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Lady Bird

Lady Bird  (Rating:
     
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I’ve always been fascinated to see what happens when a prominent actor or actress decides to take a seat behind the camera and make a truly personal artistic statement. From the stunningly dark visuals and spirit of Charles Laughton’s 1955 moody masterpiece “Night of the...
12:15 PM EST, Thu December 07, 2017
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Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Roman J. Israel, Esq.  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Writer-director Dan Gilroy's drama "Roman J. Israel, Esq." (Columbia) is a generally intriguing character study pitting idealism against the hard realities of contemporary life and the allure of wealth and comfort.     Though the film takes...
3:45 PM EST, Thu November 30, 2017
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The Man Who Invented Christmas

The Man Who Invented Christmas  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Its rather ill-chosen title notwithstanding, "The Man Who Invented Christmas" (Bleecker Street) involves no denial of the Nativity.     Instead, this charming fact-based historical drama tells the origin story of Victorian author Charles Dickens'...
3:43 PM EST, Thu November 30, 2017
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Coco

Coco  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Will "Coco" (Disney) be your cup of tea? That largely depends on how well equipped you are to interpret this visually rich animated fantasy's presentation of the afterlife, one which owes little to Christianity and much to the pre-Columbian beliefs associated with Mexico's...
3:41 PM EST, Thu November 30, 2017
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Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Let There Be Light" (Atlas) is an evangelical Christian drama with a familiar plot: A wayward sinner, in this case a famous atheist, experiences a change of heart.    The film is being marketed as a family-friendly event for church groups. The promotion...
3:22 PM EST, Tue November 21, 2017
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Justice League

Justice League  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- When it comes to repetitiously threatening the world with annihilation, Hollywood is almost as persistent as North Korean state media.     So the global danger looming over "Justice League" (Warner Bros.) feels all-too-familiar, a case of Yogi Berra's...
3:19 PM EST, Tue November 21, 2017
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Wonder

Wonder  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Wonder" (Lionsgate) is a beautiful film about ugliness. Its protagonist is August "Auggie" Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a 10-year-old boy born with facial deformities whose misshapen visage becomes a moral Rorschach test for the people around him.  ...
3:16 PM EST, Tue November 21, 2017
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Novitiate

Novitiate  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Writer-director Margaret Betts takes a stab at a genre that always seems to fascinate people, even those with no religious affiliation: nun movies.     Unfortunately, "Novitiate" (Sony Classics) falls short of presenting a well-rounded picture of...
12:50 PM EST, Thu November 16, 2017
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Daddy's Home 2

Daddy's Home 2  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Silly slapstick predominates in "Daddy's Home 2" (Paramount). Though this follow-up to the 2015 comedy about the blending pains of a post-divorce family is mostly harmless, late scenes mix lame holiday-themed sentimentality with weirdly uncomfortable humor concerning...
12:41 PM EST, Thu November 16, 2017
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Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- A formidable list of actors, including Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov and David Suchet, have taken on the role of Agatha Christie's famed Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot.     Now Kenneth Branagh makes the possessor of the celebrated "little gray...
12:33 PM EST, Thu November 16, 2017
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Jigsaw

Jigsaw  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Butchery accompanied by siren-wail screaming, franchise shock value that has long since played out and a rapid descent into self-parody, this is "Jigsaw" (Lionsgate).     The eighth, uh, film in the "Saw" series -- which is now about seven...
2:51 PM EST, Wed November 08, 2017
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Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- There's plenty of combat but relatively little bloodletting in the sweeping Marvel Comics adaptation "Thor: Ragnarok" (Disney). So at least some parents may deem this second sequel to the 2011 original acceptable for older teens.    As for adult...
2:49 PM EST, Wed November 08, 2017
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A Bad Moms Christmas

A Bad Moms Christmas  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Aggressive vulgarity is the incongruous hallmark of the holiday-themed sequel "A Bad Moms Christmas" (STX).    Like a stocking stuffed full of nasty surprises, the script, as penned by returning screenwriters and directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore,...
2:46 PM EST, Wed November 08, 2017
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Victoria and Abdul  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Judi Dench is no stranger to playing royalty, and she shines once again as the titular queen in "Victoria and Abdul" (Focus).    Beginning in 1887, director Stephen Frears' historical drama, adapted from the book by Shrabani Basu, follows the...
11:36 AM EDT, Thu November 02, 2017
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Suburbicon

Suburbicon  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Corruption lurking under the placid surface of life in the suburbs is hardly a new theme.    But the image of universal middle-class depravity presented in the failed black comedy "Suburbicon" (Paramount) is so lurid as to render the movie fundamentally...
11:33 AM EDT, Thu November 02, 2017
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Thank You for Your Service  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- For many soldiers returning from war, a brand-new battle for survival begins at home. That struggle is depicted in "Thank You for Your Service" (Universal), a powerful drama about the devastating impact of post-traumatic stress disorder.    Writer-director...
11:30 AM EDT, Thu November 02, 2017
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The Snowman

The Snowman  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Though it presents itself as a complex, thinking person's thriller, "The Snowman" (Universal), director Tomas Alfredson's adaptation of Jo Nesbo's best-selling crime novel, is not above dabbling in penny-dreadful sensationalism.    ...
12:41 PM EDT, Thu October 26, 2017
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Only the Brave

Only the Brave  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The heartbreaking true story of an elite Arizona firefighting team comes to the big screen in "Only the Brave" (Columbia).    In 2013, the Granite Mountain Hotshots -- as the group was known -- risked their lives and raced into a raging inferno to...
12:40 PM EDT, Thu October 26, 2017
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My Little Pony: The Movie

My Little Pony: The Movie  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Looking for an instant sugar rush but don't want all those empty calories? Saddle up and lasso "My Little Pony: The Movie" (Lionsgate), a super-sweet animated musical featuring those candy-colored Hasbro toys.    Amid relentless prancing and...
10:55 AM EDT, Wed October 25, 2017
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Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Misogyny hangs over "Blade Runner 2049" (Warner Bros.) as blithely as the thick yellow fog of the post-apocalyptic Los Angeles it portrays.    While that's hardly unusual for science-fiction epics with a substantially male core audience, director...
10:52 AM EDT, Wed October 25, 2017
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Happy Death Day

