Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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Leave No Trace

Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) and her dad (Ben Foster) are living off the grid in the forest outside of Portland. Perfectly content in their forest idyll, they spend their days foraging, playing chess, and with Tom’s schooling. When their camp is found by the rangers though, their lives are turned upside down as the two are brought into the system, and placed in a home. After struggling to adjust to their new lives, the two make an escape back into the wilds of the forest, only to meet with more difficulties.

Shot in the forests of Oregon, this character driven movie is breathtakingly beautiful. Tom and Will are portrayed very well as they struggle to make sense of their situation, and the difficult decisions they each must make. Based on the book My Abandonment by Peter Rock. Rated PG.

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Annihilation

Lena’s husband has been gone for a year. He is in the military on a top secret mission and Lena doesn’t know if he is dead or alive. And then he shows up. But something isn’t quite right about him. And then he starts seizing and blood is coming out of his mouth. On the way to the hospital, the ambulance is overtaken by government vehicles. Next thing she knows, she is waking up in a strange facility and her husband is on life support.

Lena finds out that about three years ago something fell out of the sky and created a shimmer. Countless people have gone in but her husband has been the only one to come back. Lena asks to be on the next team since she is a biologist and has military training. A team of five women cross through the shimmer. What happens next is unexplainable.

This movie held my interest and startled me a couple of times. If you have read the book, you will see all of the changes. The premise is the same but a lot of it is different. Starring, Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Oscar Isaac. Rated R


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Red Sparrow

Based on the Red Sparrow book trilogy, Jennifer Lawrence stars as Dominika, a renowned ballet dancer whose career is shattered when a fellow dancer breaks her leg. Having been replaced in her company, they will no longer pay for her ailing mother’s healthcare or apartment.

Dominika is enlisted by her uncle to work as a Russian spy to seduce men and get information. With no other source of income, Dominika has no choice but to participate. She learns in her training that she is expected to do whatever it takes to accomplish the job, even if it means getting raped or killed.

Dominika learns of Nate Nash working for the American government and hiding an important asset who he has not been able to locate. Nash could be an opportunity for Dominkia to get out alive, even if it means betraying her country.

Smart, dark and sexy, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed Red Sparrow, especially since spy-type stories don’t typically appeal to me. Lawrence is always spectacular no matter what she she does, and fans of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie starring Daniel Craig will find something to like here. Rated R


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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 Dark Tower

Roland (Idris Elba), the world’s last Gunslinger, is on a relentless quest to find the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey). The Man in Black wants to destroy the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together, and would enable him to take over. As Roland fights against the Man in Black and other dark forces, he is joined by Jake (Tom Taylor), a young boy from New York City who ends up in Roland’s world. The two forge a friendship as they make their way to the Tower, where they will face the ultimate battle – good vs. evil.

Ok, I know. How in the world could they possibly wrap the entire Dark Tower series into a neat little 95 minute package? Well, they can’t, and they didn’t. As a rabid fan of the series, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when it came to the movie. But I went to the theater with an open mind, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. No, it isn’t an exact adaptation that follows the book word for word. Woven throughout the film are bits and pieces from the whole series of books, and while we don’t meet the whole ka-tet in this film, the time that we spend with Roland and Jake helps us to get to know them a little better in the limited time frame of the film. If you take the movie as kind of an introduction to the world of the Dark Tower, you’ll definitely enjoy it a lot more. The action is great, the effects are awesome, and Matthew McConaughey’s Man in Black alone is well worth the price of admission. Rated PG-13.

 


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Everything, Everything

Maddy has just turned 18 and has never been outside. She has a rare disease were her immune system is basically non-existent.  Her dad and brother died in a car accident when Maddy was a baby, so it is just Maddy and her mom. But everything changes when Olly moves in next door.

This movie is based on the book by the same title by Nicola Yoon. I did not read the book but I did enjoy the movie. It was a good story with likable characters. Rated PG-13


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The Circle

Mae (Emma Watson) is in a boring dead end job. Her best friend, Annie (Karen Gillan), works for a company in the tech world known as the Circle. Annie gets Mae an interview and the next thing she knows she has an exciting new job. At first she is overwhelmed, but she soon excels. She also agrees to transparency. She begins to live stream her entire life. But when a tragic death occurs, Mae starts to rethink everything she knew about this company.

This movie was just okay for me. I did not read the book so I cannot compare the two but I have heard the book is a whole lot better. I didn’t like the characters and there definitely wasn’t enough of John Boyega. Also starring, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Patton Oswalt. Rated PG-13