Movie

Goon

By Magnolia Home Entertainment
4
Rated by admin
May 22, 2020

Canceling hockey amid a global pandemic was the socially responsible thing to do, I remind myself regularly. In the absence of watching actual games, I've been re-watching some movies with hockey themes. The first one I bring to you is the heartwarming, comedic, and frequently violent, story of Doug Glatt in the movie Goon.


Doug (Seann William Scott) is a pretty simple man, not very smart but very strong. His strength and fighting ability make him the perfect bouncer for a local bar in his Massachusetts hometown. While he has ample ability in brute strength, Doug has a very simple moral

Apr 17, 2020

Shortly before the library closed due to the novel coronavirus, my co-worker, Adam, loaned me a set with all five of the original Planet of the Apes films - three of which are currently in the Johnson County Library collection, and two of which are available to stream from home on IndieFlix. This pentalogy (five!) of films includes Planet of the Apes (1968), Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973). I really only had plans to watch the first film, and maybe try out

Dark Money

By Kimberly Reed
4
Rated by Dylan R
Dec 9, 2019

We've all seen attack ads during campaign season; the efforts to deride one candidate's political record while propping up the opposition. It's likely safe to say we've become so numb to their existence, we don't always stop to consider the source behind these messages, we viewers just assuming Candidate A has paid for & approved their ad against Candidate B.


But what are we to make of disclaimers such as this?


     "Paid for by ________Not authorized by any candidate..."


This is the question at the heart of Dark Money, which seeks to shine a light on recent political intrigue in

Wild Rose

By Nicole Taylor
5
Rated by Zachary C
Nov 6, 2019

"3 chords and the truth"


That's what Rose-Lynn has tattooed across her forearm.  That's the answer to the question the other people born and raised in Glasgow ask her, "Why country music?"


Rose-Lynn has just gotten out of prison.  Headphones on, country playlist rolling, she immediately sets to getting her life plans back on track.  Her plan is pretty simple. You see, she has a goal, a dream, a purpose...to get to Nashville to fulfill her destiny as a country music superstar.  


Not everyone is completely onboard with her plan, like her mother, played by Julie Walters. She is expecting

Jul 19, 2019

July 21st, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of “UHF.” To celebrate the occasion (and its recent addtion to the JCL catalog), I wrote about my lifelong love of the film.


When I was around four or five years old, there were a handful of films I watched over and over again. Oliver!, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Beetlejuice were in very heavy rotation in my family room, along with several Disney animated films that we regularly threw on in the afternoon. I remember watching those films as a kid and being in awe of them. They felt so exotic, and I was completely captivated by the

Jun 5, 2019

If you think Broadway is only accessible in New York City or on tour think again.  Several classic and contemporary shows are often revived and filmed for audiences to see (either as live TV specials or as limited film releases).  Here you can meet a young boy who never wanted to grow up (Peter Pan) or see how to stand up for injustice one move at a time (Hairspray).  Featuring several big names of stage and screen (John Legend, Carrie Underwood, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris) these stories are preserved for a lifetime with the power of DVD, introducing a brand new world of audiences to

Widows

By Steve McQueen
5
Rated by Zachary C
Feb 15, 2019

To call Widows a heist film is reductive.  It revolves around a heist, but that doesn't do the film justice.


Veronica Rawlings, played by Viola Davis, has an adoring husband and seemingly loving marriage.  Her husband, Harry (Liam Neeson), is also a successful criminal, but when a job goes bad and he along with his entire crew are killed, a large number of puzzle pieces fall into the laps of those left behind.  Interconnected are the people Harry stole from and those he stole for.   Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell play the aging patriarch and future of the Chicago political dynasty Mulligan

Jan 19, 2019

Looking for a fun, scary movie to keep you awake on a cold, dark night? Would you like this movie to be based on an actual location which really was featured on CNN Travel's list of 7 Freakiest Places? Well, here you go!


With a name like Gonjiam, Haunted Asylum, many assumptions you might make would prove correct about this Korean-language horror flick:


  • There are ghosts
  • The asylum's patients were mistreated (soooo.. angry ghosts)
  • Things probably aren't going to go so well for most of the living characters in the film (but hey, sometimes one person survives in the end, right?)

