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‘The Emoji Movie’ can be summed up in one word: Meh
BaltimoreSun.com / 1513077003

“Words aren't cool” is the courtship advice imparted by one texting teen to another in “The Emoji Movie.” That statement is the canary in the coal mine that this movie is most decidedly not “Cyrano de Bergerac.” Will Alex (Jake T. Austin) choose the right emoji to express his ardor for Addie (Tati...

‘Atomic Blonde’ review: Charlize Theron packs a punch, plot doesn’t
BaltimoreSun.com / 1513077003

The '80s are back, baby — the fashions, the tunes, the Russian spies. The Cold War is so hot right now, and action thriller "Atomic Blonde" is here to capitalize on that moment. Charlize Theron stars as the titular blonde in this violently stylish spy flick, doing her own version of "John Wick"...

Well-observed ‘Person to Person’ mixes comedy and drama on the less traveled streets of New York
BaltimoreSun.com / 1513077003

For his sophomore feature, writer-director Dustin Guy Defa sets three stories on one day in modern-day New York, but “Person to Person” is a ’70s throwback. Director of photography Ashley Connor shot it on 16mm, but its vintage look goes beyond the film choice. The low-key dramedy focuses on the...

Al Gore continues his mission to save the planet in ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’
BaltimoreSun.com / 1513077003

Given that the biggest climate news of the past year has been the decision to pull the United States out of the landmark Paris global climate accord, it may seem as if the most inconvenient aspect of the new "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" documentary is its timing.

Isn't this follow-up...

Jenny Slate stars in tired ‘90s-set family dysfunction comedy ‘Landline’
BaltimoreSun.com / 1513077003

It may be true, as Tolstoy famously put it, that “every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Yet it’s hard to ignore, among a rising number of screen stories that purport to explore family tensions, the been-there-done-that sameness beneath the idiosyncratic surface. Case in point is Gillian...

The joyless adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ was hardly worth the wait
BaltimoreSun.com / 1513077003

In “The Dark Tower,” Matthew McConaughey plays a figure known as the Man in Black, who turns out to be not a famed country-western singer but an extremely evil sorcerer. Sporting a dark coat, an open-necked shirt and an air of louche post-McConnaissance decadence, the Man in Black stalks through...

Halle Berry is one bad mother in the inept chase thriller ‘Kidnap’
BaltimoreSun.com / 1513077003

Halle Berry stars as a woman who pushes her minivan, and her psyche, to the limit while retrieving her young son from abductors in the scanty thriller “Kidnap,” directed by Luis Prieto, written by Knate Lee. There’s not much more to it than that — this mom is fast, and is she ever furious.

This...

‘Step’ tells the inspirational story of Baltimore teens’ triumph against the odds
BaltimoreSun.com / 1513077003

Not for nothing did "Step" win a Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking at Sundance. Heartening and unashamedly emotional, it's a certified crowd pleaser that doesn't care who knows it.

Combining performance and feeling in a way that recalls the Oscar-winning "20 Feet From Stardom," "Step"...

‘Annabelle: Creation’ review: Simple premise makes for very spooky prequel
BaltimoreSun.com / 1513077003

If we have learned anything from the Cooking Channel, it's that talent isn't defined by the ingredients you use but what you do with them. By that measure, director David F. Sandberg is an alchemist of the first order, taking the base — even leaden — components of horror and whipping them into...

‘The Nut Job 2’ review: A rote but radical sequel
BaltimoreSun.com / 1513077003

You never know where you're going to find the most radical ideas. Somehow, a sub-par animated film sequel intended to quiet the kids for a few hours on a weekend afternoon burns with a proletarian rage. You'd never expect that from "The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature," but somehow, it's true.

First,...

‘The Disaster Artist’ review: James Franco’s ode to a schlock auteur and his ‘so bad, it’s good’ flo
BaltimoreSun.com / Thu, 30 Nov 2017 04:00:00 PST

In 1998, aspiring actor Greg Sestero met another aspiring actor, Tommy Wiseau, in an acting class in San Francisco. Wiseau performed a bit of Stanley Kowalski from “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and Sestero had never seen anything like Wiseau’s raw anguish, unvarnished pain, chair-throwing abandon...

‘Bill Nye: Science Guy’ review: A happy warrior in the fight for science
BaltimoreSun.com / Thu, 23 Nov 2017 04:00:00 PST

"Bill Nye: Science Guy" is an efficiently thought-provoking study of what it means to be a rational and analytical advocate for science in an age when deniers of evolution and climate change often seem to have higher profiles, deeper pockets and louder voices. But it's even more interesting as...

Margot Robbie’s spirited performance almost skates past the queasy dark comedy of ‘I, Tonya’
BaltimoreSun.com / Thu, 7 Dec 2017 10:55:00 PST

It’s no spoiler to note that “I, Tonya” ends the way many Hollywood biopics end, with a quick glimpse of the real-life individual we have just seen skillfully impersonated for the past two hours — in this case, the disgraced former figure skater Tonya Harding, fiercely incarnated by the Australian...

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