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  • The Snowman

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Though it presents itself as a complex, thinking person's thriller, "The Snowman" (Universal), director Tomas Alfredson's adaptation of Jo Nesbo's best-selling crime novel, is not above dabbling in penny-dreadful sensationalism.

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  • Only the Brave

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The heartbreaking true story of an elite Arizona firefighting team comes to the big screen in "Only the Brave" (Columbia). In 2013, the Granite Mountain Hotshots -- as the group was known -- risked their lives and raced into a raging inferno to save a neighboring town from destruction. Given more recent fire calamities, their striking example of heroism, brotherhood and self-sacrifice is both timely and inspiring.

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  • The Foreigner

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Jackie Chan takes a sharp turn from his typically genial screen personality to become the vengeful father of a London terrorist victim in "The Foreigner" (STX). In this efficiently suspenseful adaptation of Stephen Leather's pulp thriller "The Chinaman," director Martin Campbell and screenwriter David Marconi have produced an unembroidered drama about resurgent Irish Republican Army violence and bureaucratic treachery.

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  • Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Fans of the comic book superheroine Wonder Woman (and of the recent blockbuster film) are advised to steer well clear of "Professor Marston and the Wonder Women" (Annapurna). The sheer escapist pleasure of watching the wholesome feminist icon fight for truth and justice is downright spoiled on learning the sordid story of the comic's creator, William Moulton Marston (1893-1947).

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  • Happy Death Day

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- With a name like "Happy Death Day" (Universal), a sweet, wholesome story is unlikely to unfold. You can say that again. Rather, "Happy Death Day," directed by Christopher Landon ("Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse") is an uneasy mix of horror and humor, a slasher movie with a message of self-improvement that doesn't go far enough.

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  • My Little Pony: The Movie

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Looking for an instant sugar rush but don't want all those empty calories? Saddle up and lasso "My Little Pony: The Movie" (Lionsgate), a super-sweet animated musical featuring those candy-colored Hasbro toys.

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  • Blade Runner 2049

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Misogyny hangs over "Blade Runner 2049" (Warner Bros.) as blithely as the thick yellow fog of the post-apocalyptic Los Angeles it portrays. While that's hardly unusual for science-fiction epics with a substantially male core audience, director Denis Villeneuve, working from a script by Hampton Fancer and Michael Green, has made a two-and-a-half-hour film that, in its solemn eagerness to have the audience relish every special effect and linger over every underlined point about artificial life developing authentic human emotions, feels more like four hours.

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  • The Mountain Between Us

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The proverbial call of the wild sounds more like a roar in "The Mountain Between Us" (Fox), a trapped-in-the-wilderness survival drama based on the 2011 novel by Charles Martin. At an Idaho airport, Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) is desperate. The high-strung photojournalist is getting married in New York the next day, but her flight has been canceled due to an approaching storm.

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  • Battle of the Sexes

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The early 1970s in all its revanchist sexism, double-knit-fabric garishness and choking cigarette smoke is the setting of the coming-of-age story that is "Battle of the Sexes" (Fox Searchlight).

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  • Flatliners

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Far from heavenly, but not exactly hellish either, the tepid afterlife-focused thriller "Flatliners" (Columbia) is more like a visit to limbo. Comparisons to a spell spent sitting in your doctor's waiting room might be equally apt, since this sequel of sorts to the eponymous 1990 film once again involves a group of medical students.

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  • A Question of Faith

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- As with so many of its forerunners in the religious message movie genre, the sober drama "A Question of Faith" (Pure Flix) seems better suited to preach to the choir than to attract the indifferent or the merely curious.

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  • American Made

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "American Made" (Universal), the wild, fact-based story of airline pilot-turned-gun-runner Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), is far too turbulent for youngsters and even too bumpy for most of their elders.

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  • Friend Request

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Lots of blood and little sense characterize the second-rate horror flick "Friend Request" (Entertainment Studios). Though director and co-writer Simon Verhoeven's routine creeper includes a few genuinely jumpy moments, it fails to establish any grounding in logic. The film also becomes ever gorier as it unspools.

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  • The Lego Ninjago Movie

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Third time lucky? Not for the Lego screen franchise, alas. In following up on 2014's "The Lego Movie" and "The Lego Batman Movie" from earlier this year, directors Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan -- the latter two also co-writers, along with four others -- attempt to blend a children's feature and an action film. The result, "The Lego Ninjago Movie" (Warner Bros.), is awkward, noisy and tedious, though the boredom is occasionally relieved by the odd flash of wit.

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  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Stylish but wayward, director and co-writer Matthew Vaughn's action sequel "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" (Fox) spoils its own fun by refusing all hint of restraint. This leads to cartoonish but gruesome mayhem as well as a distasteful bedroom sequence that, together with other over-the-top elements, push the proceedings beyond the boundaries of acceptability.

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  • Mother

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Even as its end credits roll, there's a great deal that remains puzzling about the chaotic, exhausting, genre-blending allegory "Mother!" (Paramount). What's all too apparent, however, is that the film's treatment of religion -- one of the major themes it seeks to address -- is relentlessly negative and briefly sacrilegious.

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  • American Assassin

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The award for the most obvious film title of the year goes to "American Assassin" (CBS Films), an action thriller about -- you guessed it -- a professional killer from the United States, specifically Rhode Island.

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  • Home Again

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Genteel decorum prevails in the romantic comedy "Home Again" (Open Road). At least, it does so everywhere beyond the confines of its protagonist's bedroom. The result is a morally mixed film in which kindly characters follow the misguided marital and sexual dictates of contemporary society.

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  • It

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Moviegoers looking for nothing more than to be unsettled will likely be satisfied with the horror adaptation "It" (Warner Bros.). However, while director Andy Muschietti's generally effective screen version of Stephen King's 1986 novel promotes friendship and fear-conquering solidarity, it also includes some grisly sights that, taken together with other elements, make it suitable for few.

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  • The Good Catholic

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- A self-identified romantic comedy built around a priest's struggle with his vocation is bound to be doubtful fare for viewers of faith. And so it proves with "The Good Catholic" (Broad Green).

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