Friday, August 17, 2018

Movie review of “Eighth Grade” by Colby Willis


It's rare to find a movie so authentic and compelling as “Eighth Grade”, the directorial debut of
standup comedian Bo Burnham.

Kayla Day, portrayed by Elsie Fisher, is a young girl on her way to graduating from middle school, and in her final week goes on a self-actualizing journey towards adulthood.

When I entered the theater, I was under the impression that I was about to watch a quality comedy that reflects the high reviews it has been getting online. However, there was something else to the film; a coming of age story both unique and relatable. It was not a comedic romp as I had expected, but a dive into the mind of a young woman who was unsure of who she was.

Throughout the film, Burnham managed to display the silliness, awkwardness and horror that comes with being an insecure eighth grader. An expansive cast shows different interactions that echoed my own past.

Well meaning, but awkward, parenting as well as popular kids who are mean for no real reason along with a barrage of other struggles are depicted in so realistic a fashion that it is hard not to wince out of sympathy for the lead.

Burnham successfully filled the theater with laughter and fear, while passing on a message of growth.
Even with the dense narrative that takes place over the last week of the school year, the film managed to stave off any pretentious airs and remains a fun, awkward, genuine story. If you are looking for a nostalgic flick for the modern era, I can wholeheartedly recommend Burnham's fantastic first film, “Eighth Grade”.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Movie Review: “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” by Lorraine Glowczak


As long as I can remember, I have loved the famous actors and actresses of the 1930s and 40s. I adored Jimmy Stewart in “Harvey”, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “Philadelphia Story” – where I also worshipped Katharine Hepburn’s independent spirit.

One famous actress I wasn’t aware of during that era was Hedy Lamarr. I learned about her approximately eight years ago when I was an instructor for a hands-on science enrichment program for children pre-school to fifth grade. It was then that I learned about this female inventor.

“This scientist”, we told our students, “was a well-known actress known for her beauty but her intelligence and contribution to science and present-day technology has been overlooked.”

So, I was excited to learn that Netflix produced the documentary, “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” and looked forward to watching the film to learn about this inventor and her life. Of course, this film directed by Alexandra Dean, focuses on the actress’ life as a celebrity who just so happened to be an unidentified inventor. As a result, my review may have a different outlook and twist than most reviews for this biographical film.

The documentary shares the eclectic twists and turns of Lamarr’s story. Born in Vienna as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in 1914, the film follows her life from her early career in a highly controversial film, secretly leaving her husband and being discovered in London by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Louis B. Mayer.

The film highlights the early successful years in Hollywood, her marriages (married and divorced six times) and the many relationships she had, including one with aviation tycoon, Howard Hughes.

“Bombshell” also looks at her reason for inventing a secure, radio-controlled torpedo guidance system, known as “frequency hopping,” that is the basis of WiFi, Bluetooth and cellphone technologies used today. The film also follows her downward spiral of failure, scandal and reclusiveness.

Although her beauty and brilliance were eventually overshadowed by scandal and disaster, “Bombshell” is sensitive to highlighting her story without diminishing her wonderful contributions to society.





Friday, August 3, 2018

Movie Review on “Oceans 8” by Kaila Mank


For people who have enjoyed the “Ocean’s” film series - “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001), “Ocean’s Twelve” (2004) and “Ocean’s Thirteen” (2007), they were no doubt excited to hear about the new “Ocean’s 8” coming out in theaters.

It was no surprise on June 8, 2018 “Ocean’s 8” was released, it was a race to the theaters. I was right
there with all the excitement, as my family and I headed to the drive-in to see it early this summer.

 The plot of this story is about Danny Ocean’s estranged younger sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock) who attempts to pull off the biggest heist of the century at the New York City’s star-studded annual Met Gala.

After getting out of jail for good behavior, Debbie is on a mission to assemble her perfect all- female crew. Now, I am a huge fan of the “Ocean’s”, and in my opinion, the plot was clever on paper. But when put into action, it was sloppy and very disorganized.

The mix of actors, as chosen, did not mix well with the concept of “Ocean’s 8” and did not match any of the personalities from any other “Ocean’s.”

