Movie and Music Reviews

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Hard II Love by Usher

By Melinda - AV   |  January 13, 2017

Usher-Hard II Love is Usher’s eighth album release of his music career. The album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200. It had been over 4 years since Usher had released a new album and his fans were anxiously waiting for him to release new music. I am a die-hard Usher fan and I have to admit it was worth the wait. Hard II Love is one of his best albums in over a decade since his chart topping album Confessions in 2004, which will always be a number one classic. As you listen to the 15-tracks, you will notice they are solely about Usher taking ownership of relationship issues in his past to becoming a better man. Literally, I liked every track on the album but some of my favorites were “No Limit” featuring artist Young Thug, and “Rivals” featuring Future, “Missin U” and '”Stronger” is a nice emotional track that ends the album well. If you’re an Usher fan, listen to Hard II Love, you will not be disappointed. I believe Usher has made another classic musical masterpiece. Overall Rating: A

The Magnificent Seven

By Darla - AV   |  January 8, 2017

I was expecting to enjoy The Magnificent Seven; I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the 2016 version of The Magnificent Seven, based on the screenplay of the same name by Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa’s film, The Seven Samurai had a great influence on this film. In this legend, seven rough, fighting men volunteer to defend a small town against a dark enemy. Remarkably the warriors’ back stories are well developed, making the saga fascinating. The calamities that occur in the evolving story show how raw things could get in the “good old days” during the post-Civil War era. The action flows smoothly along as the story rushes to the climactic ending. Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Vincent D’Onofrio star in this Western. Overall Rating A+

Florence Foster Jenkins

By Barb - AV   |  December 31, 2016

Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, and Simon Helberg bring to life the story of Florence Foster Jenkins. Based on a true story, the movie takes place during the last years of Florence’s life. Meryl’s performance was well done: Her singing abilities were put to the test as she, a talented singer, captured Florence’s inability to sing as well as Florence’s belief that she could sing. Hugh plays St. Clair Bayfield, the love of Florence’s life, who is very devoted to keeping Florence in the dark about her singing abilities, allowing Florence to live out her dream of singing. Simon Helberg plays Cosme McMoon, Florence’s accompanist. At first Cosme struggles with accompanying Florence, as he knows she cannot sing, but he stays with her throughout her life, performing on stages he may never have had the opportunity to play. This movie is funny and heartwarming. I enjoyed watching the movie. If you would like to hear what Florence sounded like, the library has her CD. The title is “The Glory (???)Of the Human Voice.” Overall Rating: A

Pete's Dragon

By Allison - AV   |  December 23, 2016

Having never seen the original 1977 version of Pete’s Dragon, I had no expectations when I sat down to watch the revamped 2016 film and, by the end, I had tears in my eyes. The story follows Pete, a small boy who finds himself alone in the woods after his parents die in a car accident. Scared and surrounded by vicious wolves, he is saved by a dragon who becomes his pseudo-parent, protector, and very best friend. The dragon – who Pete names Elliot – struck me as a mix between a large Labrador retriever and a big cat: Part clumsiness, part grace, both playful and serious, and covered in a sea of green fur. However, unlike in the original movie where Elliot was distinctly animated, the new Elliot was created using computer-generation imagery (CGI), which allowed him to have a realness that made the other characters’ responses to him all the more believable. The storyline was cute and a little predictable, but was engaging enough that I was rooting for a happy ending for both Pete and Elliot by the end.Overall Rating: A-

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (Audiobook)

By Bridget - AV   |  December 16, 2016

Jaqueline Woodson is one of the most celebrated young adult writers in the United States, so I was curious to try out one of her new adult fiction novels: Another Brooklyn. I listened to the audiobook on a recent trip. It clocks in at a short 2.75 hours, but packs a punch. The main character is an anthropologist, August, who returns home to Brooklyn for her father’s funeral. After a run-in with a friend, August reflects upon her girlhood in Brooklyn during the 1970s, a time she remembers fondly, but in hindsight realizes that she was deep in denial about her mother’s death, and that there were threats to her innocence everywhere. The audiobook is read by Robin Miles, whose rich voice embodies the various dialects and accents that are part of the novel. I do not often listen to audiobooks, but I enjoyed this one. After I finished it, I immediately downloaded Woodson’s award winning Brown Girl Dreaming. This audiobook inspired me to start working my way through all of Woodson’s novels. Overall rating: A

