What to Watch in the Theater:
A-X-L (PG) is in theaters now. This SciFi film is about a boy bonding with a lost dog, only there’s a catch. The dog is really a super advanced artificial intelligence machine owned by the military. So while the boy has made a connection with the robotic animal and they both learn about its abilities, the military is watching, to see how their creation handles the real world. It’s a fun action movie, that’s family friendly and has some heart.
Our rating: 4 out of 5
The Happytime Murders (R) is in theaters now. Don’t let the presence of puppets fool you – this is definitely NOT a family-friendly film. It’s an interesting story about murder, that reunites a human cop and her former partner, a puppet who’s now a private investigator. When the cast of a favorite show starts getting picked off one by one, Phil Philips seems a little too close for comfort. They don’t get along, but Edwards (Melissa McCarthy) is on the case, which brings up their past. It’s an interesting story, with major props for the inventiveness of it all. This is a side of the Henson shop we never expected to see – dirty, gritty, but still creative as ****.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5
The House with a Clock in Its Walls (PG) opens today. This story, about an orphan boy discovering his uncle is a warlock who lives in a magic house, is an exciting romp full of special effects and excellent casting. Jack Black and Cate Blanchett wield the magic, and Owen Vaccaro (as young Lewis) learns that with great magic comes a LOT of responsibility. Owen is pleased to be learning magic, but he tries to impress the wrong schoolmate and ends up in a bad situation that could lead to the end of the world. There are some pretty scary images for a PG-rated film, so this one may not be for the youngest kids.
Our rating: 4.5 out of 5
What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Sierra Burgess is a Loser (PG13) is a Netflix original. This teen rom com drama follows the title character as she catfishes a guy who’s texting her, thinking that she’s the popular cheerleader, Veronica. They fall for each other via text and phone, but things get complicated when he wants to FaceTime and meet in person. It becomes a modern version of the Cyrano story, with Sierra and Veronica bonding as they help each other mislead boys. The story is full of teen angst and sweet at times, although we don’t approve of the deception and find elements of the story completely unbelievable. It’s still an entertaining version of the classic tale.
Our rating: 2.25 out of 5 (Max gave it a “skip” – others averaged 3.375)
Insatiable (TVMA) is a Netflix original series, about spiteful teen, Patty, who’s trying to re-direct her life after being the fat girl and then getting thin. She still feels fat on the inside, so she tries to prove her beauty by working with Bob, a pageant coach, to win titles and get revenge. Patty is impulsive and does hurtful things to get back at those who hurt her, then feels remorse and has to work to make amends – over and over again. It’s a dark comedy full of over the top performances, where we learn all is not what it seems in this small town. The show is funny, smart, and wickedly entertaining, like a nighttime soap on steroids. Can’t wait to see what season 2 has in store! [Note for fans of Debby Ryan’s work for Disney, this show features very mature content. No “Jesse” here.]
Our rating: 2.83 out of 5 (Jen gave it a “skip” – others averaged 4.25)
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