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Director: Marcus Raboy. With Ice Cube, Mike Epps, John Witherspoon, Don 'D.C.' Curry. (93 min.)

Staff * 'Tis the night before Christmas Eve, and the only creature stirring is the Santa Claus burglar, breaking into Craig and Day-Day's ghetto apartment, and stealing presents and rent money. If Craig (Ice Cube) can keep his cousin Day-Day (Epps) in line on their new job as security guards, maybe they'll be able to pay the rent and not have to face the landlady's bodybuilding son. The frantic hip-hop pace and realistic setting of this third "Friday" movie will help viewers overlook old jokes and sloppy filmmaking, but beware of the drugs and dirty language. By M.K. Terrell

Staff ** Vulgar, cheesy, vacuous.

Sex/Nudity: 3 scenes implied sex or nudity. 14 instances of innuendo. Violence: 10 fight scenes, some gory. Attempted rape. Profanity: 150 harsh expressions. Drugs: At least 12 scenes of drinking, smoking, and drug use.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (PG)

Director: Chris Columbus. With Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Kenneth Branagh, Robbie Coltrane. (160 min.)

Sterritt ** Harry returns for his second school year at Hogwarts, where an unseen enemy is casting an evil spell on students, leading some to think Harry may be the culprit. The movie hews closely to J.K. Rowling's novel, decking it out with lavish settings, costumes, and effects. These are impressive in an ostentatious way, but their cumulative impact has a lumbering spirit quite different from that of Rowling's easy-going prose.

Staff ***1/2 Magical, scary, better than first film

Sex/Nudity: None. Violence: 12 scenes "magical" violence. Some kicking, shoving, and scary images. Profanity: 2 expressions. Drugs: None.

Personal Velocity (R)

Director: Rebecca Miller. With Kyra Sedgwick, Parker Posey, Fairuza Balk, Leo Fitzpatrick. (85 min.)

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