Happy Death Day   (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- With a name like "Happy Death Day" (Universal), a sweet, wholesome story is unlikely to unfold.    You can say that again.     Rather, "Happy Death Day," directed by Christopher Landon ("Scouts Guide to the...
10:49 AM EDT, Wed October 25, 2017
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'Til Death Do Us Part  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) – "'Til Death Do Us Part" (Novus) takes a deep dive into the shallow end of the melodrama pool with predictable results.    Moreover, its improbable plot centered on a faked death is carried as a badge of honor. The film's moral...
1:18 PM EDT, Fri October 13, 2017
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Flatliners

Flatliners  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Far from heavenly, but not exactly hellish either, the tepid afterlife-focused thriller "Flatliners" (Columbia) is more like a visit to limbo.    Comparisons to a spell spent sitting in your doctor's waiting room might be equally apt, since...
1:15 PM EDT, Fri October 13, 2017
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The Mountain Between Us

The Mountain Between Us  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The proverbial call of the wild sounds more like a roar in "The Mountain Between Us" (Fox), a trapped-in-the-wilderness survival drama based on the 2011 novel by Charles Martin.    At an Idaho airport, Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) is desperate. The...
1:13 PM EDT, Fri October 13, 2017
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Battle of the Sexes

Battle of the Sexes  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The early 1970s in all its revanchist sexism, double-knit-fabric garishness and choking cigarette smoke is the setting of the coming-of-age story that is "Battle of the Sexes" (Fox Searchlight).    That the coming of age arrives for Billie Jean King...
1:11 PM EDT, Fri October 13, 2017
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A Question of Faith

A Question of Faith  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- As with so many of its forerunners in the religious message movie genre, the sober drama "A Question of Faith" (Pure Flix) seems better suited to preach to the choir than to attract the indifferent or the merely curious.     Still, those committed...
11:04 AM EDT, Thu October 05, 2017
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The Lego Ninjago Movie

The Lego Ninjago Movie  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Third time lucky? Not for the Lego screen franchise, alas.    In following up on 2014's "The Lego Movie" and "The Lego Batman Movie" from earlier this year, directors Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan -- the latter two also co-writers,...
11:01 AM EDT, Thu October 05, 2017
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American Made

American Made  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "American Made" (Universal), the wild, fact-based story of airline pilot-turned-gun-runner Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), is far too turbulent for youngsters and even too bumpy for most of their elders.     That's a shame because, given a different...
11:00 AM EDT, Thu October 05, 2017
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American Assassin

American Assassin  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The award for the most obvious film title of the year goes to "American Assassin" (CBS Films), an action thriller about -- you guessed it -- a professional killer from the United States, specifically Rhode Island.    This adaptation of the 2010 novel...
2:39 PM EDT, Thu September 28, 2017
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Mother!  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Even as its end credits roll, there's a great deal that remains puzzling about the chaotic, exhausting, genre-blending allegory "Mother!" (Paramount).     What's all too apparent, however, is that the film's treatment of religion --...
2:38 PM EDT, Thu September 28, 2017
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Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Kingsman: The Golden Circle  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Stylish but wayward, director and co-writer Matthew Vaughn's action sequel "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" (Fox) spoils its own fun by refusing all hint of restraint.     This leads to cartoonish but gruesome mayhem as well as a distasteful bedroom...
2:34 PM EDT, Thu September 28, 2017
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Home Again

Home Again  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Genteel decorum prevails in the romantic comedy "Home Again" (Open Road). At least, it does so everywhere beyond the confines of its protagonist's bedroom. The result is a morally mixed film in which kindly characters follow the misguided marital and sexual dictates of...
11:37 AM EDT, Fri September 22, 2017
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It

It  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Moviegoers looking for nothing more than to be unsettled will likely be satisfied with the horror adaptation "It" (Warner Bros.). However, while director Andy Muschietti's generally effective screen version of Stephen King's 1986 novel promotes friendship and fear-conquering...
3:40 PM EDT, Wed September 13, 2017
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The Good Catholic  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- A self-identified romantic comedy built around a priest's struggle with his vocation is bound to be doubtful fare for viewers of faith. And so it proves with "The Good Catholic" (Broad Green).     While free of sensationalism, writer-director...
3:39 PM EDT, Wed September 13, 2017
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Tulip Fever

Tulip Fever  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Horticulture was never as steamy -- or silly -- as in "Tulip Fever" (Weinstein), a period drama based on the 1999 novel by Deborah Moggach.    Despite a handsome cast, lavish sets and a script by no less than Tom Stoppard ("Shakespeare in Love"),...
3:37 PM EDT, Wed September 13, 2017
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Good Time

Good Time  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Gritty and intense, the ironically titled crime drama "Good Time" (A24) actually charts some very grim hours in the lives of its central characters.    In doing so, the film conducts viewers on a journey through a bleak urban landscape many entertainment...
3:16 PM EDT, Wed August 30, 2017
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All Saints

All Saints  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Sincere but less than slick, the low-key, fact-based drama "All Saints" (Sony) celebrates Christian faith and family life. Believers, accordingly, will likely be inclined to overlook its artistic shortcomings.    Director Steve Gomer and screenwriter...
3:13 PM EDT, Wed August 30, 2017
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Leap!