A significant difference I found that makes a good movie from a bad one is the action, suspense and excitement. In all the other “Ocean’s” movies, there was action and conflict in the plot, however, this all-female crew just walked through the film with no suspense. Expecting a continuation from the other films, I simply could not find the excitement that keeps you on the edge of your seat. There never seemed to be a climax to the story.

In my final opinion, I do believe that the director (Steven Soderbergh) of the first three films did a much better job than Gary Ross in this particular film.

Overall, something that was really good and very strong about this movie was the popular cast characters. Gary Ross (director) did one thing right in this entire movie: it was loaded with well-known actors. But if there ever is a next film, I would recommend the director to use their strengths and create a better storyline.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Lively and engaging, “Seussical the Musical” delights audiences at Schoolhouse Arts Center by Elizabeth Richards


Schoolhouse Arts Center is bringing the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss to life on stage in their production of “Seussical the Musical,” and they’re doing it with a unique twist. Throughout the production, American Sign Language (ASL) is incorporated into the usual singing and dancing.

When director Zac Stearn, who is also the Artistic Director for Schoolhouse Arts, announced that ASL would be infused throughout the show, I wondered if it would be a distraction, detracting from the momentum of the show. Instead, I almost forgot it was happening, as it was beautifully intertwined into each scene, often feeling like an extension of the choreography.


Emily Paruk as JoJo and Joy Lemont as The Cat
The show, with a cast of more than 30 characters – many of whom felt like old friends, was lively and engaging, capturing the full interest of the audience; even the numerous children in attendance. It’s a perfect show to take children to see. The continuous flow from song to song keeps the action moving forward, and there are often so many different things happening on stage that it’s almost impossible to not be engaged. 

One of the things I enjoy most about shows at Schoolhouse Arts Center is how well they use the space they have, and this show was no exception. The set allowed for the cast to move freely on stage, and cast members used the sides and the center aisle as well, drawing the audience into the magical world of Seuss. With a cast that large, movement could have felt crowded and overwhelming, but it never did.

This show is all about the music. Every scene is a song that moves the plot forward. Narrated by the Cat in the Hat, the main story follows Horton the Elephant in his quest to save the miniscule Who planet. There are several other stories incorporated into the songs, which are centered on the beloved books of Dr. Seuss.

The cast began with high energy and maintained it throughout the show. There were times when it was difficult to hear soloists, but overall the cast had good projection and was able to pull me into the action. The choreography was fun, engaging, and well executed.

This musical, like the books of Dr. Seuss, manages to subtly incorporate several important messages into the show: respect for the lives of others; appreciating what you have; and the importance of embracing your own unique qualities are just a few examples. This is a feel-good show well worth the time and ticket price. 

“Seussical the Musical” is playing through July 29th on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m., and Sunday evening at 5 p.m. Tickets are $19 for adults, $17 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at www.schoolhousearts.org or at the door.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Book Review on “Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures.” Reviewed by Jennifer Dupree


Emma Straub’s first novel, “Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures”, feels a little like an old-time
Hollywood movie and a little like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

The novel begins in Wisconsin in 1929 with Elsa Emerson, her family, and their backyard theatre. When she’s a teenager, a tragedy compels Elsa to leave home and pursue the acting career her deceased sister Hildy would have had. 

Soon after arriving in Hollywood, Elsa ditches her old name and becomes Laura Lamont. Soon after that, she divorces her first husband and marries the love of her life. The novel spans five decades, two marriages, three children, and a career that rises and falls. It holds all of the things a well-lived life holds: humor and loss, success and failure, birth and death, happiness and regret. 

This is the story of a small-town nobody who becomes a Hollywood icon and then a has-been. It’s about the life we leave behind in pursuit of something better, and it’s about the people we hurt even when we don’t mean to. It’s about being humbled and finding peace. It’s not a surprising, breath-stealing novel, but one with a rather quiet presence. It’s the kind of book you can escape into, the kind that carries you away.

           

Friday, July 13, 2018

Movie review of "Hereditary” by Emily Maier


As someone who isn’t a big fan of horror, I was initially wary about going to see “Hereditary” in theaters. I certainly didn’t expect it to be one of my favorite movies of the year, but this movie surprised me in more ways than one.

