Thursday, August 30, 2018

Tully

Rated R
1 hour 35 minutes
Starring: Charlize Theron, Mackenzie Davis, Ron Livingston

I’m still not really sure what I thought of this movie.  Charlize Theron plays a woman who has two kids, including one with special needs that requires a LOT of attention and patience, and is pregnant with another child.  When she is almost at her wits’ end after having her third child and trying to keep up, her brother talks her into hiring a “night nanny” named Tully.  She is VERY reluctant at first, but eventually gets comfortable with Tully and everything starts coming together and working for everyone.  It felt real to me.  Like an actual mom trying to deal with everything.  There was quite a twist at the end I didn’t really care for, but the more I think about it, the more I’m OK with it.  I probably don’t need to see it again, but overall, I’d say I liked this one.

Library Link: Tully (DVD)


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Life of the Party

Rated PG-13
1 hour 45 minutes
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Matt Walsh

I used to like Melissa McCarthy alright, but it seems like I’ve enjoyed watching her less and less with each movie she’s been in.  But then I still watch her movies, hoping they’ll get better.  With this one, I’m glad I gave it a shot!  She plays a woman whose husband decides he wants a divorce after a long marriage and she’s left wondering what to do.  Instead of her life being “over,” she decides to go back to college and get her degree – at the same college her daughter is attending.  I was glad it wasn’t just her acting stupid trying to get laughs and embarrassing her daughter over and over the whole movie.  Her daughter and her friends actually realized how much she knew about “life” and accepted her as one of their own, allowing her to relive her college days a little.  It wasn’t very serious, wasn’t the funniest movie, and wasn’t very realistic, but it all made for a nice story.  I hope McCarthy stays on this path, rather than just over-the-top stupidity like she’d been doing.

Library Link: Life of the Party (DVD)


Blockers

Rated R
1 hour 42 minutes
Starring: Leslie Mann, John Cena

This movie was just dumb!!!  I can’t believe what passes for comedy anymore!  I thought it looked like it could be funny, but I was wrong!  Not to say there weren’t funny parts, but it was just more rude and crude than anything – and just ridiculous.  The story is about three parents that are trying to do anything they can to stop their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night.  They run into all kinds of “obstacles” along the way and eventually realize they need to let their daughters go and allow them make their own decisions.  This movie just felt like over-the-top, “slapstick” type humor that completely fell flat – over and over and over.  I get that some people might like these types of movies, but I guess I’m not one of them!  If you want to waste your time, then give this one a shot!

Library Link: Blockers (DVD)


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I Feel Pretty


Rated PG-13
110 minutes 
Starring: Amy Schumer

If you’re familiar with Amy Schumer and any of her movies or stand up gigs – you know she can be pretty crass.  I’m not a fan of hers - but I took a chance on this movie hoping it was decent.  Much to my surprise it was and I was hooked within the first 5 minutes.

Amy plays Renee.  A normal, average size woman, with all the lumps and bumps and issues of self-doubt women have.  She feels she isn’t “entitled” to being “pretty” or expecting to get anywhere in life because of her looks.  Her and her two best friends even tried a dating service online hoping to make some matches – but even that failed and they got “0” likes.  One day she decides to go to the gym.  As she’s trying out the new spin class and getting pumped up – she falls off the bike and bumps her head.  When she wakes up – she sees herself in a whole different light.  She was granted her wish – she’s BEAUTIFUL!  She’s never seen herself more beautiful or full of confidence.  As the movie goes on, her new confidence leads to her to a new job promotion and she allows herself to flirt with a guy that becomes her boyfriend.  She continues on in her new world thinking she’s as beautiful as a model till she falls and bumps her head again.  After which she wakes up and comes to the conclusion that she’s still just Renee.  That her body never changed.  But this realization changes everything in her world.