Leap!  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Ballet enthusiasts of all ages should jump at the chance to see the charming animated film "Leap!" (Weinstein). Set in 1880s France, and originally entitled "Ballerina," this French-Canadian movie, produced by L'Atelier Animation and directed with brio by Eric...
3:11 PM EDT, Wed August 30, 2017
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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Anyone who's endured the ignominy of grinding poverty with an alcoholic, out-of- work parent understands that there's nothing ennobling about the experience.     It's something to endure, to escape if one can, and it leaves deep psychic scars...
11:56 AM EDT, Thu August 24, 2017
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The Hitman's Bodyguard

The Hitman's Bodyguard  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Morality is never allowed to get in the way of style as Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds find creative ways to dispatch a host of extras in the excessively mayhem-ridden action flick "The Hitman's Bodyguard" (Summit).     Some dialogue justifying...
11:54 AM EDT, Thu August 24, 2017
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The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Much of the action in the animated children's comedy "The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature" (Open Road) unfolds at a frenzied pace. Yet, for all the sound and fury, this is in the end a bland film, unlikely to please any but the least discerning viewers.  ...
11:52 AM EDT, Thu August 24, 2017
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Brigsby Bear  (Rating:
     
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For the past four seasons of “Saturday Night Live,” cast member Kyle Mooney has created a series of unique video shorts that have thrown comic curveballs at viewers with a decidedly twisted point of view. In his new film “Brigsby Bear,” Mooney takes on fanboy obsession...
2:03 PM EDT, Thu August 17, 2017
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Kidnap

Kidnap  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The compact thriller "Kidnap" (Aviron) has Halle Berry's expressive face going for it, but not a whole lot else. The film is less a story about a mother's enduring love and sacrifice for her young son than it is a long drive in an amazingly durable minivan.  ...
9:19 AM EDT, Fri August 11, 2017
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A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "A Ghost Story" (A24) could be the best film about purgatory you'll see this year.    That depends, of course, on whether you think that purgatory is the state in which Casey Affleck's recently departed character exists. Writer-director...
9:17 AM EDT, Fri August 11, 2017
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Detroit

Detroit  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- A dark chapter of the Motor City's history is revisited in "Detroit" (Annapurna), a searing period drama.    The setting is the summer of 1967, when race riots broke out in several cities across the country. In Detroit, simmering discontent...
9:15 AM EDT, Fri August 11, 2017
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The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Awash in high-flown metaphysical hooey, director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel's dull sci-fi fantasy "The Dark Tower" (Columbia) is inappropriate for the impressionable.    As for grown viewers, they should be prepared to slog through an involved...
9:14 AM EDT, Fri August 11, 2017
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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Despite its ponderous title, "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" (STX) turns out to be a flashy but lightweight sci-fi adventure likely to divert those grown viewers content to munch their popcorn and enjoy a break from the heat of summer.    Moviegoers...
12:24 PM EDT, Thu August 03, 2017
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Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Aspiring to be edgy and stylish, the espionage thriller "Atomic Blonde" (Focus), matches sometimes sadistic brawling with exploitative scenes of aberrant sex. The result is not only degraded but tedious as well.    In the weeks leading up to the...
12:22 PM EDT, Thu August 03, 2017
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The Emoji Movie

The Emoji Movie  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Tech savvy viewers will especially enjoy the wacky proceedings of "The Emoji Movie" (Columbia). But patrons of all stripes will appreciate the film's themes of loyal friendship and faithful romance.    Set within the smartphone of high school...
12:20 PM EDT, Thu August 03, 2017
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War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes   (Rating:
     
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The idea of mankind being trapped in a world where apes have managed to evolve and turn the tables by dominating humans has proven fascinating ever since Charlton Heston made the first “Planet of the Apes” movie nearly 50 years ago. The new “War for the Planet of the Apes”...
11:09 AM EDT, Thu July 20, 2017
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The House

The House  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Had "The House" (Warner Bros.) been made as a taut, dark comedy about the price of greed, it might have some merit. Instead, director Andrew Jay Cohen, who co-wrote the screenplay with Brendan O'Brien, has produced a sloppy, illogical, cringe-inducing time-waster.  ...
2:28 PM EDT, Thu July 13, 2017
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Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming   (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- There's much to like about the vibrant comic-book adaptation "Spider-Man: Homecoming" (Columbia). Besides an unslacking pace and a clever central plot twist, there's the fact that the mayhem on display is kept virtually bloodless.    And...
2:26 PM EDT, Thu July 13, 2017
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Baby Driver

Baby Driver  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Stylish and energetic, the high-octane crime drama "Baby Driver" (TriStar) blends pop music, dizzying car chases and some dark humor to impressive effect.     While the film's basic values are sound, however, late plot developments involve a...
11:42 AM EDT, Thu July 06, 2017
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Despicable Me 3

Despicable Me 3  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Director Pierre Coffin's animated comedy "Despicable Me 3" (Universal) -- the second direct follow-up to the 2010 original -- turns out to be something of a disappointment, falling short when compared to its predecessors.     There is good news...
11:40 AM EDT, Thu July 06, 2017
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All Eyez on Me

All Eyez on Me  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Radical politics and the wayward values of hip-hop culture take "All Eyez on Me" (Summit), a sometimes intense but overlong and rarely insightful biography of rapper Tupac Shakur (Demetrius Shipp Jr.), off course.    Add to these elements a script...
9:30 AM EDT, Fri June 30, 2017
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Transformers: The Last Knight

Transformers: The Last Knight  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Grown-ups who yearn to connect with their inner 11-year-old boy are given a two-and-a-half-hour window of opportunity to do so in "Transformers: The Last Knight" (Paramount).     As for the literal preteens who might somehow enjoy this long, loud...
9:27 AM EDT, Fri June 30, 2017
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47 Meters Down

47 Meters Down  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Way back in 1975, Steven Spielberg taught the world just how scary sharks can be with his classic "Jaws." Apparently the two main characters in the thriller "47 Meters Down" (Entertainment Studios) failed to get the message.    As a result,...
2:51 PM EDT, Thu June 22, 2017
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Rough Night

Rough Night  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Weekend at Bernie's" meets "Bridesmaids" in the raunchy comedy "Rough Night" (Columbia). The result is pure dreck.    Political candidate and bride-to-be Jess Thayer (Scarlett Johansson) joins her four best friends --  ...
2:50 PM EDT, Thu June 22, 2017
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Cars 3

Cars 3  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Fasten your seatbelts and start your engines for a wild (and often ear-splitting) ride in "Cars 3" (Disney), the latest installment of the family-friendly animated franchise.    Six years after the initial sequel and 11 since the series began with...
2:47 PM EDT, Thu June 22, 2017
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Megan Leavey

Megan Leavey  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Man's best friend is also a lifesaver in "Megan Leavey" (Bleeker Street), the inspiring true story of a female Marine corporal and the bomb-sniffing dog she bonded with during the Iraq War.    Leavey (born in 1983) and Rex, her trusty German...
3:51 PM EDT, Thu June 15, 2017
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The Mummy