Now

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

By Morgan Neville, Caryn Capotosto, Nicholas Ma
5
Rated by Heather McCartin
Jan 15, 2019

As a child of the early '90s, I grew up with classic PBS children's programming - programming that may look very different from the current PBS Kids programs that are currently airing.  One of my go-to, can't miss programs was Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.  He was my preschool teacher before I attended school and he was my guidance counselor before I knew such a title existed.  While he didn't devote time to ABCs and 123s (that was more Sesame Street's specialty), he introduced the concepts of feelings, emotion, and self-worth, all while showcasing places, people, and events from all around the

Jan 2, 2019

With an impressive cast,


Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, and serious breakout star of 2018 contender, Cynthia Erivo


Bad Times at the El Royale  is the follow up to Drew Goddard's critically acclaimed directorial debut, The Cabin in the Woods...


   


   The El Royale Hotel was once a hot celebrity getaway, frequented by the likes of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.  Its days of glory are over, however, as a series of strangers check in to an otherwise empty hotel.  There's a priest (Bridges), a vacuum salesman (Hamm), a singer (Erivo), and a woman

Jane (DVD)

By Brett Morgen
5
Rated by LeeAnn B.
Jun 27, 2018

Jane Goodall is a living legend and one of the women I most admire. Her chimpanzee research during the 1960’s at the Gombe National Park in Tanzania is the subject of this National Geographic documentary. The film features never-before-seen footage from her early years of research. 


This documentary by Brett Morgen captures some of what it must have been like for a young Ms. Goodall to embark as an untrained, female researcher and make astonishing discoveries about chimpanzees living in the wild. She was the first to observe them using tools to search for food. Morgen also touches on Ms

The Handmaiden

By Park Chan-wook
5
Rated by Zachary C
Jun 8, 2018

The Handmaiden, a Korean film adaptation of the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, is the newest film from one of the most daring directors in cinema.


The plot follows a Korean woman hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress as part of a plot to defraud her of her wealth. It is a classic con, but is subject to a bevy of twists and turns, as the handmaiden develops feelings for her mark and everyone has their own designs on the situation.


Misdirection is accentuated as the movie replays many of the major plot points from alternating perspectives: the heiress, the handmaiden, and the con

Dunkirk (2017) DVD

By Christopher Nolan
3
Rated by Emily D.
Apr 27, 2018

The film Dunkirk tells a very important story. During the Second World War the British, French and other allied forces get surrounded at Dunkirk, a beach town in France. The limited Navy and Red-cross ships can't seem to make it back across the channel without being hit by German forces, and British fighter planes don't have the fuel capacity to be of much help. Overall, the situation is very grim. The British Navy commissions the use of any serviceable ship or boat to rescue the 300,000 some odd soldiers trapped at Dunkirk.


Now you are prepared to watch a movie that has virtually no

Karl Marx City (DVD)

By Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker
4
Rated by Michelle H.
Apr 25, 2018

Filmmakers Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker travel to Chemnitz, Germany because a mystery surrounds Petra’s father’s death. Just before ending his life, he sends his daughter a sweet note with no indication of his plans other than his disappointment with East Germany and the surveillance practices of the Stasi. What Epperlein and Tucker uncover is that place in the mind we all go, or would go, when very few around us are trustworthy and nowhere is safe from the gaze of surveillance, neither your home nor anywhere you visit. Every encounter is overlaid with the possibility that nothing is as

Stalker

By Andrei Tarkovsky
5
Rated by Michelle H.
Apr 9, 2018

Two men are taken to The Zone – a quarantined area rumored to have an abandoned building with a room inside it in which wishes are granted. But the road there isn’t clear, and even if it were, the path there can never be repeated. If the room is found, it grants only the wish behind the conscious wish, making the journey toward the room an increasingly frightening endeavor as the men inevitably wander hither and yon looking for the correct path and the correct wish. The two men are led by a third, a guide called a stalker who can never make a wish himself and is doomed to live as an outcast

Mar 26, 2018

If you're looking for some mindless action and excellent snark, this is the movie for you.