At the core of “Hereditary” is the Graham family: Annie, Steve, and their two children, Peter and Charlie. The film opens with the funeral of Annie’s mother, a secretive woman whose actions were steeped in mental illness and dysfunctional tendencies. Charlie takes the recent death of her grandmother especially hard, exhibiting behavior ranging from odd to downright disturbing. As the movie progresses, it becomes apparent that the secrets being held from the Graham family are far more sinister than they ever could have imagined.

It’s difficult to reveal much more without spoiling the plot. While I enjoyed the film most when it was functioning as an analysis of grief and familial trauma, I also enjoyed the supernatural turn that it took.  

Toni Collette gives a truly Oscar-worthy performance as Annie. Whether she was depicting unbridled grief, fury, or mania, she did it with incredible mastery and authenticity. Alex Wolff did an amazing job as the frequently traumatized Peter as well. Though his crying left something to be desired – especially considering he had to do it a lot – he still handles some of the movie’s most intense scenes admirably.

The cast gave everything they had in this movie, and their portrayal of raw emotion is what makes “Hereditary” really stand out. Whether it’s overwhelming grief, guilt, rage, or terror, the film captures it all with an unflinching gaze. It refuses to let up, no matter how much the audience squirms. While watching “Hereditary”, I had the unique experience of suddenly feeling like I was not watching a movie but intruding upon someone’s life during a tragedy. This is not only a testament to the cast’s skill but something that made the movie much more spine-chilling.

I was surprised to learn that the film is the directorial debut of Ari Aster, who directed and wrote the script. It’s an incredibly strong start for the budding director, and I’ll be patiently awaiting his future work. In less surprising news, “Hereditary” is the newest film produced by A24, the same company that has brought us renowned films such as “Moonlight,” “Lady Bird,” “The Witch,” “Ex Machina,” and “Room.”

While a majority of “Hereditary” wasn’t as scary as I’d anticipated, I should note that I spent the last twenty minutes of the movie absolutely terrified. Instead of relying on traditional jump-scares, “Hereditary” uses subtle horror: things you don’t notice at first, or the things suggested but not seen. There are also a few truly graphic scenes throughout the movie that may be permanently burned into my retinas. Though not the typical horror movie, “Hereditary” is – above all – not for the faint of heart.

While “Hereditary” is by no means a perfect movie, the care both the cast and crew held for the movie is evident in every scene. I was mesmerized by the realistic acting, bold storytelling, and the unique way in which the film was shot. Keeping in mind the graphic bloodshed and the heart-wrenching plot, I’d recommend “Hereditary” to anyone who thinks they can stomach it.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Movie review of "Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom" by Stephen Signor


Run time: 128 min.

Like most everyone, I became addicted to the hype surrounding the opening of “Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom”. And as in the past, I walked away with a somewhat empty feeling and disappointment.

While there was an impressive increase in prehistoric creatures over the preceding films, and even though all of them expressed themselves more often and in greater volume, I still felt there was something missing.

Three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) return to the island of Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano that's about to erupt. They soon encounter terrifying new breeds of gigantic dinosaurs, while uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the entire planet.

Flashbacks of a now defunct, vacated and rundown Jurassic Park proves nostalgic but not necessarily noteworthy in the plot. Not known for work on other Jurassic films, director J.A. Bayona (“A Monster Calls”) did his best and deserves credit for at least making it believable as well as the challenge of this being first in the franchise to be shot digitally as well as in wide-screen format.

Jeff Goldblum reprises his role as Ian Malcolm after 21 years since his last appearance. Although he only appeared in two, relatively short cameo spots, the message he delivered to politicians and the world spoke volumes.

This brings me to the positive aspect I did acquire from watching this movie. This was not your average sequel. There was a subliminal message throughout about the real issue of mistreatment of animals in today's society. This film focuses more on the responsibility for these animals that were originally made as a result of greed. It’s about the darkness and worst instincts.

Screen-writer Colin Trevorrow indicated that “the dinosaurs are a parable of the treatment animals receive today: the abuse, medical experimentation, pets, having wild animals in zoos like prisons, the use the military has made of them, animals as weapons."  I think that ultimately, when people are able to watch this film and where this franchise is going, it really is about the ethical treatment of animals in the world and our responsibility to the living creatures that we share the planet with, alongside our responsibilities to the planet itself.