The Mummy  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The clumsily fashioned horror flick "The Mummy" (Universal) turns out to be anything but tightly wound.     Predictable pagan mumbo-jumbo aside, there's not much to bother grown viewers in the film. But its globetrotting -- from Ancient Egypt...
3:49 PM EDT, Thu June 15, 2017
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Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- If you can say or even read the name of the planet Uranus without bursting into gales of giggles, then "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie" (Fox) may not be the film for you.     From a giant mechanized toilet running amok to an orchestra of...
3:46 PM EDT, Thu June 15, 2017
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Wonder Woman  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Close to eight decades ago, William Moulton Marston -- whose name seems more suited to a stodgy novelist than a writer of comic books -- created Wonder Woman. In the years since, the character has, of course, become a staple for DC Comics.    She has also...
12:07 PM EDT, Thu June 08, 2017
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Gifted

Gifted  (Rating:
     
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The small film "Gifted" (i.e. small in scope, feel, settings, and in its pint-sized protagonist) is delightful and well-crafted, and asks what it really means to be a successful human being … what it really means to be "gifted." Mary, a 7-year-old math prodigy like her mother...
12:20 PM EDT, Thu June 01, 2017
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Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Cynics beware: The teen-oriented romantic drama "Everything, Everything" (Warner Bros.) bears more than a little resemblance to one of those fairy tales involving a princess locked up in a castle who needs a handsome prince to rescue her.    Anachronistic...
3:25 PM EDT, Thu May 25, 2017
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Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Once you've seen one vicious extraterrestrial gnaw its way out of a human body from the inside, you've seen 'em all. Or so at least the jaded -- or squeamish -- moviegoer might be tempted to think.     And yet, the success of the durable "Alien"...
3:22 PM EDT, Thu May 25, 2017
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13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why  (Rating:
     
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I think the verdict is now out. The wildly-popular, or at least widely-seen Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" – (based on the book by the same name) about a teen girl who commits suicide – may actually have the reverse effect of its intended purpose. The purpose of the book/series...
10:30 AM EDT, Thu May 18, 2017
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The Circle

The Circle  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Big Brother is watching you, and he has nothing to do with the government. Such, at least in part, is the message of the confused cautionary tale "The Circle" (STX).    While perfectly acceptable for a wide swath of grown-ups, director James Ponsoldt's...
12:35 PM EDT, Thu May 11, 2017
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How to Be a Latin Lover

How to Be a Latin Lover  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- There are so many plot threads going in "How to Be a Latin Lover" (Pantelion), they never quite come together. Rather, the film becomes a scattershot comedy wavering uncertainly between warm family fare and a sex farce.    The uneven tone, together...
12:32 PM EDT, Thu May 11, 2017
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Sound fundamental values underlie the spirited sci-fi follow-up "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (Disney). But thematic elements demanding discernment, together with some less than family-friendly dialogue, make this return to the stars best for grown-ups.  ...
12:27 PM EDT, Thu May 11, 2017
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Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast  (Rating:
     
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The live-action "Beauty and the Beast" is a lovely and faithful rendition of the animated version – faithful to the point of an almost frame-by-frame facsimile. Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as The Beast play their roles with precision. The stunning Audra McDonald –...
9:06 AM EDT, Fri May 05, 2017
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Free Fire

Free Fire  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The premise of "Free Fire" (A24) is that a single extended gunfight can sustain an entire film, provided the participants in the showdown keep making incongruously funny and mordant remarks.    This is the genre of the siege movie, somewhat in the...
3:12 PM EDT, Thu April 27, 2017
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Unforgettable

Unforgettable  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The few adult viewers for whom it's suitable might be tempted to nickname the feverish domestic drama "Unforgettable" (Warner Bros.) "Wifie Dearest."     That's because Tessa Connover (Katherine Heigl), the obsessive, perfectionist...
3:09 PM EDT, Thu April 27, 2017
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Gifted

Gifted  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Endearing and well-acted, director Marc Webb's drama "Gifted" (Fox Searchlight) might have been a family-friendly movie.     Elements in screenwriter Tom Flynn's script, however, make this thoughtful film -- which examines the proper balance...
3:06 PM EDT, Thu April 27, 2017
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Bitter Harvest

Bitter Harvest  (Rating:
     
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The new film, "Bitter Harvest," is a long overdue depiction of the "Holodomor" – the starvation of 7-10 million Ukrainians (1932-1933) at the order of the communist Soviet Union's Jozef Stalin. Does it succeed as a film? Not exactly, but it should still be viewed in...
11:49 AM EDT, Thu April 20, 2017
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The Blackcoat's Daughter

The Blackcoat's Daughter  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- This year's crop of demon-possession plots -- that hardy stalwart of horror -- kicks off in high style with the very adult "The Blackcoat's Daughter" (A24).    Although this story gives unusually short shrift to the rite of exorcism, which...
11:27 AM EDT, Thu April 13, 2017
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The Zookeeper's Wife

The Zookeeper's Wife  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Moviegoers of goodwill may ask themselves, while watching the fact-based historical drama "The Zookeeper's Wife" (Focus), why they aren't enjoying themselves more. The story the film tells is undeniably inspiring. But the manner in which it's told is dramatically...
11:18 AM EDT, Thu April 13, 2017
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The Case for Christ

The Case for Christ  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Christian apologetics, the branch of theology devoted to proving the reasonableness of belief in Jesus, is almost as old as the faith itself. Three documents in this genre, for instance, survive from the writings of St. Justin Martyr, who died in the middle of the second century.  ...
11:14 AM EDT, Thu April 13, 2017
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The Shack

The Shack  (Rating:
     
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Wow. Where do I begin? "The Shack," the book, is a New York Times bestseller, first published in 2007. It was written by Canadian William P. Young, who experienced healing in his own life; and as a Christian, needed to wrestle with the perennial "problem of evil" question. That's...
2:39 PM EDT, Wed April 05, 2017
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A United Kingdom

A United Kingdom  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The historical drama "A United Kingdom" (Fox Searchlight) tells the story of Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), an African royal who faced down mid-20th-century racial prejudice to marry Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a white office worker he met in post-World War II London.  ...
11:38 AM EDT, Thu March 23, 2017
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La La Land

