Bewitching Women & Dueling Scientists

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (PG) is in theaters now. This sequel picks up a few years after the original. Aurora is queen of the Moors, living a happy life with Maleficent, among the magical creatures. When she accepts the prince’s proposal, we get to know a bit about his family, and the wedding preparations bring chaos to the land.  This adds another layer to the re-imagining of the classic story of Sleeping Beauty, which started in the first film. Some feel we don’t need to learn more about, and potentially allow redemption for, Disney villains – but it’s a thrilling adventure full of heart, emotional growth and peril.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

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The Current War: Directors Cut (PG13) opens today. This movie is based on the true story of the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, who both wanted to bring electricity to the world, but in different formats. We get to see how the two men worked, their families, and the lengths they were willing to go to in order to win. The story is interesting, with a glimpse of scandal and manipulation added to the history lesson. It’s fascinating to see so many superheroes in the cast of a historical film.
Our rating: 3.75 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (TVPG)
Updated rating: 5 out of 5

13 Reasons Why: Season 3 (TVMA)
Updated rating: 5 out of 5

The Prisoner (TVPG)
Updated rating: 4.5 out of 5

Hocus Pocus (PG) is available on the Freeform app and as a rental. This film, released in 1993, has become a Halloween classic. Three witches, the Sanderson Sisters, are accidentally brought back to life on Halloween night in Salem, exactly 300 years after they were put to death. It’s up to a couple of teens, and some unlikely allies, to keep the witches from casting a spell that will allow them to live forever, which would bring certain doom to the children of the world. It’s hard to dislike the trio of witches, played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker, and the campy movie has a slapstick vibe, rather than a spooky one.
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, the latest movie trailers, what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray, and what’s leaving Netflix.


Monsters Galore

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What to Watch in the Theater:
The Addams Family (PG) is in theaters now. This animated re-telling about the creepy and the kooky took a minute to get us on board (only because we’re such big fans of the original series and later movies). The story introduces us to more of the world, and more “normal” human characters, than either of those did, which gives this the air of a fresh take, rather than a reboot of the same old story. It includes more settings and more interactions outside of the family. Of course, there are messages about tolerance and inclusiveness, but there’s still a lot of the bizarre, and animation allows things to get even crazier than the live action versions. This one could live happily next to our much-loved earlier chapters.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

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Zombieland: Double Tap (R) opens today. It’s been 10 years since this motley group became a zombie-slaying family. Although it seems they’ve settled into a happy life together, Little Rock wants to explore and find kids her own age. The group splinters, and some new characters are found, as is a much more dangerous type of zombie. The action is as gory as ever, but it’s a zombie-thumping good time. The different kinds of survivors our heroes encounter add some interesting twists to the story, and it’s a thrilling, bloody good journey.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Are You Afraid of the Dark? (TV14) is airing on Nickelodeon and YouTube. Although this is a Nickelodeon miniseries (brought back to life for the second time), the imagery here is too creepy for kids. We meet new girl, Rachel, as she acclimates to a new school and is invited to join The Midnight Society. Her scary story, based on a recurring dream, appears to be coming true at the end of part 1 of 3. This seems similar to the recent movie Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, although this one will have less gore. The first episode was only slightly scary, but the rest promise more frights.
Our rating: 3.83 out of 5

Little Monsters (R) is streaming exclusively on Hulu. Another zombie story (’tis the season), only this one takes place in Australia, when kindergarten teacher and her young charges are stranded at a tourist farm when the monsters escape from a research facility nearby. Lupita Nyong’o really shines as Miss Caroline, who is helped by slacker, Dave, an uncle to one of the kids. Children’s entertainer, Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad) is also on hand, but not so helpful. It’s a different take on the zombie comedy, with the strong female lead the main reason to tune in.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, the latest movie trailers and what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Click here to check out the Addams Family snap-along video.

