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‘The Miracle Season’ brings girl power to inspirational sports movie cliches
BaltimoreSun.com / 1523095804

Inspirational sports movies tend to be testosterone-heavy, so the all-girl volleyball movie "The Miracle Season" is a welcome twist on the familiar genre. Based on the true story of Iowa City's West High School girls' volleyball team who battled back from tragedy in 2011, "The Miracle Season" is...

‘Blockers’ review: John Cena, Leslie Mann play parents out to stop a prom night sex pact
BaltimoreSun.com / 1523095804

I went into “Blockers” cringing and came out smiling, which says more about me (double standard! They wouldn’t treat graduating high school males that way!) than it says about the movie. But that’s how moviegoing works. We’re pre-judgy that way. And “Blockers,” the feature directorial debut of...

‘A Quiet Place’ review: Hush, little family, don’t say a word or the monsters will get you
BaltimoreSun.com / 1523095804

Director John Krasinski’s third feature, and by far his most accomplished, “A Quiet Place” is a pretty crafty small-scale thriller set a few years in the future, with minimal dialogue and maximal, human-eating monsters. The creatures’ origin is never discussed or explained by way of the usual sheepish...

‘Foxtrot’ review: An Israeli war dance, uniquely unsettling
BaltimoreSun.com / 1521886204

Metaphorically the foxtrot is an irresistible dance step. The dancer makes a square, returning to where he or she started, and begins again. It’s a paradox, creating invisible box after box, while creating the illusion of freedom.

“Foxtrot,” the movie, embraces that box-step metaphor, and writer-director...

‘Sherlock Gnomes’ review: Johnny Depp a drab Baker Street detective
BaltimoreSun.com / 1521886204

There's a current boom of family-friendly film fare inspired by beloved British literary characters, which makes this moment ripe for the animated "Sherlock Gnomes," the sequel to 2011's "Gnomeo and Juliet." In terms of ranking these adaptations, "Sherlock Gnomes" is quite a bit more pleasant than...

‘Midnight Sun’ review: Bella Thorne shines in otherwise lackluster film
BaltimoreSun.com / 1521886204

The ailing teen romance genre is a rite of passage for many young stars. Mandy Moore had "A Walk to Remember"; Shailene Woodley had "The Fault in Our Stars," and never forget the patient zero of these movies: the '70s cancer tearjerker "Love Story."

These tales of doomed, innocent romance are so...

‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ review: This time, it’s impersonal
BaltimoreSun.com / 1521886204

“Pacific Rim: Uprising” may be not be much, but in the spirit of the film itself, let’s be realistic. It’s better than any of the “Transformers” movies, and shorter.

The sequel to the Guillermo del Toro-directed “Pacific Rim” (2013) plows through its battle sequences and utterly mechanical “humanizing”...

‘7 Days in Entebbe’ review: Negotiating a hijacking thriller, timidly
BaltimoreSun.com / 1521281402

Unless it’s complicated by something like human feeling, and a recognition of the human beings on both sides of any bloody ideological conflict, true-life heroism has a tendency to look a little synthetic on screen. It’s what sells, of course. And it’s an easy emotional sale if The Other in the...

‘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.

Alicia...

‘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...

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