Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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I, Tonya

If you were around in the early 1990’s, then you are probably familiar with the scandal involving Olympic hopeful Tonya Harding and rival skater Nancy Kerrigan, America’s sweetheart, who had her knee bashed in by someone in Harding’s camp.

In this biopic, Margot Robbie plays Tonya, who is painted as a sympathetic character when you learn about her childhood. Played by Allison Janney, who won the Academy Award for her role as LaVona, Tonya’s mom is a hard task master, expecting her child to be the best skater and pushing her to the limit. She even goes as far as hitting and verbally abusing her daughter.

As a teenager, Tonya enters into a tumultuous and violent relationship with Jeff Gillooly.  Supposedly, Jeff’s friend was to hire men to send Nancy death-threat letters in hopes she would drop out of the Olympic race. That was always the original plan, but they ended up assaulting her instead. The movie doesn’t really say whether Tonya knew about  the assault. However, eventually she was convicted and was unable to compete in skating ever again, which was worse than any jail sentence since skating is all she ever knew.

Overall, I, Tonya is an entertaining portrayal of a unfortunate event in skating history that will appeal to most. Rated R


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I watch quite a bit of horror and thriller flicks and most disappoint, but Split is a standout guaranteed to give you the creeps. This comes as no surprise since it was written by The Sixth Sense’s acclaimed director and creator, M. Night Shyamalan.

James McAvoy plays Kevin, a man with dissociative identity disorder (aka split/multiple personality disorder) who sees psychiatrist Dr. Fletcher.  She believes that her patients are extraordinary in that the different personalities can change the body’s chemistry, where one personality might have diabetes and the others don’t.

Unbeknownst to Fletcher, the controlling personality of Dennis, who possesses dark and immoral tendencies, has abducted three young women in a parking lot and are holding them captive down in the maintenance area where he works.

As the girls try to escape, they are confronted with Kevin’s other personas: Hedwig, a nine-year old boy, Miss Patricia and others. Unlike the other girls, Casey comes from an abusive past and tries to befriend Hedwig in hopes he will help convince the “others” to let them free. Unfortunately, the stronger personalities seem to be in control and have other plans for the girls.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so just watch Shyamalan’s latest, which will keep you on the edge of your seat. You’ll realize that the darkness of the mind is far scarier than any kind of supernatural element. Rated PG-13

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Disney’s Moana

Moana has always been drawn to the ocean from the time she was a little girl. Her father is the chief of their island village and has made it clear that they don’t venture beyond their lagoon. Now Moana is sixteen and is being groomed to take over as leader of her people. Her community is concerned because the island can no longer sustain them: coconut trees are diseased and there are no more fish in the lagoon.

Moana feels that if they could venture out to the greater ocean, the village would find what they need. As her grandmother falls ill, she whispers that Moana should find Maui, the demigod who stole the heart of Te Fiti centuries earlier. They need to return the heart to Te Fiti to save their village.

Despite her father’s disapproval, the strong willed and determined Moana takes this risky adventure to save her people.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this one but I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed both the story and music, which was put together by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame.  I also loved that Moana represents a strong female leader that will inspire both kids and adults alike. Rated PG

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Stephen King’s It

MV5BY2I0ZGI0MzItN2RhZi00ZmQ3LWI5MmUtNWE2MTAxZmY5Njc1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_With the remake coming out soon, it was necessary to see the original 1990 miniseries based on King’s horror novel about a deranged clown. Compared to the CGI of today, the special effects of 1990’s are laughable, but the story has heart.

In sleepy Derry, Maine a rash of children have been murdered and the cops have no answers. Local librarian Mike, though, has a clue and can’t believe Pennywise, the clown, is back. He reunites his five childhood friends who have all left Derry for bigger and better things and who have not seen one another in over thirty years.

Avoiding school bullies and broken homes, the group bonded that one summer and took down a clown that was terrorizing their small town. It was a particularly upsetting for Bill, who’s brother Georgie was murdered. Now as adults, the group set out to destroy Pennywise once and for all.

The story takes place through present day and flashbacks from their childhood. Although horror at it’s core, It is also a story of the strong bonds we make with our childhood friends. It’s because of this aspect that viewers will be reminded of The Big Chill and Stand By Me and make this miniseries memorable. Rated TV-14