Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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The Beguiled

Strict and conservative Martha (Nicole Kidman) runs a home for girls in Civil War Virginia where she in charge of six girls of varying ages. One of the younger girls, Amy, is out collecting mushrooms when she comes across a solider who can’t walk because of a leg injury. Not wanting to leave him stranded and injured, she helps Corporal McBurney (Colin Farrell) stumble back to the house.

The stranger’s good looks aren’t lost on Martha and the older girls, who definitely take notice. Martha tends to his wounds until he can walk again. He is mostly confined to the music room while he is healing, so as to avoid temptation. As he is getting better, the Corporal realizes he has nowhere to go and hopes that he can stick around the house to help with the gardens. He even confesses his love to the oldest girl, Edwina (Kirsten Dunst), who he promises to meet in her bedroom later that evening.

Instead, he goes to the bedroom of the younger Alicia (Elle Fanning) and Edwina can hear their giggling outside her room. When she goes to confront him, a scuffle occurs which causes the Corporal to take a tumble down the stairs. Now his leg is injured beyond repair.  Martha, aware of his rejection of her and Edwina in favor of Alicia, takes advantage of the Corporal’s new injury to exact revenge.

This dark movie takes a bit to build to the inevitable conclusion, which happens abruptly, and may not appeal to everyone. Rated R


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Ingrid Goes West

Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) has a problem. She becomes attached to a person on social media and starts stalking them, trying to be their friend. The last one end with Ingrid in a mental institution. Now Ingrid is out ready to change her life. Once back home she starts her lonely life. But soon she is sucked back into her old ways and becomes obsessed with Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen). Ingrid ends up going to California and soon finds Taylor. She becomes friends with her but her obsessive ways come out and Taylor is done with her. Will this finally be the wake up call Ingrid needs? Or is she doomed to this behavior forever?

I really ended up liking this movie. It was crazy to see how one person can get so fixated on another person and the lengths they will go to be friends with their obsession. Also starring, O’Shea Jackson, Jr and Wyatt Russell. Rated R

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A Ghost Story

C (Casey Affleck) and M (Rooney Mara) are a married couple living in a old house. M wants to move but C is hesitant. All of that changes when C dies in a car accident. Now M is all alone or is she? As she moves on with her life there is a presence in the house with her. Standing in a white sheet. The seasons pass and M moves away but the sheet stays. New families move in and then the house gets demolished. And then we are go back to the settlers. And then to when C and M move in. Confused? Me too!

This was the slowest movie I have ever watched. I get it is supposed to be thought provoking and artsy but I was so bored. At one point she is eating a pie by herself for like seven minutes. I would only recommend this movie if you like slow paced movies. Rated R

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Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

Liza is a successful author whose books haven’t been selling as well as they used to. Now, she has just one month to finish the thriller that will put her back on the best seller lists. Liza’s been distracted though – she’s been trying to have a baby with her husband, but he’s been very distant. And he becomes even more so when his best friend Nick goes missing. So Liza escapes into her writing. Her new character, Beth suspects her husband of cheating, while she’s at home caring for their new baby. Feeling very angry and betrayed, Beth tries to catch her husband in the act, and almost before she knows what’s happened, she’s throwing his lover into the river. Soon, events in Liza’s life take an eerie twist, as they begin to mirror events in the book she’s writing, and it becomes difficult to distinguish reality from fiction.

As far a psychological thrillers go, this one was just ok. The author does a great job capturing Liza’s emotional state, but it was difficult – for me anyway – to connect with her at all. There were twists in the story to be sure, but don’t expect any big gotcha moments. I just couldn’t help but feeling like I’ve read this story before.


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The Hero

Once popular western actor Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) lives a quiet life in LA. He gets by, doing commercial voice over work, and the occasional cameo role or personal appearance. He spends his days mostly alone, walking at the beach, eating take-out, and visiting his friend/dealer Jeremy (Nick Offerman), who co-starred with Lee in a TV western series as a child actor. Lee has just been given a terminal diagnosis when he meets Charlotte (Laura Prepon), a young comedian. Struggling to make sense of his diagnosis and wanting to make peace with his ex-wife and daughter, Charlotte helps him to make peace with himself, and gives him the courage to approach his family, and the desire to buy more time.

Even though this is a somewhat sad movie, the breathtaking scenery and subtle humor keep it from feeling too bogged down. Very well acted, and definitely well worth watching. Rated R. Also featuring: Katherine Ross, Krysten Ritter, Ali Wong, and Max Gail.

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Going in Style

Joe (Michael Caine), Willie (Morgan Freeman), and Al (Alan Arkin) are three retired pals who’ve been friends for years. Having worked at the same company, they’ve just found out that their pensions have been dissolved. While at the bank, discussing his looming foreclosure, Joe finds himself caught in the middle of a bank robbery, and the spark of an idea is born. Why not rob a bank? Not just any bank though – the very bank that stole their pensions! The other guys think Joe is a bit crazy, but they begin their prep work, and soon the day has come. They’re going to rob a bank, but do they have what it takes?

This is a remake of the 1979 movie of the same name, starring George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg, and I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. Of course there was a lot of humor, but this movie also has a lot of heart. These three actors working together have great chemistry and are a treat to watch. Rated PG-13. Also featuring: Matt Dillon, Ann Margret, and Christopher Lloyd.

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

As the castle comes under attack, Arthur’s parents spirit him away to relative safety by putting him in a boat and casting it adrift. The toddler is found by some “ladies” of the town and is brought up inside of a brothel and the mean streets of the village. Unaware of his parentage, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) learns all the tricks of the trade – shoplifting, pocket picking, fighting, and how to deal with Vikings. He earns the loyalty of his crew and the ladies who raised him, and is fiercely loyal and protective of them. As his crew’s activities attract the attention of the King’s guards, Arthur is gathered up, along with other young men of the same age, and brought to the castle for a test – who can draw the sword from the stone? After so many years spent trying to find young Arthur, King Vortigern (Jude Law) is desperate to dispose of him before he can pose a real challenge to the throne but this may prove to be more of a challenge than he’d bargained for.

Guy Ritchie’s vision of the Arthurian legend is definitely darker and grittier than what we’ve seen in the past, and some of his efforts to bring a modern spin to the tales fall decidedly flat. The casting is great though – Jude Law is phenomenal as King Vertigern, and Charlie Hunnam does a great job as the unwilling king-to-be Arthur. With the great effects and lots of action, it will be interesting to see which direction the sequel takes us. Rated PG-13.

Also featuring: Aidan Gillen, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, David Beckham, and Astrid Berges-Frisbey.