Movie and Music Reviews

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Spare Parts (2015)

By Allison - AV   |  May 15, 2015

Based on a true story, Spare Parts describes the journey of four undocumented Mexican boys who, with the help of their substitute teacher (George Lopez), enter an underwater robotics competition. Despite overwhelming odds and an underwhelming budget, Oscar, Christian, Lorenzo, Luis, and “Stinky” (the robot) defeat the reigning champion MIT in this remarkable underdog story. Throughout the film, the boys are faced with numerous hardships, including the difficulties of attending a poverty-stricken high school, being part of families faced with the danger of deportation, and the issues that come from not having an American birth certificate. However, the film also highlights the themes of hope, teamwork, and the importance of doing your best, even if the odds are against you. Overall, Spare Parts was an exceptional, family-friendly film that I would recommend to viewers of all ages. (Also available at the library is Underwater Dreams, a documentary directed by Mary Mazzio that tells the real story of these boys who accomplish what no one thought was possible.) Overall Rating: A

Jekyll + Hyde by Zac Brown Band **

By Pam - AV   |  May 8, 2015

My initial reaction to Zac Brown Band’s newest album Jekyll + Hyde was disappointment. The album is a showcase for what is clearly a versatile group of musicians; but going from the country sound of “Homegrown” to the big band sound of “Mango Tree” to the hard rock sound of “Heavy is the Head” was disconcerting. However “Beautiful Drug”, “Loving You Easy”, “Homegrown”, “Bittersweet” and “Tomorrow Never Comes (Acoustic version)” are a few favorites. Zac Brown Band always includes one song on an album that they didn’t write, and “Dress Blues” written by Jason Isbell about a young husband, father and Marine who was killed in the Middle East was their choice. There is something for everyone on this album, and perhaps after a few more listens, it will grow on me. Overall Rating: B- ** This CD is not yet available at the library. However, you can download it for free from Hoopla, an instant, digital download service that allows you to access movies, music, and more with your library card. Check out this newly released album on Hoopla at https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/11337925.

Big Eyes

By Amy - AV   |  May 1, 2015

Big Eyes is based on the true story of artist Margaret Keane, played by Amy Adams, and depicts the events of one of the biggest art frauds in history. After leaving her husband, Margaret struggles as a single mother until she meets Walter Keane, (Christoph Waltz) a slick salesman and wannabe artist, whom she marries and subsequently allows to take credit for her much-loved paintings of children with large eerie eyes. In that time period, the 1950s and 1960s, woman were taken less seriously in the art world and struggled in general in the workforce, (this is evident when Margaret goes on a job interview and the man behind the desk asks her if her husband has given her permission to work.) Margaret must deal with the lie that has taken over her life and its consequences, which include a troubled relationship with her daughter, and eventually a widely-publicized legal battle. The movies pace is a little slow and from a modern-day perspective Margaret’s meek behavior can be annoying at times, however, it is an entertaining film and worth watching. Overall Rating: B-

Unbroken

By Angie - AV   |  April 24, 2015

Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie, follows the life of Louis Zamperini (played by Jack O’Connell) from troublesome child, to high school track star, to Olympic athlete, to a soldier fighting in Japan during World War II. After a near fatal plane crash, Louis and his surviving crew members manage to survive on a raft in the middle of the ocean for an astounding 47 days, only to be captured by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. As to be expected during a time of war, the conditions of the camp are brutal and deplorable, making it difficult to watch at times knowing that this is completely based on real-life events. Louis Zamperini is a fighter and hero in every sense of the word, never giving up regardless of his situation, and consistently putting the well-being of others ahead of himself. He lived by the motto “If I can take it, I can make it,” and he certainly proved himself to be a resilient man who truly could not be broken, even among the most terrible of circumstances. Overall Rating: A

Annie (2014)

By Melinda - AV   |  April 17, 2015

The 2014 comedy-musical rendition of “Annie” is a modernized version about 10-year-old Annie Bennett (played by Quvenzhané Wallis). Annie is a foster child that lives with her calculating foster mother Colleen Hannigan (Cameron Diaz) in Harlem. Annie’s dream is to find her biological parents, but in the meantime, she crosses paths with a hard-nosed billionaire and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) who has been coaxed by his campaign advisors to befriend Annie and let her move in with him to help him win the mayoral election. Well, during their time together, Annie steals the heart of Will Stacks and the happily-ever-after story unfolds for foster child Annie after all. This movie had great actors in it that could sing, dance, make you laugh and even tear up from time to time. I really enjoyed this movie and I would recommend this movie to people of all ages. Overall Rating: A-