La La Land  (Rating:
     
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Is the fêted "La La Land" really so great? Yes, if you like sheer escapist films and golden-era Hollywood films. Also, it's pretty much a quasi-musical. It doesn't try too hard, and is very tongue-in-cheek about what it purports to be, so it's an overall light and uplifting...
11:23 AM EDT, Thu March 16, 2017
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Fences

Fences  (Rating:
     
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  In my humble opinion, good plays will make good film-plays – even if not given the full film treatment. Bad plays ... well, you get the picture. "Fences" is a good play. Denzel Washington's Oscar-nominated film is an adaptation of a Pulitzer-Prize-winning 1983 August...
12:14 PM EST, Thu March 02, 2017
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A Cure for Wellness

A Cure for Wellness  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The Swiss spa that serves as the primary setting for the creepy, but otherwise pointless horror exercise "A Cure for Wellness" (Fox) operates, it seems, on the Hotel California plan.     As fans of the Eagles' 1977 hit will recall, that means,...
12:55 PM EST, Thu February 23, 2017
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John Wick: Chapter 2  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The stylized, nearly cartoonish nihilism and resulting high body count in "John Wick: Chapter 2" (Lionsgate) create most of the apparent appeal of this second drama about a professional assassin.    The rest, as directed by Chad Stahelski from Derek...
12:48 PM EST, Thu February 23, 2017
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The Lego Batman Movie

The Lego Batman Movie  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- In 2014's "The Lego Movie," Will Arnett voiced an amusingly self-absorbed version of Gotham City's Dark Knight. With the entertaining spinoff "The Lego Batman Movie" (Warner Bros.), Arnett's character, together with his inflated ego, takes center stage.  ...
12:44 PM EST, Thu February 23, 2017
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Arrival

Arrival  (Rating:
     
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The Oscar-nominated sci-fi film "Arrival" is a vacuous, insipid waste of time, in my humble opinion. I can't stand alien movies, but everyone assured me this wasn't an alien movie, or not your typical alien movie. It is. "E.T." and "Close Encounters of the Third...
11:46 AM EST, Thu February 16, 2017
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Gold

Gold  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Little glitters in "Gold" (Weinstein). To put it another way, there's a sour taste to this loosely fact-based story that a strong performance from Matthew McConaughey in the lead role fails to dispel.    McConaughey plays Kenny Wells, a scrappy...
2:24 PM EST, Wed February 08, 2017
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Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" (Screen Gems) is the sixth -- and presumably last -- in a series of video game-based films that began back in 2002.    The movies have always kept their connection to the console on open display. This makes them...
2:19 PM EST, Wed February 08, 2017
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The Space Between Us

The Space Between Us  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Moral blemishes mar the science fiction-tinged romance "The Space Between Us" (STX), making it unsuitable for youngsters and teens.     Dramatically, director Peter Chelsom and screenwriter Allan Loeb waste a promising premise as they imagine the...
2:15 PM EST, Wed February 08, 2017
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Split  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Split" (Universal), the latest psychological thriller from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, posits that victims of childhood sexual abuse are not only prone to dissociative identity disorder -- split personalities -- but also that each persona can have unique physical...
2:37 PM EST, Thu January 26, 2017
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The Bye Bye Man  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Don't think it! Don't say it!" Such is the frantic, oft-repeated mantra of the bewitched and bewildered -- not to mention generic -- characters who populate "The Bye Bye Man" (STX). Their struggle to evade the malevolent specter of the title (Doug Jones)...
2:35 PM EST, Thu January 26, 2017
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Sleepless

Sleepless  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- There's little chance of catching a quick nap during "Sleepless" (Open Road), a noisy, vulgar, and highly violent police drama.    Based on the 2011 French film "Nuit Blanche" ("Sleepless Night"), this tense thriller, directed...
2:31 PM EST, Thu January 26, 2017
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Silence  (Rating:
     
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The new Martin Scorsese film, "Silence," based on the 1966 historical novel (with the same title) by Japanese Catholic, Shûsaku Endô, is a worthy and nuanced take on: missionary activity, Christianity, the priesthood, the sacraments, religious persecution, torture, suffering,...
2:30 PM EST, Thu January 19, 2017
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La La Land

La La Land  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Though it's set in present-day Los Angeles, the comedy-drama "La La Land" (Lionsgate) takes a spirited stab at reviving the musicals of Hollywood's golden age.    Writer-director Damien Chazelle ("Whiplash") dreams big in this...
2:55 PM EST, Thu January 12, 2017
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Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- The struggles of the civil rights era provide the backdrop for the appealing fact-based drama "Hidden Figures" (Fox 2000). Along with a personalized insight into the injustices that still prevailed in American society in the early 1960s, director Theodore Melfi's adaptation...
2:51 PM EST, Thu January 12, 2017
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Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea  (Rating:
     
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Kenneth Lonergan, writer-director of the Oscar-buzzy Amazon Studios' "Manchester By the Sea" is a playwright, and his films reflect that: minute detail to human discourse and a wallowing in emotionally-charged depths. Lonergan's mother is Jewish and his father is Irish –...
2:12 PM EST, Wed January 04, 2017
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Miss Sloane  (Rating:
     
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A striking performance from Jessica Chastain as the ruthless Washington lobbyist of the title propels director John Madden's forceful study of political corruption. The win-at-all-costs wheeler-dealer shocks her colleagues when, driven by personal conviction, she abruptly changes sides in the fight...
11:13 AM EST, Fri December 23, 2016
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The Bounce Back  (Rating:
     
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Pleasantly compact romance in which the author of a best-selling self-help book (Shemar Moore) and a therapist (Nadine Velazquez) clash over what she considers his pat answers to life's complicated dilemmas, their snappy exchange goes viral and they're launched on a nationwide media tour --...
11:12 AM EST, Fri December 23, 2016
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- With "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," last year's promising reignition of the iconic franchise, "The Force Awakens," gains a worthy -- and equally family-friendly -- companion.     Interstellar derring-do is once again the order of...
11:05 AM EST, Fri December 23, 2016
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Collateral Beauty