The movie was fun, encouraging and one that lots of women can relate to!  Amy plays an average woman who took on the feelings of many women and with a huge SHOUT OUT TO ALL WOMEN - declared – that we are all “BEAUTIFUL” and “STRONG” enough to achieve anything we want REGARDLESS of size and looks!  It was nice to have a movie that made me feel good.

Library Link: I Feel Pretty (DVD)


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Unsane

Rated R
1 hour 38 minutes
Starring: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard

This movie is about a woman who is involuntarily committed to a mental institution, even though there seems to be nothing really “wrong” with her.  She had been talking with a therapist about her fears and being worried about a man that had been stalking her in the past.  During the conversation, the therapist got her to mention that there have been times where she had thought about suicide.  Once she said that, there was no going back.  She was tricked into signing a consent form and locked up as being “a danger to herself and others” and there was nothing she could do about it.  The longer it went on, the more questions there were, the more she was convinced her stalker was still after her, and the harder it became to tell if she was sane or actually going crazy.  The whole movie turned into a psychological thriller that kept me on the edge of me seat!  I liked it a lot!  Something interesting I found out after I’d watched this one is that the whole movie was shot on an iPhone and only took 10 days to film – that gave it an interesting perspective when viewing that really added to everything.

Library Link:  Unsane (DVD)


Rampage

Rated PG-13
1 hour 47 minutes
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

I don’t think anyone would go into this movie expecting very much.  And they wouldn’t be disappointed!  It was entertaining, but also pretty ridiculous along the way.  It seemed to be based almost completely on the old “Rampage” video game where a giant gorilla, a huge lizard, and massive werewolf try to destroy a city while the military tries to take them out.  The gorilla is named George and grew up with Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) and they are best friends, communicating with sign language and even joking around.  A secret experiment goes wrong and changes George into a creature that is growing in size and strength along with being angry all the time.  Others are affected the same way, too, including a wolf and a crocodile!  As they all come together, it becomes an all out battle to save the city.  Lots of action and corny dialogue for sure!  I liked it, even though I didn’t think I would and it was actually kind of fun if you don’t take it all too serious.

Library Link:  Rampage (DVD)


211

Rated R
1 hour 26 minutes
Starring: Nicolas Cage

What has happened to Nicolas Cage?  He used to be so huge!  And he used to be in GOOD movies!  Not so much anymore.  This movie wasn’t totally horrible, and he’s definitely been in worse ones lately, but it wasn’t very good, either.  Him and his son-in-law are both policemen and start their day by learning they have to take a “ride along” kid with them on their patrol.  Besides having to deal with having the kid with them and trying to make sure he doesn’t get hurt during the day, they stumble on a huge bank robbery that becomes a MASSIVE shootout.  Pretty basic stuff overall.  No real surprises.  Acting was pretty bad and the lines were nothing to write home about.  I actually liked Nicolas Cage in it, but even he can’t save a movie this weak!  If you like him and are just wanting something to pass the time, this might be alright, but don’t be expecting much from it, either.

Library Link:  211 (DVD)


Game Night

Rated R
1 hour 40 minutes
Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams

I liked this movie!  Jason Bateman has always been one of my favorite actors and he didn’t disappoint.  I even liked Rachel McAdams as his kind of flighty wife.  The story starts out as you would probably guess with friends all getting together for game nights.  Then one of them decides to “take it up a notch” and hires a professional company that sends a man to the house with clues that will lead them to go on a hunt for kidnappers.  Things quickly get out of control after real kidnappers break in.  Everyone thinks they’re still playing a game and it’s hilarious as they try to “win” the game, along with them gradually figuring out what has happened.  I thought the whole movie was very funny with a lot of sharp wit and comedy.  I would definitely recommend it!

Library Link: Game Night (DVD)


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

I Can Only Imagine


Rated PG
1 hour 50 minutes
Starring: J. Michael Finley, Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins, Cloris Leachman

I Can Only Imagine was the highest selling Christian single and has sold more than 2.5 million albums.  It’s one of those rare songs that crossed over from the Christian music charts into the Billboard, Country, and the Top 40 charts.  There was always a story behind this beautiful song and it has finally been told.