Interstellar

By Darla - AV   |  April 10, 2015

This intriguing film begins in the future, where an old woman disclosed the life of her affectionate father Coop (Matthew McConaughey), both an engineer and a pilot who became a farmer in an environmentally damaged, drab, dusty earth. Events catapulted Coop back into using his previous skills as a pilot, with some assistance from his ten year old daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy). The scenes in this 168-minute science fiction film moved back and forth in time; in some scenes, Coop and Amelia Brand’s (Anne Hathaway) space exploring crew traveled through a wormhole to find a planet habitable to earthlings, and were met with obstacles, while other scenes occurred on the ruined earth. Themes of loss and regret flowed through the film; McConaughey particularly captured the disquiet of Coop. I was endeared with the interactions of the characters in the film, whether the interactions occurred between the explorers and their earthbound families, or between the explorers and their robotics. Overall Rating: B

Into the Woods

By Jill - AV   |  April 3, 2015

This film version of the Tony Award-winning musical, Into the Woods, reimagines the work of the talented Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine (who was born in Mansfield) in a slightly more Disney fashion. The story follows a childless baker and his wife who cross paths with several classic fairytale characters – Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack - as they try to undo the curse laid upon them by the evil Witch next door. Every character in the story longs for and receives a particular “happily ever after”, but the main theme of the story is to be careful what you wish for. Highlights of the film are the performances by the leads including Meryl Streep as the Witch, James Corden and Emily Blunt as the Baker and his wife, Anna Kendrick as Cinderella, and a surprisingly hilarious Chris Pine as her Prince who claims he was “raised to be charming, not sincere.” The gorgeous costumes and brilliant set designs compliment the terrific cast whose vocal skills are well up to the task of Sondheim’s tricky score. Overall Rating: A- (Once you have watched the Disney film version be sure to check out the live stage version filmed as an episode of American Playhouse with the original Broadway cast – it includes some great songs that were cut from the new film.)

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

By Pam - AV   |  March 20, 2015

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is the third and final film of the series. The ancient tablet of Ahkmenrah, which originally brought the museum exhibits to life, is corroding and is losing its power. Larry Daley, night guard at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History has Dr. McPhee arrange a trip for Larry, Ahkmenrah and the tablet to the British Museum to ask Ahkmenrah’s parents what can be done to save the magic. When Larry and his son Nick are smuggled into the British Museum by Ahkmenrah, they discover a few friends have made the journey as well and so the adventure begins! The movie has an interesting plot, funny dialogue, and memorable performances by Ben Stiller as caveman Laaa, Rebel Wilson as the British Museum night guard, and Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt in one of his last screen appearances. Overall Rating: B+

Birdman

By Amy - AV   |  March 13, 2015

This year’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture is Birdman, starring Michael Keaton as Riggan Thompson, an actor who is beyond his prime and is hoping to revive his career with a leading role in his own Broadway production. The movie, which is filmed in long, one-shot sequences, brings us into Thompson’s tortured world as he tries to deal with his past, his relationships, and the chaotic and frantic pace of the theater. In the film, Thompson is plagued by self-doubt (which literally follows him around in the form of Birdman, his past iconic superhero role), and also by his need to be loved by the public. The story, which at times is dark and confusing, and weaves in and out of reality, has its comedic moments and will keep you guessing and truly invested in its characters. The acting is superb (supporting actors Edward Norton and Emma Stone are amazing), and if you enjoy intense human drama, you will definitely like Birdman. Overall Rating: B

Lucy

By Angie - AV   |  March 6, 2015

In this Sci-Fi thriller, the title character Lucy (played by Scarlett Johansson) gets caught up in a drug deal that turns into a nightmare for her: a bag containing a powerful, synthetic drug is inserted into her abdomen and she is being used to smuggle the drug into a foreign country. The plan changes when the bag containing the drug bursts, leaking it directly into her body, and Lucy decides to get revenge on her captors. The story follows the effects of the drug on the human mind, and the unimaginable changes and super-human powers that occur to a person when their mind is unlocked beyond the standard 10 percent that the average person uses. While the storyline can definitely be seen as far-fetched, I have to admit that it is interesting to consider that there is an “unlocked” portion of our mind and explore the possibilities that come as this potential is reached. This film kept me interested to the very end, wanting to know what happened next as Lucy inched closer and closer to unlocking her mind’s full potential. Overall Rating: A-

