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‘Climax’ review: Gaspar Noe’s dance film devolves into meaningless horror
BaltimoreSun.com / 1552129802

Gaspar Noé is a filmmaker who literally wants to show you hell on earth. He wants to lead you into the pit, to make the ultimate shocking spectacle of our violence and addiction and depravity. He did it in two sequences of "Irreversible," his 2002 drama of degenerate psycho horror: At a nightclub,...

‘The Wedding Guest’ review: Dev Patel on the run, but story keeps changing course
BaltimoreSun.com / 1552129802

Michael Winterbottom's international thriller "The Wedding Guest" flips the script on British star Dev Patel 's nice guy star persona. We're not used to seeing him with a gun in his hand or stuffing a woman into a trunk while coldly executing a kidnapping for hire. But as Jay, his good looks and...

‘Captain Marvel’ review: Brie Larson suits up for duty in a universe built on male swagger and brava
BaltimoreSun.com / 1551870603

“Captain Marvel” pushes a rabid feminist agenda. Meaning: There’s a female lead this time. So that’s one more white male out of work.

It’s fun. In various ways, some better than others, you can tell the film was made by people who weren’t mapping out their entire careers to lead to the big moment...

‘Greta’ review: Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz, lonely no longer
BaltimoreSun.com / 1551525014

Even a lame movie can give you something to remember. In director Neil Jordan’s distressingly ordinary stalker-thriller “Greta,” that something arrives in a restaurant scene featuring Chloe Grace Moretz, as a lonely, grieving Manhattan waitress, and Isabelle Huppert, as her recent acquaintance...

‘Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’ review: A stirring feature filmmaking debut by Chiwetel Ejiofor
BaltimoreSun.com / 1551525014

According to the Netflix “More Details” page for “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” the new movie has been officially categorized as “… HEARTFELT, INSPIRING.”

I recommend it — in fact, highly — despite that algorithmic uselessness. It’s not that a heartfelt and inspiring story is an automatic turn-off....

‘Mapplethorpe’ review: Biopic starring Matt Smith fails to capture artist’s dramatic conflict
BaltimoreSun.com / 1551525014

A renegade Catholic boy raised by conservative parents in Queens, New York, Robert Mapplethorpe transformed some of the most blasphemous subjects on earth — gay sex, Satanism, bondage — into beautiful black-and-white images. In her first scripted feature, documentary filmmaker Ondi Timoner ("We...

‘Apollo 11’ review: IMAX documentary travels to moon and back beside Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins
BaltimoreSun.com / 1551525014

One of filmmaking's cheapest tricks is on-screen applause — where characters clap to cue the movie's viewers that they should also be impressed. There's a lot of that in "Apollo 11," but it's not cheap. In this documentary about the people who pulled off the spectacular feat of sending Neil Armstrong...

‘Leaving Neverland’ review: Michael Jackson doc at its best when it focuses on families who were aff
BaltimoreSun.com / 1551525014

We’re all playing it.

Every day in Chicago, we play the guessing game “Guilty or Innocent?” as we debate, for sport, a scandal-clouded celebrity’s guilt or innocence.

First it was “Empire” cast member Jussie Smollett. The actor and musician has been charged with filing a false police report relating...

‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ review: Go Vikings! Go dragons!
BaltimoreSun.com / 1551265805

You never know which trilogy will, in fact, call it quits after round three. After that viciously sentimental and ruthlessly prolonged farewell in Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 3,” for example, you might assume that goodbye means goodbye. But the movie made a billion plus change worldwide, which means...

‘Wild Pear Tree’ review: The one film in Chicago guaranteed to take you away from it all
BaltimoreSun.com / 1551265805

In this blurry week of Jussie Smollett, Donald Trump (it’s every week with that guy) and idly rampant Oscars speculation, the mere existence of “The Wild Pear Tree” seems absurd.

The Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, revered as well as hotly debated on the international festival circuit, has...

‘Paddleton’ review: Ray Romano, Mark Duplass play two men whose friendship is put to ultimate test
BaltimoreSun.com / 1550920203

Michael (Mark Duplass) and Andy ( Ray Romano ) are neighbors. But they're more like platonic life partners. They make pizza, watch kung fu movies and play a made-up game with rackets, balls and a barrel called Paddleton. It's an easy, mundane and emotionally stunted existence, made comfortable...

‘Fighting with My Family’ review: Mum, Dad, the WWE and me
BaltimoreSun.com / 1550747403

The more globally famous the celebrity, the tougher audiences tend to be on a biopic. Unless it’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” because, you know. All those hits.

A different sort of hit-making and punishment-taking sets the tone in “Fighting with My Family,” based on a true story. It’s not a story, or...

‘Everybody Knows’ review: A wedding, an abduction, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem
BaltimoreSun.com / 1550574602

Leaving his Iranian homeland to make the film “The Past,” in France, the writer-director Asghar Farhadi regarded his new surroundings like a native, not a tourist. He kept his tense characters mostly confined to cramped interior spaces. There was little relief, or sunshine, in the filmmaker’s view...

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