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  • Malignant

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Considered artistically, director James Wan's "Malignant" (Warner Bros.) initially registers as a dreary horror tale but later perks up to become creatively creepy. As it does so, however, any sense of restraint with regard to the gore factor involved in its proceedings is abandoned and the bloodletting goes off the charts in a climactic rampage of slicing, dicing and dismemberment.

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  • Queenpins

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- A duo of flighty amateur crooks and an ill-assorted pair of law enforcers draw laughs in the fact-based caper comedy "Queenpins" (STX). Yet, while the film is amusing, it's also morally flawed. So careful discernment is required to separate the humorous wheat from the ethical chaff.

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  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Sprightly wit paces the elegant martial-arts showdowns in director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton's Marvel Comics-derived adventure "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" (Disney).

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  • Candyman

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- With his duo of recent films, "Get Out" (2017) and 2019's "Us," Jordan Peele has employed the horror genre as a vehicle of social commentary to both critical and popular acclaim. Now he has co-written the script for the thriller sequel "Candyman" (Universal) with an eye to the same end. Morally, however, this latest project diverges widely from his earlier movies, and the upshot is unsettling.

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  • PAW Patrol: The Movie

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Since premiering on Nickelodeon in 2013, the Canadian-produced cartoon series "PAW Patrol" has succeeded in gluing the eyes of many a tot to their TV or computer screens. With the arrival of "PAW Patrol: The Movie" (Paramount), the titular rescue crew of pups bring their adventures to a multiplex near you. The result is a breezy, tenderhearted film suitable for all.

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  • The Night House

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Subtle, creative and mostly free of gore, "The Night House" (Searchlight) is a thinking person's horror film ably sustained by a striking performance from Rebecca Hall in its lead role.

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  • The Protege

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Director Martin Campbell's sleek yet brutal thriller "The Protege" (Lionsgate) not only depicts the activities of its principal characters, all of them assassins, in unsparing bloody detail. It also presents its own alternate version of morality.

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  • Reminiscence

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Part dystopian adventure, part neo-noir mystery, "Reminiscence" (Warner Bros.) is undone by its own sense of importance. Along the path of its protagonist's quest, moreover, a relationship that speedily turns sexual is just one of several factors that make writer-director Lisa Joy's thriller fit for grown-ups only.

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  • Respect

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The eventful life of Aretha Franklin (1942-2018), the "Queen of Soul," provides the basis for the engaging profile "Respect" (MGM/United Artists). An all-in performance from Jennifer Hudson as the singer, songwriter, musician and activist generally sustains viewer engagement. But numerous factors suggest that the film's audience should be made up exclusively of mature moviegoers.

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  • Free Guy

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Nonconformity and self-realization are the main items on the agenda of the droll comic adventure "Free Guy" (20th Century). While the foundational themes of Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn's script are mostly in sync with Judeo-Christian values, there's a vaguely anti-religious tone to a few of their jokes. Their screenplay, moreover, takes a somewhat hypocritical stance toward the taste for violence in contemporary culture.

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