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Friday, January 19, 2018, 11:33 p.m.

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By Karen Martin

This article was published January 12, 2018 at 1:46 a.m.

Blu-ray case for Marshall

Marshall,

directed by Reginald Hudlin

(PG-13, 1 hour, 58 minutes)

You might expect Marshall, which concerns the first black man to sit on the United States Supreme Court, to solemnly trace the man's arc, with the subject looking back upon what he has accomplished and ahead to what he made possible.

You might expect a civics-class seriousness, cued by swelling music and shots of our hero in pensive repose.

You probably wouldn't expect it to present as a buddy dramatic comedy, a sort of legal-adventure version of Beverly Hills Cop.

But that's what Reginald Hudlin has done with this film, his first in 15 years, a highly entertaining take on a pivotal case that came early in Thurgood Marshall's career. It stars Chadwick Boseman as an itinerant lawyer for the NAACP, moving from town to town fighting racial injustice. This Thurgood is brash, cocky and highly competent, and his work is too important to let little things like his initially reluctant co-counsel Sam Friedman's (Josh Gad) lack of qualifications stand in the way.

Marshall feels like the pilot of a TV courtroom drama from the 1960s about a dashing young civil rights lawyer; every week young Thurgood Marshall could descend on some blighted burg in Mississippi or Connecticut, encounter a mob of bigots and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the innocence of the wrongly accused.

The racially charged sexual-assault case chosen for the initial episode is such a good one that we might suspect the filmmakers of fudging the facts. And perhaps they do, but not in any significant way.

With Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown, James Cromwell.

Friend Request (R, 1 hour, 32 minutes). An easily forgotten and ineffectual attempt at horror in which popular college student Laura, an active correspondent on social media, finds her life takes a violent and spooky turn when she accepts a friend request from an unknown girl named Marina. With Alycia Debnam Carey, Brit Morgan, William Moseley; directed by Simon Verhoeven.

American Made (R, 1 hour, 55 minutes). A self-assured international crime caper in which Tom Cruise is again playing a cocky, rebellious, full-of-himself pilot (shades of 1986's Top Gun) who's recruited by the CIA in the 1970s to keep an eye on the growth of communism in Central America. His Barry Seal is so skilled and aggressive that he soon takes charge of a huge covert CIA operation. That's a good job, but not as lucrative as his secondary source of income: smuggling drugs into the U.S. (including operating out of Arkansas' Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport). Pablo Escobar is part of the plan, and the number of good guys is minimal. With Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones; directed by Doug Liman.

It (R, 2 hours, 15 minutes). Based on the popular Stephen King novel of the same name, this downright scary and startling horror thriller follows a bunch of kids who must deal with their personal terrors when they encounter a murderous and violent clown named Pennywise, whose evil history goes back several centuries. With Bill Skarsgard (Alexander's brother), Sophia Lillis, Jaeden Lieberher; directed by Andy Muschietti.

The Foreigner (R, 1 hour, 56 minutes). A well-paced, spare plot allows plenty-of-time violent exchanges here. Political terrorism is behind London businessman Quan's (Jackie Chan) loss of his adored teenage daughter, which leads him to resurrect his long-abandoned past and launch a passionate search for the terrorists. It's a brutal, dangerous undertaking that causes conflict between him and a wily British government official (Pierce Brosnan), whose affiliations are uncertain. With Rory Fleck Byrne, Stephen Hogan; directed by Martin Campbell.

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (PG-13, 1 hour, 43 minutes ). Those of a certain age are familiar with Deep Throat, the infamous whistleblower at the heart of the Watergate scandal. This bleak, expertly cast drama, set 30 years later in 2005, focuses on special agent Mark Felt, who at long last reveals his identity and pivotal role in the mystery. With Liam Neeson, Josh Lucas, Diane Lane, Tony Goodwyn, Eddie Marsan, Noah Wyle; directed by Peter Landesman.

68 Kill (not rated, 1 hour, 33 minutes). Fun, trashy and totally misogynous, this bad-girl comedy follows an ordinary guy named Chip (Matthew Gray Gubler), who works flushing septic systems. He finds his life enlivened by his unconventional girlfriend Liza (AnnaLynne McCord), who brings in extra cash by servicing a scummy sugar daddy. Then she suggests taking further advantage of her back-door lover, thereby revealing a side of her that Chip isn't sure he wants to see. With Sam Eidson, Sheila Vand; directed by Trent Haaga.

MovieStyle on 01/12/2018

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