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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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  • A Star Is Born

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The third remake of that sturdy warhorse "A Star Is Born" (Warner Bros.) pays occasional homage to its forebears, particularly the 1954 version starring Judy Garland and James Mason, which only serves to indicate that its formulaic "stand by your man" story is somewhat tattered and dog-eared.

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  • Hell Fest

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- With "Hell Fest" (CBS Films), director Gregory Plotkin serves up a decidedly unoriginal film filled with screams, sickening gore and a masked serial killer wielding an ax. It's an extreme parade of mayhem moving toward a perverse conclusion and, as such, unsuitable for viewers of any age.

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  • Night School

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The purpose of director Malcolm D. Lee's fitfully funny comedy "Night School" (Universal) is to allow its stars, Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, to trade barbs. A few of their exchanges work.

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  • Smallfoot

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Turning the legend of Bigfoot on its head with plenty of laughs along the way comes the animated musical comedy "Smallfoot" (Warner Bros.). While definitely entertaining on the surface, the film -- co-written by Karey Kirkpatrick and Clare Sera, and directed by Kirkpatrick ("Over the Hedge") -- involves underlying themes that Catholic parents will want to address with their kids.

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  • Assassination Nation

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The messy teenage satire that is "Assassination Nation" (Refinery29/Neon) devolves into an often violent, heavy-handed morality tale about our online lives, dark sexual secrets, scapegoating, public shaming and mob violence.

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  • Life Itself

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Somewhere inside writer-director Dan Fogelman's drama "Life Itself" (Amazon/Stage 6) lurk the makings of a good movie. But these potentially pleasing elements are weighed down by, if not entirely buried under, layers of pretentiousness and sentimentality.

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  • The House With a Clock in Its Walls

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- For all its spells and incantations, the witchcraft-themed fantasy "The House With a Clock in Its Walls" (Universal) lacks magic. Though some of the humor works, the film makes little impression and registers as only passable entertainment.

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  • A Simple Favor

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "A Simple Favor" (Lionsgate), director Paul Feig's glossy screen version of Darcey Bell's 2017 novel, is undeniably ingenious. Yet the dark doings, both past and present, that drive the plot of this lurid thriller involve repellent behavior that, while not exactly endorsed by Jessica Sharzer's script, is not condemned either. Instead, the taboo-breaking is treated as spice to lure jaded viewers.

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  • Unbroken: Path to Redemption

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- In 2014, Angelina Jolie helmed the often harrowing but ultimately uplifting fact-based drama "Unbroken." The film was based on Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling 2010 biography of Olympic runner-turned-war-hero Louis "Louie" Zamperini (1917-2014), "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption."

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  • White Boy Rick

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Set in early 1980s Detroit, "White Boy Rick" (Columbia), a gritty fact-based slice of working-class life, is intended as a critique of hypocritical law enforcement officials and of excessively harsh sentencing.

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  • The Predator

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "The Predator" (Fox), that angry, and very hungry, monster from outer space, returns for its sixth film appearance and leaves predictable mayhem and bloodshed in its wake. The hideous fanged creature -- a "Yautja," to be precise -- first starred in 1987's "Predator," and most recently in 2007's "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem." Apparently, there's a demand for yet another rampage, so the creature revisits Earth in search of, well, it's never quite clear.

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  • God Bless the Broken Road

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- A crisis of faith can certainly serve as the basis for a compelling drama. In the case of the Evangelical film "God Bless the Broken Road" (Freestyle), though, the cards feel stacked, albeit for the right outcome, with the result that the protagonist's doubts themselves seem unconvincing.

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  • Peppermint

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Remember the proverbial admonition not to take candy from strangers? Well, that warning applies in spades to director Pierre Morel as he tries to hand out "Peppermint" (STX), a gory, over-the-top revenge fantasy that sets Jennifer Garner on the rampage.

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  • The Nun

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "The Nun" (Warner Bros.) is an ambitious undertaking with an immense budget and lush special effects. The apparent aim: to rank as the "That's Entertainment!" of Catholic-themed horror films. The movie doesn't, therefore, ask the audience for a whole lot other than attention to all the classic tropes of the genre.

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