Updating Historical Stories Sometimes Works

maryqueen

What to Watch in the Theater:
Mary Queen of Scots (R) is in theaters now. This movie is based on the true story of two strong female rulers. Performances by Saoirse Ronan (in the title role) and Margot Robbie (as Queen Elizabeth I) are the best things about this movie. For a modern retelling, the film delves  more deeply into the personal lives of the queens than any film has before. Interest in the subject matter depends upon the level of fascination (or lack thereof) for the time period or historical films in general. Interestingly, this movie shows that while females were allowed to rule (based solely on birthright), patriarchal government and society did their best to control every aspect of women’s lives, and often pit them against each other.
Our rating: 2.67 out of 5

kidking

The Kid Who Would Be King (PG) is in theaters now. Here’s a modern story, based on the Legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Twelve-year-old Alex is able to pull a sword from a stone, and learns it could be the real Excalibur. He meets Merlin and learns that Morgana and her evil minions will be trying to take over the world in just four days. It’s up to Alex to assemble his modern-day knights and journey to the underworld, to save the world. This film combines elements of magic with messages about perseverance and hope, rallying unlikely heroes to overcome their differences and unite against a common foe. It’s a fun family movie, that deserves more attention at the box office.
Our rating: 3.83 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (NR) is on DVD. This movie, which takes place in 1993 details how teen Cameron (played by Chloe Grace Moretz) is sent to a religious treatment center to overcome her same sex attraction. As Cam deals with therapy and her own feelings and dreams, she bonds with other kids whose lives are in turmoil.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

Angie Tribeca season 4 (TV14) is now airing on TBS and On Demand. This spoofy detective comedy returns, and 20 years have passed since the end of season 3. The squad (including newcomers Bobby Cannavale and Kiersey Clemons) now works for the Special Division Force, which is run by the Vice President. As always, everything is a pun, with pop culture references and making light of serious issues as the norm. Although the general plot is even more far-fetched because of the time shift, and we miss some key former cast members, the new format allows them to delve more into spy plots and feature some full-episode movie homages. We find we’re not enjoying this season quite as much as the first three, but it’s still fun.
We recommend this show.

Future Man season 2 (TVMA) is a Hulu exclusive series. One of the things we loved about season 1 was all the time travel, with Josh/Joosh (Josh Hutcherson) as a janitor who bonds with rebels from the future, and becomes a hero/terrorist. The time jumps are less frequent this season, but the adult fun (mature themes, violence, language) continues, as our heroes find themselves living very different separate lives in a dystopian future. They have to figure who to trust, what kind of life they each want, and whether it’s worth re-grouping to once again try to save the world from an egomaniac scientist.
We recommend this show.

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High Marks All Around

upside

What to Watch in the Theater:
The Upside (PG13) is in theaters now. This movie, about a rich quadriplegic and his reluctant caregiver, is based on a true story. Dell (Kevin Hart), an ex-con, wants the easy way out. Phillip (Bryan Cranston) gives him a chance, creating an interesting challenge for both of them. It’s a journey full of comedy, drama and heart, as the two learn from each other and develop an unlikely bond.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

glass

Glass (PG13) is in theaters now. We recommend you see both Unbreakable and Split before finishing the trilogy with this one. M. Night Shyamalan pulls off the extraordinary feat of combining Disney and Universal properties for this sequel, featuring Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy in their original roles. The plot is complicated, with each man specially contained in the same institution, to treat their individual superhero delusions (with Sarah Paulson as their doctor).
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
BlacKkKlansman (R) is on DVD. This movie is based on the true story of the first black officer on the Colorado Springs police department, and how he managed to become the first black member of the KKK (unbeknownst to the organization). It’s an interesting story about a very serious topic, told with enough humor to drive home its points, while still being entertaining. Spike Lee has a knack for that, with great cast performances all around.
Our rating: 4.75 out of 5