 J. Michael Finley, plays Bart Millard, the lead singer of the group MercyMe.  This is his story of dealing with an abusive father all his life and a mom who left him with his dad.  It’s also about how he worked to make his dad proud of him in every way but never could and the results usually ended with a beating.  He was on a successful ride in high school as a football player until an injury ended his college dreams.  With nothing else to do – he turned to a school play and found he had singing abilities.  The story takes off from there as we see him getting together with his friends and forming the Christian group MercyMe.

 But Bart’s story is one of forgiveness.  After years of having no contact with his dad, he finally deals with his past and goes back to confront him.  What he finds is a broken man who is dying of cancer.  A man that knows he was a monster.  All he wants to do is to make amends to his son who wants nothing to do with him.  But through forgiveness, Bart sees his father in a different light and after he passes away, all he can do is “imagine” him in Heaven and what that must be like for his dad to meet Jesus face to face. 

This movie is powerful and so is the song that has become an anthem for so many people.  

Library Link: I Can Only Imagine (DVD)


I Can Only Imagine

Rated PG
1 hour 50 minutes
Starring: J. Michael Finley, Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins, Cloris Leachman

Many times, when I start watching a movie, I end up trying to do other things at the same time and get distracted enough that I realize I’m not even watching the movie anymore.  With this one, I was all in from the start!  It grabbed me and didn’t let go.  I’m sure most songs have a story behind them, but somehow, this felt like you were almost there for the entire process of why “I Can Only Imagine” was written and the full meaning behind it.  I feel like music is one of the most powerful ways to convey thoughts and emotions, so maybe that was part of it for me, too.  I haven’t listened to MercyMe very much, but I had heard this song.  Like Christy said, it crossed all different kinds of music and was played by all kinds of stations.  This was a very powerful story that I connected with on many different levels and I haven’t heard anyone that hasn’t liked it.  There was determination on Bart’s part, forgiveness in many areas, and ultimately coming to a place of peace and acceptance with everything that had happened in the family member’s lives.  I’ll never be able to hear this song again without thinking of this film.  If you are looking for a “sad” feel-good movie, this is it!

Library Link: I Can Only Imagine (DVD)


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hostiles

Rated: R
135 minutes
Starring: Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Ben Foster

I told my husband “no” when he wanted to go see this in the theatres but I begrudgingly watched it with him when it came out on DVD.  To my surprise, I was all in with this movie.  Set in 1892, Christian Bale plays a legendary Army captain who has been in many conflicts with the Indians.  He has been asked to give safe passage to a dying Cheyenne War Chief, played by Wes Studi, and his family, back to their tribal land.  This is no easy request for him because of the hatred that resides in his heart for all he has seen in the battles with the natives.  Along the journey, he runs across a young widow, played by Rosamund Pike, who saw her family slaughtered by the blood thirsty Comanches.  It’s a very harsh movie as they don’t pull any punches as to what the climate was like back in the 1800s.  The very first scene where we see the family getting slaughtered – was tough.  There’s a lot of tough scenes in this film and its heart wrenching to watch at times.  But the story is excellent!  The way Christian Bale plays his hardened character and how he interacts with Wes Studi is superb.  But then we are presented with moments of grace and forgiveness in this violent stretch of wilderness, too.  There’s a lot of chemistry between the characters and a lot of sadness as you watch the film play out.  The movie speaks volumes of man’s heart and the chains we place upon it. And how freeing it is when we free ourselves from the shackles.

Library Link: Hostiles (DVD)


12 Strong


Rated R
120 Minutes
Starring: Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon

*Excerpt taken from Amazon*
“12 Strong” is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghan horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.”

