Bigger Than Life Challenges

rampage

What to Watch in the Theater:
Rampage (PG13) is in theaters now. Expecting this to be cheesy, we were pleasantly surprised by a good old-fashioned monster movie, that’s both action-packed and full of heart. Yes, there’s lots of CGI and some pretty unbelievable monsters, but there are also great heroes and villains, a few twists, and a story that isn’t too far-fetched to keep us on the edge of our seats. And Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson trying to save the world (or in this case, Chicago) from villains and/or monsters is always a premise we’re on board for.
Our rating: 4.33 out of 5

truth

Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare (PG13) is in theaters now. This horror movie, about college students stuck in a deadly game of Truth or Dare, definitely has a scary premise and some pretty bizarre things going on. The social aspect – friendships are at stake here – is almost scarier than the body count. It wasn’t as scary as most Blumhouse movies, but that could have something to do with the PG13 rating.
Our rating: 3.75 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Your Name (PG) This anime is more urban fantasy than the usual magical creature fantasies we’re used to in the genre, and that really works in its favor. It’s more like a live action adventure/sci fi premise, with body switching and time travel, and some major twists we did NOT see coming! Following the story takes some extra effort at first, but the payoff is worth it. This movie is in English, but without the usual star-studded dub cast – which doesn’t detract at all from its entertainment value.
Our rating: 4.67 out of 5

A Series of Unfortunate Events (TVPG) This Netflix exclusive series has finally offered up the entire season 2 – all 10 episodes of it – for our binge-watching pleasure. It does not disappoint! Neil Patrick Harris (as Count Olaf) is deliciously wicked, and the majority of the adults continue to be hilariously blind to his deception. There are new characters, and the body count is a bit lower, but the dark style and witty narration continue to enthrall, as we follow the Baudelaire orphans through their journey to defeat Count Olaf and find a suitable home, while attempting to solve the many mysteries surrounding the death of their parents.
Our rating: Vic – 5 out of 5; Max – waiting till he’s finished the season

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It’s All About the Parenting

blockers

What to Watch in the Theater:
Blockers (R) is in theaters now. It’s a fun romp through this movie about three teen girls attempting to carry out a sex pact on prom night, while their parents try to block them. The characters are funny and endearing, and well-played by a really funny cast. We wish there were more teen comedies that were appropriate for teens, especially when they have positive messages about trusting your instincts, raising good kids, and learning to let go.
Our rating: 3.83 out of 5

quiet

A Quiet Place (PG13) is in theaters now. This horror movie, about a family that has to live in total silence to avoid being eaten by monsters, has very little dialogue. The quiet is almost deafening, but the messages are communicated very clearly, through whispers, sign language and (for our benefit) subtitles. It’s a frightening tale of what it takes to raise a family in dangerous times, and it’s very well done.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Just Getting Started (PG13) This movie features an older cast of great actors, including Morgan Freeman, Rene Russo and Tommy Lee Jones. Set in a retirement community that seems like paradise for the residents, the story is humorous, with an underlying mystery to keep the action moving.
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5

Arrested Development (TVPG) We’re anxious to see what Netflix does with season 5 of this series, since we didn’t especially enjoy their treatment of season 4. After binge-watching Fox’s seasons 1 through 3 (available on Netflix and Hulu), we found them super fun and reminiscent of one of our old favorites, Soap. We’re still loving the premise, characters and story line, but just didn’t like the differing POV re-hash of plot points in multiple episodes during season 4.
Our rating: 5 out of 5

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Adventures of All Sorts

ready

What to Watch in the Theater:
Ready Player One (PG13) is in theaters now. This heavily anticipated Spielberg film about life in 2045 may have quite a few details that differ from the book, but it keeps the underlying story and its messages intact.  The 80s references and music are a big plus, along with the soaring score. The characters are endearing, the action is entertaining – and not just for video game enthusiasts.
Our rating: 4.67 out of 5

chappa

Chappaquiddick (PG13) opens today. This historical story seems like a mostly accurate re-telling of the 1969 accident, with some conjecture in place of the missing details (that died along with Mary Jo Kopechne and later Ted Kennedy). As with any fact-based movie, some poetic license was taken. The movie is well-acted and gives an interesting peek inside the Kennedy dynasty and the politics of the day.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Game Over, Man (TVMA) Fresh off our positive review of Netflix’s When We First Met last week, we were intrigued about yet another Netflix comedy starring Adam Devine. The story, about three friends who try to defeat terrorists holding their potential meal ticket hostage, has some funny bits. But the naughty bits, in the form of male nudity, cancel them out, leaving nothing worth watching. (It’s rare that we all agree you should “Skip it!”)
Our rating: 0 out of 5

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (R) This story shows the professor and the two women closest to him, as they do research and form a relationship. It’s a blend of 1920s-1940s period piece with some taboo (for the time) relationship topics and the creation of the Wonder Woman comic. It’s an interesting study of human nature and the norms of the day, with some very adult content.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

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Family Films for Spring Break

gnomes

What to Watch in the Theater:
Sherlock Gnomes (PG) is in theaters now. This animated sequel has a lot of fun bits for the whole family, although the plot is somewhat predictable. It’s got some good messages about not taking people for granted, dealing with different personality types, and discovering what’s really important in life.
Our rating: 3.67 out of 5

TR

Tomb Raider (PG13) is in theaters now. This reboot delves more into Lara Croft’s backstory, in addition to the requisite adventure. It seems like a blend of some other franchises, like the Mummy, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Journey to the Center of the Earth, with the wonderful addition of a kick-butt heroine. Alicia Vikander does a great job with both action and emotion, making us look forward to any sequels that might be on the horizon.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
The Breadwinner (PG13) This animated film about a family facing hard times in their native Afghanistan, is an eye-opener in its details about the treatment of women there. The story-within-a-story aspect lends a nice element of folklore that parallels the young heroine’s adventures, as she pretends to be a boy in order to help her family survive. We see shades of Mulan and Kubo here. Warning – this movie is rated PG13 for a brief depiction of violence against women.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

When We First Met (TV14) This Netflix original is a fun combination of Groundhog Day, Back to the Future and other iconic films, with its own twist. This film, about a guy making changes to get the girl and life of his dreams, has a great cast (especially Adam Devine) that makes the movie even more fun and heartwarming. Netflix has set the romcom bar high with this one.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

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