VS/N: 3 instances of innuendo, including implied rape. VV: 6 scenes including beatings. VP: 13 expressions. VD: 6 scenes with smoking, 2 scenes with drinking.
Director: John Dahl. With Steve Zahn, Leelee Sobieski, Paul Walker, Walt Goggins. (97 min.)
Staff ** A stylish but ultimately cheap thrill, "Joy Ride" is a skillful production in the service of nothing better than your average teen fright- flick experience. Two brothers play a practical joke on a truck driver, who turns out to be Freddy Kreuger on 10 wheels as he pursues his revenge to its noisy, gory conclusion (and, of course, beyond). Fasten your seat belts if you must take this ride, but as every patron of the teen genre knows, you're better off if you don't get in the car.
By Gloria Goodale
Director: Paul Cox. With Julia Blake, Charles Tingwell, Terry Norris, Robert Menzies. (94 min.)
Staff ***1/2 Yearning for the Englishwoman he loved in his youth, an aging Belgian widower finds her in Australia 45 years later where she is enduring a comfortable but thankless marriage. Director Cox draws remarkably low-key performances from his cast, suggesting the would-be lovers' mental state with deft flashback glimmers of romance and separation. By M.K. Terrell
VS/N: 4 scenes, including nudity. VV: 2 scenes, including a minor tussle. VP: 3 expressions. VD: 8 scenes of drinking.
Director: Tim Hill. With Alex Linz, Clifton Davis, Amy Hill, Orlando Brown. (86 min.)
Staff **1/2 Will Max survive his first week of junior high? Bullies take his money and toss him in a dumpster. He's also tormented by a crazed ice cream vendor, a bulldozer-driving principal, and a ninth-grader trying to make him her pet. Under the impression that he's about to move to another town, Max decides to strike back. This scattered production, which seems more like a Nickelodeon cartoon than a live action movie, often loses positive messages in the shuffle, but Linz's savvy performance as Max almost compensates. Fifth-graders may find it funny - or terrifying. By M.K. Terrell