Get On Up

By Melinda - AV   |  February 27, 2015

Get On Up is about the life story of James Brown (played by Chadwick Boseman), the legendary Godfather of Soul. This film tells us about Brown’s rise from extreme poverty, abandonment, abuse, and being in jail as a young adolescent and how he was able to overcome all of his life struggles and still follow his dream to be a singer. Brown began his music career joining an R& B group known as the “The Famous Flames”. From there, Brown’s music career took off with many twists and turns and he became known as one of the most loved, iconic, and influential entertainers of the 20th century. I really enjoyed this movie and it kept me entertained. The movie has great energy and music and it will make you want to “get on up” and dance. Overall Rating: A-

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

By Darla - AV   |  February 20, 2015

Isao Takahata directed the Tale of The Princess Kaguya, a Studio Ghibli film of the famous character, the beautiful and mysterious Kaguya; the film is based on the folktale, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Princess Kaguya is voiced by Aki Asakura and Chloe Grace Moretz. This anime folktale relates the lives of a rural, elderly couple who strive to raise their adopted daughter, Kaguya to be a refined princess, in order to marry her off to a wealthy suitor. A morality theme runs through the story, when choices made by Kaguya affect many people in her life, for better or for worse. The dreamy animation is splashed with water colors from the Edo period, and the flying action sequences are mesmerizing. The entire family will enjoy this enchanting tale, but be aware there is brief nudity in the film (a nursing child and nude toddler.) Overall Rating: A

The Drop

By Jill - AV   |  February 14, 2015

The Drop is the story of Marv - a middle-aged, wannabe mobster - and his cousin Bob who works for him at a Brooklyn neighborhood bar that serves as a front or “drop” site for the Chechen mob. A series of seemingly random events including a late night robbery at the bar and the rescue of an abused puppy bring the two men some unwanted attention from Chechen mobsters and the puppy’s former owner turned stalker. Dennis Lehane, who wrote the screenplay based on his short story, Animal Rescue, clearly knows how to slowly ratchet up the simmering tension until a shocking revelation builds to an explosive climax. Fans of the late James Gandolfini will not want to miss his excellent final performance as Marv. The real star of the film, however, is Tom Hardy who brilliantly brings the quietly observant Bob to life and slowly reveals the character’s hidden depths. Overall Rating: B+

Shatter Me by Lindsey Stirling

By Fate - AV   |  February 6, 2015

“Shatter Me” is the second CD by this artist – following her self-titled “Lindsey Stirling” – and is a perfect example of her amazing talent. Lindsey is a violinist/fiddler who began her lessons at a very early age, and was classically trained. She also wanted to be a dancer, but her parents could only afford one or the other, and she chose the violin – dancing came later. She is also a composer and much of her music is of her creation. Listening to “Shatter Me” is unlike hearing anything you have heard from the violin before: It is enchanting, uplifting, catchy, and addicting. If you would like to take the Lindsey Stirling experience to another level, start up your computer and go to YouTube and enter her name: “Shatter Me” is there and showcases her abilities with the violin and her dancing both. And yes, she does play the instrument during her dancing. She worked long and hard to develop this talent, and it is so phenomenal that you are certain to watch her other videos for more fun and enjoyment. Look for this excellent 12 song CD at call number 787.2 S861. Overall Rating: A+

Greatest Hits So Far... by Zac Brown Band

By Pam - AV   |  January 30, 2015

Critics have described the music of the Zac Brown Band as a mix of mainstream country, easy going pop and jam band vibes. This album features 11 #1 hits including four songs from “Uncaged”, the album that won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Country Album. The album contains a great collection of songs from the soulful “Goodbye in Her Eyes”, to the Latin flavor of “Jump Right In”, to “As She’s Walking Away”, which won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals featuring Alan Jackson. If I had to choose my favorite songs on this album, I would choose “Chicken Fried”, a feel good song about the little things in life that make us happy; “Toes”, a song that has a Caribbean feel that makes me want to jump on a plane to a faraway island paradise; “Colder Weather” a song with beautiful harmony in the chorus; and “Goodbye in Her Eyes”. The title of the album suggests to me that the Zac Brown Band plans to be entertaining us for many years to come. Download or stream the album through Hoopla, our digital resource for music, movies, television and audiobooks, or check out the music cd. Overall rating: A+

