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‘Skyscraper’ review: Dwayne Johnson shows off his dramatic acting chops
BaltimoreSun.com / 1531563003

The hardest working man in showbiz, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson debuts his third blockbuster action flick in nine months this weekend. The descriptively titled "Skyscraper," which comes on the heels of "Rampage" and "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," is written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber,...

‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ review: Monsters aboard the Love Boat
BaltimoreSun.com / 1531563003

It's all about the zing.

If you are not up on monster speak, the term zing refers to what happens once in the life of a vampire, mummy, werewolf, etc. It's that moment when they know they have found the one true love in their life.

In the case of "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation," Dracula...

‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ review: Guns blazing, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro enter border de
BaltimoreSun.com / 1530871803

Sick as it sounds, “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” is the lucky beneficiary of every belligerent tweet, crying child and political point scored in the chaos of the current Mexico/U.S. border crisis.

At its mean, snakelike best, it’s also a brutally assured commercial action picture, unburdened by...

‘The First Purge’ review: The riskiest-ever federal entitlement program begins
BaltimoreSun.com / 1530871803

Warning: The following review contains references to the political content, rampant and pointed, in the “Purge” franchise begun in 2013. With these movies, there’s no way around what they’re really saying.

The latest “Purge” is an erratic, fairly absorbing and righteously angry prequel. It sets...

‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ review: Here’s one infestation we can get behind
BaltimoreSun.com / 1530871803

The unlimited breadsticks approach of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ensures that we remain full of carbs, all year, as each franchise rolls out another metaphorical Olive Garden. Some of the movies offer veritable superhero conventions — most recently the ensemble blowout “Avengers: Infinity War,”...

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ review: Raptors delight while humans make a mess of things
BaltimoreSun.com / 1529662202

Of all the terrors on view in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the sight of Toby Jones’ toupee bobbing up and down, when his character (a sniveling dinosaur auctioneer) dashes into an elevator to alleged safety, with the camera and something called the “Indoraptor” scrambling behind him — reader,...

‘Tag’ review: Don’t these guys have anything else to do?
BaltimoreSun.com / 1529143803

Subjects of a 2013 Wall Street Journal feature, the real-life friends who provoked the new comedy “Tag” are, let’s assume, decent guys, fun-loving and supportive and appreciative of having the time and money to keep the same elaborate prankster version of tag going for nearly 30 years.

But I kind...

‘Superfly’ review: One last score, this time in Atlanta
BaltimoreSun.com / 1529143803

The grungy, fairly entertaining remake of “Superfly” borrows a few key narrative hooks from the 1972 original, along with key elements of its fantastic Curtis Mayfield soundtrack (notably “Pusherman”). But for better or worse, the new version has no interest in fashioning the same sort of mashup...

‘Incredibles 2’ review: Piling on the action in a 14-years-later sequel
BaltimoreSun.com / 1529143803

When writer-director Brad Bird made “The Incredibles” (2004), the superhero movie genre looked nothing like the overcrowded youth hostel it does today. The “X-Men” movies, the fledgling “Spider-Man” franchise and that was about it. This was pre-“Iron Man.” This preceded the entire Marvel Cinematic...

‘Hereditary’ review: Toni Collette reveals a sixth sense for icy terror
BaltimoreSun.com / 1528539002

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, as Tolstoy noted in a sentence so right, by the time you started arguing with it “Anna Karenina” was off and suffering.

If Tolstoy got a look at “Hereditary,” he might’ve added: “Well. There’s unhappy, and then there’s...

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ review: Celebrating a gentle giant of children’s TV
BaltimoreSun.com / 1528539002

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is a depressingly good documentary about a singularly empathetic television personality. Fred Rogers (1928-2003) knew what he was up against in a culture, and an economy, built on marketable aggression. Against long odds he prevailed. Now he belongs to another time....

‘Hotel Artemis’ review: Sterling K. Brown checks into Criminal Hospital, and Jodie Foster’s on duty
BaltimoreSun.com / 1528539002

Apart from a few exteriors and some flashbacks, the pungent, eccentric “Hotel Artemis” confines its story to a single night, 10 years in the future, inside a beautiful ruin of a downtown Los Angeles hotel. Outside, the worst riots in the city’s history rage on; Angelenos are thirsty, punished for...

Review: Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett pull off an enjoyable, low-fizz heist in ‘Ocean’s 8’
BaltimoreSun.com / 1528539002

The big heist in “Ocean’s 8” — the theft of a $150-million diamond necklace, daringly scheduled to take place at the Met Gala — is predicated on the careful manipulation of a “blind spot” outside a women’s restroom. Amid heightened security at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a merry girl gang of...

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