Time Change Series by Alex Myers (Amazon Kindle eBook)

By Fate - AV   |  December 9, 2016

Ok you Fire Tablet borrowers, users, or anyone wanting to try an e-book from Amazon Kindle. "Time Change Series" by Alex Myers is a 3 book series that ties the story line together from book 1 to book 2 to book 3. Jack was riding in a car with his girl friend when a severe thunderstorm suddenly strikes, causing the car to skid and crash. When Jack awakens, he is not a hospital, as he expected. He somehow had been taken back in time to a period just years before the Civil War. As he finds his way around in his new world, he discovers his knowledge of products and technology from the 21st century have a significant impact on his experiences. It is to the extent that he believes he can be a factor in preventing the occurrence of the Civil War. His efforts, along with the acquaintances he gathers, are leading to that possibility, however, there are negative forces that do not want this to happen. Very interesting and entertaining story. Overall Rating: A

Finding Dory

By Amy - AV   |  December 2, 2016

Finding Dory, the much-anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo has finally arrived and it was definitely worth the wait! Dory, (the blue tang fish with very short-term memory), suddenly realizes she once had a family and decides it’s time to go find them. Understanding she can’t go alone she convinces Marlin, (Nemo’s dad) to go along. Dory, Marlin, and Nemo set out with the few snippets of memories Dory can recall and begin a journey that takes them to a conservatory called the Marine Life Institute. Dory, who gets separated from Marlin and Nemo, meets Hank, an escape artist octopus and several other lovable marine creatures at the Institute who try to help her find her mom and dad, while Marlin and Nemo do their best to find Dory, as only two fish out of water can. There are several heart-tugging emotional scenes and the focus is, once again, on family bonds. The animation is beautiful and the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neil, and Diane Keaton really bring the characters to life. I enjoyed this Nemo film as much as I did the first one and would definitely recommend it! Be sure to wait for the fun scene at the end of the credits! Overall Rating: A+

Nerve

By Melinda - AV   |  November 18, 2016

Nerve (2016) is an adventurous thriller about a reserved high school senior Vee (played by Emma Roberts) who is pressured to step out of her comfort zone by her friends and join Nerve, a popular online reality game. This game challenges players to either enlist online as "players" or pay to watch as "watchers". Players accept dares from watchers, receiving money rewards that increase with the danger of the dare when completed successfully. In her first dare, Vee (Emma Roberts) meets a mysterious stranger named Ian (Dave Franco) who coincidentally is playing the game also. They both find out that they become the star players very quickly to the “watchers” and the adrenaline fueled competition starts them off with simple, fun dares which soon leads them up to dangerous stunts that are just not fun anymore and will leave you on the edge of your seat. As the game, Nerve, continues into a high stake finale, Vee’s future will be at risk. What do you think she will do? How much “Nerve” will she have? You have to watch it and see! I enjoyed this movie. It was exciting and adventurous and it left a hidden message to all of the “watchers”! Overall Rating: B+

Beep: A Documentary History of Game Sound

By Darla - AV   |  November 11, 2016

Beep, an official selection of the 2016 GeekFest Film Festival, and a Winner for Best Editing at the 2016 Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, covers the history of arcade and video game sounds and interviews the artists who created the game sounds. The development of game sounds and music, from the Penny Arcade era of the 1900s to the video games of the 2010s are covered. I liked the interviews, because the game sound artists are given a platform to gain recognition for the work they did on different games. The artists each explained how they began enhancing arcade and video games, using available limited audio technology, and progressed to the current day’s advanced audio technology to create game sounds for enjoyable audio gaming experiences. Extra features are Big in Japan, Ryu Imemoto Special, and Industry Insider Tips. This video is recommended for people who are interested in game audio history. Overall Rating: A

