Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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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.


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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

William Marston (Luke Evans) is an inventor and psychology professor at Harvard. Along with his wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), he is working on a lie detector machine when they take on a new assistant, Olive (Bella Heathcote). As the three embark on an unconventional relationship, Marston is impressed by the feminist ideals of the women in his life, and the seeds of a story are born, and built into a comic book series. The main character, Diana, an Amazonian is sent into the greater world to bring peace, where she becomes known as Wonder Woman. At first, a comic about a female superhero is a hard sell, but soon, the comics a flying off the shelves – even outselling some of the male superhero titles. Wonder Woman soon comes under the scrutiny of censors but even they can’t prevent her from becoming one of the most beloved and long running comic series heroines.

This movie was just ok. It was interesting to learn more about the creation of the Wonder Woman series, and the story of her creator was interesting enough. But maybe something was lost in the editing process? The movie seemed to jump around a lot, and I never really felt like I was able to build a connection with any of the characters. The movie also might have been improved if the focus was more on the creation of Wonder Woman, and less on some of the more scandalous elements of Marston’s life. Rated R. Also featuring: Oliver Platt and Connie Britton.

 


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Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Mildred (Frances McDormand) lost her daughter seven months ago. She was raped and murdered and her killer has not been found. Mildred feels like the sheriff and his department have stopped investigating. Mildred decides to rent the three billboards just outside of town and write the sheriff a message. Needless to say the sheriff is not happy. He and his fellow deputy try to convince her to take them down. But Mildred can’t be swayed. She will do whatever it takes to find her daughter’s murderer.

I really enjoyed this movie and the performances. Wasn’t a big fan of the ending but overall it was good. Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell both won Academy Awards for their performances in this movie. Also starring, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, and Abbie Cornish. Rated R


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Brad’s Status

As Brad Sloan (Ben Stiller) prepares to accompany his son to Boston on a college visit, he reflects back on his own life, and questions some of the choices he’s made. Social media updates from his college buddies only serve to increase his doubts about his own success in life. When the two arrive in Boston, and Brad catches up with his buddies, he’s forced to confront his doubts about what success really means.

While there were some really good moments between father and son, this movie was just ok. The film’s message about social media not really showing us the real story of anyone’s life, but a filtered version is certainly relevant. But all of Brad’s angst over his first world problems was just a bit much for this viewer. Rated R. Also featuring: Jenna Fischer, Michael Sheen, Luke Wilson, and Austin Abrams.