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  • Instant Family

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- It's rare that a movie can reasonably be expected to accomplish some good in the real world. But director and co-writer Sean Anders' blend of comedy and drama, "Instant Family" (Paramount) may be the exception.

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  • Beautiful Boy

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- What "Beautiful Boy" (Amazon) captures best about the raw pain of drug dependency is the sheer randomness of it. Addiction is not only not a moral failing, it happens in what used to be called "the best of families." Unfortunately, this very legitimate insight translates here into a tone of smugness.

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  • Overlord

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- When it comes to disturbing sights, "Overlord" (Paramount), let it be said from the start, sometimes goes overboard. This weird, wild but surprisingly effective blend of war story and chiller from director Julius Avery is thus far too gory and gruesome for most moviegoers.

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  • Dr. Seuss' The Grinch

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Somewhere Theodor Geisel may be spinning in his grave over the latest treatment of one of his most famous character creations, "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch" (Universal). If so, he's only revolving gently.

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  • The Girl in the Spider's Web

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Claire Foy, celebrated for her recent portrayal of the young Elizabeth II on the Netflix series "The Crown," takes on a similarly named but much less stately persona as the title character in "The Girl in the Spider's Web" (Columbia).

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  • Nobody's Fool

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Writer-director Tyler Perry goes raunchy with the romantic comedy "Nobody's Fool" (Paramount). The vulgar film that results traffics in a flippant, degraded view of human sexuality.

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  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- German author E.T.A. Hoffmann's tale "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" has proven a remarkably rich bit of source material since its initial publication in 1816. Translated into French by Alexandre Dumas the elder, it gained wide popularity, with Dumas' version eventually becoming the basis for the much-loved 1892 ballet "The Nutcracker," composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

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  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Rami Malek gives himself completely to the role of Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Fox), director Bryan Singer's biopic of the lead singer of the rock group Queen, with impressive artistic results.

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  • Indivisible

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it." So Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is supposed to have remarked while witnessing the magnificent panoply of massing troops at the onset of the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862.

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  • Hunter Killer

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Is it worrisome or reassuring that the only person standing between the world and a nuclear holocaust is Gerard Butler? Viewers of the military potboiler "Hunter Killer" (Summit) will have to decide for themselves.

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  • The Hate U Give

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "The Hate U Give" (Fox) is the kind of movie that used to be hyped as "torn from today's headlines." A more restrained characterization would simply say that this compelling drama explores painful real-life issues of racial justice by fictionalizing them.

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  • Halloween

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- One of modern Hollywood's most enduring horror franchises turns 40 this year. To mark the occasion, director and co-writer David Gordon Green presents us with "Halloween" (Universal), a direct sequel to the eponymous 1978 original.

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  • Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer" (GVN) is a powerful dramatization of the Philadelphia police investigation and state prosecution that finally ended the infamous, decades-long career of abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

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  • Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- In 2015, Jack Black portrayed real-life author R.L. Stein in the eponymous cinematic adaptation of Stein's phenomenally popular "Goosebumps" series of horror tales for kids. Black returns in the same role for the follow-up "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" (Columbia). But the slight charms of the original have failed to follow him.

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  • Bad Times at the El Royale

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Religion in general and Catholicism in particular are central to writer-director Drew Goddard's intense, challenging drama "Bad Times at the El Royale" (Fox). While the film's basic stance is humane and its approach to faith serious and refreshingly respectful for a mainstream Hollywood production, Goddard's oblique approach to the subject may not be to every believer's taste. His plot, moreover, includes interludes of sometimes shocking mayhem accompanied by grisly visuals.

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  • Venom

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Whatever you do, don't call that alien who has taken up residence in your body a parasite. The polite term, it seems, is symbiote. Such is the dubious lesson in etiquette conveyed by the sci-fi-driven, Marvel Comics-based bit of nonsense "Venom" (Columbia).

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  • First Man

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- By turns the intimate portrait of its elusive subject's inner life and a lavish look back at the sometimes tragic, ultimately triumphant race to the Moon, "First Man" (Universal), director Damien Chazelle's multidimensional profile of astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930-2012), is a splendid piece of moviemaking.

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