Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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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.


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Fifty Shades Darker

Ana Steel (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) are back and hotter than ever. We start the movie with Ana and Christian still broken up and both are miserable. But when Christian shows up at Jose’s photography show, Anna agrees to have dinner with him. As they talk, Christian agrees to throw out all of the rules and have a normal relationship with Ana.

Ana is happy. She is working her dream job at a publishing house and has Christian back. The only thing is that a girl keeps appearing who looks similar to Ana. Christian soon realizes that it is Leila (Bella Heathcote), a previous submissive who is having issues since  her boyfriend died in a car accident. And lets not forgot Mrs. Robinson (Kim Basinger). She finally makes an appearance and it does not go over well. Will Ana and Christian be able to maneuver through this new relationship or is it doomed before they even start?

I don’t care what anyone says, I like these movies and books. This one follows the book pretty well and I enjoyed it. The last one, Fifty Shades Freed, hits theaters in February 2018. Also starring, Marcia Gay Harden, Eloise Mumford, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, and Max Martini. Rated R


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Murder on the Orient Express

Daisy Armstrong was kidnapped and murdered in 1930. Of the two kidnappers only one was brought to justice. Five years later, Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) finds himself on the train, Orient Express. He is headed back to England for a case and was able to secure last minute passage on the train. While on the train a fellow passage, Ratchett (Richard Widmark), asks Poirot to be his bodyguard. Poirot declines and the next day Ratchett is found dead in his cabin. Now it is up to Poirot to solve the murder before the train arrives and the murderer gets away.

I am a big fan of Agatha Christie and this is a great movie to go along with the book. It is fun trying to guess who did it and even more fun when you find out. This one is being remade with Johnny Depp, Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, and Penelope Cruz. It will be out this November.

Also starring, Sean Connery, Vanessa Redgrave, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Perkins, and Michael York. Rated PG


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La La Land

Mia (Emma Stone) wants to be an actress. She works as a barista and goes on as many auditions as possible. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz musician. He lives and breathes jazz. He wants to open his own club one day but until then he takes any gigs he can get. Their first couple of meetings don’t go well but they find themselves attracted to each other. They fall in love but the demands of their careers pull them apart. Does love conquer all or will their careers keep them apart?

I do not understand how this movie won so many awards! It was so boring. I love a good love story but this one just didn’t do it for me. I enjoyed the majority of the musical numbers but did not like the ending. I would only only recommend this if you are curious about why it got so much hype. Also starring, J.K. Simmons, John Legend, and Thomas Everett Scott. Rated PG-13


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Allied

As Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) parachutes into the Sahara desert for an assignment, he’s probably not thinking that he’d meet the love of his life today. In fact, when he meets Marianne (Marion Cotillard), a member of the French Resistance and his partner for their top secret mission, he’s not quite sure what to make of her. But, as they play the roles of man and wife for their mission, they get to know each other well, and by the end, they’ve fallen in love. Once back in England, the two marry, and Max continues to work for the military. Despite the war raging all around them, everything seems to be going well for the young couple – a beautiful home, a new baby. And then Max receives a phone call that may change all of their lives forever – Marion is suspected of feeding information to the enemy. Now, in a mad rush for time, Max becomes desperate to prove her innocence.

I really wanted to like this movie much more than I did, but it really fell flat for me. The story line was good, but it felt rushed at times, and I just wasn’t feeling any chemistry between Pitt and Cotillard. It seemed like the director was trying (and failing) to capture the look and feel of an older classic film, but with modern special effects. It’s not a horrible movie – the story is compelling, but overall the movie is just kind of blah. Rated R.

 


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Nocturnal Animals

Susan (Amy Adams) is an art gallery owner. One day she receives a package from her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). It is a draft of the book he has written that is about to be published. As Susan reads it, the book stirs up the past. How Edward and Susan met, got married and eventually divorced. In the book, Edward tells the story of Tony and his wife, Laura (Isla Fisher) and their daughter, India (Ellie Bamber). They are driving to their vacation destination when they become victims of a roadside attack. Laura and India are separated from Tony and later found dead. Susan is very disturbed by the story and reaches out to Edward. She also starts to wonder if she made the biggest mistake all those years ago letting him go.

I really didn’t care for this movie. My biggest problem was that it left questions unanswered. Or maybe it was just over my head and I missed the answers. Also starring, Armie Hammer, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon, Laura Linney, and Michael Sheen. Rated R