MEmphis Rock and Soul by Melissa Etheridge

By Barb - AV   |  November 4, 2016

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Melissa, and she is back with “MEmphis Rock and Soul”. This CD pays to tribute to legendary Stax Records artists including, Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, and Johnnie Taylor. They are well represented by her. As I was listening to the CD, I could envision the recording sessions in Memphis filled with horn players, backup singers, and former members of the original bands. Melissa’s rendition of Sam and Dave’s “Hold on I’m Coming” is one of the best versions I’ve heard. Her raspy voice and the soulful sounds from the band on Otis Redding’s “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember” gives this classic song a blended version of old and new. The song choices are a good mix of rock and soul from the historic Stax studio artists. While the CD has 12 songs on it, I wanted to hear more. The influences of these iconic artists have been with Melissa throughout her career. Her voice just lends itself to this type of music. For fans of this genre, “MEmphis Rock and Soul” will not disappoint and would be a nice addition to your play list. This title is also available as a digital resource in Hoopla. Overall Rating: A

Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)

By Allison - AV   |  October 28, 2016

“Alice Through the Looking Glass” is the sequel to the 2010 live-action version of “Alice in Wonderland.” In the film, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) must go back in time to save the Mad Hatter’s family from the Jabberwocky (which perished in the first movie) and go against Time (Sacha Baron Cohen) as he attempts to foil her efforts. Johnny Depp (the Mad Hatter), Helena Bonham Carter (the Red Queen), and Anne Hathaway (the White Queen) round out the leading roles. Despite the film’s all-star cast, detailed costuming, and glorious computer-generated scenery, the storyline didn’t hold my attention: It felt haphazard and disjointed – but perhaps it was meant to be that way due to its Wonderland setting. The film did include several humorous parts, but they largely centered around creative word play. Families with children might enjoy the film, but, if you haven’t seen the original, don’t waste your time. Overall Rating: C

Wild World by Bastille

By Bridget - AV   |  October 21, 2016

After becoming a Bastille fan in 2013 following the release of their album “Bad Blood,” I was anxious for their follow-up: “Wild World.” One of the things that I loved the most about “Bad Blood” was that many of the songs such as “Icarus” and “Pompeii” were influenced by history and mythology. I had hoped that this would continue to “Wild World” and was disappointed when it did not. Instead the songs on this album are more influenced by pop culture and the lead singer’s insecurities. One of the songs that I liked from the album is “Good Grief.” However, I preferred the acoustic version that was released this past summer. “Good Grief” is about death and funerals and on the album, the song is very upbeat and the music sounds overly euphoric when paired with such sad lyrics. While “Wild World” achieves a certain feeling of vulnerability; I preferred “Bad Blood” which was simply more fun to listen to. I also could not find any songs on “Wild World” that really stuck with me or that I wanted to listen to more than once. Overall Rating: D

Hologram for the King

By Fate - AV   |  October 14, 2016

While checking in DVD's recently, I saw this title. It intrigued me but I let it pass by. A few days later, I saw the title again and decided to read the synopsis, but before I got that far I saw that Tom Hanks was in the starring role. Tom Hanks, right? That was all I needed to check it out and give it a look. Tom Hanks, yeah! He portrayed a businessman who would be the key salesman to promote a new high technology product to the King in Saudi Arabia. His superiors had their doubts about him, but he convinced them he had the product knowledge and the ability to make the sale. He was under extreme pressure to meet the King and make the sale as soon as possible. Upon arrival in Arabia, he soon found that things do not move on the same timetable as in the U.S. His Saudi contact was supposed to be available but constantly was unavailable. The King, who was supposed to be coming very soon, was likewise, continuously somewhere else with no idea as to when he would arrive. Hanks meets and becomes friends, and more, with some of the residents. To keep from doing a "spoiler alert", that is about all I will submit as to the story. Those looking for a lot of 'action' will not find it. Those who are looking for an interesting story that keeps one's attention, will find that. Overall Rating: B+

