From True Stories to Outrageous Ones

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Thank You for Your Service (R) is in theaters now. This movie, based on a true story, shares the difficulties those serving in the military face when returning home from duty. It’s an important issue that deserves our attention. Well-acted and well-paced, this movie is worth a watch (but note the R rating – this is not a family-friendly movie).
Our rating: 4 out of 5

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Same Kind of Different as Me (PG13) is in theaters now. This inspiring film, also based on a true story, shares the special relationship between a family and a homeless man they slowly befriend. It shows how all their lives were changed, because a selfless woman had a dream about making a difference. The focus here is on people and relationships, without being preachy.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
The Meyerowitz Stories (R) This Netflix original from Adam Sandler is the story of an extremely dysfunctional family that reunites as the father declines in health. There’s not much comedy here, and the slice of life plot moves a little too slowly, but we have to give Adam props for assembling such a stellar cast.
Our rating: 3.33 out of 5

Killing Hasselhoff (R) This over the top comedy performed better than expectations. It’s a silly premise to begin with – a man with financial problems wants to knock off David Hasselhoff to win half a million in a celebrity death pool. It turns into a fun romp, and may actually be worth 80 minutes of your time.
Our rating: 3.75 out of 5

 

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Disastrous Results

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Geostorm (PG13) is in theaters now. This big budget disaster movie was two-thirds entertaining  and one-third disappointing. On the one hand, predictable, and on the other, not as bad as it could be. Includes some sci-fi, some heart, some twists, and a whole lot of bad weather! Spoiler alert: The scene on the poster doesn’t happen in the movie!
Our rating: 3.33 out of 5

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Suburbicon (R) opens today. The crime in this Coen Brothers movie just keeps getting more violent as the body count grows. Of course, the premise is bizarre and the characters are over the top. We have differing opinions on the inclusion of race relations in the story. Julianne Moore shines – she has definitely found her niche in this and the recent Kingsman sequel!
Our rating: 3 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
A Ghost Story (R) This story of a young husband haunting the house he shared with his wife is NOT a scary movie. It alternates between hauntingly beautiful and excruciatingly boring. This is one of those films with lots of dramatic shots and little dialogue or action. There’s a confusing time loop that just seems to make the 92 minutes drag by even slower. Props to Casey Affleck for committing to hang out in the sheet for so long!
Our rating: 3 out of 5

The Nightmare Before Christmas (PG) This is hands-down our absolute favorite Halloween movie (and one of our Christmas faves as well)! The animation, the story, the music, the characters! This family-friendly film, that bridges two holidays, has it all. If it’s not already part of your collection, you can find it streaming on Netflix.
Our rating: 5 out of 5

The Babysitter (TVMA) This Netflix original is entertaining in a silly, gory kind of way. It’s not the best comedy horror out there, but it does provide an interesting premise, some laughs, some new ways to kill people who are trying to kill you, and LOTS of blood.
Our rating: 2.75 out of 5

 

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Scares for All Ages

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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

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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

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How the Past Affects Us

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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

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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

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