Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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Leave No Trace

Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) and her dad (Ben Foster) are living off the grid in the forest outside of Portland. Perfectly content in their forest idyll, they spend their days foraging, playing chess, and with Tom’s schooling. When their camp is found by the rangers though, their lives are turned upside down as the two are brought into the system, and placed in a home. After struggling to adjust to their new lives, the two make an escape back into the wilds of the forest, only to meet with more difficulties.

Shot in the forests of Oregon, this character driven movie is breathtakingly beautiful. Tom and Will are portrayed very well as they struggle to make sense of their situation, and the difficult decisions they each must make. Based on the book My Abandonment by Peter Rock. Rated PG.


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Claire Foy (The Crown) plays Sawyer Valentini, a young woman who is starting over in a new city but is having problems adjusting. She decides to see a counselor on her lunch break. She feels better after speaking to someone and signs some paperwork the therapist says is just their standard, boilerplate documents. She is waiting in the lobby to book her next appointment when she is called in back.

The next thing she knows, she is told that she voluntarily signed herself into a psychiatric ward. They took her phone and purse but allow her one phone call. She calls the police, who don’t take her seriously, since they receive those types of phone calls regularly.

She has no choice but to wait out her time, but her behavior gets her stay extended. One of the nurses that administers the medications is the man who was stalking her and the reason she left Boston. Of course, no one believes her. What will her stalker do her before she can get out (and if she can get out)?

This was pretty entertaining with a suspenseful plot to keep you interested throughout (plus an unexpected cameo). Recommended. Rated R

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Tyler Perry’s Acrimony

Taraji P. Henson stars as Melinda, a college student, who meets Robert on campus. The two start dating, and shortly after, Mel’s mother dies, leaving her their house and several hundred thousand in life insurance money. Her older sisters had never liked Robert, questioning his intentions with Mel and suspecting he just might be after her money. Robert has spent his college career working on a battery that will recharge itself, which he believes will make them millions one day, and promises Mel a boat and the home of their dreams.

Fast forward to several years later and Robert is still working on his battery. Mel works two jobs to support them and has lost all of her inheritance from her mother. In fact, they’ve had to remortgage her mother’s house to try to keep up with bills as all of their income gets sucked into Robert’s battery invention.

Mel is completely burned out and can’t take supporting Robert financially anymore, so she asks for a divorce. Once the divorce is over, Robert’s battery business takes off and he has a new girlfriend. But Mel wants her old life back, all the things he promised her, and damages for all the years she supported him. And she will do whatever it takes to get it all back.

This movie was entertaining and kept my interest, but Henson’s acting is over the top, which might turn off some viewers. Rated R

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Red Sparrow

Based on the Red Sparrow book trilogy, Jennifer Lawrence stars as Dominika, a renowned ballet dancer whose career is shattered when a fellow dancer breaks her leg. Having been replaced in her company, they will no longer pay for her ailing mother’s healthcare or apartment.

Dominika is enlisted by her uncle to work as a Russian spy to seduce men and get information. With no other source of income, Dominika has no choice but to participate. She learns in her training that she is expected to do whatever it takes to accomplish the job, even if it means getting raped or killed.

Dominika learns of Nate Nash working for the American government and hiding an important asset who he has not been able to locate. Nash could be an opportunity for Dominkia to get out alive, even if it means betraying her country.

Smart, dark and sexy, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed Red Sparrow, especially since spy-type stories don’t typically appeal to me. Lawrence is always spectacular no matter what she she does, and fans of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie starring Daniel Craig will find something to like here. Rated R

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Joe Braven (Jason Momoa) is the owner of a logging company in Canada. Business is good, and family life as well, except for one thing. Linden (Stephen Lang), Joe’s dad, has dementia, and after an incident at a local bar, it seems time to take the next step in his care. Thinking that the best place to talk to his dad might be the peace and quiet of the family’s cabin, the two head out. Unbeknownst to them, one of Joe’s employees has gotten himself involved in a drug trafficking operation, and after an accident, has stashed drugs in the cabin. Kassen (Garret Dillahunt), the ruthless boss of the drug operation and his guys show up at the cabin to retrieve the drugs, and when they discover the two Braven men in residence, decide to do things the hard way. Now, Joe and his father will have to fight for their survival.

Beautifully shot in the wilds of Newfoundland, this one sets a heart pounding pace almost immediately, and doesn’t let up until the very end. Rated R.

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The Commuter

Former cop Michael (Liam Neeson) has been just laid off from the NYC insurance company he has been employed by for the last ten years.  At age sixty, he knows that his chances of finding another job are unlikely. His wife and him live hand to mouth, and they have their son’s college tuition to pay for.

After commiserating at a local pub with a former cop buddy (Patrick Wilson), he gets on the train to make his final commute home. On the train he is approached by a woman who presents a hypothetical situation: what if there was $25,000 stashed away on this train that it is yours to keep. All you have to do is locate a commuter on this very train named Prynne and put a tracking device on his/her bag. You’ll get a payout of another $75,000. Would you do it, never knowing the fate you are causing another individual?

After the women departs, Michael realizes that it isn’t so hypothetical at all when he finds the money. And now he has put in motion a series that might put his own family at risk.

A top-notch action flick that is typical of Neeson. Most viewers will find this entertaining enough. Rated PG-13

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

In the future, life is pretty bleak. Take high school student Wade, our protagonist, for instance, who lives in a trailer stacked upon lots of trailers with fifteen other people outside Oklahoma City. He attends school virtually in the Oasis using his avatar Parzival.

The Oasis is a virtual world created by James Halliday, a video game inventor who has passed away and his life’s fortune is up for grabs. In his will, he left a video message saying that he has hidden an Easter egg in the Oasis and whoever finds it will be heir to billions of dollars.

Gunters, or egg hunters, need to find three keys first before they can attempt to locate the egg. Wade is the first to locate the first key and now that his name is plastered on the scoreboard, people are after him, including the Sixers, a group of gunters working for the IOI, a greedy telecommunications conglomerate who would destroy the Oasis if it gets into their hands.  Eventually, Wade joins forces with fellow gunters Art3mis, Aech, and Shoto to take down the Sixers and save the planet.

Smart, clever and richly detailed on video game trivia and 1980’s pop culture, Ready Player One is sure to appeal to nerds and non-nerds alike. I hear the movie is drastically different than the book and not in a good way. So definitely opt for the book first.