Central Intelligence

By Amy - AV   |  October 7, 2016

Central Intelligence, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, is an extremely funny comedy/adventure about two men who went to high school together. Hart plays star athlete, most-likely to succeed, super popular, and all-around great guy, Calvin Joyner. Johnson is the out-of-shape, nerdy, friendless and often bullied Robbie Wierdicht. Fast-forward to twenty years later and Robbie, now Bob Stone, is a changed man, he’s confident, muscular, and successful and Calvin has become an accountant who feels he peeked in high school and is depressed that he didn’t live up to his potential. The two reconnect on Facebook the day before their high school reunion. Bob has never forgotten how Calvin came to his rescue after he was the victim of a really nasty prank and he still adores him. Bob asks Calvin to help him with something; Calvin agrees, but doesn’t realize he’s getting involved with the CIA and international espionage! Hilarious antics ensue and leave the viewer guessing as to what’s really going on. I really enjoyed this movie; it was truly funny and very entertaining. Overall Rating: A+

Conducting Hope

By Angie - AV   |  September 30, 2016

Conducting Hope is a fascinating documentary that follows the East Hill Singers - the only men’s prison choir in the United States allowed to perform outside of prison walls – as they prepare for an upcoming concert. The East Hill Singers are a unique group, as they are composed of current inmates at the Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, Kansas, along with former inmates and community volunteer members. Being part of the choir has a surprising emotional impact on the inmates as they are able to feel a sense of community, commitment, and purpose that they otherwise wouldn’t encounter in the incarcerated environment. One gentleman even said that singing made him feel “human again”, and “not just an object” (or just a number) which is typical of the prison experience. The inmates find it exhilarating to be able to go outside of the correctional facility. They get to feel like part of the community again for a few hours, and are even able to see family members who attend the concert – sometimes this includes family they haven’t seen in years, or children they are not able to see while incarcerated, due to visitation guidelines. For those skeptical of the program and allowing inmates a chance to be outside the correctional facility, volunteer guards do go with the men when they leave for concerts. And in 15 years of this program’s existence, there have been ZERO incidents and no one has ever tried to escape. I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary and highly recommend it. It shows the incredible power and impact that music can have, and makes you think about the possible ways that prison programs could be reformed. Programs like the East Hill Singers help to reduce recidivism by building self-esteem, teaching the importance of teamwork, and most importantly fostering hope. Overall Rating: A

The Perfect Match

By Melinda - AV   |  September 23, 2016

Perfect Match is a light-hearted Rom-Com movie about relationships and love. Playboy, Charlie (Terrence Jenkins) is convinced that relationships are dead and he can never fall in love even though his friends and his sister Sherry, who is a therapist (played by Paula Patton) tries to tell him otherwise. His best friends bet him that if he sticks to one woman for one month, he's bound to fall in love. Charlie takes the bet because he believes that he’s that immune to love. But then he crosses paths with the beautiful and mysterious Eva (Cassie Ventura). Turning on his irresistible charm, Charlie coaxes Eva into a casual affair but soon finds out that Eva has turned the tables on him. Now Charlie is questioning whether he may actually want more than just a one night stand and asking himself can he actually be “in love”. If you love romantic comedies like I do, then the Perfect Match is definitely a perfect pick! Overall Rating: A-

Captain America: Civil War

By Darla - AV   |  September 16, 2016

I knew that Captain America: Civil War would bring action to the screen; I was not disappointed. One thing I appreciated about this action film, was seeing some of the minor superheroes, Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Spider-Man (Tom Holland), and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) in meatier roles. Of course, Captain America (Chris Evans) drove the story, when he went to the assistance of his old friend Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) who became a wanted man, because of devastating deeds he had committed. The division in the superheroes ranks exploded into an epic battle, when Tony Starks (Robert Downey Jr.), influenced by both political pressure and his own guilt over past events, agreed to help arrest the Winter Soldier. The climax of the film happened unexpectedly, and made you wonder if the team could overcome their differences. The story was well written, and moved forward at a steady pace. Overall Rating: A

