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'VALENTINE' IS LAME

"Valentine" (R, 1 hour, 33 minutes)

A slasher movie in which targeted victims receive notes that read "roses are red, violets are blue, they'll need dental records to identify you," "Valentine" is a lame variation on the "Scream" theme. "Valentine" includes the usual number of scenes in which characters wander cluelessly through shadowy rooms while ominous music crescendos just before they get stabbed, axed, shot with a bow and arrow or thwacked with a steam iron. Not only violent but also a showcase for obnoxious social behavior, "Valentine" isn't a good choice for kids younger than high-school age. It includes leering verbal and visual sexual innuendo, most of it not overly explicit, and profanity. An art gallery scene shows photos and videos of seminude women.

"Hannibal" (R, 2 hours, 11 minutes)

This sequel to multiple Oscar winner "The Silence of the Lambs" unfolds slowly, with more humor and less stomach-churning intensity at the climax. True, there are numerous bloody murders, stylishly filmed (though not lingered on), but high-schoolers 16 or older may find the pace too leisurely and the violent thrills too few, what with all the chat about the Italian Renaissance in between. The more bookish among them will appreciate "Hannibal" (based on Thomas Harris' novel), as a grown-up thriller.

That said, "Hannibal" contains grossly, nightmarishly inappropriate material for younger teens, let alone preteens. Characters meet their ends via hanging, disemboweling and throat-slitting. An infant is endangered in a thundering shootout. There are disturbing photographs of Lecter's victims, a scene with a wild boar chomping down on a human, a character with a grotesquely disfigured face, strong sexual innuendo, crude sexual language and profanity.

Beyond the ratings game

PG-13s:

"Head Over Heels": Monica Potter as art restorer falls for Freddie Prinze Jr. in romantic comedy. Subtle verbal sexual innuendo; jokes implying incest; gross toilet humor; randy male dog; understated gun, knife violence.

"The Wedding Planner": (Jennifer Lopez as workaholic wedding planner, Matthew McConaughey as groom-to-be fight mutual attraction. Rare profanity; mild verbal sexual innuendo; visual joke involving manly bits of nude statue; drunkenness.

"Thirteen Days": Riveting look at 1962 Cuban missile crisis through eyes of Kevin Costner as JFK aide Kenneth P. O'Donnell. Frequent mild profanity; drinking; scary scene with U.S. spy plane dodging missiles over Cuba.

"Save the Last Dance": Teen tale of interracial romance stars Julia Stiles as white girl who enrolls in mostly African-American Chicago high school. Mild profanity; understated fights, shootouts; mildly implied sexual situation; drinking.

Rs:

"The Gift": Cate Blanchett as psychic who helps authorities after disappearance of local deb. Mostly nongraphic violence includes attacks, wife-beating, son burning abusive father; threats against kids; racial slurs; profanity; scary phone calls; hallucinations; mild sexual situation; seminudity; talk of suicide. High-schoolers 16 and up.

"Shadow of the Vampire": John Malkovich as director of real 1922 German vampire classic "Nosferatu," Willem Dafoe as star Max Schreck. Understated violence shows bloody bites, gunplay, fisticuffs; Schreck munches on bat; partial nudity; drug abuse; drinking, smoking. High-schoolers.

"Traffic": Dissection of drug war cuts between Michael Douglas as U.S. drug czar whose daughter's an addict, Mexican cops, DEA agents, wife of drug lord. Occasional strong violence; sexual situations - one explicit; teens on drugs; profanity; drinking, smoking.

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