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Sing

Buster Moon has one last chance to save his beloved theater. His idea is to hold a singing contest with a $1,000 prize. Buster's assistant, however, mistypes the prize amount and offers $100,000 instead, so everyone wants to participate in the show. It sounds like an ordinary plot that’s been done before, except in Sing the characters are all animals voiced by some of Hollywood’s most talented performers. Matthew McConaughey is Buster; Reese Witherspoon is Rosita, a proud mother of 25 piglets; Seth MacFarlane is Mike, a Rat Pack era mouse; Scarlett Johansson is Ash, a punk rock porcupine; Taron Egerton is Johnny, a teenage gorilla; Tori Kelly is Meena, a shy elephant. The movie has multiple story lines that follow the characters as they all prepare for the competition, with many twists and turns and laughs throughout. The soundtrack has well-chosen songs from a variety of genres. I enjoyed this movie. Overall Rating: A
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The Peanuts Movie

If you are a fan of the Peanuts gang, you will enjoy The Peanuts Movie. This movie brings together familiar storylines from the comics and television shows. In this heartwarming tale, an empty house on the street where Charlie Brown and his sister, Sally, live begins the conversation of who is moving in and, in the school room; the gang discovers it is the little red haired girl that captures the heart of Charlie Brown. From there the movie tells the tale of Charlie Brown finally gaining the confidence to have a conversation and a friendship with the little red haired girl. The kite eating tree, Snoopy as the World War One Flying Ace battling the Red Baron, Lucy’s opening her psych practice for more friendly advice and many more favorites are all part of Charlie Brown’s quest for the little red haired girl. The cast of supporting characters - including Schroder, Linus, Peppermint Patty, and the rest of the gang- round out the story lines of this enjoyable film. For long time fans, this movie will be a fun trip down memory lane and for new viewers this is an introduction to a classic comic series that will quickly become a new favorite. Overall Rating: A
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Grace and Frankie. Season one

In the show’s premier season, Grace (played by Jane Fonda) and Frankie (played by Lily Tomlin) find themselves once again thrown together for evening meal by their spouses Saul and Robert (played by Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen). The women think their husbands of 40 years are going to announce their retirement, but instead receive a life changing revelation: their husbands decide to come out of the closet and openly reveal their love for one another and their plans to marry. This sets the scene for the rest of the season. Both women end up moving into the beach house the two couples shared. While Grace would rather have the house all to herself to deal with the end of her marriage, Frankie is glad to have the company. The adventures these two women have on their quest to adjust to their new lives are quite funny and touching at the same time. The show manages to balance a range of emotions from all the characters that are reflective of dealing with new beginnings and sad goodbyes to long term relationships. By the end of the season, reality has set in and the impending marriage between Robert and Saul is about to take place. Grace and Frankie are supportive of their ex-husbands decisions and are on friendly terms. I enjoyed this show and I am looking forward to Season 2. Overall Rating: A
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Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley (AUDIOBOOK)

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
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The Boss

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
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MEmphis Rock and Soul by Melissa Etheridge

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
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Florence Foster Jenkins

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
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I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb (Audiobook)

I was looking for a new author and discovered Wally Lamb. His latest book, I’ll Take You There, piqued my interest as to where he was going to take me. The journey that followed was one of history, family, and the female role in life - the influence of women in the main character’s life becomes the focus of this book. The main character, Felix, has a movie club that meets in an old theater that was once used for vaudeville acts. While getting things ready for his club, he has an encounter with a ghost from the early years of the film industry named Lois Weber. Weber welcomes Felix to the movie of Felix’s life. Shown on the big screen, the movie gives Felix insight to his younger years with his sisters. As the movie plays, the connections to the past and the present reveal how things have changed for women and the challenges women face today. The end of the movie leaves Felix with a better understanding of his life and how the struggles of the females in his family shaped them into the strong women of today. The reader gets a history lesson about the female role in history without the boring parts. I enjoyed the journey this book took me on. I have found a new author and will look forward to reading more of Wally Lamb’s books. Digital Resource users can find this title in Overdrive. The audiobook is narrated by George Guidall. Overall Rating: A
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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I have watched the animated version of this film many times over the years. I was excited to see the previews for a new version of Beauty and the Beast, and after watching the movie, I was not disappointed. Emma Watson (Belle), Dan Stevens (the Beast), and a cast of many other talented actors brings the sleepy village in France to life. The elaborate scenes, big musical productions, and the Beast’s visually stunning effects made me feel like I was watching a Broadway Play on the big screen. While the original animated version was made for a younger audience, this updated film is for an older audience.  Gaston is more sinister and Le Fou is still comical yet with misgivings about Gaston’s actions to win Belle over. The fight scenes between the Beast and Gaston are fairly intense, especially the one at the end of the movie, and the wolves in the forest are more menacing. Some new scenes were added, such as a new song and Belle’s discovery of how her mother died. This movie was a joy to watch and I recommend it for everyone who loved the original version. Overall Rating: A+
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Going in Style

Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin and Michael Caine star in this funny and timely remake of “Going in Style.” Retirement is going well for these three gentlemen until the bank starts sending out foreclosure notices. After doing some investigating, they discover the company they had all worked for has been sold and their pension funds frozen. What develops from there is a plan to get their money back by robbing the local bank. They practice by robbing the local grocery store, and that does not go according to plan. When the store manager decides not to press charges, the plan continues to evolve with the help of a professional con artist. While the plot becomes a bit predictable, the acting is well-done and there are many laugh-out-loud moments in this film. Additional cast members Christopher Lloyd and Ann Margaret add talent in their supporting roles. Even though this movie appeals to retirees, younger generations would enjoy this film as well. Overall Rating: A
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Paris Can Wait

Diane Lane, Alec Baldwin, and Arnaud Viard star in Paris Can Wait. The movie starts out in the South of France at the Cannes Film Festival with all three characters on their way to the airport to leave for the next movie shoot. Anne (Diane) has an earache, and the pilot of the private plane warns she should not fly with ear problems.  Jacques (Arnaud), the provincial French man and business associate of Michael (Alec), offers to drive Anne to Paris.  She hesitantly accepts the offer and from there Jacques and Anne travel through France on a two-day road trip.   They stop at various historic sites, have lunch along the river bank and slowly make their way to Paris. The scenery is beautiful and the food looks decadent and delicious.  While the movie is a bit slow at times and the plot line is somewhat predictable, this sleepy romantic comedy didn’t disappoint. Taking the time to stop and smell the roses in this hurry- and- go lifestyle was a nice change of pace.  I would recommend this movie to anyone looking for a lighthearted film to watch. Overall Rating : B
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