Picks and Pans Review: Also Playing

UPDATED 01/31/2005 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/31/2005 at 01:00 AM EST

Million Dollar Baby

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Clint Eastwood directs and stars in a rich, complex film about a grizzled boxing coach who reluctantly agrees to train a female pugilist (Hilary Swank). And then something tragic happens that tests them both. Great acting, great movie. (PG-13)

A Love Song for Bobby Long

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First-time directors such as Shainee Gabel should be prohibited from making movies set in New Orleans' underbelly. Everyone's trying hard in this painfully atmospheric drama about two alcohol-soaked ex-academics (John Travolta and Gabriel Macht) who form an alternative family with an orphaned teen (Scarlett Johansson), but we're not buying it. (R)

Coach Carter

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Samuel L. Jackson is aces as a no-nonsense high school basketball coach. (PG-13)

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