Pairs in Action and Animation

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Logan Lucky (PG13) is in theaters now. This family heist movie boasts a great cast in some unexpected roles. Director Soderbergh brings the Ocean’s premise to a way less glamorous setting here, but with the same coolness and precision as those star-studded heist movies.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard (R) is in theaters now. This foul-mouthed comedy brings together polar opposite American characters in a European setting, for an action-packed journey. It’s an entertaining ride, with lots of bad guys with guns, a mole, chase scenes, and some funny interactions between the main characters.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Spark: A Space Tail (PG) This animated family film was found to be less entertaining for parents, than say a Pixar or DreamWorks outing. It just lacks the plot and joke layering we’re accustomed to in films that appeal to all ages. Still a solid watch for the kids, though – who doesn’t like monkeys in space?
Our rating: 3.33 out of 5

Ocean Waves (PG13) While just as beautifully animated as other Ghibli films, this one, which was created by a younger group at the company, didn’t have as much appeal in the story department. It’s a “slice of life” film that just didn’t really go anywhere, and the subtitles didn’t help. Worth a watch for the animation, if not the story.
Our rating: 3.33 out of 5

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Some Are More Nuts Than Others

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (PG) is in theaters now. This sequel is a fun family film with some interesting new characters and positive messages about working hard for what you believe in. It’s got a great voice cast and some clever moments.
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5

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The Glass Castle (PG13) is in theaters now. Based on a true story, this film paints a poignant picture of a young woman struggling to come to grips with her unconventional, but loving, upbringing with an alcoholic father. Although the plot’s resemblance to Captain Fantastic was at times distracting, the acting is excellent and the story is interesting.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
The Power Rangers (PG13) This movie was hard to judge, since we have zero background with the Power Rangers franchise. The combination of the high-tech morphing and campy villain was a little jarring, although we loved Elizabeth Banks’ over-the-top performance. It seemed like an interesting origin story, but should we bother getting invested, in hopes of more installments?
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5

Colossal (R) The combination of Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis has got to be a winner, right? Well, this drama about an alcoholic who finds she controls a giant monster that’s terrorizing people in a foreign country can’t settle on a genre, and just feels like a giant clunker. Interesting premise, though…
Our rating: 1.25 out of 5

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Facing Evil with Relentlessness

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Kidnap (R) is in theaters now. In a situation no parent should ever have to go through, Halle Berry’s Karla follows her son’s abductors, at any cost. It may not be realistic, but her relentlessness, borne out of sheer adrenaline, is impressive. She’s kind of a real-life mom turned action hero. Yes, it’s similar to taken, but she’s got everyday skills instead of special ops training.
Our rating: 3.75 out of 5

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Annabelle: Creation (R) opens today. This evil origin story delivers the scares, and beats the pants off the original in the process. Where 2014’s Annabelle seemed like an afterthought, this prequel gets to the root of the previously alluded-to evil, in super creepy fashion. Yes, the doll is ugly, but there’s much more to her than meets the eye. Welcome to the Conjuring universe, and make sure you stay till the very end of this one, after the credits.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
The Zookeeper’s Wife (PG13) It’s important to document the extraordinary efforts of ordinary people, to selflessly help others during the atrocities of World War II.  This film adds cruelty to animals to an already devastating situation. Holocaust movies aren’t for everyone, but that doesn’t make them any less important.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

Absolutely Anything (R) This fun movie took forever to get a US release, and should not be missed. Not only does it have the brilliant Simon Pegg in the lead, but all 5 surviving Monty Python cast members do the voices of the aliens, who give Neil his amazing powers. Robin Williams voices the dog. Sound crazy? The premise is preposterous, which makes for a really entertaining comedy.
Our rating: 4.33 out of 5

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Lessons Learned in Multiple Genres

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What to Watch in the Theater:
The Emoji Movie (PG) is in theaters now. Stellar cast assembles for an entertaining animated film that somehow managed to build an entertaining story about emojis. Solid family film with some good messages and fun jokes.
Our rating: 3.83 out of 5

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The Dark Tower (PG13) opens today. Despite the short length for an origin story, this film managed to fit a lot into that time. The lead characters were well-cast, and the story was reasonably compelling, with lots of action and peril. We’re curious to see if there’s more to come.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
To the Bone (TV-MA) This well-intentioned story gets points for bringing to light the different faces of eating disorders. The cast was appealing, but the plot was flawed in some areas. As a Netflix original, we expected a bit more edge.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

Bigger Fatter Liar (PG) Not as good as the 2002 original, with a couple of less-experienced actors in the lead. Barry Bostwick stole the show as the deliciously over the top villain, paying a small homage to his role in the original Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Our rating: 3.33 out of 5

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