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  • Doctor Sleep

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- In crafting the horror sequel "Doctor Sleep" (Warner Bros.), which follows up on the events recounted in Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film, "The Shining" -- based, like its successor, on a novel by Stephen King -- writer-director Mike Flanagan takes his time and effectively builds up a macabre mood.

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  • Playing With Fire

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- If your folks warned you against "Playing With Fire" (Paramount), their advice was sound. Though generally harmless, this comedy is so painfully unfunny, it's almost fascinating. Professional wrestler-turned-actor John Cena tops the bill as uptight, macho Jake Carson. Jake is the superintendent of a rural fire station where he shares quarters with a trio of fellow smokejumpers, colorless Mark (Keegan-Michael Key), squirrely Rodrigo (John Leguizamo) and hulking Axe (Tyler Mane).

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  • Last Christmas

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The holiday-themed blend of romantic comedy and drama "Last Christmas" (Universal) is both awkward in execution and problematic in content. So viewers committed to scriptural values should approach it with caution.

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  • Midway

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- It's all hands on deck in the vivid fact-based naval epic "Midway" (Lionsgate). In fact, the cast of this historical drama is so crowded that viewers might feel the occasional roll call was in order.

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  • Arctic Dogs

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Arctic Dogs" (AMBI Group) serves up family-friendly fare, scoring high on the cuteness meter despite its lack of originality. The little ones will love Swifty (voice of Jeremy Renner). He's a fox who always dreamed of being top dog for the Arctic Blast Delivery Service (ABDS).

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  • Terminator: Dark Fate

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Grown fans of the action genre will find the sci-fi adventure "Terminator: Dark Fate" (Paramount) a serviceable diversion. Logicians dedicated to the details of cause and effect, not so much.

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  • Motherless Brooklyn

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Edward Norton wrote, directed and stars in "Motherless Brooklyn" (Warner Bros.), an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's 1999 novel. The result is a top-notch crime drama whose sound basic values are only tarnished by the gritty vocabulary of its script.

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  • Classifications for Oct. 31, 2019

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- The following are classifications of movies recently reviewed by Catholic News Service. "By the Grace of God" (Music Box) -- Catholic News Service classification, L -- limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.

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  • The Divine Plan

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players," says Shakespeare in "As You Like It." For people of faith, the world is God's stage, but we aren't merely players. We are partners with God as he acts through the human beings he has created.

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  • By the Grace of God

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- In 2015, director and co-writer Tom McCarthy's fact-based film "Spotlight" followed the landmark investigation by reporters from the Boston Globe into the extent of priestly sexual abuse in their home city.

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  • Lucy in the Sky

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Something about the experience of outer space has a way of altering earthbound judgments. "Lucy in the Sky," (Fox Searchlight), a drama based loosely on a real-life love triangle involving astronaut Lisa Nowak, attempts to portray this.

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  • The Current War: Director's Cut

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- It's inventor Thomas Edison in one corner and industrialist George Westinghouse in the other in the intriguing historical drama "The Current War: Director's Cut" (101 Studios). Some of the language employed in this recounting of the bitter contest that saw the two titans racing to spread electricity across the United States in the last decades of the 19th century makes it inappropriate for kids. But its educational value may convince many parents that it's suitable for mature teens.

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  • Countdown

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Viewers may marvel at the efficiency and ingenuity it took to get a few authentic jolts into "Countdown" (STX). The movie is part of a loose genre of haunted-phone films. Here, there's a demon-possessed cellphone app. Once downloaded, it's impossible to cancel or hack, and it quickly spits up a series of numbers informing its owner, down to the second, how much time he or she has left before death.

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  • Harriet

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- "Harriet" (Focus) is a long overdue drama chronicling the exploits of the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad, Maryland-born Harriet Tubman (c.1822-1913). The film's greatest asset comes in the form of Cynthia Erivo, a veteran of the London stage who breathes spirit and pathos into the titular character.

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  • Black and Blue

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Director Deon Taylor's action thriller "Black and Blue" (Screen Gems) generally succeeds in maintaining suspense about the fate of its protagonist, played by Naomie Harris. But the clear aspiration of screenwriter Peter A. Dowling's script to comment on current social issues leads to heavy-handed, redundant dialogue about a situation better left to speak for itself.

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  • Zombieland: Double Tap

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- A full decade after the unusual combination of horror and comedy in "Zombieland" proved popular with both critics and audiences, the follow-up "Zombieland: Double Tap" (Columbia) arrives on screen.

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  • The Addams Family

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Those creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky characters from the imagination of Charles Addams receive the big-screen animated treatment in "The Addams Family" (MGM). This is the eighth time that Addams' unique brand of humor -- twisted, macabre, but overall good-natured, as showcased in his 1930s cartoons for The New Yorker magazine -- has been adapted, including a beloved 1960s television series and three live-action films.

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  • Jexi

    NEW YORK (CNS) -- Discerning moviegoers will reject "Jexi" (Lionsgate). This vulgar one-joke comedy quickly wears out its welcome and exhausts its limited comic resources, leading both to excess and to a discernible tone of desperation.

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