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A SOPHISTICATED SORT OF TALE

A True Story" (PG)

This charming blend of fantasy and realism is reminiscent of "A Little Princess," but the complex story and sophisticated dialogue make it more appropriate for kids 8 and up. The World War I setting adds themes of loss (and two scenes with a badly scarred soldier) and of people's deep need for magic.

"A Life Less Ordinary" (R)

High school audiences may tune right in to this romantic comedy as its attitude careens from cynical to sweet to smart-mouth. The rating refers to profanity, mild sexual situations and innuendo, moments of bloody violence and one bit of on-screen surgery.

"Gattaca" (PG-13)

This science fiction fable may pique the interest of teen science buffs, but it'll bore many younger kids. The movie raises issues of scientific ethics and our tendency to discriminate. The rating reflects the bloodied murder victim, needles drawing blood, mild sexual situations, verbal innuendo, non-sexual nudity, implied suicide, drinking, smoking and a fight.

"Devil's Advocate" (R)

This is a morality play, but couched in such sexually explicit, violent, profane terms that it's appropriate only for the most mature high school seniors. The rating reflects sexual situations with much nudity, a bloody on-screen suicide, a gun death and a vicious beating.

"Gang Related" (R)

This is a well-acted, niftily plotted, gritty urban drama about two undercover cops gone bad. There are shootings as well as profanity, sexual innuendo and endless drinking and smoking. For older high schoolers.

Beyond the ratings game

Littlest on up:

"RocketMan," PG (Computer geek goes on Mars mission in gigglesome farce that fills cosmic vacuum with flatulence. Drinking; not-to-be-copied stunt shows child spinning in clothes dryer.)

More appropriate for teens:

"Seven Years in Tibet," PG-13 (Panoramic tale of real-life Austrian mountain climber and Nazi whose friendship with youthful Dalai Lama humbled him. Strong scenes of warfare and some bloody injuries.)

"In & Out," PG-13 (Sweetly riotous comedy about high school teacher "outed" as gay spoofs narrow-mindedness, homophobia. Rare crude language, profanity; strong verbal sexual innuendo; men kissing.)

R's:

"Playing God" (Drug-addicted former surgeon becomes crime boss' medic in thoughtless, bloody thriller. Gushing wounds; strong profanity; mild sexual innuendo. Mature high schoolers.)

"I Know What You Did Last Summer" (Slasher stalks high school pals who cover up drunken accident that killed a man. OK horror flick has gut-goring attacks; profanity; mild sexual situations.Unsqueamish high schoolers.)

"Kiss the Girls" (Convincing but creepy thriller. Strongly implied violence against women; severed body parts shown; non-explicit sexual situations; sexual innuendo; nudity; profanity. Older high schoolers.)

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