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Sterritt *** Talk about pulp fiction. This extremely bloody martial-arts epic has the most straightforward story Tarantino has ever told, following a woman warrior (Thurman) as she takes gory revenge on many enemies. Once again, Tarantino's screenplay doesn't live up to his huge talent as a director. The filmmaking is lively, though, paying homage to the kung fu flicks he loves. Stay miles away if you have a single squeamish bone in your body.

Sterritt *** Gory, moody, stylish.

Violence: 97 scenes. Extreme violence throughout film, including rape, slaughters. Profanity: 28 profanities. Drugs: 5 scenes of drinking, smoking.

Mystic River (R)

Director: Clint Eastwood. With: Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Laura Linney. (137 min.)

Sterritt **** The lives of a cop (Bacon) and a shopkeeper (Penn) intersect for the first time since childhood when the merchant's daughter is murdered and it appears that another boyhood friend (Robbins) may have committed the crime. Robbins is brilliant as a troubled man who was sexually abused as a child, and so is Linney as the shopkeeper's wife, a working-class woman with a streak of Lady Macbeth in her nature. Best of all is Eastwood's decision to probe serious themes through a leisurely style and a lingering sense of ambiguity.

Sterritt ***1/2 Engrossing, great acting, complex.

Sex/Nudity: 1 scene of implied sex. Violence: 11 scenes, including dead body, child abuse. Profanity: 30 profanities. Drugs: 15 scenes of drinking, smoking.

Radio (PG)

Director: Mike Tollin. With: Cuba Gooding, Jr., Ed Harris, Alfre Woodard, Debra Winger. (109 min.)

Sterritt * In a small Southern town, a mentally slow African-American man (Gooding) comes under the wing of a high-school football coach (Harris) who helps him achieve a happier and more trusting relationship with the everyday world. This fact-based drama is very well-meaning but also cloying, sentimental, and simplistic. Gooding's fake-toothed grin deserves an Oscar for best makeup, though.

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