An Action-Packed Life

annabelle

What to Watch in the Theater:
Annabelle Comes Home (R) is in theaters now. This is a sequel to the first Annabelle movie, with the action taking place after the Warrens add the doll to their vault. The plot mainly revolves around a time when the Warrens are away, and their daughter, Judy, has a teen babysitter. The babysitter’s friend accidentally allows Annabelle to escape, and other demons from the vault join in the chaos that ensues. There are some good scares and interesting plot points. Not quite sure why there’s an R rating, other than language and not terribly gory violence – perhaps too frightening for the younger crowd, because the protagonist is herself a child. This is good, solid entry for the Conjuring Universe.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

spiderfar

Spider-Man: Far From Home (PG13) is in theaters now. Peter Parker just wants to enjoy a trip to Europe with his classmates, but a fun vacation isn’t in the cards for him. He’s also dealing with losing Tony Stark, and trying to live up to the potential Tony believed he had. It’s up to Peter (with a new costume and nickname) to join forces with a mysterious new hero, keep his friends out of danger, and save the world from destruction – but is he up for the task? This is a thrilling adventure that balances the teen drama and action sequences very well. Make sure you stay till the very end!
Our rating: 4.83 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Then Came You (TVMA) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. This rom-com-dram follows teens Calvin (Asa Butterfield), who thinks he has a terrifying illness, and Skye (Maisie Williams) who knows she does. The two become friends, after Calvin reluctantly agrees to help Skye with her outrageous bucket list. It’s a bittersweet story about their developing relationship, and how each of their lives is enriched by the friendship.
Our rating: 3.83 out of 5

The Sting (PG) is available on DVD. This Oscar-winning classic follows a group of con artists as they plan and execute the biggest swindle of their lives. With leads Robert Redford and Paul Newman and some other notables rounding out the cast, this film includes a wonderful soundtrack of Scott Joplin tunes adapted by Marvin Hamlisch. The con job is as interesting and well-played as the Oceans films, but younger viewers may find the setting (Depression-era Chicago) less than enticing.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

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

Everything Old is New Again

ts4

What to Watch in the Theater:
Toy Story 4 (G) is in theaters now. The whole gang is back and adjusting to the addition of Bonnie’s new friend, Forky (voiced by Tony Hale). Woody is still mourning his old life with Andy, since things are very different for him now. While the family is on a road trip (with toys in tow), Woody goes on an adventure to save Forky, meeting up with an old friend and some creepy vintage toys in the process. It’s a fun, sweet journey with some great new characters, and important messages about friendship, loss, and finding your purpose in life. It’s a bittersweet chapter in the Toy Story saga, that perfectly meshes old and new into a tale for all ages.
Our rating: 5 out of 5

yesterday

Yesterday (PG13) opens today. After a brief worldwide blackout, struggling singer/songwriter, Jack, appears to be the only one on the planet who remembers the Beatles. He takes on their song catalog as his own, which propels him to fame and fortune – but at what cost? This is a smart, funny film that overflows with wonderful tunes, and includes adorable Lily James as  Jack’s biggest supporter and Himesh Patel pulling off some amazing musical moments as Jack. The family interactions and Ed Sheeran poking fun at himself provide many of the comical moments between the music.
Our rating: 4.33 out of 5 

cp

Child’s Play (R) is in theaters now. This re-telling of the 1988 horror film, about a talking doll that goes on a killing spree, changes a lot of the details from the original (the way the doll becomes evil, the fact that’s it’s a smart device now, the age of its owner, etc.). For fans of the original franchise, these changes may cause some dismay. Mark Hamill is excellent as Chucky’s voice, and the animatronics are super creepy. The root of Chucky’s evil is not as scary as the original demonic one, but having devices take control is a different kind of horror.
Our rating: 3.75 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Adam Devine: Best Time of Our Lives (TVMA) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. This is a stand up comedy special, from that guy we loved in movies like Pitch Perfect, When We First Met and Isn’t It Romantic. Unfortunately, here he’s more like the guy we hated in Game Over, Man. Adam is his inappropriate stoner self in this (thankfully) one-hour show. If you’re a fan of the rom com Adam, this humor may not be for you.
Our rating: 2.17 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, the latest DVD and Blu-Ray releases, what’s coming to Netflix in July, and more.

