Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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My Life as a Zucchini

Following the death of his mother, nine-year-old Zucchini is befriended by a kind police officer. After being taken to a foster home, Zucchini meets other orphans his age, and although he has a hard time fitting in at first, soon the kids have formed a tight-knit little family of their own.

Based on the novel “Autobiographie d’une Courgette” by Gilles Paris, and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, it’s easy to see why this film has become such a favorite. The art and animation are beautifully rendered, and the story, while sad, is also filled with hope, courage and humor. The American version of this film features the voice talents of Nick Offerman, Amy Sedaris, Will Forte, and Ellen Page. Rated PG-13.


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Manhattan Night

Porter Wren (Adrien Brody) is a newspaper man. He is stilling riding the high of finding a missing girl. With newspaper a dying art, he needs to stay relevant. He meets Caroline Crawley (Yvonne Strahovski), a wealthy, beautiful widow, who wants Wren to investigate her husband’s death. Wren becomes intrigued, not with just the case but also Caroline. He is soon sucked into the bizarre mystery that not only affects Caroline but soon is affecting Wren’s home life. Will he be able to solve this crime before he meets the same fate?

This was actually a pretty good mystery. You never really knew what was going to happen but when you do it was a little shocking.  Also starring, Campbell Scott and Jennifer Beals. Rated R


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The Shack

Mack Phillips (Sam Worthington) is lost in his life.  While on a camping trip with his three kids, his youngest was kidnapped and murdered.  Now he is barely functioning and is mad at God. When his wife takes the kids to visit her parents, Mack finds a note in the mailbox. It tells him to go to the cabin where his daughter was murdered. Mack is convinced it is from the killer and goes. But when he arrives, no one is there. He rages and breaks things and knocks himself out. And then nothing is ever the same again.

I didn’t really know what to expect since I didn’t read the book. I enjoyed this movie. It did drag a little bit for me in the middle but overall this is a pretty good movie. Also starring, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw, and Radha Mitchell.  Rated PG-13

 


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All We Had

Thirteen year old Ruthie (Stefania Owen) and her mom Rita (Katie Holmes) are struggling to keep up their hand to mouth existence, despite the fact that Rita is working more than on job. On the brink of eviction from their apartment, they hit the road, living out of their car.  Their car breaks down, and out of money, they find themselves stranded in a small town. Luckily, they’re able to get jobs at a local diner, and soon, things start looking up for them.  They’ve got an apartment, Ruthie is settling in at school, and she’s even got a best friend – Peter Pam (Eve Lindley), a transgender teen who also works at the diner. And when Rita starts dating Vic (Mark Consuelos), a persuasive mortgage broker, the two buy their first house.  Things are going really well,  but when the recession hits, and business starts to slow down at the diner, they may find themselves right back where they started.

Based on the novel by Annie Weatherwax, and directed by Katie Holmes, this movie is a poignant portrayal of one family’s struggle to stay afloat when everything seems to be going against them. Not rated. Also featuring: Richard Kind, Judy Greer, and Luke Wilson.


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The Wave

In a Norway there is fjord in the town of Geiranger. It is predicted that part of the mountain will eventually fall into the water and cause a 85 meter high wave. That day has come.

Kristian and his family are all set to move. Kristian is taking the kids to a hotel in the city and his wife, Idun, is working at the local hotel. Before they leave, Kristian needs to pick up the rest of his stuff from his job, where he is a geologist. While at the office , he notices something in the readings but no one really believes anything is wrong. To humor him, they check it out. Soon they realize something is happening at the mountain. And then the ground starts to shake. Everyone has ten minutes to get out of the wave zone or end up dead.

I really enjoyed this movie. It was intense and I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see if they would survive. Rated R


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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

On the surface, the small village of Beckford is just a sleepy little town beside a river. But the river has always held some secrets, and has long been the source of a strange fascination for Nel Abbott. Nel is a single mom who grew up in the village, and she’s been working on a book about the river and its sordid past – the drowning of witches, the Drowning Pool, the suicides. When Nel herself is found in the river,  her estranged sister Jules returns to the village to care for Lena, Nel’s teenage daughter, whose best friend was also recently found in the river.  Jules finds herself caught between her duty to Lena and her memories of the past, as the mysteries of the two women’s deaths are unraveled.

In Beckford, Ms. Hawkins has created a creepily atmospheric little village where virtually everyone could have “done it”.  Although uneven in spots, there’s enough intrigue in the story to keep you reading. You might need a character chart though. There are a lot of people in the story – all of them unreliable, and it gets tricky at times to keep track. Definitely well worth reading if you enjoy the psychological genre.


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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.