Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies DVDNominated for Best Picture, Bridge of Spies tells the mostly-true story of James Donovan, an insurance lawyer who finds himself thrust into the middle of dangerous Cold War spy negotiations in the late 1950s. Donovan is pressed to defend accused Russian spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor). After Abel is found guilty, Donovan is asked to negotiate a deal to exchange Abel for downed American U2 pilot Frances Gary Powers.

This is a taut political thriller, and will keep you interested, even if you already know how it ends (or, ahem, if you google it while you’re watching…). Hanks is his usual heroic character, but the true gem is definitely Rylance, who steals every scene he’s in.

Submitted by staff: LMB

The Martian

The Martian DVDThe Martian is a beautifully-directed movie by Ridley Scott, and stars Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, and Jessica Chastain. Based on the novel of the same name by Andy Weir, the movie follows fairly close to the source material. Mark Watney (Damon) is left on Mars after the rest of the crew believes he is killed in a sandstorm. He survives, however, but is alone on a very inhospitable planet, with the rest of Earth thinking he is deceased. How can he survive? How can he contact NASA? Most importantly, how can he get home?

This is not a typical sci-fi movie despite being essentially set on Mars. The action is realistic and scientifically accurate (as much as possible). You won’t see any little green monsters in this movie; instead, you’ll find a witty and smart main character who refuses to give up. It’s well worth watching. Pop some popcorn and settle in!

Contributed by staff: LMB

Ant-Man

Ant Man DVDAnt-Man, starring Paul Rudd, is a fun ride for both youngsters and adults. Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang, an ex-con trying to straighten his life out so he can see his daughter again. Eccentric but brilliant scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglass) has other ideas. If you’re confused about Hank Pym not donning the Ant-Man suit, don’t worry – it’s well-explained and makes sense in the context of the story. Michael Peña is perfectly cast as Lang’s friend; he adds well-placed humor to the movie. As in all Marvel movies, keep an eye out for Stan Lee and watch all the way through the credits for the final scene.

At its core, this is a heist movie, so this is a great movie even if you’re not obsessed with the Marvel Universe. If you liked Guardians of the Galaxy, do not miss Ant-Man!

Contributed by staff: LMB

Jurassic World

Jurassic World DVDThe movie Jurassic World returns viewers to Jurassic Park, some 20 years after the first installment (this is the 4th). Starring Chris Pratt (Owen) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire), and of course massive dinosaurs, this movie was always bound to be a huge hit. The action starts immediately upon arrival at Jurassic World, as Claire’s nephews arrive for a fun-filled vacation, but Claire (a hard-nosed Jurassic World executive) is nowhere to be found. She is busy trying to scare up additional money from investors, and is showing them the prototype of the newly created “Indominus Rex,” a man-made hybrid. Everyone, she says, wants the dinosaurs to be bigger and more dangerous.

Owen, the Velociraptor trainer, knows the danger of each wild animal, but everyone refuses to listen. When the Indominus Rex escapes (as escape she must), Owen is the only one who can track her down. Claire and Owen make a great team, with the two nephews (and everyone else in the park) in constant danger. It’s a fun, exciting ride, and the special affects are amazing.

Contributed by staff: LMB

Trainwreck

Trainwreck SchumerAmy Schumer’s 2015 movie Trainwreck is a hilarious rom-com starring Schumer, Bill Hader, and LeBron James. Yes, THAT LeBron James.

Amy Schumer plays a journalist (named Amy) at a men’s magazine who is assigned to write an article about sports physician Aaron Connors (Hader). Amy drinks too much, smokes pot, and has multiple one-night stands. Then she meets Aaron and discovers she really likes him.

There is a hilarious cast of characters in this movie – Colin Quinn as her father, Brie Larson as her down-to-earth sister, Vanessa Bayer as her best friend, and an almost unrecognizable Tilda Swinton as her self-involved British boss. There are many, many cameos.

The movie is not for the easily offended, as it has several explicit discussions on various subjects. It is rated R for a reason! However, it is also hilarious.

Schumer was nominated for a Golden Globe award for best actress for her role.

Contributed by staff: LMB

Minions

Minions DVDThe movie Minions was bound to be a big hit – after all, Stuart, Kevin, and Bob were the breakout “stars” of Despicable Me (1 and 2). The lovable yellow “bad guys” from the earlier movies get their own movie this time, and we learn about their previous evil bosses before Gru.

