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Director: Christopher Nolan. With Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman. (141 min.)

Sterritt ** How a young man became the Caped Crusader instead of just Bruce Wayne, millionaire playboy. Neeson plays a ninja, which shows how desperately the story stretches for angles. But you finally get answers to the Joker's excellent question: "Where does he get those wonderful toys?!"

Staff *** Well plotted, dizzying, uneven, comical.

Sex/Nudity: 1 instance of innuendo. Violence: 29 intense scenes. Profanity: 11 mild profanities. Drugs: 4 with drinking, 1 with drug dealing.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (PG)

Director: Tim Burton. With Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham Carter. (116 min.)

Sterritt **** A youngster wins a rare ticket for a guided tour of Willy Wonka's mysterious candy-making outfit, where zillions of surprises are in store. Depp wittily plays Willy as a sort of zoned-out hippie capitalist, and Burton lets his imagination soar to some of the most outlandish heights it's ever reached. Parents should check it out before taking very young viewers, though, since it's sometimes a patented Burton frightmare.

Staff *** Off-kilter, slightly insane, expressionistic.

Sex/Nudity: mild innuendo. Violence: 10 instances. Profanity: None. Drugs: 1 instance of drinking.

Dark Water (PG-13)

Director: Walter Salles. With Jennifer Connelly, Tim Roth, John C. Reilly (104 min.)

Sterritt ** A single mom, dogged by psychological problems and impending divorce, rents the world's worst apartment for herself and her little girl, and on top of this it turns out to be haunted. The themes are somber but the filmmaking is so soggy and clunky that sometimes you can't help laughing.

Staff ** Reasonably creepy, should help keep rents low on Roosevelt Island.

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