Fighting for Our Loved Ones

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What to Watch in the Theater:
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (PG) is in theaters now. Hiccup, now Chief of Berk, has to move his entire town to keep both the humans and dragons safe. Toothless is distracted by a Light Fury, which brings both romance and danger into his life. Hiccup searches for the mythical hidden world that could bring salvation for the dragons, although it comes with a difficult choice. There’s a creepy new villain and more dragons than you could possibly imagine. It’s a fun and fitting way to wrap up the story of these beasts and the humans who love them.
Our rating: 4.33 out of 5

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Fighting with My Family (PG13) is in theaters now. This movie is based on the true story about a young female wrestler who aspires to be a WWE champion. Paige comes from a wrestling family, and shares the same dream as her brother. Their relationship is put to the test when she gets a shot at greatness and he’s left behind. This is a fun and heartwarming tale about family and what it takes to make your dreams a reality. The British family of wrestlers is the best part, although we Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson does have that infectious smile. They did change some of the details of the story (like timing) to make this movie, but as you’ll see in the credits, the heart of the story is accurate.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History (TVPG) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. We love the idea of bringing historical facts into a comedy setting – it’s a fun way to learn new things, and reach people with material that would otherwise be boring to them. This hour-long special features sketches about history, which are introduced by Kevin Hart as if he’s sharing them with his young daughter. The sketches are quite funny, but the wraparounds with Kevin are a little forced, and it’s obvious he’s reading something he didn’t write himself. Still worth a watch, for the funny parts and history lesson, but not Kevin’s best work.
Our rating: 3.33 out of 5

The Breaker Upperers (TVMA) is streaming on Netflix. This comedy from New Zealand has an interesting premise about friends who run a business that breaks up relationships. They go to some outrageous lengths to play out the different scenarios, and this part is pretty funny. When things start to go awry in the relationship between the friends, we found it less funny. There are a lot of adult topics here, the humor is different and it’s a little difficult to follow at times – partly because of the accents and cultural differences. If you’re already a fan of these imports and/or actors, go for it. Our team just found that it wasn’t a good fit for us.
Our rating: 1 out of 5

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

Choosing Your Own Best / Alternate Life

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Isn’t It Romantic (PG13) is in theaters now. Natalie (Rebel Wilson) bumps her head and wakes up in a PG-rated romantic comedy, where everything in her life has turned around, making it almost perfect. She’s never been a fan of the movie genre, but as she begins to embrace her new self-confidence (and romance), she embarks on a journey to self-discovery, full of rom com cliches. While poking fun at the genre, this movie turns out to be the best kind of rom com – full of important messages about loving yourself and not needing the perfect romance to live your best life – with lots of laugh out loud moments.
Our rating: 4.83 out of 5

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Happy Death Day 2U (PG13) is in theaters now. This movie picks up where the last left off, so you definitely need to see the first before this sequel. Tree ends up back in her birthday loop again, but things are VERY different this time. A science experiment causes her to be living this day in an alternate universe, which means the killer is different, and other parts of her life are better AND worse. She has to die over and over (again), to help with the experiment AND make a big decision about her own fate. This one is just as fun as the first, with fewer horror elements and more relationship drama.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Uncle Drew (PG13) is available on DVD. We’re generally not sports people, and even less so basketball people, so this movie surprised us. Dax (Lil Rel Howery) struggles to put together a team for a big tournament, and ends up rounding up a dream team from the past. It’s more about the journey than the actual game (although the game play, full of real superstar athletes who look like old geezers, is amazing). It’s fun to see the characters come to life and how they interact. There’s a lot of comedy, some heart, and oh yeah, some pretty great basketball.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

The Umbrella Academy (TV14) is streaming exclusively on Netflix. This series is reminiscent of the X-Men, and based on the Dark Horse comic of the same name. After kids with powers are mysteriously born on the same day, an eccentric billionaire adopts 7 of them, and assembles them into a superhero team. We join the story years later, as the remaining children return following the mysterious death of their father figure. Their long-lost time-traveling brother returns as well, with a mission to stop the fast-approaching apocalypse. We’ve watched a couple of episodes, and are still learning the backstories and powers of each sibling, but we’re definitely intrigued.
We’ll continue watching this show.

Major League (R) is available on DVD. This 1989 movie centers on a baseball team whose owner wants to move them from Cleveland to Miami, but she can’t do that unless attendance at the park drops to really low levels. She purposely recruits a batch of problematic athletes, in the hopes that they’ll be in last place. The personalities clash and they’re terrible at baseball, but they want to get better!  It’s definitely R-rated in humor and language, but it’s a fun film full of misfits who learn to work together toward a common goal.
We recommend this movie.

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

Watch the video from the Isn’t It Romantic premiere here.

