Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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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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The House

Kate and Scott Johansen (Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell) are so excited! Their daughter is off to college soon, and she’s won a full scholarship through their town. Imagine their surprise when they attend the town meeting where they’re supposed to accept the scholarship, only to learn that it’s no longer available. Stuck for answers, they join a friend in a scheme to open an illegal casino in his house in order to raise money.

I’m usually a huge fan of both Poehler and Ferrell, but this isn’t one of their best movies. They started with a good premise, but the humor really falls flat in this one, and the plot was really predictable. Maybe go into this one with low expectations. Rated R. Also featuring: Jason Manzoukas, Nick Kroll, Cedric Yarborough, and Jeremy Renner.

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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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Waitress and single mother Karla (played by Halle Berry) spends a day with her son at New Orlean’s City Park. What starts as a pleasant day turns into a nightmare when she steps away from Frankie for a moment to take a call from her ex attorney about custody. When she turns back, Frankie is no where in sight. Like any frantic mother, she runs all over the park screaming his name, asking anyone if they have seen her little boy.

At the last minute, she sees a woman shoving Frankie into the passenger side of a sports car. Karla gets in her car and follows it. The rest of the movie is basically a high speed car chase from a mother who will do whatever it takes to get her son back and who isn’t going to wait for the authorities to do what needs to be done.

I didn’t really have high expectations of this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised. Kidnap is a a fast paced and thrilling movie that will keep you on the seat of your pants. The only warning is that you may find it bothersome if you have a hard time with stories involving crimes against children, but, it’s just a movie!

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Sting by Sandra Brown

Jordan Bennett has just been kidnapped. She is pretty sure it has to do with her brother and his boss, Billy Panella. Her brother, Josh, is going to testify against Billy and is under federal protection. They are both guilty but Josh turned first. Billy has vanished at the same time as Josh and there is 30 million dollars missing. Jordan has no clue where the men are or the money.

Shaw Kinnard and his partner have been hired to kill Jordan Bennett. But Shaw soon realizes that he is also a target. He changes the plan and kills his partner and kidnaps Jordan. He figures she knows where Josh and Billy are and he is thinking he can get more money from the brother if he has Jordan. But not everything is what it seems. The good guys and the bad guys might not be who you think.

Another good one by Sandra Brown. Had a little twist in the middle and the end. I guessed the middle twist but didn’t see that end one coming. I look forward to her next one, Seeing Red.

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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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Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) is a lifeguard. He doesn’t just sit on the beach tanning all day. He saves lives and solves crimes with the help of CJ (Kelly Rohrbach) and Stephanie (Ilfenesh Hadera), his fellow lifeguards. They have three spots open on the team and Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron) thinks he has the spot without trying out. Mitch soon puts him in his place. He does end up making the team along with Ronnie (Jon Bass) and Summer (Alexandra Daddario). They soon stumble upon drugs and dead bodies. It all leads to the new resort owner, Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra). Will they be able to find the evidence before it is too late?

This wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be. I mean it wasn’t great but I love Dwayne Johnson so I could handle watching this movie. It did hold my attention and there was some good action. Rated R