Dolphin Tale 2

By Amy - AV   |  January 23, 2015

Having thoroughly enjoyed Dolphin Tale (the true story of Winter, a rescued dolphin who receives a prosthetic tail), I was excited to watch her continuing story in Dolphin Tale 2, which starred the original cast members Nathan Gamble as Sawyer (the boy who bonded with Winter) and Harry Connick Jr. as Dr. Clay Haskett (who heads the rescue and rehab team at Clearwater Marina). In this adventure, we find the marina thriving as a tourist attraction and animal rehab facility with Winter as the main exhibit, but sadly when Winter loses her pool companion, she becomes depressed and refuses to interact with others or even wear her prosthetic tail. USDA regulations state that a dolphin must have a companion, which means she will be moved to another marina if one cannot be found for her, and this is very troubling to Sawyer, who is also facing personal issues of his own. While I found the sequel to be as enjoyable as the original with its wholesome, inspiring storyline, and lessons about determination after set-back and doing the right thing, the film spends a lot of time showing the minute details of the job of a marine biologist and I think this causes the movie to move a little slowly. The animal antics are really fun to watch though and I especially enjoyed the pelican named Rufus. Overall Rating: A-

Gone Girl

By Angie - AV   |  January 16, 2015

Based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl is a thriller centered around a seemingly perfect love between Nick and Amy Dunne (played by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike) that turned hostile, toxic, and possibly murderous. On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears from their home in Missouri, leaving behind a suspicious looking “crime scene” and enough bizarre clues to paint her husband Nick as the prime suspect in her disappearance and possible murder. Nick insists he is innocent, but as the days pass with no sign of Amy, information surfaces that Nick has been unfaithful and short-tempered in their marriage, adding to the appearance of his guilt. Just when you think you have it figured out, the plot takes another turn, adding to the suspense, and keeping you engaged all the way to the end. While I feel that the book provided more details about the story and the relationships between the characters than the movie did, the cast and the acting brought the story to life for me and had me hooked from the beginning. Overall Rating: A

The Equalizer

By Melinda - AV   |  January 9, 2015

Being a die-hard Denzel Washington fan, I was anticipating seeing him star in this 2014 film version of The Equalizer, which is a re-vamp of the T.V. series from the late 1980’s. The movie starts out a little slow showing McCall (Denzel Washington) as a mysterious man living a normal quiet life until he meets Teri, a teenage girl that is being mishandled by Russian gangsters, and he decides that he cannot sit by any longer. With his set of formidable skills, McCall’s desire for justice is awakened. I really enjoyed the movie for the action, but beware: there are quite a few violent, bloody, and gory parts in this film. Although I did like the movie, I can say there were also a few corny, predictable parts that they could have left out of an action-packed, thriller movie. I would recommend this to anyone who loves action-thriller films, and, even though it was not one of the best movies of Denzel Washington’s career, it still gets my thumbs up. Overall Rating: B+

The Maze Runner

By Darla - AV   |  January 2, 2015

Dylan O'Brien stars as Thomas, an amnesiac youth who awakens in a green valley surrounded by a band of boys. An impenetrable, menacing, immense, towering, maze encircles the youth who live in a dystopian society, a way of life that Thomas soon rebels against. The film, although based on a teen novel, appeals to all ages, due to its intriguing developments. The pace of the story and the audio effects were very good, while the special effects were okay. The Maze Runner’s closing needed an overhaul; however, the rest of the film was flawless. Overall Rating: B+

Cuban Fury

By Jill - AV   |  December 26, 2014

Cuban Fury is the story of Bruce Garrett, a mild-mannered engineer who was once a salsa-dancing child prodigy until a run-in with a group of bullies convinced him to burn his dancing shoes. When Bruce discovers the fact that his beautiful new boss, Julia, loves salsa dancing, he decides to slip on his dancing heels and sequined shirts once again in an effort to win her affections and defeat his slimy co-worker who has also set his sights on Julia. Some of the highlights of this film are the actors involved – Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd, and Kayvan Novak are real standouts, while Rashida Jones, Ian McShane, and Olivia Colman are wonderful but sadly under-utilized. The dance sequences are flashy and fun and the dance-off between Bruce and his rival, played by O’Dowd, which takes place in the office parking garage is downright hilarious. This is a feel-good story about an overweight underdog who finds his “corazon” or heart, gets the girl, and sets the dance floor on fire in the process. Overall Rating: B