Breathing New Life (and Death)

MIB

What to Watch in the Theater:
Men in Black: International (PG13) is in theaters now. This sequel relocates the franchise to London, and focuses on a new pair of agents. M (Tessa Thompson) is brand new, after dreaming of this job since she was child, and searching for the agency just as long. H (Chris Hemsworth) is a top agent, the golden boy who’s lost his touch. Something is amiss at the MIB and there’s a dangerous new enemy on their tail. This is a fun actioner with plenty of plot twists and fun/weird aliens (especially Kumail Nanjiani as Lawny). No, it’s not J and K, but that’s just fine.
Our rating: 4.33 out of 5

dead

The Dead Don’t Die (R) is in limited release. This is the best kind of comedy zombie movie – packed with stars who know how to pull off this kind of humor. Adam Driver and Bill Murray are the perfect pair, as small-town law enforcement dealing with a zombie apocalypse. There’s gore and weirdness everywhere (a katana-wielding mortician?), but they take it in stride, as they try to figure out what to do next. We laughed out loud many times during this movie, although the rest of the audience didn’t seem to get the deadpan humor. This one won’t be for everyone.
Our rating: 5 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Murder Mystery (PG13) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. This movie reunites Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, as a husband and wife who end up framed for a murder on a yacht headed for Monaco. Nick has been lying to Audrey about his promotion to detective, but his skills are really put to the test, when they finally get their honeymoon after 15 years of marriage. Audrey loves mystery novels, so they put their heads together to try to solve this one, which is reminiscent of Agatha Christies ensemble murders. Characters are of course stereotypical, and the bickering couple is a bit annoying, but it’s a fun journey.
Our rating: 3.83 out of 5

King of Thieves (R) is available on DVD. Starring Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent, and other older British actors, this film is based on the true story of a robbery that occurred in England in 2015. It’s interesting to watch their methods and how they pull off an old-school heist. The group splinters mid-caper because they can’t get along, and this part detracted from the story a bit. The pace was a bit slow, and this is definitely NOT an action-packed heist movie.
Our rating: 3.17 out of 5

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

Fun Stuff: Check out the Men in Black: International prank here.

Dealing with Change Can Be Monstrous

godzilla

What to Watch in the Theater:
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (PG13) is in theaters now. Five years after the events of Godzilla, more Titans are brought back to life by the crypto-zoological organization, Monarch. They are manipulated through the use of sound waves, with various groups of humans trying to gain control and determine the fate of the giant beasts. There are many, but the film primarily focuses on a few, with the monsters getting a lot more screen time than in previous films. The fate of the world depends on the actions of a few humans and some epic battles between the Titans. The backstory of the human characters fittingly takes a back seat here, although there’s still enough to evoke an appropriate emotional response to this thrill ride.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

late

Late Night (R) goes into wide release today. Emma Thompson’s character, Katherine Newbury, has been on top as a late night talk show host for many years. Faced with the possible loss of her show, she and her staff try to revitalize the show and must adjust to their first female writer, a total newbie named Molly, who’s played by Mindy Kaling (who also wrote the film, based on personal experience in the industry). The stoic Katherine has to learn to open up and be human, while Molly learns that her dream job can be a nightmare. It’s not the funniest movie, but the interactions and relationships bring to light some important biases, and there’s a great deal of humor in the way these humans interact as they resist change and ultimately grow.
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Mirai (PG) is available on DVD. A young boy, struggling to deal with having a new baby sister, finds a magic place in his own home. This enables him to gain new perspectives by meeting some interesting characters and traveling to different times in his family’s life. This anime combines slice of life family interactions with fantastical elements, much like a Miyazaki film. It’s refreshing to have the English dub feature many Asian actors, unlike others that have gone strictly for name recognition in their voice actors.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

I Am Mother (TV14) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. This dystopian film shows a safe haven following the extinction of mankind. Home to thousands of human embryos, this center is outfitted to repopulate the planet, and we follow the upbringing of the first child, named Daughter. She is raised by a droid named Mother, and they happily coexist until a stranger enters their home. Daughter begins to question everything she’s ever known, as the stranger’s story seems to contradict what Mother taught her. Netflix got this one right – great SciFi setting paired with a thought-provoking story.
Our rating: 4.33 out of 5

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