Collateral Beauty  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Collateral Beauty" (Warner Bros.) is a strange, pretentious drama about overcoming grief.     While that's obviously a subject about which a good film -- perhaps many of them -- might be made, the treatment of it in director David Frankel's...
10:53 AM EST, Fri December 23, 2016
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Believe  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Evangelical Christian faith hovers in the background of the holiday-themed drama "Believe" (Freestyle). Though not as rose-colored in its outlook as some religiously-inspired projects, the movie -- which is suitable for most age groups -- lacks polish.  ...
12:48 PM EST, Thu December 15, 2016
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Loving  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Dignity and understatement are usually noble qualities in a film. "Loving" (Focus), the fact-based story behind a landmark 1967 Supreme Court decision, is so restrained and decorous, however, that it nearly obscures the historical significance of the events it recounts.  ...
12:47 PM EST, Thu December 15, 2016
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Office Christmas Party  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Cubicle drones cuts loose in "Office Christmas Party" (Paramount). The result is a sleazy soiree, an "Animal House" toga wingding for the spreading-middle and receding-hairline set.    What matters here is that seemingly respectable bourgeois...
12:35 PM EST, Thu December 15, 2016
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Incarnate

Incarnate  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Somewhere in the planning stages of "Incarnate" (BH Tilt), someone must have thought it would be a good idea to combine elements of Christopher Nolan's 2010 tour de force "Inception" with tropes that have been familiar to moviegoers at least since Linda Blair's...
3:16 PM EST, Thu December 08, 2016
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Rules Don't Apply

Rules Don't Apply  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Warren Beatty wrote, directed and stars in "Rules Don't Apply" (Fox), a loosely fact-based tale set within the secretive world of eccentric industrialist Howard Hughes (1905-1976).    Part romantic comedy, part biopic, the film suffers from...
3:11 PM EST, Thu December 01, 2016
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The Edge of Seventeen

The Edge of Seventeen  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- A sense of missed opportunities looms over the coming-of-age comedy "The Edge of Seventeen" (STX).    The film features many of its genre's familiar elements: a precocious, angst-ridden teen girl, awkwardness with the opposite sex, a sense of...
2:47 PM EST, Wed November 23, 2016
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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Fans of British novelist P.G. Wodehouse have a special place in their hearts for one of his most memorable comic creations, a shy and eccentric newt fancier with the immortal name Augustus Fink-Nottle.     Gussie, as his pal Bertie Wooster always called him,...
2:43 PM EST, Wed November 23, 2016
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Don't Breathe

Don't Breathe  (Rating:
     
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"Don't Breathe" is an 88-minute, solid thriller that left me wanting more. It is a much-ballyhooed suspense-thriller from 38-year-old Uruguayan horror-meister Fede Alvarez that I was very eager to see. I don't do straight-up horror/slasher films, but I sensed that "Don't...
12:43 PM EST, Fri November 18, 2016
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Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- What Tilda Swinton can conceive, Benedict Cumberbatch can achieve in "Doctor Strange" (Disney).    As directed and co-written by Scott Derrickson, this first big-screen adventure for the Marvel Comics superhero who debuted in print back in 1963 showcases...
9:24 AM EST, Fri November 11, 2016
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Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge  (Rating:
     
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Mel Gibson has done it again. "Hacksaw Ridge" is the cinematic event of 2016-2017.   "HR" is the true story of Private Desmond Doss, a Seventh-Day Adventist from Virginia who enlists in World War II, but – as a conscientious objector – staunchly refuses...
11:18 AM EDT, Thu November 03, 2016
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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- One thing you can say for the title character in "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" (Paramount), the fellow does enjoy a good punch in the face.     Whether giving or receiving the jabs, Tom Cruise -- in his second venture as the former Army officer turned...
3:45 PM EDT, Wed October 26, 2016
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Keeping Up With the Joneses

Keeping Up With the Joneses  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- "I am everyday people." Such was Sly and the Family Stone's boast in a classic 1968 song, and a similar sentiment pervades the action comedy "Keeping Up With the Joneses" (Fox).    Despite its celebration of the lives of honest, decent,...
3:41 PM EDT, Wed October 26, 2016
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Max Steel

Max Steel  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Yet another action figure leaps off the toy store shelves and onto the big screen in "Max Steel" (Open Road), the coming-of-age chronicle of a Mattel-made superhero.    A human-alien hybrid (think G.I. Joe crossed with a Transformer), the eponymous...
3:38 PM EDT, Wed October 26, 2016
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Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Kids the same age as its preteen main character are clearly the target audience for "Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life" (Lionsgate/CBS Films).    But numerous elements in the film seem ill-suited to such youthful viewership. In particular,...
12:07 PM EDT, Thu October 20, 2016
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Voiceless

Voiceless  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- An overheated tone and characters' questionable tactics in the struggle against abortion undercut the obviously good intentions behind the pro-life drama "Voiceless" (ArtAffects).    While it's clearly meant to serve as a cinematic rallying...
12:02 PM EDT, Thu October 20, 2016
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The Accountant

The Accountant  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- In effect, the action-drama "The Accountant" (Warner Bros.) argues that those with autism have a license to kill as well as to abet a litany of other criminal activities.    If this summation makes the movie sound preposterous and morally bankrupt,...
11:57 AM EDT, Thu October 20, 2016
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Denial

Denial  (Rating:
     
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A new film aptly entitled "Denial" – about a famous Holocaust-denial court case – is a jewel. I hope it will be used in classrooms. I will be doing some “spoilers” in this review in order to pick apart the storyline, as well as the reality of dealing...
11:57 AM EDT, Thu October 13, 2016
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Priceless

Priceless  (Rating:
     
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I'm debating whether to include a teensy little spoiler of the new Christian film "Priceless." But this is a review, and I must divulge the subject of the film: human trafficking. The title, of course, is apt. It's a line of dialogue as well as a prominent theme in the film. Human...
3:24 PM EDT, Thu October 06, 2016
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Snowden

Snowden  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Few figures on the contemporary scene are as controversial as Edward Snowden, the former intelligence officer who, in 2013, revealed to the press the existence of a secret National Security Agency program for the collection of mass data that he considered abusive.  ...
2:08 PM EDT, Thu September 29, 2016
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Blair Witch

