Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis

While her father lays dying in the hospital, Elsa Myers is called in to assist NYC detective Lex on the case of a missing high school student Ruby, from Queens, NY.

Ruby’s last whereabouts were her shift at a local coffeehouse where the last footage on security cameras is ruby reaching under the counter to turn the cameras off, which makes authorities think she might have known her abductor. Neither her boyfriend nor her friends are offering up any information.

Being in Queens brings Elsa back to her own childhood home that her father recently sold. And that causes memories of her own dark past, one that she still hasn’t forgotten as evident by the scars on her arms. As Elsa is trying to solve the case and bring Ruby back home, alive, she learns of other abductions that might be connected to Ruby’s disappearance. But everything comes to a head for Elsa as she struggles with her past and the events of the present.

Overall, a solid first crime novel and hopefully the start of a new series. We need to see more of Elsa and Lex.

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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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The Disaster Artist

James Franco plays real life actor Tommy Wiseau, who meets Greg (played by Dave Franco) at a local acting class in San Francisco. The two become fast friends and Tommy convinces him to move together to L.A. to pursue their acting careers. In fact, Tommy already has an apartment there. How old Tommy is, where he is from, and where all his money comes from has never been known – even to this day.

When securing acting gigs proves unsuccessfully, Tommy decides he is going to star, produce, and direct his own screenplay. And as mentioned, he has this unlimited supply of money to do so.

The making of The Room and his unconventional directing style tests Greg and Tommy’s friendship and is a total flop at the box office, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise. However, it has become a cult classic and the real Tommy Wiseau still shows up a theaters to surprise his fans.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Disaster Artist, found it hilarious and now I feel like I need to see The Room!  This film is a comedic story about a man who pursues his dreams, despite the odds. Rated R


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hoopla’s here!

New! hoopla

Your library card is now your ticket to celebrate great entertainment and more — thousands of titles, including movies, television shows, audiobooks, music, eBooks and comics — from hoopla for you!

 

Plainfield Library card holders can download the free hoopla app on their Android or IOS device or visit hoopladigital.com to begin enjoying content from major Hollywood studios, record companies and publishers available to borrow for instant streaming or downloading.


With no wait lists and access to thousands of titles any time, anywhere, visit the library’s website or www.hoopladigital.com to learn more.


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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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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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The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Lily and Ted meet on a plane back to their hometown of Boston. After connecting and getting to talk, Ted mentions his disdain for his wife, Miranda, who is cheating on him.

Her affair is with their contractor who is building Miranda’s dream home in Maine, and Ted is footing all the bills. Lily suggests that she can help Ted murder his wife and get away with it. When Ted asks if she has ever killed before, Lily promises to tell him everything about her past once Miranda is gone.

Ted takes the bait and devises a plan of how to get rid of Miranda with Lily’s prodding. But unbeknownst to him and Lily, there is already a plot in place to murder Ted. Riddled with twists, the story alternates between the present day and then Lily’s upbringing and her past victims.

Several people have recommended this book, so my expectations were high.  It wasn’t bad, but nothing particularly memorable either, just your run-of-the-mill thriller. However, I would be willing to try another one of Swanson’s books to see how that compares.