The Guardians of the Galaxy

By Allison - AV   |  December 19, 2014

When I sat down to watch The Guardians of the Galaxy, I had high expectations for the film considering all of the great reviews I had heard, but I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with my level of enjoyment. The movie did have some humorous parts, I admit, and there were a few moments that were especially touching, but I never got as engaged in the storyline as I hoped I would, possibly because I wasn’t familiar with any of the Marvel characters in the film or because I typically don’t watch science fiction. However, I did appreciate the repeated theme of what true friendship is and means. One of my very favorite parts of the film, though, was the inclusion of music in the actual storyline: Unlike many films that use their soundtracks as merely background music, Guardians of the Galaxy allows its soundtrack (“Awesome Mix Vol. 1”) to weave in and out of the storyline, adding another layer of interest to the film, especially for those who enjoy music from the 1960s and 70s. In the end, I will probably watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2 when it is released in 2017, but I’m not sure if I will need a repeat of Guardians until that time. Overall Rating: B-

Anything Goes by Florida Georgia Line

By Angie - AV   |  December 5, 2014

With all of the hype surrounding the release of country duo Florida Georgia Line’s second album Anything Goes, I must admit that I was underwhelmed and disappointed after listening to it. There is only one song on the album that I like enough to listen to multiple times, and that is “Dirt”, which is already being played on country radio. Most of the other songs sounded very similar musically, and I had to fight the urge to skip tracks without hearing them all the way through because of the monotony. In my opinion they rely too much on lyrics that don’t make sense, as well as unnecessary clichés throughout (including the track titled “Angel” during which they actually sing the line “Did it hurt when you fell from the sky?”). It appears that with all of their recent success and popularity in the modern country music world, Florida Georgia Line may have been too rushed to release their next album, resulting in an overall boring and repetitive collection of songs that surely will not be as popular as their first album. Overall rating: D

Ping Pong Summer

By Darla - AV   |  November 21, 2014

It is 1985, hip hop and boom boxes are the rage, and 13 year old Radical Miracle (Marcello Conte) and his state trooper father, housewife mother, and goth sister are at their annual summer beach habitat in Ocean City, Maryland. When he is not awkwardly beatboxing or break dancing, Radical spends most of his time at the beach arcade with his new 13 year old friend, Teddy, playing ping pong. Conflict comes in the form of two local rich teens who make it their job to constantly bully Radical and Teddy. Radical finds time to impress a local beauty and navigate around an eccentric neighbor before settling a score with the local bullies through a ping pong challenge. Ping Pong Summer wonderfully captures the Ocean City beach scene, and the nostalgia of the period, but, besides a couple of surprises, the storyline is boring and predictable. Overall Rating: C

747 by Lady Antebellum

By Jill - AV   |  November 14, 2014

On 747, the fifth album by country group Lady Antebellum, the trio debuts a different sound with bigger arrangements and more electric guitar-driven songs than on their earlier albums. Overall the sound leans more toward the pop/adult contemporary vibe of some of the band’s biggest crossover hits (like "Need You Now" and "Downtown") with new singles like "Bartender", "Freestyle", and "Just a Girl". For me, the best tracks on the album are the ones that show off the tight harmonies between Hillary, Dave, and Charles including "Down South", "Long Stretch of Love", "Lie with Me", and the title track. Loyal fans will enjoy this album even if country purists complain about the lack of a more traditional country sound, but Lady A is by no means the only country act that is focusing more on crossover hits these days. The band is clearly stretching its wings and experimenting with new ideas on this album, and I think it will be a successful new direction for them. Grade B+ The deluxe edition of this CD, including three extra songs, is also available on Hoopla, the library’s online streaming service for music, audiobooks, and movies.