Finding Your Mark

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Judy (PG13) is in theaters now. This film about the last year of Judy Garland’s life is loosely based on a play that had nothing to do with her. It does feature actual events and many of the real people in her life, although some of the dates don’t match up. It’s an interesting look at the beloved star, during a difficult period of her life, battling addictions she’d had seen the movie studios inflicted them on her in her teens. There was more stigma associated with addiction in her day, so her struggles were more private, and ultimately consumed her. The public still loved her, and when the spotlight caught her, she never failed to shine. Renee Zellweger is an Oscar contender with this one.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

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Gemini Man (PG13) opens today. Will Smith plays double duty in this film, as a spy who wants to retire, and the super recruit sent to kill him. For the most part, although a bit creepy, the effects do work, most of the time. Will still seems comfortable and performs well in the action role. Mary Elizabeth Winstead makes a great female protagonist, and their chemistry works well. The story’s a bit predictable, but there’s enough meat in the action scenes to keep it entertaining.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
After (PG13) is available for rental. This movie is popular with teenagers, even though it’s, thankfully, about college students rather than high schoolers. Good girl, Tessa, falls for bad boy, Hardin, despite the better judgment of every adult in the audience. It would be a very short movie (and book series) if she just focused on her studies, as she originally intended. There are some interesting moments and potential lessons buried in the teen angst plot somewhere. And yes, there’s a sequel in the works.
Our rating: 1.67 out of 5

In the Tall Grass (TVMA) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. This Stephen King short story takes out of his New England comfort zone, and into a field somewhere in the midwest. A brother and sister are moving to San Diego, after her boyfriend rejects her and his unborn child. They venture into a field to save a family that has become lost, but – of course – all is not as it seems. Time and space are somehow bent in the tall grass, and some creepy stuff happens, making escape impossible. It’s a freaky story with some interesting twists, and although Patrick Wilson is at his horror movie finest here, the rest of the cast is not as compelling.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, and what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Not Much to Joke About

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What to Watch in the Theater:
The Wedding Year (R) is in theaters now. This comedy follows Mara (played by Sarah Hyland) as she tries to figure out what to do with her life. She’s in a new relationship, and suddenly their life is full of other people’s weddings. Can their love stand the test of meeting family, making toasts, and getting carried away to the next level? This is a funny/sad movie about people finding themselves and each other. It wasn’t a bad watch, with likable characters and a lot of close to real-life situations.
Our rating: 3.75 out of 5

joker

Joker (R) opens today. People are going to love or hate this one. This villain origin story is definitely a dark and violent tale, following Arthur Fleck through his dismal life. He lives with and takes care of his mother, and works for an agency that hires out clowns, but he really wants a career as a stand-up comic. He’s frequently bullied (even as an adult) and beat up, and one day he cracks and kills his attackers. His actions spur a violent upheaval in Gotham. We have a little trouble with the Joker’s age and timeline of this story, as it relates to the Batman versions we know. Perhaps the Joker, through the movement he inspires, is more of a concept than a character that just one man inhabits.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Jeff Dunham: Beside Himself (TVMA) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. Jeff is now billing himself as a comedian, rather than a ventriloquist, and his material has gotten a bit edgier. Sure, the cast of characters (puppets) is the same, with one new addition, but their vocabulary has take a turn for the adult, and the jokes seem dirtier. Maybe he feels the family-friendly puppetry entertainment field is too crowded. We used to be big fans, but not so much anymore.
Our rating: ? out of 5

Perfect Harmony (TV14) is available on NBC and Hulu. This weekly comedy series is about a struggling church choir that lucks into a new director entirely by accident. He’s a retired music professor who ends up stuck in the small town after his wife dies. This show includes one of our favorite actors, Geno Segers, who has a phenomenally booming voice. He usually plays the heavy, so it’s fun to see him in a more shy role, testing his voice in the choir. This looks like a fun one.
Our rating: ? out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, and what’s new on Netflix, DVD and Blu-Ray.