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‘Tomb Raider’ review: Alicia Vikander is a craftier Croft but vanishes in second half of movie
BaltimoreSun.com / 1521281402

The Lara Croft reboot “Tomb Raider” isn’t half bad for an hour. Then there’s another hour. That hour is quite bad. It’s no fun watching your action heroine get shoved, punched and kicked to the sidelines of her own movie, while the menfolk take over and take turns overacting before expiring.


‘Love, Simon’ review: A universal story, even if you’re not a gay teen
BaltimoreSun.com / 1521195001

Some things are universal about being a teenager: The budding sexuality and sense of identity, the dramatic emotions, the profound need for acceptance and confusing inklings of first love.

Countless movies (and books and songs and TV shows) plumb the agony and elation of teen romance, but "Love,...

‘A Wrinkle in Time’ review: Disney’s space odyssey leads to Oprah and beyond
BaltimoreSun.com / 1520680202

“You’re given the form,” one of the celestial mentors says in Madeleine L’Engle's “A Wrinkle in Time.” “But you have to write the sonnet yourself.”

This is how L’Engle described a free-will sort of life, in the novel she began in 1959. She endured 26 publishing rejections, got it into print in...

‘Loveless’ review: Lost boy in a lost Russia
BaltimoreSun.com / 1520075402

"Loveless" begins and ends with virtually the same series of shots: a wintry riverbank somewhere in Russia. In the opening sequence, there's a sense of quiet foreboding, of some evil lurking in, or just beyond, the snow-covered trees. By the time the film, which centers on the disappearance of...

‘Death Wish’ review: Bruce Willis makes Chicago bleed all over the place
BaltimoreSun.com / 1520075402

America. It’s still a free country. Therefore we have to put up with the occasional “Death Wish.”

Some believe the timing of this remake’s release Friday is bad taste incarnate, coming as it does 16 days after the Parkland, Fla., school massacre. Isn’t there a more appropriate week for a movie...

Jennifer Lawrence and a strong cast can’t save the lesser spy games of ‘Red Sparrow’
BaltimoreSun.com / 1520075402

Simultaneously effective and uninspired, "Red Sparrow" is successful in fits and starts. A perfectly serviceable spy thriller, it inevitably leaves behind the feeling that a better film was possible than the one that made it to the screen.

Certainly, all signs were promising, starting with the...

‘A Fantastic Woman’ review: A lover left behind, fighting for the right to mourn
BaltimoreSun.com / 1519470602

When the Chilean force of nature known as Daniela Vega barrels down a hallway, or stares down a dismissive, callous or uncomprehending obstacle, it’s a fierce sight to see.

Vega, a trans Chilean performer trained in the theater and also known as a vocalist in her native Santiago, plays the leading...

‘Game Night’ review: A trivial pursuit gets serious
BaltimoreSun.com / 1519470602

The modest but legitimate payoffs in the new action comedy “Game Night” owe everything to the comedy and not much to the action.

Most of the truly great action pictures (this isn’t trying to be one of them) are spiced with wit. A lot of our best comedies (and “Game Night” is not trying to be one...

‘Annihilation’ review: Natalie Portman leads journey to the center of the blob
BaltimoreSun.com / 1519470602

In the popular culture and various corners of our own lives, we confront the unknown in one form or another, learning something about our own fears and desires. The examples defy rational explanation. The Monolith in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The Mist in Stephen King’s novella. The Smoke Monster...

‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’ review: Annette Bening shines as a star in her final act
BaltimoreSun.com / 1518865801

Happily offering a good time to James Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” driving Humphrey Bogart to murderous distraction in “In a Lonely Place,” the sullenly sensual Hollywood legend Gloria Grahame lived a turbulent life (four marriages, one to her stepson by onetime husband Nicholas Ray) that...

‘Early Man’ review: ‘Gromit’ creator returns to animation
BaltimoreSun.com / 1518865801

Surrounded by body parts in a former aluminum warehouse on the outskirts of Bristol, in the southwest of England, Nigel Leach enthusiastically hands me an arm. "Feel that," he says, as I gingerly pinch the disembodied limb.

Rather than a grisly crime scene, I'm on a tour of the puppet-making department...

‘Black Panther’ review: A sleek Marvel of a kingly superhero
BaltimoreSun.com / 1518865801

“Just because something works does not mean it cannot be improved.”

So says the tech-wizard sister of the title character in “Black Panther.” It’s an apt credo for this soulful, stirringly acted and pretty terrific movie’s place in the Marvel Studios realm.

As a rule, these movies basically work,...

‘Peter Rabbit’ review: Beatrix Potter’s bunny hops down path of violent mayhem
BaltimoreSun.com / 1518261002

Hollywood studios have recently been pillaging the literary canon of beloved children's literature, digging up fodder for animated feature films. The best of these, like the "Paddington" movies, successfully meld nostalgia with modern and exciting filmmaking, while the more questionable ones, like...

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