The Boss

By Barb - AV   |  September 9, 2016

The movie “The Boss” had a talented cast of actors: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Peter Dinklage, and Kathy Bates. The plot line follows Michelle Darnell (played by Melissa), from the height of her successful business career to her quick fall from grace after she is sent to prison for insider trading. Once released from prison Michelle has to rebuild her life, and the only person who will give her a chance is Claire, her former assistant played by Kristen Bell. Tired of supporting Michelle, Claire forces her to take on some responsibilities, namely helping out with Claire’s tween aged daughter, Rachel. Michelle ends up going to a Dandelion meeting where the idea of her future business occurs. The Dandelions have cookies; Michelle has brownies. The recipe for the brownies belongs to Claire, and the two of them begin to rebuild Michelle Darnell’s climb up the corporate ladder. Turf war breaks out between the two groups; with physical battles, and F bombs flying. This type of humor continues throughout the movie and with tween aged kids involved, I thought it missed the mark of being funny. The end of the movie was just as silly, Michelle sold her rights to the company to her former lover/business partner Renault, played by Peter Dinklage, after she misinterprets Claire’s meeting with Renault. A plot to get the secret recipe back from Renault results in a ninja style fight that just seemed so out of place for this movie. The Boss had great potential but missed the mark for me. Overall Rating: C

A Hologram for the King

By Allison - AV   |  September 2, 2016

A Hologram for the King centers around failed salesman Alan Clay – played by Tom Hanks – who goes to Saudi Arabia to try to sell his company’s new holographic telecommunication system to the monarch. While the premise of the story focuses around the business deal, the movie itself largely focuses on Clay, his experiences with the Saudi Arabian culture, and how life doesn’t always go according to plan. Comedic elements are dispersed throughout the film, and the story has a feel-good ending despite the numerous challenges Alan faces. From beginning to end, I enjoyed the film: The acting was excellent, the set and scenery were authentic-looking, and the attention to detail was impressive. (One of the special features on the DVD expounds on this attention to detail and is worth watching as well.) All in all, A Hologram for the King was a job well done. Overall Rating: A-

Dreams Rewired

By Bridget - AV   |  August 26, 2016

Dreams Rewired is a German and Austrian produced, award-winning essay documentary that uses rare, pre-1940 archival film footage to show how our current cultural obsession with technology and communication isn’t so new. Before Facebook and Twitter there was the telephone, wireless radios, early cinemas and television. The film shows how the nostalgia some feel for the “disconnectedness” of the past is misplaced. Feelings of fear and anxiety over how technology changes the way we communicate happen with each generation. Tilda Swinton provides the narration of the essay. The film is worth watching solely for her ethereal and hypnotic voiceover. History fans and lovers of old films will enjoy the hundreds of archival footage clips. My main criticism of the film is that the clips are shown in rapid succession, and I found that to be a bit jarring. Overall, I enjoyed this documentary. It certainly left me with a lot to think about. Overall Rating : A

Drones by Muse

By Fate - AV   |  August 19, 2016

By accident, I came across some music by Muse a few years ago and quickly became a fan. As purchaser of music for the library at the time, I added albums that seemed appropriate. I had not heard anything new from this British rock band for quite some time, so I was pleased when "Drones" came out recently. It is their 7th album, and our copy includes a DVD video with the CD. "Drones" won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album, and it has been #1 or in the top 5 of music charts worldwide. So is it that good? Well, if you like solid rock & roll, an appealing voice from the lead singer (Matt Bellamy), and a variety of selections from intense to smooth, yes, this is a very good, listenable album. Overall Rating: A

Miracles From Heaven

By Melinda - AV   |  August 5, 2016

Miracles from Heaven is a true inspiring story about having hope and faith of the Beam Family. Anna Beam (Kylie Rogers) is a young, 10 year old girl who is diagnosed with a rare, incurable stomach disease that leaves her unable to digest food. Despite the odds, her mother Christy Beam (played by Jennifer Garner) relentlessly searches for medical expertise far away from home to save her daughter’s life. With unanswered questions, and little hope left after much time, Anna returns home to be with her loving family and unfortunately has a freak accident. After her dramatic rescue and recovery, Anna unfolds an amazing story to her family and community about her visit to heaven and her amazing experience. During this story, you will be filled with an array of emotions and by the end you will know where there is hope there is faith, and where there is faith MIRACLES do happen!! This was an amazing story and I recommend everyone to see it! It is now on my favorite movies list! Overall Rating: A+

Hail, Caesar!

