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  • Samson

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- While not suitable for the youngest viewers, the spirited biblically based drama "Samson" (Pure Flix) can provide a fine introduction to the Hebrew he-man's story for teens. Adults as well will find this an enjoyable riff on the exploits of Ancient Israel's super-strong champion, affably portrayed here by Taylor James.

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  • Black Panther

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Step aside, Huey Newton, there's a new "Black Panther" (Disney) in town. Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler's adaptation of a series of Marvel Comics -- Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first launched the character of the title in 1966 -- is sprawling, energetic, lightened by some clever humor but, ultimately, overlong.

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  • Fifty Shades Freed

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Are you looking for a film with dialogue as smart as a whip? Or one that ties you to its characters with inescapable bonds of sympathy? Or a movie so tragic that watching it unfold will cause you the most exquisite, yet somehow satisfying, pain? Well, then, "Fifty Shades Freed" (Universal) is not for you.

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  • The 15:17 to Paris

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The good news about the drama "The 15:17 to Paris" (Warner Bros.), as well as the real-life events on which it's based, is that, given the right circumstances and motivations, ordinary people can achieve great things.

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  • Peter Rabbit

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- That rustling sound you hear is famed children's author Beatrix Potter spinning in her grave, distressed at what has been done to her beloved characters in "Peter Rabbit" (Columbia).

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  • Winchester

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- There are many interesting things to know about the life of arms heiress Sarah Winchester (c. 1840-1922). For one, she was fabulously wealthy. For another, she believed she was cursed.

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  • The Shape of Water

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Can a lovelorn yet sensuous cleaning lady in 1962 Baltimore find true love with a blue and yellow and sometimes glowing fish-man from the Amazon? "The Shape of Water" (Fox Searchlight), which evenly splits elements of romantic fantasy, classic horror and musical nostalgia, makes the case for girl meets gills. And without Old Bay seasoning, no less.

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  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The dramatic power and serious artistic intent that mark writer-director Martin McDonagh's "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" (Fox Searchlight) are too obvious to be denied.

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  • Darkest Hour

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The spotlight shines brightly on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour" (Focus), a historical drama about political leadership and backroom intrigue during a pivotal moment of World War II.

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  • Call Me by Your Name

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Classical statuary forms a recurring visual motif in the coming-of-age drama "Call Me by Your Name" (Sony Classics). That's fitting since the film's primary romantic relationship, which bonds an older male mentor with a precocious, but untried youth, was perfectly acceptable to the pagan sensibilities of the ancient world.

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  • Bilal: A New Breed of Hero

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The first thing to know about "Bilal: A New Breed of Hero" (Vertical Entertainment) is that its intent is not to proselytize. It is, instead, an animated adventure story about seventh-century Arabian hero Bilal ibn Rabah, who eventually became a companion of the prophet Muhammad and is considered the first muezzin -- the prayer caller at a mosque.

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  • I, Tonya

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- At no point in "I, Tonya" (Neon) is it clear whether the filmmakers are sympathetic to the plight of disgraced Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) or just want to make fun of both her and the peculiar, fleeting nature of fame.

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  • Maze Runner: The Death Cure

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The end is nigh, mercifully, in "Maze Runner: The Death Cure" (Fox), based on the third and final novel in James Dashner's sci-fi trilogy. And none too soon. Our intrepid band of teenagers, the "Gladers," look positively worn out, having now spent three movies running for their lives from an evil entity in a dreary (and very dusty) post-apocalyptic world.

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  • Phantom Thread

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- All rustling silk, organza, lace and tulle in the first half and a bizarre portrayal of marriage in the second half, "Phantom Thread" (Focus) is a bumpy trip through high fashion and passive-aggressive sniping in 1950s London.

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  • Den of Thieves

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The hyper-violent "Den of Thieves" (STX) is a morass of crass. It's supposed to be a rollicking, quirky and farcical saga about a gang of bank robbers in dystopian and usually nighttime Southern California led by Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) and pursued by renegade, dyspeptic cop Nick Flanagan (Gerald Butler).

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  • 12 Strong

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- True military adventures don't come any more rousing than "12 Strong" (Warner Bros.), the story of a tiny Special Forces unit that won a significant early victory against both the Taliban and al-Qaida in the weeks after 9/11.

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  • Forever My Girl

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Most of the characters in "Forever My Girl" (Roadside Attractions), a gentle adaptation of Heidi McLaughlin's romance novel about an aspiring country music star, have a song on their lips.

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  • Hostiles

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Hostiles" (Entertainment Studios) works from the premise that not only were white soldiers in the 1890s aware of their complicity in the decades-long genocide of Native Americans, they could feel immense, paralyzing guilt about their actions.

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  • Proud Mary

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- As the title character in the drama "Proud Mary" (Screen Gems), Taraji P. Henson plays a hit woman with a heart of gold. By turns violent and sentimental, the tall tale that centers on her unlikely persona is consistently unconvincing.

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  • Batman and Harley Quinn

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Is there a more ridiculous character in all of comics than Harley Quinn? The madcap former psychiatrist and sidekick to the Joker has no superpowers, has an annoying New Jersey accent and dresses like a court jester. She's not exactly the first one you'd call if Darkseid or some other major galactic threat appeared.

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  • The Commuter

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- If you think your trip back and forth to work is trying, consider the plight Liam Neeson finds himself in as "The Commuter" (Lionsgate). Neeson's character, police officer-turned-insurance-salesman Michael MacCauley, is already having a bad day even before he catches the train from Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal to suburban Tarrytown. Strapped for cash to begin with, Michael has just been let go from his job.

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  • The Post

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The oddest scenes in "The Post" (Fox), a nostalgic account of The Washington Post's publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, involve Meryl Streep as that newspaper's owner, Katharine Graham, hovering about its press and linotype rooms.

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  • Paddington 2

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Unlikely as it seems, "Paddington 2" (Warner Bros.), an endearing blend of animation and live action, sends the much-loved bear of its title (voice of Ben Whishaw) to the slammer. More predictably, once imprisoned -- in a grim Victorian fortress of a jail -- he still manages to exert his trademark charm on all around him.

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  • Insidious: The Last Key

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The easiest way to judge the quality of an "Insidious" film is to gauge how quickly the actors get into a poltergeist-haunted house. On that score, "Insidious: The Last Key" (Universal), the fourth installment in the franchise, does not disappoint, since it opens in one.

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