January 31, 2005 12:00 PM

Million Dollar Baby

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

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

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

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