By Amy - AV   |  July 29, 2016

Hail, Caesar! starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, as well as appearances by several other big names, is a new comedy-drama by the Coen brothers. This film was very hard to review because it’s one of those movies that leaves you scratching your head. I can’t say whether I liked or disliked this movie. The story follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix (Brolin) who works as a “fixer” for a major studio during Hollywood’s golden age. When one of his movie stars goes missing (Clooney) he must deal with that, as well as a host of other unrelated issues such as a singing cowboy who can’t speak; an unwed, pregnant actress; and an uptight, testy director. He’s also dealing with his own guilt over whether or not to change jobs to have more time with his family. There is a lot going on in this movie which makes the story a bit hard to follow and, to some, may feel pointless. The characters are likable however, which saved it for me, and there are a few quite bizarre and unexpected scenes that were really hilarious. Overall Rating: C

Tattoo Nation: The True Story of the Ink Revolution

By Darla - AV   |  July 22, 2016

Not too long ago, bikers, military veterans, and prisoners were associated with tattoos. But today, many people from other walks of life sport tattoos proudly. Why did tattoos become so popular, and who is responsible for bringing tattoos to the mainstream? This documentary answers those questions and covers the history of tattoos in the United States from the 1960s to the first two decades of the 21st century. Rivalries and camaraderie, custom work to flash work, black and grey to color, and Japanese style to Chicano style are some of the topics that will be explained in this enlightening film. Tattoo competition winners, Edward “Chuco” Caballero and David Oropeza, and prominent Tattooists, Jack Rudy, Freddy Negrete, and Charlie Cartwright gave revealing interviews about their experiences in the tattoo world. This historical, tattoo culture film is informative and entertaining. Overall Rating: A+

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley (AUDIOBOOK)

By Barb - AV   |  July 15, 2016

Lily and the Octopus - written by Steven Rowley, narrated by Michael Urie I wasn’t sure what this book was about other than a dog that had an octopus on its head, but the title was so intriguing that I couldn’t resist listening to it. The story that unfolded was an insightful look at life through the eyes of a devoted pet owner, Ted, and his elderly dog, Lily. A bit of whimsy is included as the dog speaks English and so does the octopus. Ted, Lily’s owner, must grapple with the difficult decisions that come with an aging pet. As he makes these decisions about Lily, Ted also examines the difficulties in his own relationships with humans. Once the options for Lily become clear, so do some of the solutions for Ted’s personal dilemmas. Life decisions are difficult and, for anyone who has owned a beloved pet, this book with its unique title will suck you in and remind you why people love and fight to hold onto those they don’t want to lose. While the narration was a bit lacking in variation between characters, and at first I did not like the voice of Lily, by the middle of the book the narration was much improved. I enjoyed listening to this debut novel and would read the next available book by this author. For digital resource users, this title is available through 3M Cloud and Overdrive as e-audio and e-books. Overall Rating: A

10 Cloverfield Lane

By Allison - AV   |  July 8, 2016

Produced by the legendary J. J. Abrams, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a topsy-turvy film that keeps viewers guessing until the very end. Michelle, the film’s leading lady (portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead), wakes up after a car accident to find herself in an underground bunker with two men, Howard and Emmett (played by John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr., respectively). Howard has told Michelle that she cannot leave due to chemical and/or nuclear attacks that have been happening in the area, and she spends the majority of the movie trying to figure out whether or not she trusts him. (I must admit, I also spent the majority of the film trying to figure out the same thing.) There were so many twists and turns that, by the end, I was tired of trying to guess what was coming next. In addition, the film left several of my questions unanswered and abandoned any closure by setting up a potential sequel during the closing scene. On the positive side, the acting was very good, and the soundtrack fulfilled its role by complementing the storyline well. Overall, I think the film will appeal to Sci-Fi lovers and J. J. Abrams fans, but I have no desire to ever see it again. Overall Rating: C+

