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‘Happy Death Day 2U’ review: Less gore, more power of love — and sci-fi
BaltimoreSun.com / 1550229003

While the first "Happy Death Day" was a delightful surprise – full of heart and ingenuity, if lacking in gore – its sequel feels like nearly as much of a revelation. That shock isn't because of its horror movie elements like jump scares and multiple murders; it's because unlike its predecessor,...

‘Alita: Battle Angel’ review: James Cameron’s manga heroine not a girl, not yet a living, breathing,
BaltimoreSun.com / 1550229003

It's been five years since director Robert Rodriguez's last feature film, "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For," and he makes his return in a big way with the outlandish, over-the-top manga adaptation "Alita: Battle Angel." No one can say the film is not a big swing — it truly goes for it, and does so...

‘To Dust’ review: Matthew Broderick stars in a meditation on human mortality and loss
BaltimoreSun.com / 1550229003

The Hungarian actor Géza Röhrig, who made a splash in the Oscar-winning "Son of Saul" a few years ago, is back — but not as you remember him. In that shattering Holocaust drama, Röhrig played a Jewish prisoner/laborer at Auschwitz-Birkenau whose job it is to dispose of the remains of gas-chamber...

‘Never Look Away’ review: What roles do art and beauty play when there is political chaos and moral
BaltimoreSun.com / 1550229003

"Never Look Away," an absorbing and ruminative new drama from the German writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, begins in Dresden in 1937. The world is about to tilt into madness, a condition that seems to manifest itself early on in the brave, troubled mind of a young woman named Elisabeth...

‘Isn’t It Romantic’ review: Rebel Wilson plus a concussion leads to a romantic awakening
BaltimoreSun.com / 1550056203

“Isn’t It Romantic” gets by, barely, on its apparently inexhaustible comic premise, and on Rebel Wilson’s stand-back-world-get-offa-my-runway comic chops. Why isn’t it better? Realizing it’s easier to review the thing than to make the thing, I ask nonetheless. Why?

For many the answer will be:...

‘The Prodigy’ review: If your kid is possessed, does that mean you’re a bad parent? Taylor Schilling
BaltimoreSun.com / 1549710603

Creepy children are a mainstay of the horror genre. Going back to "The Bad Seed" and beyond, children have proved capable of unnerving audiences with a combination of precocious dialogue and psychopathic behavior.

The chilling new horror film "The Prodigy" continues that fine tradition, with one...

‘Tito and the Birds’ review: Brazilian kids band together to fight panic and an epidemic
BaltimoreSun.com / 1549710603

"Tito and the Birds" is a small marvel. Only 73 minutes long, it marries an adventurous visual imagination with a darkly provocative political parable. Its heroes may be children, but its themes are definitely adult.

Yet further proof that we live in a global golden age of animation, "Tito's'"...

‘What Men Want’ review: Taraji P. Henson gets an earful
BaltimoreSun.com / 1549710603

This week at the movies, you can watch Liam Neeson kill all sorts of punks all sorts of ways in “Cold Pursuit.” Or you can see Taraji P. Henson kill her own way: with ferocious, every-which-way comic relish.

No one can say how the Henson-driven vehicle “What Men Want” will play 19 or 20 years from...

‘Cold Pursuit’ review: Liam Neeson blows snow, while movie itself just blows chunks
BaltimoreSun.com / 1549451405

A beat-by-beat remake of the 2014 Norwegian thriller “In Order of Disappearance,” director Hans Petter Moland’s “Cold Pursuit” puts Liam Neeson behind the wheel of a snowplow with vengeance on his mind. Had the film been made back in the ‘60s, with less gore and fewer corpses, the theoretical theme...

‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ review: Peter Jackson enlists in a World War I digital restoration
BaltimoreSun.com / 1549451405

A relentless technical wonder, director Peter Jackson’s “They Shall Not Grow Old” leaps well past a straightforward digital restoration of century-old pieces of film, shot on the Western front in World War I, into a realm of creative license and dramatic amplification relatively new to historical...

‘Lego Movie 2’ review: When everything’s not awesome, but friends make it better
BaltimoreSun.com / 1549451405

I loved “The Lego Movie,” and I liked “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.” That about covers it.

The first one enjoyed the advantage of surprise. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, writers-directors of genuine wit and bouncing-atom invention, created such a natural flow for their 2014 joke barrage,...

‘Creed II’ review: Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis orders a White Russian to go — on the MAT!
BaltimoreSun.com / 1549019404

For starters, the way to appreciate the fairly enjoyable, consistently predictable “Creed II” is to acknowledge its superiority to most of the first-round “Rocky” sequels.

Full credit goes to the easy charisma and emotional authenticity of Michael B. Jordan as Adonis, son of the late Apollo, out...

‘The Christmas Chronicles’ review: ‘Home Alone’ producer puts Kurt Russell in Santa’s red suit and C
BaltimoreSun.com / 1549019404

Director Clay Kaytis' "The Christmas Chronicles" isn't going to make audiences believe in the power of Christmas, let alone stoke the spirit of the holiday season, but it does exhaust itself trying. The family-friendly adventure, about two kids whose Christmas Eve mission to capture Santa Claus...

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