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

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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.

Official Movie Website

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.

Official Movie Website

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

STEP

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I was expecting a dance documentary about stepping, but this movie is more about reaching for your dreams. It follows three girls, members of the first senior high school class as well as the step dance team at Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women, and their quest to go to college and also win a stepping competition. This well-made documentary gives you insight into the challenges and support systems that play a big role in who these girls are and what they can do. You will root for them, be inspired by them, and also gain an appreciation for what you have. I recommend watching this movie, and bringing your kids, too, so they can be inspired.

Official Movie Website

Atomic Blonde

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When you put together espionage, betrayal, and violence galore in a movie set amidst ’80s music and the collapse of the Berlin Wall, you get this movie! Charlize Theron plays an MI6 agent sent to Berlin to retrieve a list of agents and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Her action scenes are kick-ass, and you can’t help but cringe at some of the “injuries” suffered by her enemies. You’ll also keep guessing who the double agent is, and there’s a nice twist at the end. Other than being just a tad bit too long and too violent for my taste, I enjoyed this movie, and you will, too!

Official Movie Website

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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This sci-fi movie is good, though not at the level of Star Wars or Star Trek. Space agents Valerian and Laureline are attacked when they retrieve a last-of-its-kind creature to bring back to Alpha, the City of a Thousand Planets, where thousands of species co-exist. Who else wants the creature and why? The movie starts off a bit slow, but the story builds up after that. The visual spectacle of alien worlds and species makes this movie good to watch. Acting is not bad either, although not Rihanna – the delivery of her lines is a bit stilted. I was pleasantly surprised by Cara Delevigne – she tackles the role of Laureline well, so much so that I think the movie should have been entitled “Valerian and Lauraline”, not just “Valerian”. If you like visual spectacles, you’ll enjoy this. And be sure you watch it in 3D!

Official Movie Website

War for the Planet of the Apes

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This movie lives up to, and even exceeds, the standards set by the two previous Apes movies. Picking up a couple of years after the second movie, Caesar and his fellow apes are being hunted by soldiers, and his wife and son are killed. Caesar’s inner Koba surfaces as he seeks to avenge their deaths. The digital effects, emotion and intensity are even better than what we have come to expect from the franchise. But I was also pleasantly surprised by the introduction of a new ape who provides some comic relief! Definitely a movie worth watching, even if you haven’t seen the first two Apes movies (the movie starts with a super quick summary to help establish history). And no spoilers here, but the ending!!!

Official Movie Website

Baby Driver

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Despite several violent scenes, I enjoyed this movie about a young man who is coerced into working as a getaway driver for a criminal mastermind. He listens to music to drown out his tinnitus, the result of a long-ago car accident. Starting off with a fast-paced heist/chase scene, the movie does slow down a bit in the middle, but the pace picks right back up. Ansel Elgort carries the movie well, and the music fits the movie. Plus, the A-list stars in supporting roles do a good job without overshadowing Elgort. If you’re looking for a nice diversion, watch this movie.

Official Movie Website