I can find fault with the pacing and the paper-thin plot, but the reason for the movie is obvious: Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson trading quips and being generally hilarious.  When they do that, it's definitely worth the time.


The general idea: a dictator (Gary Oldman) is on trial, but all of the witnesses against him are either dead or discredited by lack of hard evidence.  The last chance to convict him lies with notorious hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), but Interpol has been

Blade Runner 2049 (DVD)

By Denis Villeneuve
5
Rated by Zachary C
Jan 3, 2018

REPLICANTS ARE BIOENGINEERED HUMANS.  DESIGNED BY TYRELL CORPORATION FOR USE OFF-WORLD. THEIR ENHANCED STRENGTH MADE THEM IDEAL SLAVE LABOR


THEY ARE HUNTED DOWN AND 'RETIRED'


THOSE THAT HUNT THEM STILL GO BY THE NAME


BLADE RUNNER


So reads, in part, the opening text to the Blade Runner sequel 35 years in the making. Blade Runner 2049 follows a new generation of Blade Runner (Ryan Gosling), tasked with the same mission, "retiring" replicants. With a 2:44 running time and a meticulous pace, the film can feel slow to start. However, the plot is initiated from the very first

Mother!

By Darren Aronofsky
3
Rated by Zachary C
Dec 16, 2017

On a disturbance scale, Mother! falls somewhere between other Darren Aronofsky films, Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, with a story more comparable to Noah combined with an all-out assault on social etiquette and political correctness that creates the strangest kind of satire.  


In a movie of characters' without names, Jennifer Lawrence plays the titular mother. Wife to a famous poet, played by Javier Bardem, she single-handedly rebuilds their house which has been lost in a fire. She paints, builds, and decorates all day long while he attempts to write. Quiet and secluded, their

Song to Song (DVD)

By Terrence Malick
4
Rated by Zachary C
Dec 12, 2017

The term "visual poem" gets thrown around a lot when describing Terrence Malick's most recent work, starting with 2011's Tree of Life. Even before then his films relied heavily on visuals to help tell the story, but his work increasingly favors beautiful imagery and strives towards creating feelings and moods more so than a continuous narrative thread. Thus, dialogue is intermittent and often jumps around. I can certainly see why this might not appeal to people. That being said, Song to Song is my favorite of Terrence Malick's recent "visual poems," and my favorite film of his since 2005's The

Wind River (DVD)

By Taylore Sheridan
5
Rated by Zachary C
Dec 3, 2017

On the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a tracker and hunter of threatening wildlife on the reservation, protecting the people from dangerous animals. Cory finds the corpse of a teenage girl when patrolling the reservation. Young FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent in to investigate. New, inexperienced, and idealistic, Jane is quickly in over her head trying to solve the murder while adjusting to the culture shift on an Indian reservation. Cory knows the land and the people of Wind River, and Jane enlists his help. To say more would start to

The Accountant (DVD)

By Gavin O'Connor
2
Rated by Sheida B.
Nov 25, 2017

I had high hopes for The Accountant​, a thriller with no shortage of fine actors like Jeffrey Tambor, Jean Smart, and Alison Wright (of The Americans).


The main character, Christian Wolff, is played by Ben Affleck.  By day, Christian works as a certified public accountant from a nondescript office in a strip mall. But this is no ordinary CPA. Christian's house is bare but his trailer, filled with original paintings, blocks of gold, and military grade weapons, is worthy of James Bond himself. Yes, he works for some shady clients. Through flashbacks we also find out that he is autistic, and

Nov 5, 2017

The Story of Film is loaded with movie clips from all over the world, beginning at the first moment pictures moved and ending in the early 2000s. Director Mark Cousins invites us to consider how each of the films he mentions contribute to the language of movie-making. He’s a deep thinker who speaks clearly – a rare combination.    


