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"Stir of Echoes" (R, 1 hour, 39 minutes)

A blue-collar family man on Chicago's South Side discovers that he and his young son have the uncanny ability to commune with ghosts in this disturbing, neatly spun yarn. "Stir of Echoes" (based on Richard Matheson's 1958 book) may be less nuanced than "The Sixth Sense" (PG-13), but it features equally strong acting and electric intensity. It's appropriate for most high schoolers, except those who find ghostly crime stories too nightmarish. The film contains a non-explicit but strong implication of sexual assault, blood-soaked hallucinations, brief nudity, an explicit marital sexual situation, a joke about marijuana, occasional profanity and drinking.

Beyond the ratings game

6 and older:

"Dudley Do-Right," PG (Brendan Fraser as the dim Canadian Mountie in painfully arch live-action comedy based on popular TV 'toons; slapstick may please tots. Final battle unnecessarily violent; some crude language.)

8 and older:

"A Dog of Flanders," PG (Boy in 19th century Belgium strives to be an artist in well-told, spiritual tale with happier ending than 1872 novella it's based on. Mother, grandfather dying; dog briefly abused; mild sexual innuendo; mild profanity.)

10 and older:

"Runaway Bride," PG (Richard Gere, Julia Roberts in quirky, family-friendly comedy about newspaper columnist who writes mean piece about small-town woman who bails out on her own weddings. Rare profanity; bawdy jokes; mild sexual innuendo; drinking.)


"The Muse" (Albert Brooks as washed-up screenwriter inspired by Sharon Stone as Muse descended from Greek gods, in smart spoof that sags in middle; perhaps too subtle for teens. Rare profanity.)

"Mickey Blue Eyes" (Hugh Grant as wan Britisher in New York, co-opted by fiancee's mobster kin in droll comedy. One gory death; profanity; sexual innuendo; ethnic stereotypes; painting shows Jesus with gun.)

"Bowfinger" (Riotous farce with Steve Martin as sleazy director who secretly films movie star (Eddie Murphy) for cheap horror flick. Lewd sexual references will go over many pre-teen heads; profanity.)

"The Sixth Sense" (Bruce Willis as psychologist helps boy tormented by ghosts in subtle, sometimes slow thriller that builds to fab ending. Off-camera suicide; ghosts show wounds from violent deaths; rare crude language; drinking.)

R's and art films:

"Outside Providence" (Seriocomic tale about redemption of 1970s teen pothead -- cussed at by blue-collar dad, sent to prep school. Teens portrayed using drugs, liquor, cigarettes; profanity; sexual innuendo; masturbation joke; talk of parent's suicide. Mature high schoolers.)

"Chill Factor" (Cuba Gooding Jr., Skeet Ulrich as guys responsible for keeping chemical weapon out of villain's hands in silly, cheerful thriller. Non-gory throat-slitting; fights, explosions; mild profanity; victims of chemical shown disintegrating. Teens.)

"The Astronaut's Wife" (Johnny Depp in thoughtful adult thriller as astronaut back after space "incident," his wife sure he's co-opted by aliens. Graphic sexual situations, sexual language, profanity; suicide; violence; wife ponders inducing miscarriage. Oldest teens.)

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