Blair Witch  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Turning the 1999 ultra-low-budget "The Blair Witch Project" into a franchise has meant turning the saga into a conventional slasher film with little suspense and predictable setups.    Now, it might as well be a drinking game: "Another stick...
2:02 PM EDT, Thu September 29, 2016
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The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- A chivalrous parable that showcases self-sacrificing heroism, "The Magnificent Seven" (Columbia) can be read as illustrating, in microcosm, Catholic theology's theory of a just war.    Essentially, that teaching holds that, just as an individual...
1:59 PM EDT, Thu September 29, 2016
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When the Bough Breaks

When the Bough Breaks  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- If you recall the familiar nursery lullaby, you'll know that "When the Bough Breaks" (Screen Gems) foretells doom for both cradle and baby.    So it comes as no surprise that this lurid thriller about the desperate measures prospective parents...
12:39 PM EDT, Thu September 22, 2016
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The Wild Life

The Wild Life  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Daniel Defoe is spinning in his grave.    The English author's celebrated 1719 novel "Robinson Crusoe," which set the standard for thrilling, realistic adventure fiction, has morphed into a 3-D animated kiddie comedy called "The Wild Life"...
12:23 PM EDT, Thu September 22, 2016
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The Disappointments Room

The Disappointments Room  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Mixing a psychological drama with the dependable haunted-house formula must have sounded appealing to the makers of "The Disappointments Room" (Rogue).    Unfortunately, nothing in this morally bereft story works. A meandering plot line about the...
12:20 PM EDT, Thu September 22, 2016
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Bridget Jones's Baby

Bridget Jones's Baby  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Typically, romantic comedies do not revolve around characters our youth-crazed culture tends to dismiss as middle-aged. "Bridget Jones's Baby" (Universal) is a charming exception.    An over-40 heroine and her two mature suitors prove more than...
12:14 PM EDT, Thu September 22, 2016
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Mechanic: Resurrection  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- For Arthur Bishop, the protagonist of the "Mechanic" franchise, the sole purpose of existence is to effectively dispatch bad people using elaborate, spectacular methods in exotic locales.     The fact that he targets only villains means there's...
2:31 PM EDT, Thu September 08, 2016
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The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Beginning with 1979's "The Europeans," the producer-director team of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, whose partnership was already of 15 years standing, churned out a succession of high-quality period films. The duo's pictures were famous for their lush cinematography,...
2:26 PM EDT, Thu September 08, 2016
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Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Few films come to the screen with the kind of storied pedigree that lies behind "Ben-Hur" (Paramount).    Subtitled "A Tale of the Christ," Civil War Gen. Lew Wallace's best-selling 1880 novel, which had previously been made into a...
3:14 PM EDT, Wed August 24, 2016
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Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings  (Rating:
     
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EW YORK (CNS) -- While it uses animation to recount the fantastical adventures of a young boy, "Kubo and the Two Strings" (Focus) is not really suitable for the most youthful moviegoers.    Adolescents and grownups, on the other hand, will likely have no difficulty...
3:08 PM EDT, Wed August 24, 2016
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Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Like the World War II-era New York socialite it profiles, "Florence Foster Jenkins" (Paramount), a charmingly eccentric blend of comedy and drama, has its heart in the right place.     Yet moral complications are integral to this fact-based story,...
3:02 PM EDT, Wed August 24, 2016
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The Little Prince  (Rating:
     
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The beloved classic, "The Little Prince," recently was released simultaneously in theaters and on Netflix, and it will not disappoint fans of the fable. Jeff Bridges' rich, warm, craggy American voice brings to life Saint-Exupéry, the author and aviator. Three different kinds...
3:45 PM EDT, Thu August 18, 2016
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Indignation

Indignation  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Set in the early 1950s, the challenging drama "Indignation" (Summit) portrays a version of American society that in many ways -- and for both good and ill -- no longer exists.    It's a world where an intellectually gifted young Jewish man might...
3:10 PM EDT, Mon August 15, 2016
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Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Initially stylish but ultimately ridiculous and chaotic, the DC comics-based adventure "Suicide Squad" (Warner Bros.) also features some dubious moral values. Add to that the film's lurid atmosphere overall and its appeal, along with its appropriate audience, dwindles...
2:53 PM EDT, Mon August 15, 2016
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The Secret Life of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets  (Rating:
     
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With a juicy, promising title and a screen populated with adorable, fuzzy furballs of varied shapes and sizes, the animated smash hit "The Secret Life of Pets" is a fun summer escapade for all ages. The different personalities of species and dog breeds are, well, typecast. The goofy guinea...
3:09 PM EDT, Wed August 03, 2016
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Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Fifty years after its debut on television, "Star Trek" bursts onto the big screen again in its 13th feature-film outing.     While the bad luck dreaded by triskaidekaphobes fails to curse the aesthetics of this latest production, there is an unwelcome...
1:14 PM EDT, Fri July 29, 2016
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Ice Age: Collision Course

Ice Age: Collision Course  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Weakly constructed and inappropriate, in some respects, for its target audience, "Ice Age: Collision Course" (Fox) has little to recommend it.     This fifth installment of the animated franchise for children that dates back to 2002 also is tainted...
1:10 PM EDT, Fri July 29, 2016
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Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism

Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism  (Rating:
     
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I'm going to call the latest documentary on John Paul II an "almost perfect documentary." Its title is "Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism." Why is it almost perfect? It is Rolls Royce super-classy in every way; the production values are off the chain;...
2:32 PM EDT, Wed July 13, 2016
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'Free State of Jones'

'Free State of Jones'  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) –- The ambitious historical drama "Free State of Jones" (STX) considers a little-known aspect of the Civil War: armed dissent within the South born of opposition to how the war was being conducted and to the principal reason it began.    Earnest...
3:43 PM EDT, Wed July 06, 2016
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'Independence Day: Resurgence'

'Independence Day: Resurgence'  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Something like pondering leftovers discovered in the back of the refrigerator, a movie studio decided, "Hey! This hasn't gone bad!"    The result is "Independence Day: Resurgence" (Fox), a reprise of the hit alien-fighting epic of...
3:38 PM EDT, Wed July 06, 2016
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'The BFG'

