‘Til Death Do Us Part

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Woman fakes her death to escape abusive husband. Something happens to arouse his suspicions and he tracks her down. He confronts her and she kills him. The story is not original (remember Julia Roberts’ Sleeping with the Enemy and Jennifer Lopez’s Enough?). The movie draaaags. Several plot points don’t make sense. The acting is mostly just so-so. Taye Diggs has top billing but is only ornamental. And they use horror-movie sound effects and even camera angles (think Blair Witch Project shaky camera) to heighten the tense scenes, which makes the scenes laughable instead! I am not recommending this movie, BUT the subject matter is important. We need to raise awareness of domestic violence and ways to protect abused partners. Faking your own death is not necessarily the answer.

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Stronger

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Most people are familiar with Jeff Bauman, a 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing survivor, and one of the public faces of #BostonStrong. But this movie also depicts his private mental and emotional struggles, and the circle of family and friends who are his strong, albeit imperfect, support system. Jake Gyllenhaal does a good job of capturing the humor and mannerisms of Bauman, including attempting a Boston accent. The movie is a bit too long for the content, in my opinion, but a good and emotional movie to watch nonetheless, whether on opening weekend or later.

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Home Again

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Reese Witherspoon plays a recently-separated woman who gets involved with one of three young men who move into her guest house. Add to that two cute and sassy daughters, Candice Bergen as her mother, and an ex-husband who gets jealous of the three young men. No, this is not going to be an instant classic like some movie ads say, but this is an easy-to-watch light-hearted romantic comedy, a nice and enjoyable way to get some laughs and while away a couple of hours.

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Patti Cake$

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I’m not a big rap music fan, but I enjoyed this movie. Patti Cake$ is an aspiring rapper who does not look or act anything like your stereotypical rapper. The story is interesting, with occasional funny scenes thrown in, and the music enhances the story. Patti Cake$ may be the main character in the movie, but there are good supporting characters as well, each with their own unique traits. If you like underdog stories, you’ll like this movie.

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard

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Whatever you expected from the movie, you probably are right. An Executive Protection Agent is called upon to protect his mortal enemy, an assassin who happens to be a star witness at the trial of a despotic ex-ruler. Acting-wise, Samuel Jackson is vintage Samuel Jackson – obnoxious and foul-mouthed, and Ryan Reynolds is Ryan Reynolds – adorably sarcastic. It is almost like their characters were written with these two in mind! The action sequences are fast-paced but sometimes too drawn-out, too violent, and obviously unrealistic. But overall, the movie is a fun romp.

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The Glass Castle

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Some people are not cut out to be parents, and alcoholism compounds problems, but you still love your parents because they are your parents. Based on the best-selling memoir of the same title, this movie is about the unconventional (and often, poverty-stricken) childhood of Jeannette Walls and her three siblings, and how they eventually got themselves away from their parents to forge their own lives. The acting is great, and the story is interesting, albeit with a few holes. Overall, a good movie, although I wouldn’t mind waiting until week 2 or 3 or even video. Stay all the way until the end to see footage of the real Walls family.

Official Movie Website

Wind River

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A US Fish & Wildlife Service agent and an FBI agent join forces to solve the homicide of a young girl on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. The snowy and mountainous landscape poses as much of a challenge as the mystery itself. The acting is good, the pacing is just right, other than a slightly slow build up at the beginning of the film, and the story makes you feel invested in the characters. You won’t regret watching this movie!

Official Movie Website

The Dark Tower

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I really wanted to be “wowed” by this movie – after all, it is based on a very successful book series. But I was underwhelmed. A young Keystone Earth boy helps the Gunslinger protect the Dark Tower in Mid-World from the Man in Black – the plot is not difficult to follow, but I expected more content!!! The movie runs only a little over 1.5 hours and is based on 8 novels, but there are several lulls in the movie. The acting and the special effects are good, but they do not make up for the thin storyline. This is still an okay movie to watch, but I wouldn’t run out to catch this on opening weekend.

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Detroit

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This movie is based on the true story of the killing of three African-American teen-agers at the Algiers Motel amid racial unrest and rioting in 1967 Detroit, and the subsequent investigation and trial. The police brutality is very brilliantly portrayed, which makes this movie very very verrrrrry difficult to watch. Will Poulter plays his role as a DPD officer so well that you will hate and despise him. My one nit – the prologue is cartoonish and so inconsistent with the rest of the movie. Otherwise, this is a very good movie, but prepare yourself before you watch it.

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Kidnap

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When Karla’s six-year-old son is kidnapped, she will stop at nothing to chase down the kidnappers to get him back. The movie keeps the suspense tight all throughout, and Halle Berry does a good job as Karla. The story is mostly good, although there is a bit of luck in how Karla is able to track the kidnappers mile after mile after mile, and there are some scenes where you’ll yell at Karla “Nooooo!!! Why did you do that???” Overall though, if you’re in the mood for suspense, this movie is a good one to watch!

Official Movie Website