Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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The Great Wall

William (Matt Damon) and Tovar (Pedro Pascal) have heard about the mysterious black powder. In their search for it, they encounter a creature that William is able to kill. As they are fleeing they come across the Great Wall and are captured by the people who protect it. There William is pulled between finishing his goal and fighting for a purpose. They soon are thrust into battle to help protect the wall from the same creatures that William had killed. Will they stay and finish the fight or steal the powder and leave the people to defend the Wall by themselves?

I was shockingly surprised by how much I ended up liking this movie. I think my expectations were so low  I ended up enjoying it. I really liked all of the stunts and the story. Also starring, Tian Jing and Willem Dafoe. Rated PG-13

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The Take

Michael Mason (Richard Madden) is a con artist, currently working in Paris. He makes his living picking pockets, taking special orders from his clients. When he steals a bag containing a teddy bear, and not much else, he tosses it. Moments later, the bag explodes, leaving 4 people dead. The next day, Michael’s face, captured on CCTV, is all over the news as a suspect. The CIA assigns agent Sean Briar (Idris Elba) to the case. Briar, never one to play by the rules, captures Michael, but instead of taking him in, takes him to a secret interrogation spot, where he finds out that Michael is indeed telling the truth. Now, they’re not only on the run from the group responsible for the attack, but they’re also trying to track them down before they strike again.

As far as action and suspense go, this movie was pretty good. And while I love both Idris and Richard, unfortunately, as hard as they tried, the chemistry just wasn’t there. I just wasn’t buying into their comic/straight guy routine. Other than that though, definitely worth watching. Rated R. Also featuring Kelly Reilly and Charlotte Le Bon.

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As Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) parachutes into the Sahara desert for an assignment, he’s probably not thinking that he’d meet the love of his life today. In fact, when he meets Marianne (Marion Cotillard), a member of the French Resistance and his partner for their top secret mission, he’s not quite sure what to make of her. But, as they play the roles of man and wife for their mission, they get to know each other well, and by the end, they’ve fallen in love. Once back in England, the two marry, and Max continues to work for the military. Despite the war raging all around them, everything seems to be going well for the young couple – a beautiful home, a new baby. And then Max receives a phone call that may change all of their lives forever – Marion is suspected of feeding information to the enemy. Now, in a mad rush for time, Max becomes desperate to prove her innocence.

I really wanted to like this movie much more than I did, but it really fell flat for me. The story line was good, but it felt rushed at times, and I just wasn’t feeling any chemistry between Pitt and Cotillard. It seemed like the director was trying (and failing) to capture the look and feel of an older classic film, but with modern special effects. It’s not a horrible movie – the story is compelling, but overall the movie is just kind of blah. Rated R.


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Hacksaw Ridge

Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) needs to be part of World War II. As a conscientious objector, Desmond is going to war to be a medic but won’t touch a gun. He thought that was made clear but in training he finds that his leaders and fellow soldiers don’t think he belongs. How is he going to protect them if he won’t touch a gun? But to the surprise of everyone, once the action begins, Desmond shows them all that he is just as much a soldier as anyone.

This was a really intense, well acted movie. I had never heard about this story and I am so glad that it got made. And I see why it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. Also starring, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, and Rachel Griffiths. Rated R

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Always Watching by Lynette Eason

“He’s mine,” she whispered. “He’s mine and you can’t have him. Go away.”

Wade Savage is a very popular psychiatrist and radio personality who keeps receiving gifts from some anonymous person.  When he fails to acknowledge the stalker’s attention this angers his stalker. Things escalate to the point of the stalker trying to take his life and harming a bodyguard that he was unaware he had hurt.

Olivia Edwards owns Elite Guardians and was hired by Wade’s father to protect his son. When Maddy, one of her partners, gets attacked and has her throat slit, Olivia steps in to protect their client, which is turning out to be a challenge.  Wade doesn’t want a bodyguard until his daughter gets threatened. Wade is also a gentleman and has a hard time letting Olivia put her life on the line.  Their unexpected mutual attraction only adds to the fray.

Will they catch the stalker before they succeed in taking his or his daughter’s life?

I really enjoyed this book. I am a total fan of books that keep you on your toes with a little suspense. It is also what I consider a clean book, no heavy romance scenes, no gory word pictures, etc. Lynette Eason is a Christian writer yet doesn’t get into religious politics.


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Kiss Marry Kill by Sidney Halston

51RWaI1-DvL._SY346_When Miami singing sensation Megan Cruz’s life is threatened by a stalker and former marine/security specialist Jackson “Jax” Irons gets wind of it on the local news, he is at the scene immediately.

He hasn’t seen Megan in five years when he was being deployed, and they parted ways after a whirlwind romance. Jax offers his firm’s services and vows to take care of Megan until they find the perpetrator. There’s no question that the sparks are back and bigger than ever, but Jax is concerned that falling for Megan again will distract him from his duties, just like when he lost focus and consequently his brothers overseas.

The feisty Megan is determined not to let this potential danger stop her from doing what she loves, so when she receives another threat on tour that suggests a second suspect, Jax will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even if it means his own safety and ultimately their future is on the line.

Although Halston’s (Pull Me Close) first entry doesn’t break any new ground, a well thought-out plot with enough tension to keep readers engaged and the romantic elements set to medium heat make for an agreeable read. Halston also smoothly sets the scene for Bk.2.

Originally published in Xpress Reviews: E-Originals | March 10, 2017

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infernoRobert Langdon (Tom Hanks) has woken up in a hospital with no recollection of why he is there. As he is trying to get answers, a gunman appears and starts shooting. With the help of his doctor, Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), they escape. Together they will travel through Italy to try to find the answers. As they start to uncover what is happening, they realize a bio chemical threat is what there are trying to prevent. But who can they trust and will they be able to stop it in time?

This was very similar to the book which is always a good thing. Great job by Tom Hanks, as always, but I am not a huge fan of Felicity Jones. If you have read the series and have seen the other movies, then this is one you should watch. And if you haven’t, it is still a pretty good thriller. Rated PG-13