Some Things Don’t Live Up to the Hype

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What to Watch in the Theater:
What Men Want (R) is in theaters now. This story is about Ali, the only female sports agent at her firm. She’s worked hard to be part of this boy’s club, but still can’t relate to men, and it costs her the partnership she’s been expecting. After some weird tea at a psychic reading, followed by a bump on the head, she can magically hear men’s thoughts. She uses this to her advantage, but also hurt some people in the process. Although Taraji does a great job in the role, we didn’t see enough character development in Ali. Overall we were disappointed in this gender-flip remake of What Women Want (from 2000), and it wasn’t even as funny as the trailer led us to believe.
Our rating: 2.83 out of 5

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Alita: Battle Angel (PG13) is in theaters now. This dystopian science fiction, set 300 years in the future, is the brainchild of James Cameron, who partnered with Robert Rodriguez to finally bring it to life. It’s a fantastical story about a world where people routinely have cyborg implants, but Alita is different. She’s patched together and brought to life by a doctor/father figure who cares for her as if she were his own daughter. She tries to learn more about her identity and past life, while becoming involved in the dangerous sport of Motorball and and even bounty hunting. It’s a thrilling adventure with heart, as we watch Alita’s humanity take control of her high-tech body.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
mid90s (R) is available on DVD. We applaud Jonah Hill for getting into writing and directing, but this just wasn’t our cup of tea. The story, about a young boy who joins a group of older teen skateboarders in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s, was difficult to watch, and we’re not sure who the intended audience is. Thirteen-year-old Stevie has an abusive older brother, and admires this group, but their influence on him is destructive, and we only get a glimmer of improvement later in the film.
Our rating: 1.67 out of 5

The Goonies (PG) is available on DVD. This 1985 adventure film about a group of kids is rated a 1980’s PG, which means there is swearing and some adult references. So parents be cautioned, this is a solid PG13 in today’s market. They call themselves The Goonies, and they’re looking for one last adventure before they’ll all be forced to move out of their homes. While looking for treasure, they encounter a hideout full of bad characters, so they’re also running for their lives. Some of the characters are annoying, it’s silly and somewhat dated, but there’s a lot of good fun too. And Josh Brolin as a teenager!
We recommend this movie.

Plus box office results, what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray, Jen’s pink carpet report for Isn’t It Romantic & more!

Watch the video from the Isn’t It Romantic premiere here.

A Whole Slew of Female Protagonists

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What to Watch in the Theater:
Miss Bala (PG13) is in theaters now. This story is about Gloria, an American of Mexican descent, who travels to Tijuana to help her best friend with a pageant. She ends up being kidnapped by a gang of drug and arms dealers, and learns that even the DEA and local police can’t (or won’t) help her. The syndicate leader, Lino, takes a liking to her, and she reluctantly works to gain his trust, so he will help her find her friend. In the process, she learns things like gun skills and just how far she’s willing to go to survive. Gloria is an empowering female protagonist, and although there is some violence, keeping it PG13 was appreciated, and allows this cautionary tale a wider audience.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

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The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (PG) opens today. The Bricksburg gang is back, but the years have not been kind to them, with an alien invasion causing destruction and distrust. Everything is NOT awesome, but plucky Emmet is still optimistic, much to Lucy’s chagrin. We get more glimpses into the human world, as invaders from the Sistar System kidnap many of the characters, and Emmet journeys to save them. Along the way, we meet Rex Dangervest and find a happy, colorful world full of fun new characters, including their ruler, Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi. We feel we need to watch again, for the jokes we missed when the audience was laughing so hard, but we’re looking forward to it, as this sequel is just as much fun as the original.
Our rating: 4.83 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Peppermint (R) is on DVD. Jennifer Garner goes back to her action roots (and then some), as Riley North, a mom turned vigilante. She returns from hiding (and training) five years after the murder of her family, to exact vengeance on every criminal and corrupt official responsible for the crime and lack of punishment for the murderers. Though extremely violent, it’s inspiring to see how much planning and training she’s put in to getting justice for her husband and daughter. There are some twists, and she’s an avenging angel for more than just her lost loved ones. Although somewhat predictable, it was a thrilling ride with a seriously butt-kicking female lead.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

IO (TV14) is a Netlix original movie. This story takes place in the not too distant future, where most of earth’s inhabitants have died or fled to space colonies. The planet’s air is almost gone, and Sam lives on a hill overlooking a dead city, where she does science experiments, continuing her father’s work, and raises her own vegetables. She refuses to join her beau on a colony, keeping up hope for a better future on earth, and then a stranger shows up. The movie is very slow, sometimes confusing, and has some scientific inaccuracies. There are some interesting parts and a determined, though very flawed, female lead.
Our rating: 3 out of 5

Plus box office results, what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray, what’s new on Netflix and more!