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‘Her Smell’ review: Elisabeth Moss is riveting as a punk rocker, even if the material is not
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555755004

Starring Elisabeth Moss as a riot-grrrl rock-diva who, when we first meet her, seems to be well on her way to drinking and drama-queening herself to death, the movie "Her Smell" is a fierce and intoxicating performance sloshing around in a half-empty Solo cup of a movie. Set mostly in the 1990s,...

‘Teen Spirit’ review: Elle Fanning plays a dull pop wannabe, but she can sing
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555755004

"Teen Spirit" comes on like a very now movie about pop music and those who inject it like an adrenalized sugar-high dream. (I'm one of them.) Violet (Elle Fanning), a 17-year-old British girl who lives with her Polish immigrant mother (Agnieszka Grochowska) on a farm on the Isle of Wight, is in...

‘Wild Nights with Emily’ review: Molly Shannon imbues poetry with passion
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555755004

In a plummy warble, a woman named Mabel Todd (Amy Seimetz, hilarious) lectures a rapt audience about her good friend Emily Dickinson (Molly Shannon). No, she never spent any "Wild Nights With Emily," the tongue-in-cheek title of Madeleine Olnek's defiant comedy. Honestly, Mabel didn't know Emily...

‘The Curse of La Llorona’ review: You expect the ghost of a 17th century scorned, murdering mama to
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555755004

What we call "The Conjuring" Universe has become a sprawling franchise of big-budget horror-lite spookfests that pull from every urban legend, folk tale and ghost story one can think of, usually involving vengeful feminine spirits and the women with whom they do battle. We've got hauntings, possessions...

Film Review: Childish Gambino’s ‘Guava Island’
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555409402

Last summer, Donald Glover snuck off to Cuba to create something -- a feature film collaboration, or so the rumors had it, based on scant information other than a photo of Glover and Rihanna posed up during production of their mysterious "Guava Island" project.

Creation is what Glover does best,...

‘The Best of Enemies’ review: Taraji P. Henson takes on the Klan, aka Sam Rockwell
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555150204

Set in 1971 North Carolina, “The Best of Enemies” finds Taraji P. Henson taking on the Klan and, through a radical act of kindness, winning. Against similar odds, the movie likewise is a success.

It is, to be sure, imperfect and uneven. It’s based on fact, heavily fictionalized. It’s a little clunky....

‘Amazing Grace’: Satisfy your soul with long-dormant Aretha Franklin concert film
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555150204

A massive rookie mistake — director Sydney Pollack and his 16-millimeter film crew forgot to use a clapperboard synchronizing the sound with the image for each new take —delivered roughly 20 hours of footage captured for the 1972 Aretha Franklin concert film “Amazing Grace” into a maddening purgatory....

‘Little’ review: ‘black-ish’ star and Issa Rae go big in body-switch tale
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555150204

Ever heard of "Black Girl Magic"? That's Marsai Martin in a nutshell. The 14-year-old "black-ish" star pitched and produced "Little," in which she stars. And quite the team of powerful black women helped her make this "Reverse Big," including co-writer/director Tina Gordon, co-writer Tracy Oliver...

‘Hellboy’ review: ‘Stranger Things’ star brings warmth, humor to the role
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555150204

Perhaps it was when Hellboy (David Harbour) chased a pig baby changeling in a diaper up a chimney that it fully hit me. I couldn't help but wonder: What on earth am I watching? The insanity was almost incomprehensible, though it's par for the course in the world of "Hellboy." In this new reboot,...

‘Diane’ review: A mother’s reckoning, beautifully detailed by Mary Kay Place
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555150204

It’s harder than it should be to describe Kent Jones’ “Diane” in a way that makes it sound distinctive or special, which it is.

It’s easier to say how lovely it is seeing Mary Kay Place, whom many have been nuts about since “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” in the mid-1970s, as she eases into a leading...

‘The Chaperone’ review: Haley Lu Richardson captures spirit of Louise Brooks
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555150204

When you watch the silent-screen star Louise Brooks in one of the films that made her a legend, most spectacularly the glittering femme-fatale drama "Pandora's Box" (1929), it's shocking to see how contemporary she looks. Haircuts that were once cutting edge — punk spikes, a '50s ducktail, Jane...

‘The Missing Link’ review: Gentle giant takes predictable turns in search for family
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555150204

Laika, the animation studio behind such quirky fare as "Coraline" and "The Boxtrolls," takes a turn toward the mainstream with "Missing Link," resulting in pleasant but forgettable results.

It's the story of full-of-himself British explorer Sir Lionel (voice of Hugh Jackman), who wants to burnish...

‘Peterloo’ review: Mike Leigh revisits a 19th-century British tragedy that most Americans aren’t fam
BaltimoreSun.com / 1555150204

"Peterloo" is a paradox.

Historical and contemporary, epic and intimate, political and personal, it is both unlike anything writer-director Mike Leigh has done before and the grand culmination of his career.

Edging into David Lean territory in terms of its ambition and its two hour and 33-minute...

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