Chef

By Allison - AV   |  November 7, 2014

Being a lover of all things food, I thought that the feature film Chef would be right up my alley, and I was absolutely right. In Chef, Carl Casper, played by Jon Favreau (who also wrote and produced the film), loses his job in a restaurant and tries to turn his life around by buying a food truck. As the film progresses, it is easy to relate to the various characters as they react to the storyline with realistic emotions: anger, hurt, despair, disappointment, loyalty and hope, among others. In addition, the film includes several valuable lessons for today’s world, such as the importance of using social media responsibly and appreciating those things that are so easily taken for granted, such as family and good friends. In the end, the film wraps up extremely neat and tidy – almost to the point of being outside believability – but because of all the other wonderful features of the film, it is one that I fully recommend. Overall Rating: B+

Secrets of the Dead: The Mona Lisa Mystery

By Angie - AV   |  October 24, 2014

In this interesting PBS documentary, a group of experts theorize about the mystery behind Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and whether or not he actually painted his most famous work twice. In the early 1900’s, a second portrait surfaced – the so-called “Isleworth Mona Lisa” – that was strikingly similar to the Mona Lisa which hangs in the Louvre in Paris. Scientists and historians were able to use modern techniques to analyze both works of art in an attempt to determine if they were both created by da Vinci himself or if perhaps the Isleworth painting is nothing more than an excellent forgery. The narrative in this documentary goes back and forth, examining all theories, and by the end many questions are still left up to each individual’s own interpretation. While I learned a great deal from this film regarding the overall history of the famous painting, for me the mystery behind it all still remains a total mystery – but that just adds to the iconic charm of Mona Lisa herself. Overall rating: B+

Bee People

By Darla - AV   |  October 10, 2014

Bee People: Get Stung is a documentary from director David Knappe that shadows the daily exploits of American rural and urban beekeepers. The Bee Guru, Bee Angel, Bee Medic, Bee Cop and others give attitude and flair when they interact with other beekeepers, whether they retrieve swarms from a barn or extract honey from a city backyard hive. Hilarious, educational, short film clips quiz people on the street to test their bee knowledge. Yes, beekeepers get stung in this film, just as I have, when I visit my own hive. This is one of the best films I’ve seen on beekeeping; the actors entertain, and teach their craft expertly. Overall Raing: A+

True Detective - TV Series

By Jill - AV   |  October 3, 2014

True Detective is the story of the partnership of two Louisiana State detectives named Marty Hart and Rust Cohle, played brilliantly by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. The story ranges between 1995, when the newly partnered detectives begin to investigate a ritualistic and gruesome murder, and 2012 when the two are being questioned separately by two officers who are investigating a new crime with ties to the old case. Together the writer and director of this HBO series create a haunting story shot in a surrealistic Louisiana landscape with a leisurely pace that examines not only the crimes in question but the evolving relationship between the two main characters. The show won several Emmy awards, and I cannot express how perfect the casting, directing, and cinematography are in this series. My one complaint is the fact that, as in most HBO and pay-cable series, there is too much use of gratuitous female nudity and a lack of strong female characters to balance the two male leads. Overall Rating: B+

The Fault in Our Stars

By Allison - AV   |  September 26, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars – based on the young adult novel of the same name – focuses on two teenagers named Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus (Ansel Elgort) who form a relationship after meeting in a cancer support group. Throughout the movie, Hazel is very frank about her diagnosis and doesn’t revert to the woe-is-me view point, which is refreshing for a film with such a solemn topic. The acting is superb and the storyline stays (mostly) true to the book itself. My only true complaint is that, at several points, text bubbles representing text messages appear on the screen, and they are written in a font that was difficult for me to read. Overall, it was a great film and one that I may have to go out and purchase. Overall Rating: A-

Godzilla

By Kevin - AV   |  September 19, 2014

The newest offering for the long running Godzilla movie series stars Aaron Taylor Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston. The movie certainly has spectacular special effects, and I like the way the creators made Godzilla both menacing and powerful and yet almost endearing in their nod to the original rotund monster. This rendition of Godzilla also resurrects some of the earlier films' portrayals of Godzilla as hero and protector of humanity as it battles against impressive creatures who threaten to destroy civilization. The overall acting is fine, but time after time the absurd coincidences in which characters happen to be in the right place at the right time make believing in the enormous creatures seem easy. Still, it is great to see the iconic monster hit the big screen once again, and if you like great action and superb special effects, you may enjoy this movie. Overall Rating: B-

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