Encanto (2021)

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

If you haven’t already seen and become OBSESSED with Encanto, run don’t walk to watch this film! It’s a beautiful family saga story worthy of the best family movie nights – blanket forts and all. The Madrigal family is an extraordinary, multigenerational family who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia in a charmed home called the Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift — every child except Mirabel. However, she soon may be the Madrigals last hope when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is now in danger. The film follows Mirabel’s journey to save her family home and figure out her place within her family. The film is another Lin Manuel Miranda and Disney film collaboration. The music is phenomenal and will have you singing your heart out long after the film ends. If you love uplifting and magical stories, you’ll love this film.

Located in DVDs (DVD ENCANTO)

In The Heights (2021)

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

I don’t think Lin Manuel Miranda can do anything wrong! This film is such a beautiful adaptation of the Broadway musical. The songs are infectious and complex; the cinematography is colorful and vibrant; and the plot is as heartwarming as it is realistic. This was Miranda’s first award winning Broadway show, and it catapulted him into the mainstream. It’s so well cast and so well written. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is a musical and/or Lin Manuel Miranda fan.

Located in Blu Rays (BLU RAY IN THE HEIGHTS)

Uncharted (2022)

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

This was a great film! Lots of adventuring and a good balance of humorous and serious moments. The film is based on a popular video game, but it’s not necessary to know anything about it in order to enjoy the movie. The film follows a street savvy Nathan Drake who is approached by Victor “Sully” Sullivan, a ne’er-do-well treasure hunter who claims to know Nathan’s long lost brother. Sully recruits Nathan to help him to help recover a 500-year-old lost fortune amassed by explorer Ferdinand Magellan – the last treasure his brother was also hunting before he went missing. What starts out as a straight foreword heist soon becomes a globe-trotting, white-knuckle race to reach the prize before the ruthless Santiago Moncada can get his hands on it. If Sully and Nate can decipher the clues and solve one of the world’s oldest mysteries, they stand to find $5 billion in treasure — but only if they can learn to trust each other long enough to work together.


No Exit (2022)

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Fingers white-knuckling the searing wheel in a snowstorm, Darby has hit her rock bottom. A drug addiction has torn her from her family, leaving her to choose between a halfway house and prison. While in the halfway house, she gets a text from her sister; their mom had an aneurism and is dying in the hospital.

Darby has a choice to make. Escape the halfway house knowing it will send her to prison or never say goodbye to her mom. She chooses the former and drives through snaky mountain roads until the storm is so thick she cannot see and forces her to ride out a few hours at a rest stop.

There she accidentally finds a kidnapped girl, tied up and freezing in a van outside the rest stop. The temperature continues to plummet and there’s a medical alert bracelet on the little girl’s arm. Whoever has done this is one of the four people she is stranded with. Darby struggles through truly impossible odds and is faced with her second monumental choice- drugs or, most likely, death?

This movie comes full circle with a heroic protagonist and is well worth the tense, suspense filled ride. Weeks after seeing this film, I’m still astounded and impressed with Darby’s strength.

Check out one of our Roku’s and watch this movie on Hulu!

The Many Saints of Newark (2021)

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

My husband and I were about halfway through The Many Saints of Newark when I suddenly slapped my forehead and cried out, “‘Many saints’! Moltisanti!” Long-suffering Hubby just shook his head at me and sighed. The Many Saints of Newark is, indeed, the story of fictional mobster Dickie Moltisanti, and serves as a prequel to the action of the TV show The Sopranos. It is a real treat for viewers like Hubby who are both fans of the show and quick on the uptake. Even I enjoyed it, despite being neither a Sopranos aficionado nor a quick study.

The plot is standard mob-movie fare: Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) is a low-level member of the DiMeo crime family in Newark in the 1960s. His father, Hollywood Dick (Ray Liotta) Moltisanti, brings home a young and luscious new wife (Michela De Rossi) from Italy. Lust for power, money, and sex drives Dickie to ever-worsening actions. Watching it all is his young nephew, Anthony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini). The future boss wants to play it straight, but he idolizes his uncle and starts moving dangerously closer to a life of crime.

Undoubtedly, the best part of The Many Saints of Newark is spotting all the Sopranos references. Some of them are obvious, even for me–young guns Silvio Dante and Paulie Gualtieri are hilariously accurate copies of their future selves. Vera Farmiga delivers the best acting in the film with her note-perfect rendition of the hectoring Livia Soprano. And Michael Gandolfini, real-life son of the late James Gandolfini who won three Emmy awards portraying Tony Soprano, looks and moves so much like his dad it brought tears to my eyes.