Race

By Pam - AV   |  July 1, 2016

Race recounts the true story of legendary athlete Jesse Owens’ journey to the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. While there, he won four Olympic Gold medals and broke several world records. The film begins with Jesse (Stephan James) leaving Cleveland, Ohio to attend college at Ohio State University. There he meets Coach Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis). After a rather intense first conversation, Jesse and Coach Snyder get on with the business of training Jesse to be the best athlete that he can be—the Buckeye Bullet, the fastest man in the world. Jesse almost did not attend the 1936 Olympics. Because of the Nazis’ treatment of the Jews & non-Aryan races, there was a question whether or not the United States would even send athletes to Berlin. In the end the American Olympic Committee voted by a narrow margin to attend the games in Berlin. Then a representative from the N.A.A.C.P. met with Jesse and his family trying to dissuade him from attending the Games. The conversation between the man from the N.A.A.C.P and Jesse is one of my favorite parts of the film. Jesse asked the man from the N.A.A.C. P. if he was a runner. The man answers, "Not competitively." Jesse replies, “Out there, there ain’t no black and white, there’s only fast and slow. Nothing matters, not color, not money, not even hate. For those 10 seconds you are completely free.” Race portrays what life was like in the 1930’s for blacks. It is a celebration of determination and perseverance. If you are looking for an inspiring, feel-good movie, I would suggest watching Race. Overall Rating: B++

Anomalisa

By Fate - AV   |  June 24, 2016

Anomalisa is the subject of this review. I prefer to talk about something I have enjoyed - a music CD, a book. This time it will be a movie. Well, it is a movie, but the only interesting part of this one was right after the opening credits. The screen fades to black and you hear men's voices - conversing, laughing - which along with the black screen goes on for several moments. Then, unfortunately, the movie starts. The Ratings Box states "R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language". This movie gives a new meaning to "graphic" nudity. And yes, there is a considerable amount of profanity. There was a popular TV comedy series that based its premise on "nothing". Essentially, I could not find a better description for the premise of this movie. The characters were 'robotic', even the voices of the males and females sounded pretty much the same. This review is probably about as charming as the movie. Overall Rating: D-

Zootopia

By Amy - AV   |  June 17, 2016

Zootopia, a soon-to-be Disney classic, is a beautifully animated comedy-adventure about a world where animals live in harmony, with predators putting aside their carnivorous instincts and prey living peacefully among them. The movie tells the story of Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), who leaves life as a rural carrot farmer and travels to the big city (Zootopia) to pursue her dream of being the first bunny police officer at the ZPD. Judy works hard to be able to join the force only to be treated poorly by the commander because she’s a bunny. She’s put on meter duty but soon finds herself teaming up with a sly fox (Jason Bateman) to stop the mysterious disappearance of some of the city’s carnivores. The humor will appeal to everyone from young children to teens to adults, but this movie is also full of messages. There are references to current social issues including racism and stereotyping. Many of these references may go over younger children’s heads but will definitely resonate with teens and adults. I thought this was a really great movie; it was funny, action-packed, and had a meaningful storyline. Parents should be aware that there are a few sequences that might be a bit scary to some kids. Overall Rating: A+

How to Be Single

By Angie - AV   |  June 10, 2016

How to Be Single…this is far from a self-help film that actually answers that question. Instead, the movie is a raunchy romantic-comedy that proves that everyone has a different approach to relationships, or the lack of one. Dakota Johnson plays Alice, a young woman who is somewhat bored of her life in a monotonous relationship, so she decides to move to New York City and explore life on her own for a while. At her new job as a paralegal, she meets Robin (played by the hilarious Rebel Wilson) who makes it her mission to try to teach Alice how to let loose and have fun with life. Meanwhile, other characters are following their own paths of being single, and for the sake of this movie, those paths all intersect to form a cohesive plot. Though laced with crude sexual humor throughout, I would still classify this as a “chick-flick.” I did appreciate that the storyline (especially the ending) was not as predictable as I had anticipated, which gave it a uniqueness that many rom-coms are lacking. In my opinion, the movie is better suited for a “girl’s night” than a “date night”…but check it out and form your own conclusion. I guarantee you’ll laugh at least once! Overall Rating: B

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