Scares for All Ages

HDD

What to Watch in the Theater:
Happy Death Day (R) is in theaters now. This thriller is about a college student re-living her birthday, the day she’s murdered, as she tries to figure out who the killer is. The premise is fun and the actors are engaging. It’s a fast-paced, highly entertaining romp that almost feels like a comedy (Groundhog Day flashbacks!), but just happens to be a horror film. It’s got plenty of scares – Blumhouse has done it again!
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

snowman

The Snowman (R) opens today. This one was mis-marketed as a straight horror film, when it’s more murder mystery, with lots of gore. Michael Fassbender continues to prove his range, with this turn as an anguished, alcoholic cop trying to find a serial killer. It’s a complicated, compelling story, and beautifully showcases snowy Norway. It felt like there were some backstory details missing, but we’d be interested in more stories from the book series.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket This family-friendly movie from (and starring) Bailee Madison is a fun yarn with some kooky characters and great New England scenery. Although it’s not the best-acted made for TV movie, we enjoy watching Bailee grow as a filmmaker, and appreciate her creation of content appropriate for the younger set. Available for streaming on Netflix.
Our rating: 3.92 out of 5

Shrek’s Swamp Stories, Dreamworks Spooky Stories, Dreamworks Spooky Stories 2 Some of these animated stories are Halloween specific, and you’ll find your favorite characters from the Shrek movies, Monsters vs. Aliens and Megamind in these shorts. Easily re-watch your favorites, including the story from Universal’s theme park Shrek 4D experience. Available for streaming on Netflix.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, what’s out on DVD & Blu-Ray, and more!

How the Past Affects Us

br2049

What to Watch in the Theater:
Blade Runner 2049 (R) is in theaters now. This long-awaited sequel is a complicated – and very long – film. But it’s an interesting continuation to the story, that feels pretty faithful to the design and attitude of the first. If you’re not a hardcore fan, you might want to bone up on the original before you tackle the sequel. Some creepy new villains and Ryan Gosling add to the entertainment value of the film.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

gcr

Goodbye Christopher Robin (PG) opens today. This film shows a slice of life in the 20s and 30s in Britain, while giving us a peek behind the scenes at the creation of one of the world’s most beloved characters – Winnie the Pooh. It’s the story of what happens when an adoring public and the media can’t get enough of a “child star” who didn’t ask to be one – intrusiveness pre-internet! Ready for a good cry? Have some tissues handy!
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Once Upon a Time in Venice (unrated) Once you get past the image of Bruce Willis skateboarding naked, you’ll find yourself in a very busy story that crosses multiple genres. There’s an element of hearkening back to Bruce’s Moonlighting days – meshing detective work and comedy – but that almost gets lost in the parade of characters and overlapping plot points. It’s a bit of a mess, but still entertaining, especially for die-hard fans of Willis.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

Fist Fight (R) Funny and foul, with some good comedic moments from Ice Cube, Charlie Day and a great supporting cast. The premise of two teachers engaging in a fist fight is far-fetched, but in their horrible school setting, pretty believable. It’s not the best comedy out there, but if you’re a fan of any of the actors, you’ll find something to like.
Our rating: 3.16 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, what’s out on DVD & Blu-Ray, and more!

The Struggle for Survival Spans Genres

flatliners

What to Watch in the Theater:
Flatliners (PG13) is in theaters now. Not sure what this one is getting such a bad rep. With a likable cast and a great number of scares, this film is entertaining, which is sometimes difficult for a remake to pull off.  Med students dying and being revived by colleagues is still an interesting story. Maybe people are just too attached to the original…
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

mountain

The Mountain Between Us (PG13) opens today. This film, about a couple of strangers stranded on a snowy mountaintop after a plane crash, doesn’t have a lot of surprises. Of course it’s more about the journey and relationship between the characters, than about the peril they’re experiencing. The scenery is stunning, the dialogue is sparse, but the emotions are real. A nice story, even if it is somewhat predictable.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
What Happened to Monday (TVMA) This Netflix original about a dystopian future where there’s a one-child limit, includes some good twists. Female septuplets, who’ve successfully hidden themselves for 30 years, by sharing the identity of one person, suddenly find their world turned upside down. It’s a difficult watch at times, pretty violent, but intriguing.
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (PG) This early Ghibli film is everything fans love about Miyazaki’s work – the fantastic premise, outrageous beasts, and strong female lead. Good versus evil, man versus nature – the story holds up well, even if it is more than 30 years old.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, what’s out on DVD & Blu-Ray, and more!

More Than Just a Blockhead

ninjago

What to Watch in the Theater:
The LEGO Ninjago Movie (PG) is in theaters now. This fun family animation bears some resemblance to the Power Rangers. It includes the same amazing attention to detail that other LEGO movies show off. It’s an interesting premise with some good jokes and visuals, although not our favorite of the LEGO movies. (You can watch Jen’s LEGO Ninjago red carpet report here.)
Our rating: 4 out of 5

am

American Made (R) opens today. This film is based on a true story, and left us with some questions about just how much of it was true. (Doubting the CIA will ever reveal the truth.) It’s an interesting story about the excesses of the late 70s and 80s, and a man taking advantage of the politics of the time. It’s refreshing to see Tom Cruise in a movie without all the outrageous stunt work he’s usually known for.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
The Resurrection of Gavin Stone (PG) This faith film was entertaining without being preachy. All members of the ensemble cast had something to add, and it’s an amusing journey with a few twists and turns. It’s a very likable film that pokes a little fun at religion, while sharing a message about what being “Christian” really means.
Our rating: 3.83 out of 5

A LEGO Brickumentary (G) This is a very entertaining documentary for all ages. Jason Bateman’s narrator/LEGO mini fig character is a great device to move the story along. It incorporates several storylines that are introduced and wrapped around as the film progresses. A great watch, whether you’re a die-hard LEGO fan or casual brick user.
Our rating: 4.75 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, what’s out on DVD & Blu-Ray, and more!