Carmen Sandiego (TVG) is a Netflix exclusive series. Yes, Carmen’s  been around since video games and educational software, beginning in the mid-1980s. The first couple of Netflix episodes share her backstory, which was very interesting but had us concerned about advocating a life of crime. By episode 3 we’re into the normal swing of things, learning about the geography and culture of each place Carmen visits, while STEALING BACK treasures that were previously pilfered. The great animation and voice cast make this series about a modern-day Robin Hood entertaining, in addition to the educational aspects of the show.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Determination is Everything

vice

What to Watch in the Theater:
Vice (R) is in theaters now. This is a biographical comedy/drama about Dick Cheney, brought to us by Adam McKay, who also created The Big Short. We see how Cheney got into (and out of, and into again) politics, and rose quietly through the ranks. Apparently it’s all about timing, who you know, and if those people are currently in favor. There’s definitely some conjecture, some tongue in cheek, and a political slant here. Your politics may determine your enjoyment of this film – our team was clearly split down political lines.
Our rating: 3.17 out of 5

dogs

A Dog’s Way Home (PG) is in theaters now. While narrated by Bella the dog (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard), no dogs physically talk in this film, which is always a plus. Lucas takes Bella in as a puppy, and then drama unfolds, simply because she is a pitbull (although she doesn’t look it, her mother clearly was). They become separated, and Bella spends the rest of the movie trying to get home, over hundreds of miles of wild terrain. She encounters a variety of humans and animals, creates some interesting bonds, but never loses site of her goal to reunite with Lucas. It’s a heartwarming story about connection, which includes a sub-plot about dogs helping veterans. Make sure you have some tissues handy.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Good Trouble (TV14) airs on Freeform. This series follows up where The Fosters left off. Callie and Marianna are on their own in LA – out of school, in their 20’s and trying to balance serious jobs with social life and of course, life drama. They start making questionable decisions from the get-go, but have to be responsible for their own actions now, so there’s a lot of decision-making angst here. If you’re not familiar with the original series, this one might get lost among other shows about 20-somethings making bad decisions. If you’re a fan of the series The Fosters, you MUST check out this spinoff. (And yes, other members of the Adams-Foster clan will be making guest appearances!)

Check out the video of Jennifer’s CES 2019 report here.

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Something for Just About Everyone

fav

What to Watch in the Theater:
The Favourite (R) is in theaters now. There are some awards-worthy performances here, especially that of Olivia Colman in the role of Queen Anne. In general, we are not fans of period pieces, especially ones that are pre-1800s. This film is no exception. It just didn’t really do anything for us.
Our rating: 2.17 out of 5

escape

Escape Room (PG13) is in theaters now. This film, about a group of 6 people who think they’re competing for money by going through a regular escape room, provides many chills and thrills. The group soon realizes they did NOT receive this outing as a gift, but that they’ve been somehow targeted, and their lives are in danger. They work together to try to survive precarious situations far beyond any escape room you’ll find in real life. It’s scary, but not at all gory, with no nudity or foul language, so it’s a perfect outing for all except the youngest in the family. We were on the edge of our seats!
Our rating: 4.75 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Dog Days (PG) is on DVD. This movie shares the stories of several interconnected people and their relationships with the dogs in their lives. Everyone loves dogs and the dogs love them, and thankfully the dogs do not talk in this movie. There’s comedy, romance, and a lot of bumps in the road for our various protagonists. It’s a fun, feel-good movie full of dogs doing what they do best – bringing people together and adding joy to their lives. It may seem sappy, but sometimes you just want to laugh and cry through a movie that’s not too deep.
Our rating: 4.33 out of 5

3Below: Tales of Arcadia (TVY7) is a Netflix exclusive series. Two siblings, the heirs to the throne, narrowly escape an attack on their planet, and make their way to earth in their mothership, with their bodyguard. They need a place to hide while the ship trips to regenerate their parents, and what better place than earth! This animated fish out of water story comes from DreamWorks and Guillermo del Toro. It’s a fun ride, watching the characters try to fit and learn about our planet. The accents are a little hard to adjust to at first, but it’s reminiscent of 3rd Rock from the Sun, with the quality animation you’d expect from a DreamWorks invention.
Our rating: 4.08 out of 5

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