever lyrics are intelligible to those who don't know album by heart; often dull, despite Jay-Z's own charisma. Strong profanity; verbal, visual sexual innuendo; racial slurs/slang; misogynist slurs; verbal references to drugs, violence; drinking, possible marijuana. 16 and older.
"Saw." Cleverly conceived, if gruesome thriller about serial killer who traps victims and forces them to hurt themselves or a fellow victim in order to survive; Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell as latest targets; Danny Glover as cop tracking the killer. Some mayhem occurs off-screen, but implications are gross: i.e., a young woman with a steel "jaw trap" on her head must slice open a dead man to get the key to free herself; mother and child threatened with death; gun, knife violence; strong profanity; reference to pedophilia. Horror-thriller buffs 17 and older.