Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

In this Jumanji reboot, a group of high school kids (a jock, a nerd, a popular girl, and a brainy girl) are all in detention together. Their punishment is to go through a storage room full of old magazines that need the staples removed so they can be recycled. When one of the kids discovers an old video game console with the game Jumanji loaded, they connect it to a TV and try to play after they select their characters.

Suddenly, they are magically transported into the real life game and are shocked to find out that their game characters aren’t who they thought they were. The geek is the main character who’s strength is muscle and brawn (played by the Rock); the jock is a zoologist and the main character’s weapon’s valet (Kevin Hart); the brainy girl is a kick-butt woman ninja; and the popular girl is a male map expert (played by Jack Black).

Stranded in the jungle, they have to work together to restore the eye (a precious stone) of Jumanji while fleeing from a group of bad villains and just like a video game, they have to do so with only three lives.

This funny and adventure-filled movie will appeal to the whole family. Rated PG-13


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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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Wish Upon

Clare’s dad, Jonathon (Ryan Phillippe), finds a box with Chinese writing on it. He thinks Clare (Joey King) will like it and gives it to her on her birthday. Clare and her two friends are always getting bullied at school, especially by the most popular girl, Darcie. Frustrated one night, Clara is holding the box and wishes that Darcie would rot. The next day, she finds out that Darcie is in the hospital actually rotting. Clare thinks it is a coincidence and keeps making wishes. But every time she makes a wish, someone she knows dies. Now Clare has to find out how to break the curse before it is too late.

I actually really liked this movie. It had a good concept and it kept me wondering what was going to happen next. And if you are a Stranger Things fan, Barb is in it! Rated PG-13

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Happy Death Day

A sorority girl wakes up in the college dorm of a nerdy kid and can’t remember what happened the night before. She goes about her day (and she isn’t a very nice person, by the way). Although it happens to be her birthday, this is not a day she wishes to celebrate, as this is also the birthday of her mother, who died a few years earlier. At the end of the day, she is murdered, but she doesn’t know by who.

The next day, she wakes up in the same dorm room, and it’s the same day, and again she gets killed by the end. She keeps having the same nightmare of a day (Groundhog Day style) but is determined to find out who her killer is, and she learns a little bit about herself along the way.

You’ll find Happy Death Day to be not overly gory but still contains an intriguing premise for a horror flick. I also enjoyed the elements of mystery and humor. Rated PG-13

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The Mountain Between Us

Ben (Idris Elba) and Alex (Kate Winslet) are both stranded at the airport and are in desperate need to get back to their respective lives. Alex decides to charter a plane and invites Ben along. Once in the air, we find out that Ben is a doctor and Alex is a journalist. As they are flying, the pilot has a heart attack. They next thing they know, they have crashed into a snow covered mountain. As the days go by and rescue hasn’t happened, they decide to embark across the mountain. They have to depend on each other to survive. Will these two strangers make it or are their fates already decided?

I think I would have liked it better if I hadn’t read the book first. There were differences between the two that irritated me.  Of course, it was still enjoyable because Idris Elba is in it. Rated PG-13

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Better Watch Out

Seventeen-year old Ashley shows up to babysit twelve-year old Luke one more time before she moves. His parents are out at a Christmas party, and Luke has a plan to capture Ashley’s attention. He has been in love with her for some time, and tonight he will make his move. However, everything goes awry when they are confronted by a break-in and need to find a way to escape.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so that’s all I am going to say. This might have been a straight to DVD type movie, but it actually was a decent horror flick. Not too gory with a good twist viewers won’t see coming.

Also, if you are a fan of Stranger Things, be on the lookout for a small role from Dacre Montgomery who plays Billy Hargrove in Season 2 of ST. Rated R.

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The weirdness of this movie starts at the very beginning where none of the characters in this movie have names.  Jennifer Lawrence plays the young wife of a renowned poet (Javier Bardem), who has not written in years and suffers writer’s block. They live in an old house in what looks like a rural location. A man played by Ed Harris unexpectedly drops in, as he confuses their homestead as a bed and breakfast.

Bardem invites him in and allows him to stay, much to the wife’s chagrin. Then, Harris’ wife, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, arrives and is also invited to stay. The couple have a blatant disregard to Lawrence’s requests about her house, smoking when she has asked them not to or visiting Bardem’s home office, which she has said is off limits. Then the couple’s two grown children show up and an altercation over the father’s will ensues.

The movie only gets weirder from there, with Bardem finally able to write his next poem. The reaction from the public is bizarre, with them treating him like he is some sort of God and Lawrence the ultimate sacrifice. This movie isn’t for everyone, and you’ll be left baffled and confused unless you understand the deeper meaning, which went way over my head. Rated R.