Cousins is especially skilled at recognizing when one film begets another. The process of inspiration being a wonder to watch as Cousins lines up scenes to show us how filmmakers are receptive to the current of influence.  If you like film, particularly

Oct 29, 2017

In the trailer for Nocturnal Animals, Amy Adams's character (Susan Morrow) says, "my ex-husband use to call me a nocturnal animal . . . recently he sent me this book that he has written. It's violent and it's sad and he dedicated it to me . . . ." That line holds some creepy possibilities, but what plays out on screen is unexpected, with themes of loss, regret and revenge. Directed by Tom Ford and based on the book Tony and Susan, it's a stylized, uncomfortable, tense and foreboding neo noir.


A manuscript arrives for Susan just as she is at a low point in her life -- she is in a loveless

Léon the Professional

By Luc Besson
4
Rated by Scott S.
Oct 28, 2017

Léon: The Professional tells the story of a child-like hit man named Léon and his relationship with (and subsequent training of) a 12 year-old named Mathilda who is orphaned at the hands of insane, corrupt New York cop Norman Stansfield. It features that unique French mixture of absurdity and realism: In what world does a 12 year-old boldly shoot a handgun out of a window without consequence? How is that Léon and Mathilda's relationship is simultaneously creepy and sweet? How can a cop so violently corrupt as Stansfield not be in federal prison? This constant contradiction of everyday minutiae

The Babadook (DVD)

By Jennifer Kent
4
Rated by Sheida B.
Oct 27, 2017

I admit that I watched this movie because of Essie Davis: our very own Miss Fisher. And I found her performance quite memorable in The Girl with a Pearl Earring.


In The Babadook, she is unrecognizable as Amelia, a frazzled, soft-spoken and accommodating single mom. Amelia works part-time at an old folks’ home while raising her six-year-old son, Sam (played by Noah Wiseman). She was widowed on the same night Sam was born. And Sam has major behavioral issues.   


The first half of the movie is from Amelia’s point of view. She is unhappy and exhausted, mentally and physically. One night, Sam

Manchester by the Sea (DVD)

By Kenneth Lonergan
5
Rated by Sheida B.
Oct 10, 2017

Love. Pain. Death.  Family.  These are the main themes of this excellent Amazon production. 


Set among the cold and beautiful New England scenery, the story follows Lee (played by Casey Affleck) as he goes back to his hometown to take charge of his teenage nephew, Patrick (played by Lucas Hedges) after the death of Lee’s brother.   


From the start, it is obvious that something more than grief is going on.  Lee is very reluctant to go back.  There are nudges and whispers by the townspeople at the sight of him.  Why does everyone treat him with kid gloves, and why is Lee such a jerk to

Pete's Dragon (DVD)

By Walt Disney
4
Rated by Terri B.
Oct 4, 2017

In this enjoyable remake of Disney's classic Pete's Dragon, Pete is on a trip with his mom and dad when a deer leaps into the road causing a fatal crash. Five year old Pete is the only survivor. Thanks to Elliot, a precious-looking dragon with hair like a soft grassy meadow, Peter survivors for six years in the wilderness.


When the townspeople find out the dragon is not just town lore or a figment of a lost boy's imagination, chaos ensues and thus beings an exciting and suspenseful adventure. Pete's Dragon has excellent animation and the actors interact quite successfully.  

Paterson (DVD)

By Jim Jarmusch
5
Rated by Sheida B.
Sep 26, 2017

Paterson is a quiet, beautiful love story.  It depicts a week in the life of a bus driver named Paterson (Adam Driver) and his wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani). They live in the town of Paterson, New Jersey, which William Carlos Williams immortalized in his poetry. In his spare time, our Paterson writes poetry, mostly love poems about his wife. He writes down his poems wherever he can: in a small cupboard in the basement, in the bus before he starts work. He derives his inspiration from life around him so that the subtle rhythm of an average day becomes the beat of his poem. When Laura tells

Sep 13, 2017

I love a good cookie and a good murder mystery. When I heard about Murder, She Baked, based on Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen series, I couldn't wait to check it out. I have been meaning to read Fluke's Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, which is first in the series and is the plot for this Hallmark TV movie.


We follow Hannah, a professional baker whose amateur sleuth tendencies come out when one of her friends is murdered in their small town. Hannah (played by Alison Sweeney) uses her local connections to retrace her friend's last steps and to uncover clues. Her sleuthing causes her to butt