Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

In this Jumanji reboot, a group of high school kids (a jock, a nerd, a popular girl, and a brainy girl) are all in detention together. Their punishment is to go through a storage room full of old magazines that need the staples removed so they can be recycled. When one of the kids discovers an old video game console with the game Jumanji loaded, they connect it to a TV and try to play after they select their characters.

Suddenly, they are magically transported into the real life game and are shocked to find out that their game characters aren’t who they thought they were. The geek is the main character who’s strength is muscle and brawn (played by the Rock); the jock is a zoologist and the main character’s weapon’s valet (Kevin Hart); the brainy girl is a kick-butt woman ninja; and the popular girl is a male map expert (played by Jack Black).

Stranded in the jungle, they have to work together to restore the eye (a precious stone) of Jumanji while fleeing from a group of bad villains and just like a video game, they have to do so with only three lives.

This funny and adventure-filled movie will appeal to the whole family. Rated PG-13


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The Mountain Between Us

Ben (Idris Elba) and Alex (Kate Winslet) are both stranded at the airport and are in desperate need to get back to their respective lives. Alex decides to charter a plane and invites Ben along. Once in the air, we find out that Ben is a doctor and Alex is a journalist. As they are flying, the pilot has a heart attack. They next thing they know, they have crashed into a snow covered mountain. As the days go by and rescue hasn’t happened, they decide to embark across the mountain. They have to depend on each other to survive. Will these two strangers make it or are their fates already decided?

I think I would have liked it better if I hadn’t read the book first. There were differences between the two that irritated me.  Of course, it was still enjoyable because Idris Elba is in it. Rated PG-13

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) is the world’s best hitman. Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is the world’s best bodyguard. When Kincaid makes a deal to testify against a dictator (Gary Oldman) to get is wife released from prison, Bryce is asked by Interpol to take Kincaid from Manchester to the Hague in 24 hours. Bryce has for the last two years been trying to get his reputation back after a botched job. Now these two are stuck together and must outwit the bad guys and try not to kill each other in the process.

This movie was great.  It was full of action and humor. And who doesn’t love Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds. I would love to see them in another movie together! Also, starring Salma Hayek. Rated R

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LEGO Ninjago

In this new addition to the LEGO franchise, Lloyd is your average school kid by day, but Lloyd and his friends turn into Ninja warriors whenever villain Garmadon and his hench people show up in an attempt to take over Ninjago City. But there is more to the story than simply trying to defeat Garmadon, as Garmadon is Lloyd’s father. As if being a Ninja warrior isn’t enough, Lloyd struggles knowing that his father doesn’t care to be a part of his life.

Despite a warning from Ninja master Uncle Woo, Lloyd releases the “ultimate weapon” on the city to stop Garmadon, but this time it has endangered everyone. There is an “ultimate ultimate weapon” that Lloyd and his friends need to find to save the city. It will take a trek across a dangerous jungle where Lloyd learns not only about becoming a true Ninja, but also about his past and his father.

Loved this movie! I am not a super LEGO fan by any means, and took a friend’s five-year old son to see it and enjoyed it more than the kid. Enough hilarity and action ensue to entertain anyone of any age. Rated PG

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Artemis by Andy Weir

Less science focused than “The Martian”, Andy Weir’s follow-up explores life on the moon from the perspective of a native – an independent young woman who’s grown up in Artemis, the moon’s only city. Jazz Bashara is a porter, and to supplement her income, she does a little smuggling on the side. She takes on a job that gets her involved in corporate espionage, murder, and a power struggle over a new technology worth trillions.  Now, Jazz needs to find a way to protect not only herself, but the whole lunar community.

Even if you’re not a huge science fiction fan, there’s lots to really like about this book. Along with all the technical stuff, Weir manages to create characters that are easy to connect with. Add some humor, an engaging plot, and lots of adventure, and you’ve got a story that lots of fun from start to finish. It’s a fun read, but if you prefer audio, it’s read by Rosario Dawson, who in my mind would be the perfect person to play Jazz in the movie.