This being said, the overall entertainment value of “Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom”, while exceeding its predecessors, was short lived.


Friday, June 29, 2018

Movie review of “Incredibles 2”. Reviewed by Emily Maier


Run time: 118 mins


After fourteen long years, everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in “Incredibles 2.”
Growing up, “The Incredibles” was always one of my favorite movies, so I was (incredibly) excited to see what Pixar did with this second installment.

“Incredibles 2” picks up right where “The Incredibles” left off, with the Parr family teaming up to fight a mole-like villain known as The Underminer. Unfortunately, things don’t go exactly as planned and, in a world where superheroes are already deemed illegal, this only adds fuel to the fire.

In an effort to put people’s faith back in superheroes, the owners of a corporation known as DEVTECH enlist Elastigirl to star in their campaign to repeal the anti-superhero law. As Helen takes off to fight crime, Bob/Mr. Incredible is left to navigate his new role as a stay-at-home dad.

Overall, I was really happy with the turn this movie took in terms of the focus on characters. Though the first movie mainly followed Mr. Incredible, he took a backseat in order for “Incredibles 2” to explore Elastigirl’s character. The movie’s reversal of stereotypical gender roles was very refreshing; with Helen becoming the family breadwinner and Bob taking on the full-time task of raising three kids. It was also exciting to see more of Frozone, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. Though I had been hoping for more scenes with Edna Mode, the screen time she does get is perhaps the funniest portion of the film, so it’s hard to complain.

I was also surprised at the rather realistic portrayal of teenagers. Violet and Dash are both susceptible to moody outbursts and instances of rebellion, but they developed as they learned lessons throughout the film. Oftentimes, movies will use children to take whatever steps are necessary to further the plot, causing unpredictable characterization. But “Incredibles 2” let kids be kids, and their actions felt natural instead of some forced plot device.

The animation is wonderful. This is ultimately expected of a Pixar movie, but I still found myself in awe of the natural fluidity of each character. Looking back at the first movie, there is a pronounced difference in the level of animation – after all, things have come a long way in fourteen years!
One of my only complaints is that the plot was often very predictable. Though “Incredibles 2” attempted a couple “twists,” even these seemed rather obvious. Still, I didn’t feel this took too much away from my overall enjoyment of the movie.

The action scenes were intense and the slower, family-centric scenes were heartfelt, so there was never a time in which I felt bored.

Nostalgia aside, “Incredibles 2” holds up perfectly fine on its own. Many sequels to popular animated films often have trouble finding their own voice, but I didn’t find this to be the case with “Incredibles 2.” The film expands upon already beloved characters and delves deeper into themes brought up in the first movie. Though I didn’t find “Incredibles 2” quite as compelling as the original, it was still a solid addition to the story.




Friday, June 22, 2018

Movie review of “Hotel Artemis” by Emily Maier


Run time: 97 mins 

Set in the year 2028, “Hotel Artemis” tells the story of an underground hospital in the service of criminals. The film opens with a botched robbery in Los Angeles in which two brothers are injured during their shootout with the police. They manage to take shelter in the “Hotel Artemis”, but their struggles are far from over.

Within the walls of the Artemis, tension bubbles between the wounded criminals. Outside, riots wreak havoc all around the city, as clean water has become a luxury that the poor of Los Angeles cannot afford.

The best thing about “Hotel Artemis” is the cast. With big names like Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Dave Bautista, Sofia Boutella, Charlie Day, Zachary Quinto and – last but not least – Jeff Goldblum, the star power did not disappoint.

Jodie Foster’s character, referred to as The Nurse, and she runs the Artemis with efficient professionalism; compared to the chaotic criminal underworld and the riots raging around her.
The Nurse is an ironically understated presence in the film. I was particularly fond of The Nurse’s friendly banter with her faithful orderly, Everest (Dave Bautista). All in all, each member of the cast was wonderfully colorful in their roles, but Sofia Boutella in particular, stole every scene she was in. 

Her fight sequence toward the end of the film was beautifully choreographed and fast-paced.
The violence and language throughout “Hotel Artemis” are what give the film its R rating. While most of the action is not too graphic, there are a couple scenes that might affect even a seasoned fan of gore. All in all, the R rating felt necessary to achieve the brutal, gritty aesthetic that the movie was going for.

