Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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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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Braven

Joe Braven (Jason Momoa) is the owner of a logging company in Canada. Business is good, and family life as well, except for one thing. Linden (Stephen Lang), Joe’s dad, has dementia, and after an incident at a local bar, it seems time to take the next step in his care. Thinking that the best place to talk to his dad might be the peace and quiet of the family’s cabin, the two head out. Unbeknownst to them, one of Joe’s employees has gotten himself involved in a drug trafficking operation, and after an accident, has stashed drugs in the cabin. Kassen (Garret Dillahunt), the ruthless boss of the drug operation and his guys show up at the cabin to retrieve the drugs, and when they discover the two Braven men in residence, decide to do things the hard way. Now, Joe and his father will have to fight for their survival.

Beautifully shot in the wilds of Newfoundland, this one sets a heart pounding pace almost immediately, and doesn’t let up until the very end. Rated R.


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Roman J. Isreal, Esq.

Roman (Denzel Washington) is a lawyer who is driven by his core belief in doing the right thing and his idealism. Socially awkward and a savant, for the past 36 years he’s been a partner at a two man law firm, with his much more flamboyant partner taking on court duty, allowing Roman to stay at the office to do the research and paperwork. It’s a perfect partnership, until Roman’s partner has a heart attack, and the firm must be sold. Now lost and without a job, Roman is recruited by George (Colin Farrell), who’s a senior partner in a large and very successful law firm. As he tries to find his place at the new firm, Roman finds himself in circumstances that force him to go against his ideals, and in the process, breaking him.

It’s hard not to like Roman in this movie, and Washington does a great job of bringing him to life. As complete opposites, Washington and Farrell’s characters play very well off of each other. The movie can be a little slow paced at times, but still well worth watching. Rated R.

Watch the trailer here!


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The Florida Project

Just outside the wonder and excitement of the Magic Kingdom, Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her mom Halley (Bria Vinaite) live in a motel that not only caters to the tourists, but also a growing number of the area’s poor. While it’s not the motel’s policy to allow long term residency, Bobby (Willem Dafoe), the motel’s manager has found a way to work around it, knowing that most of this population will have nowhere else to go. Over the course of the summer, we follow Monee and her friends as they play, pull pranks, and generally run wild at the motel.

Offering insight into a portion of society that often goes unnoticed, the acting in this award winning film is top notch. It’s really the kids though, who stand out, especially Brooklynn. It’s amazing how, even in the grim circumstances many families find themselves in, one thing is for certain – kids will be kids. Rated R.

Watch the trailer here!

 


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The Shape of Water

In 1962 Baltimore, Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) works as a janitor for a military lab where they are keeping a unique sea creature captive. Elisa is mute and learns that she can communicate with the creature, sneaking into his chamber to share her lunch and teach him about music. A strong bond and love develops between the two.

Meanwhile, the lab’s head of security,¬†Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), has been torturing the creature and the plan is to kill him in order for the military to dissect and study the creature.¬† Elisa finds an unlikely ally in Bob, a scientist working undercover for the Russians. Elisa, Bob, her coworker Zelda (Octavia Spenser) and neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) hatch a dangerous plan to free the creature from captivity and release him back to the water.

This movie is heart-felt and the tone is reminiscent of the 1980s classic: E.T. the extra-terrestrial.¬†The screenplay and Del Toro’s directing style is definitely worthy of the Best Picture win The Shape of Water received at the Academy Awards. Highly recommended.


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Lady Bird

This coming-of-age story takes place in Sacramento in 2002. High school student Christine (Saoirse Ronan), who has renamed herself “Lady Bird,” is just trying to figure out life. She loves her mom (Laurie Metcalf), but also feels like she can never please her and is tired of being told of how ungrateful she is. Lady Bird dreams of going to an Ivy League school on the east coast but her mom tries to get her down to reality, because they cannot afford it.

Lady Bird auditions for her school’s drama club and starts hanging with the rich, popular kids in hopes of gaining their acceptance. Through friendship, first loves and the rocky relationship with her mom, she eventually comes into her own.

I think most people can relate to Lady Bird and the trials and tribulations of that awkward stage of life, high school, that we all must go through. Although it will make you laugh, at it’s core, Lady Bird is an emotional story about growing up and learning to understand your own mother, despite her flaws. Rated R


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Suburbicon

In the summer of 1959, Suburbicon is a peaceful housing development with manicured lawns, affordable homes, and happy families. All of that changes overnight though, with a home invasion at the Gardners, and coincidentally, the arrival of the new neighbors, an African American family. While the community is up in arms over the new family’s arrival, no one seems to notice that there are some pretty peculiar things going on over at the Gardners.

While this movie doesn’t have as much of the dark humor we’ve learned to expect from the Coens, there are a few good bits. This movie seems to be more of a morality tale of sorts, as the community members are so distracted by their anger at the new family moving into their neighborhood, they completely miss what’s going on next door. Written by the Coen Brothers, and directed by George Clooney. Featuring: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac.