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BAD SAMARITAN -- and not such a great movie, either

I wish I could tell you that “Bad Samaritan” turns out better than it does. The movie certainly had potential -- especially with its unique plot: Two young men use their valet-parking business as a cover for burglary; while the drivers are dining, they punch in GPS and drive to the owners’ homes, pilfering valuables while the houses are empty. On a certain night, one of them enters an up-scale domicile only to find a young abductee tied up and gagged; but she’s bound so skillfully that he can’t get her free. Other discoveries soon suggest that the wealthy kidnapper is also a psychopathic torturer. So what should this “bad samaritan” do? Call the police? For about an hour, screenwriter Brando

CHAPPAQUIDDICK: Best of 18 so far!

“History usually has the final word on these things,” says one character in “Chappaquiddick.” If that’s the case, this movie’s final word on Ted Kennedy is devastating; “Chappaquiddick” makes him look every bit as spineless and contemptible as his detractors kept insisting in the decades after he drunkenly drove off a Massachusetts bridge, resulting in the death of the woman who was with him. Having left the scene with Mary Jo Kopechne still inside the submerged auto, Kennedy did not report the accident for 10 hours. I’m sure you can tell that despite being only nine at the time, I never had one ounce of respect for Kennedy after Chappaquiddick. Not even when the so-called “Lion of the Senat

SGT. STUBBY: A literal underdog!

Like its canine protagonist, “Sgt. Stubby” succeeds by keeping a low profile. It’s the kind of movie that could have felt ridiculously hokey if not for just the right light touch. Set in World War I, “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero” tells the true story of a friendly street dog who was adopted by a Connecticut army regiment and wound up going overseas into combat. Able to locate wounded soldiers, warn of incoming attacks (especially mustard gas) and at one point single-handedly nab a deadly German scout, the pint-sized private was promoted to sergeant and later became something of a national celebrity. If you consider that this film is also animated, you can see the danger of being too cute,

A QUIET PLACE: Not so quiet after all

A QUIET PLACE By JOSEPH W. SMITH III, Sun-Gazette Correspondent Having been told “A Quiet Place” was scary, I was surprised to find the first 30 minutes so slow, sedate and … well, quiet. Another half-hour later, with dread and panic spiking through the theater, I was telling myself, “I’m glad it’s only 90 minutes long -- ’cause I can’t take much more of this!” Yes, the new thriller starring Emily Blunt and John Krasinski is frightening. It’s a somewhat old-fashioned monster movie with a bare-bones story and a simple central conceit; yet it feels consistently fresh and alive because of its expert acting, direction and cinematography -- not to mention its unique plot: The United States -- and

READY VIEWER ONE: Spielberg both retro and relevant

“Ready Player One” is a remarkably savvy motion picture. It’s amazing how Steven Spielberg, who rocketed to fame before the Internet, digital effects or virtual reality, manages to keep himself both retro and relevant. Based on Ernest Cline’s popular young-adult novel, “RPO” will appeal to both adults and teens. The movie is set in 2045 -- no farther from us than we are from 1991; so the contours of its milieu are reasonably familiar. Until we step into the Oasis. That’s a virtual-reality world that helps the impoverished populace escape its daily struggle. The massive online realm was created by James Halliday, a sci-fi geek who saturated it with an arsenal of pop-culture references. When t

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