However, the film struggles and loses some credibility in regard to the plot. Beneath all the blood and neon lights, “Hotel Artemis” tries to construct a narrative about familial duties and the difficulties that these obligations can put people through. While it’s an interesting theme, the film ultimately feels like it bit off more than it can chew. Instead of having a central plot, “Hotel Artemis” seems broken up into a variety of sub-plots.

These sub-plots include a mother trying to come to terms with her son’s death, a man caught in the web of his brother’s self-destructive behavior, and a son trying to prove himself to an indifferent father. The plot is additionally fragmented by other sub-plots about stolen jewels, a paid assassin with a secret target, and an injured cop seeking help.

If you find yourself thinking this seems like too much to fit into one movie, you’d be right. While most of these sub-plots are compelling, there was no time to develop any of them because they were all vying with each other for screen time. This not only impacts the plot but the pacing of the movie as well. Every time a new storyline was added into the mix, the audience was forced to change gears as the previous sub-plot was thrown on the backburner.

While I was hoping for something a little more in the “John Wick” vein – a rapid-fire action flick with a similar premise – “Hotel Artemis” had enough going for it that I felt content upon leaving the theater.

Though the film definitely should have cut down on the sub-plots, it was still an entertaining story with an interesting premise. Overall, “Hotel Artemis” was most enjoyable when it was staying true to what it was – a fun action movie.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Movie Review: “Solo: A Star Wars Story” Reviewed by Buford Picklefeather


Riding out the gentle waters left behind from the wave of the most divisive “Star Wars” movie ever
made – “The Last Jedi”  the latest anthology film, “Solo: A Star Wars Story”, was entrusted with healing the wounds of die-hard and casual fans alike. This challenge seemed all the more unattainable when “Solo’s” directors, best known for their box office smash hit, “The Lego Movie,”  left production of this film due to their creative differences. Longtime fans became all the more skeptical when word came back that actor Alden Ehrenreich, bestowed with the “Solo” moniker, was receiving on-set acting lessons; and that rather than being released in mid-December, as its post Disney predecessors, it would be receiving the traditional Lucas-era May 25th release date.

However, there was one small grain of hope that this film may be worthwhile: Lawrence Kasdan. Kasdan was the writer responsible for “The Empire Strikes Back” and the original “Indiana Jones” film and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” He answered the writing call from then producer George Lucas in 2012.

The finished product, directed by Ron Howard, took the proper cues set in place from Kasdan and J.J. Abrams efforts in force awakens, and flourished with them. The art direction felt real, specific and inspired, with no divide between the original trilogy and the present. The characters all felt as though they had a back story and a purpose for being who they were and being where they were at that time; while setting themselves up for the consequences of their actions in later films.

There was a perfect balance of whole heartedly invited humor, conviction and action with astonishing performances from Donald Glover taking the reins from Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian and Woody Harrelson as “Solo’s” mentor. Like “Rogue One,” Solo makes for the perfect idealized prequel to the original trilogy. Despite “Solo” currently making less domestically than anticipated, the combination of every facet of the creativity working seamlessly together will contribute to the longevity of the film beyond its theatrical release and leaving its mark in what is now the vast Star Wars Universe.



Friday, June 8, 2018

Book Review: “How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?” Reviewed by Briana Bizier


Parenthood is an emotional roller coaster; especially with very young children. The high moments
when you feel like your heart is bursting with love compared with trying low moments when you feel like your home has been taken over by a monster - Or a dinosaur.

Jane Yolan and Mark Teague’s (illustrator) whimsical children’s book, How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?” captures the high emotions of parenthood in clever, colorful illustrations; while also providing a good-natured message or reassurance to adults and children alike.

Younger readers will enjoy the colorful illustrations of actual dinosaurs, including species like Tsintaosaurus and Nothosaurus, as they alternately wreak havoc in the human world and warm their parents’ hearts with spontaneous loving gestures.

Those same parents, meanwhile, delight in the bewildered expressions of the illustrated human caretakers as they watch their wild dinosaur children run screaming across the playground or throw spaghetti into the air during a dinner disaster. Because, while two-year-olds are objectively small and adorable, trying to get one to cross a parking lot can feel like you’re dragging a Triceratops; and driving with a child in tantrum-mode is just like being stuck in a sedan with a Pachycephalosaurus.