'The BFG'  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Like its source material, Roald Dahl's eponymous1982 children's book, "The BFG" (Disney) comes packed with specialized terms for its own fantasy elements.     A golden phizzwizard, for instance, is the best kind of dream, while frobscottle...
3:16 PM EDT, Wed July 06, 2016
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'The Purge: Election Year'  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- It's little cause for surprise that "The Purge: Election Year" (Universal) sticks to the commercially tried-and-true formula of its franchise predecessors by appealing to the very impulses it pretends to condemn.     With equal predictability,...
3:11 PM EDT, Wed July 06, 2016
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'The Legend of Tarzan'  (Rating:
     
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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Just beneath the surface of "The Legend of Tarzan" (Warner Bros.), a Gilbert and Sullivan opera is trying to claw its way out.    That's not to say the latest big-screen take on Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Lord of the Jungle" creation...
2:30 PM EDT, Fri July 01, 2016
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'The Innocents'  (Rating:
     
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"The Innocents" is a truly religious film. Religious films focus on God, not the trappings of God or His human mouthpieces. “The Innocents” is about nuns - and we can never have too many films about nuns! It is set in a convent in Poland in 1945 (at the end of World War...
10:37 AM EDT, Thu June 30, 2016
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'Spotlight'  (Rating:
     
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"Spotlight" tells the story of a team of intrepid investigative reporters at the Boston Globe who broke the Catholic Church's clergy sex abuse story in January 2002 – mainly concerning the Archdiocese of Boston. For starters, this is not a Church-bashing film even though it easily...
12:40 PM EST, Wed November 18, 2015
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'Jem and the Holograms'  (Rating:
     
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  “Jem and the Holograms” is a live-action “tween” movie based on the animated TV series of the same name that aired from 1985 to1988. Although I have been informed by some fans of the TV series that the film is not cleaving exactly to the TV version,...
9:34 AM EST, Tue November 03, 2015
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'Hyena Road'   (Rating:
     
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  "Hyena Road" is the latest film about the war with no end in sight … Afghanistan. Canadian writer-director-actor Paul Gross delivers what is now a standard, sand-infiltrated, khaki-camo screen adventure in the nouveau tradition of "Jarhead," "Hurt Locker"...
10:47 AM EDT, Tue October 20, 2015
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'Pawn Sacrifices'  (Rating:
     
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  I'm declaring the riveting and flawless "Pawn Sacrifice" – the story of chess prodigy Bobby Fischer, played with acting genius by Tobey Maguire – the best film of 2015. This film has it all: high drama, low drama, human drama, international intrigue, unbeatable...
12:26 PM EDT, Mon October 05, 2015
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'War Room'  (Rating:
     
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  "War Room" is a winning film about prayer. A film about prayer? How do you make such a thing? Why would you make such a thing? Who would make such a thing? Obviously, the Kendrick Brothers are at it again ("Facing Giants," "Fireproof," "Courageous")....
11:46 AM EDT, Thu September 17, 2015
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'90 Minutes in Heaven'  (Rating:
     
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"90 Minutes in Heaven" is the screen version of a book by the same name that came out several years ago. It is a memoir, a firsthand account of a Christian pastor's near-death experience. The book is excellent. The film? Far from it. In fact, it fails pretty miserably as a film, and also...
10:37 AM EDT, Tue September 08, 2015
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'The Gift'

'The Gift'  (Rating:
     
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  Looking for a tight, suspenseful thriller? Look no further than "The Gift," the weak-titled, but strongly-executed directorial debut of the ever-fascinating Joel Edgerton – who also wrote the screenplay and stars in the film. The trailer is not a trailer but a spoiler –...
10:57 AM EDT, Mon August 17, 2015
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'I am Potential'

'I am Potential'   (Rating:
     
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  The new movie, "I Am Potential," is based on the true story of the Hughes Family whose son was born without eyes and unable to walk. I almost didn't want to even tell you that, because I had the experience of coming at the story cold, and was hit by the element of surprise at...
11:38 AM EDT, Thu July 30, 2015
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'Self/less'  (Rating:
     
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The idea and ideology of "transhumanism" (that human beings are basically just brains in containers, and that if we could just find a way to upload our brains into computers or robots or such, we could live on forever) is the subject of the new film "Self/less." It was also the subject...
11:03 AM EDT, Thu July 16, 2015
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Inside Out  (Rating:
     
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"Inside Out," the new Pixar movie about Riley, an 11-year-old girl whose world is turned upside down when her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco, is good – but not great. It's very much a kids’ movie – with knowing asides to parents, as these films...
4:25 PM EDT, Mon June 29, 2015
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'Fury Road'

'Fury Road'  (Rating:
     
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  Oftentimes I am sure I'm going to like a movie and am very disappointed. Rarely am I sure I will detest a movie and turn out liking it. "Mad Max: Fury Road" is one of those latter films. Although named for "Mad Max," this is not his movie. It's really Imperator...
11:05 AM EDT, Mon June 01, 2015
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'Far from the Madding Crowd'

'Far from the Madding Crowd'   (Rating:
     
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Fans of "Pride and Prejudice" will love the new adaptation of Thomas Hardy's 1874 novel, "Far From the Madding Crowd." It's a romance of class divisions as well as gender divisions – in the sense that a fiercely independent and independently wealthy female sees...
12:18 PM EDT, Tue May 19, 2015
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'Ex Machina'   (Rating:
     
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Editor’s note – The Message occasionally publishes reviews of films rated R, and this is one of them. Pauline Sister Helena Burns reviews “Ex Machina,” which earned its R rating due to full-frontal female nudity and some gore. Although not suitable for children...
11:44 AM EDT, Mon May 04, 2015
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'Little Boy'  (Rating:
     
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  "Little Boy" is a new film by Alejandro Monteverde (who brought us "Bella"). I am a big fan of "Bella," and was looking forward to Monteverde's second major film. Most unfortunately, I must report that this is a misconceived film. If it were not, I would...
12:25 PM EDT, Mon April 13, 2015
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