Other references are more like Easter eggs, only apparent to the truly devoted fans. As the characters on-screen discussed young Tony’s likelihood of making the varsity football team in the fall, my husband whispered to me, “He never had the makings of a varsity athlete”–a quotable line from Tony’s Uncle Junior in the original show. Just then, the 1960s version of Uncle Junior intoned, “He doesn’t have the makings of a varsity athlete.” Darling Hubby actually squealed with delight.

The ending of The Many Saints of Newark involves a great twist, and yet more references. When the first notes of the Sopranos theme song come up with the credits, the viewer is satisfied with the past and primed for the future–even though we already know what happens. Hubby has already floated the idea of rewatching the entire run of The Sopranos, and I just might join him this time.

Located in Adult DVDs (DVD MANY)

Eternals (2021)

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Marvel’s first big flop “Eternals” doesn’t necessarily deserve the bashing it is taking from critics and audiences alike. The casting is star-studded: Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Salma Hayak, Richard Madden are just a few big names on the ticket. The visuals are stunning and battles, as always in Marvel-world, are a highlight. However, all the bells and whistles cannot distract from a mediocre plot, an enemy that is potentially world-ending but who we’ve never heard about before in the MCU and the over-arching factor of just where the heck were these heroes in all the previous battles/movies. As always with Marvel, there is potential for sequel(s) and I admit I’m intrigued by where they left things. Still, for an audience to care about any subsequent movies, a major plot rehaul is in order.

Located in DVDs (DVD ETERNALS)

Queen Bees (2021)

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

Ellen Burstyn’s character is a widow who accidentally sets fire to her kitchen. She reluctantly moves into a senior housing facility while her home is being repaired.

She tries to join a bridge group, but finds that she has wandered into a senior citizen version of high school mean girls.
The story revolves around her adjustment to the facility, standing her ground, and slowly accepting that she may need to sell her house.
The supporting characters include Jane Curtain, Ann-Margret, James Caan, and Christopher Lloyd. They all are in their golden years and portray well the challenges that senior citizens face.

I enjoyed the sentiment of the movie. It was a gentle film, with laughter and tears along the way to the uplifting conclusion.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Batman: The Long Halloween Part One

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Even though I’m a pretty hard-core Batman fan, I have yet to see much of his animated fare. I came into “The Long Halloween” being aware of the book but not having read it and what a wonderful blank slate I was to watch it! A serial killer is attacking Gotham City on all major holidays, starting with Halloween. Batman is thoroughly stumped and seemingly one step behind the killer. He decides to go through his whole rogue’s gallery of villians to find the culprit. But what if it was someone else entirely, hiding in plain sight? The building tension, the animation and voice work also are standouts, in particular David Dastmalchian as Calendar Man. I’m anxiously awaiting the next one!

Located in Blu-Ray (BLU-RAY BATMAN)

Star Trek: Beyond (2016)

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Quarantining at home means lots of extra time for rewatches of movies! My husband and I just finished watching (for me) and rewatching (for him) all the original and new Star Trek movies. One of the most pleasant surprises was the rediscovery of this entry, Star Trek: Beyond. After the negative critical and fan reaction to the previous entry, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Star Trek: Beyond wasn’t given a fair shake, as the story itself is compelling–after being unexpectedly attacked and crashing on an alien planet, the crew of the USS Enterprise is scattered and alone. With the help of resident alien Jaylah, they will learn where they are and who they are up against. The action sequences are fun, the writing by the delightful Simon Pegg always snaps and the acting is sound. Definitely worth another look!

Located in DVDs (DVD STAR TREK)

Rhythm Section (2020)

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

Quick review: Save yourself the time and skip this one!

Long review: I love a good underdog story. Everyone can relate to a time when they weren’t taken seriously, were taken advantage of or were not given the time of day. These movies generally begin in such a fashion while slowly unfolding the tribulations that left the main character this way and their journey to overcome it. That is more or less what I expected to find from the movie Rhythm Section and it does deliver, albeit in a lousy and unbelievable fashion. First of all, the wigs in this movie did me in! Noticeably fake from the very beginning, I kept wondering how the wardrobe department couldn’t find the room in their budget for realistic wigs. The main character, played by Blake Lively (I know! I was expecting better from her too), is bent on seeking revenge for her family. Again, I can get behind this, but her struggle for a Liam Neeson style, “special set of skills” is laughably short and then we are to believe she’s some master of combat. I wasn’t impressed and advise watchers to skip this film and take a chance with something else.

Available through the Bridges Library System