It’s rare to find a children’s book whose language and illustrations stand up to repeated viewings by parents and kids alike. Yet “How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?” is one of those rare and wonderful picture books that can be enjoyed over and over. Small children will be reassured that, yes, parents love their little dinosaurs no matter what. And parents will be similarly cheered by the gentle reminder that the many challenges of raising children are universal.

Even for dinosaurs.

You can find a copy of “How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?” in the children’s section of the Raymond Village Library.

Briana Bizier is a member of the Raymond Village Library Board of Trustees


Friday, June 1, 2018

Movie Review: “Book Club” by Lorraine Glowczak


1 hour 44 minutes

Taking time out on a cloudy Sunday afternoon, I went to the theater to watch the “Book Club”. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this film ever since I knew it was going to be in theaters. I was a little apprehensive that it would fail all my expectations and the big-screen celebrities that came together would drop the ball on great acting and the whole thing would fall flat. That was not the case at all. I was pleasantly and delightfully surprised at the real and comedic approach this film took to highlight the realities that come with certain expectations while aging in today’s society. 

“Book Club” stars Jane Fonda as Vivian who has never been married and is a successful luxury hotel owner. It also stars Diane Keaton as Diane. The word is – this role was written specifically for Keaton, so they kept her name. She is a recent widow after 40 years of marriage and her two grown, married and over-protective daughters (Alicia Silverstone and Katie Aselton) treat her as if she is already on “her way out.”  

Candice Bergen stars as Sharon, a federal judge who has focused on her career and has not been in a relationship since her divorce 18 years ago (unless you count her relationship with her cat). Mary Steenburgen stars as Carol and she is the only one of the four friends who has remained married. She is a successful chef whose relationship with her husband (Craig T. Nelson) needs a little spark and pick-me up.

In the film, the four long-time friends and book club members do not discuss the literary likes of “Moby Dick” by Hermann Melville (although Diane will lead one to think so), but instead they ooh and ah over the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series by E. L. James. Believe it or not, this book series is the catalyst of self-reflection and living their lives fully.

In each storyline, the women experience varying degrees of fun with matters of sisterhood, joy, hope – and yes, sex (subtle and often only referenced in the film). If diversity in race, social and financial status is what you are looking for in a movie, “Book Club” will fail to offer you that. It only contains one demographic of successful, white, heterosexual and wealthy women.

Due to the occasional strong language, a few references to sex (with one questionable - although funny - scene) and a lot of wine consumption, this film may not be a family go-to. However, I suspect it will be enjoyed by both men and women 40 and over since this is the age that one begins to think about their own mortality. Women 20 to 39 years old may enjoy it as well, since the film carries strong messages about female friendships and healthy relationships.

Without a doubt, this film is a must see for those who need a laugh; and it helps us all to not take the aging process too seriously.



Friday, May 25, 2018

"Deadpool 2". A movie review by Niels Mank


So, we all know Marvel produces amazing movies like “Thor”, “Avengers”, “Iron Man”, “Hulk” and so on and so on. These are all movies that you would take your family to see and the kids would cheer and laugh, wishing they were these amazing superheroes.

Let me be the first to warn you, “Deadpool 2” is not a family movie! Take it from me, I tried to take my teenage daughter to “Deadpool 1” and quickly changed theaters.  PARENT ALERT! This movie has extreme language, violence and sexual innuendos.  It is no place for kids!

Now that the family warnings are over, here is a little hint of what you will see if you are of age.  The who is a burn victim with a bad attitude. He tells the worst jokes whose superpower is superfast healing, which makes him indestructible. 
movie is a continuation of “Deadpool 1” with the main character Wade Wilson aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds)

Deadpool, besides having the worst potty mouth in history is your average superhero, NOT!  Not only is Deadpool a lone wolf but his moral compass does not point north.  This movie shows him killing people by very graphic means.

This film is not without its comedy though. If you can get past the blood, drugs, sexual innuendos, violence and language in every sentence you will find that there are a lot of pop culture refences throughout the movie. The movie also has a lot of message hidden within it. The story does promote teamwork, collaboration, love and empathy. 