I was awed by the events of this movie, which was based on a true story.  All the odds were stacked against them as they went into battle.  Men who have never been on a horse before must ride a horse and shoot at the same time.  Knowing that their Afghanistan counterpart, General Dostrum, could at any moment kill them or sell them out.  And to go up against men who are ready to do battle with tanks and rockets all on horses.  It’s been17years since 9/11, and we are still hearing stories of courageous men who went into battle.  The heroism of that day will never cease to amaze me and this is another movie that clearly shows the bravery of our men and women who strive to serve this country with their utmost.

Library Link: 12 Strong (DVD)


Monday, May 21, 2018

The Greatest Showman

Rated PG
105 Minutes
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson

I have never been as crazy for a movie as I am for this one.  I fell in love with this movie when I saw it in the theater, (3 times and 4 more times since then.)  It’s so much more than a musical – it’s a “feel good” movie that reaches out and grabs your soul and takes you on this wonderful journey.  I know I sound pretty “gushy” about it – but that’s how it makes me feel.  


The multi-talented and star of the film, Hugh Jackman, brings to life the story and inspiration that was P.T. Barnum. The story begins when we meet P.T. Barnum as an impoverished child.  His dream is to make something of himself.  He achieves his dream – only to lose it all.  But in the end he finds out what it means to care for others who look different from you, following your dream, and never taking for granted the love that sees you through all the times in your life.

The talent in this film is above awesome!  Each actor showcased their talents of singing, dancing, and making their characters come alive!  Zac Efron is stunning as a suave play writer.  Zendaya is beautiful as a trapeze artist (who did all her own stunts).  Michelle Williams plays his wife and has a beautiful singing voice as well as Rebecca Ferguson who falls for the dreamer. The rest of the cast also gave dazzling performances as characters in the circus. (I mean, who can resist the bearded lady, the fat man, and the Wolf Boy?)

For all you nay-sayers out there who don’t like musicals – let me say – try this one!  There’s so much here to see – hear – and feel.

Library Link: The Greatest Showman (DVD) 


The Last Movie Star

Rated R
1 hour 34 minutes
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Chevy Chase, Ariel Winter, Clark Duke

As a longtime fan of Burt Reynolds, I was very excited to watch this movie!  The character he plays is an aging former movie star trying to come to terms with his fame being in the past.  I kept finding myself feeling like it was more of a movie about Burt Reynold’s life and career than just a character in a movie.  When he’s invited to the "International Nashville Film Festival" to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award, he decides to attend.  But when he gets there, he finds out it’s a small (very small) festival put together by some young film buffs and held in an old rundown bar – NOT AT ALL what he was expecting!  Having stormed out, he and his “driver” they have supplied for him, go on an adventure where he is able to reminisce about his life.  He eventually makes peace with his age, his regrets and his fading stardom.  This wasn’t the best movie ever, but for me, it really did feel like a special tribute to Burt Reynolds – it even had clips from his own movies and TV appearances.  Things could have gone very bad in this film and been super cheesy, but I’d say it all hit me just right!



Thursday, March 1, 2018

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Rated R
1 hour 55 minutes
Starring: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson

I’ve seen this movie twice and am sure I’ll be watching it again.  The main story centers around a mother whose daughter has been raped and murdered, with the killer never being found.  Feeling frustrated and like the police haven’t done enough to solve the case, she decides to put up three billboards “calling out” the chief of police for not trying hard enough.  Needless to say, this causes quite a commotion in their small town.  This film turned out to be much deeper than I’d expected.  Besides the main story, it went into many different subplots that covered anger, revenge, violence, forgiveness, change, racial tensions, and many different areas that really make you think about the way we all live.  Everyone is “real” and says pretty much what they’re thinking, which was a nice change from some movies.  I felt like I almost knew these people by the end of the movie and that just made it that much better to me.  I liked it the first time I saw it in the theater and liked it even better the second time.  If you want an unpredictable movie that might hit you pretty hard, give this one a shot!

