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'HORROR' TARGETS THE CHILDREN

"The Amityville Horror" (R, 1 hour, 29 minutes)

In this better-than-workmanlike remake of the 1979 horror hit, the characters most put at risk are children. And the risks they face are harrowing as they escalate -- verbal abuse, threats, and an evermore demonically possessed, shotgun-toting stepfather. They also endure appearances by bloodied, bullet-riddled ghosts of murder and torture victims. That's enough to make "The Amityville Horror" unsuitable for high-schoolers under 16. In addition, the movie includes blood-splattered flashbacks of a son slaughtering his family, including younger siblings. The children's deaths are not shown fully on camera, but are strongly implied and the bloody aftermath is shown. Other icky elements include the murder of a pet, swarming flies and maggots, a suicide theme, an explicit sexual situation with implied seminudity, teen drug use and profanity.

Inspired by an actual series of incidents from the 1970s, the movie begins with a prologue showing the previous occupants of a big, sinister-looking Victorian house in Amityville, L.I., gunned down in their sleep by a teenage son. A year later, George Lutz (Ryan Reynolds), his new wife Kathy (Melissa George) and her three kids (Jesse James, Jimmy Bennett and Chloe Grace Moretz) move in.

Beyond the ratings game

6 and older:

"Robots" PG -- Ewan McGregor provides the voice of young inventor Rodney Copperbottom who leads fellow robots in nonviolent revolt against an evil robotics executive, voiced by Greg Kinnear. Mild sexual innuendo about making robot babies; flatulence gags; robot pierced with screws, wears "Got Screwed" sign; Aunt Fanny robot has huge derriere; hellish underground shop where old 'bots are melted down could scare youngest.

8 and older:

"Ice Princess" G -- Michelle Trachtenberg stars as a physics whiz who studies aerodynamics of figure skating for a science project and suddenly burns to become a serious, sequined skater; understated sexual innuendo, flirting, a kiss; skating rivals say destructive things, slam into one another; overambitious parents harangue kids.

10 and older

"Millions" PG -- A freckle-faced English boy (Alexander Nathan Etel) finds a duffel crammed with pound notes tossed from a train; a dreamy kid who misses his dead mum, he has real-seeming conversations with saints and decides to give the pounds to the poor; his older brother (Lewis Owen McGibbon) wants to spend it, so they do a little of both. Sinister man (Christopher Fulford) who stole the cash is scary; flashback of original train robbery; photos of women in sheer bras; lady stays with Dad all night.

PG-13s:

"Fever Pitch" -- Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore star in this amiable romance about a crazed Red Sox fan. Occasional crude language, profanity; funny/gross sequence about vomit; much mild sexual innuendo (by today's PG-13 standards); passionate kissing scenes leading up to implied sexual situations, then morning-after cuddling; subplot about possible unplanned pregnancy; memories of parents' divorce, childhood depression over it.

"Sahara" -- Matthew McConaughey stars as macho archeologist/adventurer/tomb raider hunting in Africa for a long-missing Civil War-era ironclad battleship. Sexual innuendo, profanity; much violence with minimum gore -- stabbings, gunplay, head-banging fights, cannon fire, attack helicopters, powerboat chases.

"Beauty Shop" -- In spinoff of "Barbershop 2," Queen Latifah stars as ladies' hairstylist who buys a run-down inner-city beauty shop. Strong sexual innuendo, sometimes escalating into explicit slang about sex acts, organs; profanity, homophobic humor, racial jibes; talk of breast implants; drinking. Not for middle-schoolers.

"Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous" -- Sandra Bullock returns asklutzy tomboy FBI agent Gracie Hart. Head-banging fights; jokes about tampons, cramps, fake breasts. Teens.

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