The adults in the room will also see that people, particularly kids, can change throughout life by how they are affected by others and their environment.

“Deadpool 2” is one of those movies that you find yourself laughing hysterically, but at the end of the movie the message really hits you on how you treat others affects their life choices. The main message of the movie is to treat people with kindness because you do not know how they will personally be affected.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Book Review: “Here if You Need Me”. Reviewed by Jennifer Dupree


Kate Braestrup’s memoir, “Here if You Need Me”, is beautiful and tender, funny and sad, sweet but not cloying. Kate’s husband was a Maine State Trooper who was killed in a car accident when their youngest child was just 10. Widowed with four children, Braestrup decides to carry on with her husband’s dream of becoming a Unitarian minister. Once ordained, she begins working as the Chaplain of the Maine Warden Service, something she knows almost nothing about until she becomes their Reverend.

The book opens with the story of a six-year-old girl lost in the woods. The reader stands with Braestrup as she stands with the terrified parents, waiting, cold and afraid. When the parents tell her they don’t believe in God, Kate reassures them that she’s merely there to wait with them. There’s something tremendously tender in that waiting.

The rest of the book unfurls like a sheaf of papers, one story after the other, loosely connected, not in any strict order. And yet, because of Braestrup’s easy and confident tone, I felt secure in the journey on which she was leading me.

This is not merely a sad story. At times, Braestrup is hilariously self-deprecating. She’s funny and sweet about her kids. She has excellent timing with jokes, anecdotes, and quips surrounding her beloved game wardens. But, she’s also generous with her life observations, her biblical interpretations, and her patient belief in the human spirit.

This is a story about faith - what it means to have faith and be faithful. Braestrup’s version of religion lies more in the goodness of people than in any divine being (although she clearly acknowledges and believes in a higher being). This is a story about grief, and the capacity for the human heart to go on. It’s an acknowledgement of the frailty of life, and the risk we take by engaging in it. Braestrup writes with such humanity that readers will be hard-pressed to leave this book without feeling something like hope. 


Friday, May 11, 2018

Movie Review : “Avengers: Infinity War”. Reviewed by Daniel Kilgallon


 (PG-13)
Runtime: 149 mins

It has been ten years since “Iron Man” hit theaters and now the Marvel Cinematic Universe has released their nineteenth installment and most massive project to date, “Infinity War.” Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: Civil War”) this modern epic boasts a giant cast featuring just about every hero from the franchise thus far. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Scarlett Johansson, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana are just a snapshot of A-listers that come together here in what is undeniably one of the most anticipated films ever made.

As explained during earlier Marvel chapters, the mighty, purple titan Thanos (Josh Brolin) has been working to acquire and complete the “Infinity Gauntlet,” a golden glove designed to harness the power of the six Infinity Stones. Each stone represents and wields an essential component of life (mind, time, power, space, reality, and soul). When brought together with the gauntlet, the wearer can essentially do anything they want by controlling all elements of the known universe. Now it is up to the Avengers and some new allies to band together and prevent Thanos from completing his devastating mission.

To no surprise, the sheer entertainment factor of this monumental movie is well worth the ticket price alone; I simply expected nothing less from Marvel this time around. “Infinity War” brilliantly paces unbelievable battle sequences that feel strikingly realistic, while incorporating their signature humor to humanize the larger story. This is something audiences have become accustomed to over the years as the studio continuously cements box office dominance. That being said, there are more moving pieces than ever before in this intense plot and the Russo brothers truly deserve a whole lot of credit for pulling off such a complicated balancing act. Simply put, seemingly every hero involved gets their fair chance to shine, yet that still isn’t what impressed me most about the film.

What sets “Infinity War” apart from just about any other superhero movie is the incredible intrigue of its menacing villain, Thanos and the haunting explanations of his character’s motivations. By understanding his perspective so thoroughly, with plenty of meaningful screen time, Marvel has delivered the most legitimate threat of this giant story and the strongest form of conflict yet. The end result is an epic piece of visual entertainment with an emotionally powerful story to match. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on “Infinity War,” this is a surefire instant classic that I have no problem praising as one of, if not the greatest comic book film of all time.