Library Link: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (DVD)


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Only The Brave

Rated PG-13
2 hours 14 minutes
Starring: Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Connelly

This movie destroyed me.  It follows the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, who were an elite group of firefighters that wound up paying the ultimate sacrifice to protect their town from a dangerous wildfire.  Watching what each of these people went through to obtain their hotshot status, the sacrifices they made with their life and families, and just seeing the toll doing that kind of job takes on them almost creates a feeling of “knowing” them.  I felt like I’d experienced it all right along with them.  Josh Brolin plays a fire commander who takes a risk hiring a young “burnout” played by Miles Teller who reminds him of himself when he was younger.  He wants to give the kid a chance to turn his life around and the opportunity to prove himself, which he does.  I knew what was coming in the end, but it was still incredibly powerful and very emotional!  If you’re looking for a gripping, sad, intense, amazing movie, this one’s for you!

Library Link: Only The Brave (DVD)


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Flatliners (2017)

Rated PG-13
1 hour 49 minutes
Starring: Ellen Page, James Norton, Diego Luna, Kiefer Sutherland

What has happened to having original ideas for movies?  Why do they have to remake so many movies?  Especially when there isn’t any reason to!  Some movies are classics and should just be left alone!!!  I’m not sure if I’d call the original Flatliners a classic, but at least it was a new idea and an interesting concept.  It involved medical students slowing their hearts down and “flatlining” before others were able to bring them back so they could experience dying and live to tell about it.  In the original movie, there was suspense and tension, a huge fear of the unknown and worrying about the ethics of it all.  This movie had almost NONE of that feeling.  There was only one person that seemed apprehensive and didn’t want to experience it – the rest just dove right in without any serious consideration of what could happen.  They observed that it seemed to make others “smarter” and think more clearly, so they just went with it.  I felt like this film was missing everything that made the 1990 version good.  The movie has the perfect title – it just “flatlined” for me!

Library Link: Flatliners (DVD)


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Wind River

Rated R
107 Minutes
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olson, Jon Bernthal

This factual based movie tells the story of a young Native American woman on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming who was killed.  This is a very suspenseful, thought provoking, and at times, a hard hitting movie to watch.  It is a murder mystery but the twists and turns of the plot will leave you breathless. Jeremy Renner plays Cory Lambert, who is a Fish and Wildlife Service Agent who is tracking a cougar when he comes across the dead body of the woman. The FBI are called in to assist with the crime. Jane Banner, who is played by Elizabeth Olsen, needs his help as well as the local reservation police.  This story points out the need of many missing Native American women do not get enough recognition for crimes against them. It shows the hatred of people but also the compassion of those who must learn to live with the loss and regardless of race – become united in fighting against them. This is a superb movie and one that will get under your skin.  One that you’ll think about for quite a while.

Library Link: Wind River (DVD)  

The Mountain Between Us

Rated PG-13
112 Minutes
Starring: Kate Winslet, Idris llba

Two strangers decided to share an airplane ride.  The airplane crashes.  They are stranded in the rugged wintry mountains with no help in sight.  What will become of them?  This movie takes right off with us meeting Alex (played by Kate Winslet) and Ben (played by Idris llba), meeting in an airport.  Due to circumstances, their flights are cancelled and they decide to split the fee and charter a private plane.  The plane crashes, the pilot dies and this is where our two strangers must face the bitter cold truth – how do they survive?  This isn’t one of those “survivalist” stories in the way you think – but a love story.  It will take two strangers, in the midst of their darkest fears, to find the strength they need to survive.  Along the way they delve deeper and deeper into each other’s lives until they reach the soul of who each other really are.  They find out that even in the depths of life and death - that there is a raw connection that makes us human and vulnerable.  At times, the story is unbelievable, but it’s a poetic piece of work with an ending that leaves you wanting more. (and just an  F.Y.I., the chemistry between the two is outstanding!  Love how it all worked in the beauty of the backdrop).

Library Link: The Mountain Between Us (DVD)