Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library


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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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Mother!

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.


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Home Again

Alice Kinney (Reese Witherspoon), daughter of a famous screenwriter and producer, moves back to LA to her childhood home after recently separating from her husband (Michael Sheen). It’s her 40th birthday, and she goes a little crazy with her friends where they end up dancing the night away with a group of twenty-something guys.

One of the guys, Harry, ends up in Alice’s bed while his two friends crash on the couch. The three guys (Harry, Teddy and George), who moved to LA in hopes of making it in Hollywood, are like homeless puppies, so Alice agrees to let them stay in her guest house until they can get back on their feet. They form a bond with Alice’s two daughters, and Harry and Alice embark on a flirtatious romance, even though she knows that it’s just a fling.

When Alice’s ex, Austen, drops in unexpectedly, he is not too happy with his family’s current living arrangement. Alice must learn to balance single motherhood in her unconventional new family.

Reese is always cute, but the whole premise was unbelievable and the acting just bad. If you can suspend belief and enjoy the requisite happy ending, then this movie is for you. Rated PG-13.


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LEGO Ninjago

In this new addition to the LEGO franchise, Lloyd is your average school kid by day, but Lloyd and his friends turn into Ninja warriors whenever villain Garmadon and his hench people show up in an attempt to take over Ninjago City. But there is more to the story than simply trying to defeat Garmadon, as Garmadon is Lloyd’s father. As if being a Ninja warrior isn’t enough, Lloyd struggles knowing that his father doesn’t care to be a part of his life.

Despite a warning from Ninja master Uncle Woo, Lloyd releases the “ultimate weapon” on the city to stop Garmadon, but this time it has endangered everyone. There is an “ultimate ultimate weapon” that Lloyd and his friends need to find to save the city. It will take a trek across a dangerous jungle where Lloyd learns not only about becoming a true Ninja, but also about his past and his father.

Loved this movie! I am not a super LEGO fan by any means, and took a friend’s five-year old son to see it and enjoyed it more than the kid. Enough hilarity and action ensue to entertain anyone of any age. Rated PG


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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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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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Kidnap

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!