The evil bosses are Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) and her husband Herb (John Hamm). They want to take over the UK and are willing to do whatever is necessary to make it happen.

Your kids will love this movie and want to watch it on repeat. You will want to watch it at least once with them. Then, perhaps, you might want to watch it again, to see how much your kids enjoy it again.

There’s a long wait list on this right now – sign up and then go back and watch Despicable Me again while you’re waiting!

Contributed by staff: LMB

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1

FTWDFear the Walking Dead is an offshoot of the phenomenally popular zombie series The Walking Dead. This first season of Fear is a short one – only six episodes, so it’s easy to binge-watch. While The Walking Dead focuses on life after the zombie apocalypse, this series tells the story of how it began. It’s set in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas, while TWD is set (at least initially) in the Atlanta area. Will the two worlds ever converge? It’s possible, but it hasn’t happened yet.

The cast of characters is interesting – a man, his girlfriend and her two kids (one of whom is a drug addict), his ex-wife and son, and an El Salvadoran family they connect with on the way. Like the original, no one is ever really safe in this series, and there are unexpected deaths throughout the show.

If you like The Walking Dead and can’t wait for the next season, definitely take a look at this series. It will keep you satisfied, at least for a little while.

Contributed by staff: LMB

The Bridge, Season 1

Broen The Bridge (Broen/Bron) is set in Sweden and Denmark, and involves the body of a woman who is found on a bridge between the two countries. Because she is found in the middle of the bridge, both countries are involved in the investigation. Martin Rohde is the Danish investigator – a laid-back and gruff family man. On the Swedish side is Noren Saga, a brilliant investigator with no social skills.

The gruesome discovery quickly escalates into more murders. Twists and turns are abundant, and it soon seems that the serial killer is working on a more personal level than initially believed. Intense, dark, and riveting, you will not see the ending coming.

This Scandinavian series was remade into an American-Mexican version, also called The Bridge, and a British-French version called The Tunnel (not available on DVD in America at this time). There is nudity and violence, so don’t watch it with the kids! But it will stay with you for a long time after you’ve finished watching.

Contributed by staff: LMB

 

The Man from U.N.C.L.E

The Man from UncleThe Man from U.N.C.L.E is a 2015 movie remake of a TV show from the 1960s. If you are familiar with the show, the movie brings back all your favorite characters. Though it’s a modern remake, the movie definitely has a 1960s spy feel. Both Henry Cavill (as the suave American spy Napoleon Solo) and Arnie Hammer (as the stoic Russian spy Illya Kurakin) are perfectly cast. The plot involves a missing nuclear warhead during the Cold War, and these two spies must put aside their differences and work together to find it before it’s too late.

Full of witty banter, this movie is not an action movie like the Mission Impossible movies. Instead, the action focuses on the three main characters. The twists and turns keep coming, so you will find yourself surprised throughout the movie. It’s a fun, entertaining ride.

Contributed by staff: LMB

Ex Machina

Ex Machina movieEx Machina is a 2015 sci-fi thriller about artificial intelligence. In the not-too distant future, a programmer at an internet company wins a trip to visit the brilliant but eccentric CEO for a week. Nathan, the CEO, is played to perfection by Oscar Isaac, and Domhnall Gleeson is well cast as the smart but naive programmer. But the star of the movie is Alicia Vikhander, who plays Ava. She is the AI that Nathan built and wants to test with the help of Caleb (Gleeson). Nathan wants to find out if she passes the Turing Test – which is to say, does she exhibit enough characteristics to be indistinguishable from a human?

The movie builds its tension slowly. Nathan’s estate is vast, beautiful, and empty, and security is extreme. The movie is structured around Caleb’s meetings with Ava and the relationship that develops between the two. Caleb finds himself feeling sympathy for Ava and wondering what Nathan’s plans are for her if she doesn’t pass. But is what Ava describes for him real? You won’t know what’s happening until the last few scenes, when everything snaps together.

Please note, this is a film with adult themes and nudity and is rated R for that reason. However, if you like slick sci-fi films like Lucy and Her, you will enjoy this one as well.

Contributed by staff: LMB