Top Films to Watch on Thanksgiving 2017

 A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973) Rated NR

Peppermint Patty invites herself and her friends over to Charlie Brown’s for Thanksgiving, and with Linus, Snoopy, and Woodstock, he attempts to throw together a Thanksgiving dinner.

 Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) Rated R

A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with an obnoxious slob of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.

 

 A Family Thanksgiving (2010) Rated NR

A lawyer trying to make partner is shown the joys of living a more balanced life.

 

 Holiday Engagement (2011) Rated TV-G

Afraid to tell her family she’s been dumped, Hillary hires an actor to play her fiancé during a 4-day Thanksgiving weekend at her parents’ house.

 

 Scent of a Woman (1992) Rated R

A prep school student needing money agrees to “babysit” a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated.

Synopsis by IMDB.

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Emogenius (GSN) Rated NR

 A game show where contestants solve a puzzle of emoji messages to win $10,000. Starring Matt Laydon, Hunter March.

This unusual game show is geared towards the generation of individuals who speak primarily in emojis rather than words. I have to admit, I am not part of that demographic, so the concept was a little lost on me. Host Hunter March, the grandson of Hal March, brings the perfect amount of nerdy-ness as the comedic host. Due to copyright laws, some the emojis they use have been created for the show. Although the show is interesting, I can’t imagine myself watching it every night, so I’m going to say it’s a pass.

 

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Flypaper (2011) Rated NR

 A man is caught between two robberies at the same bank with the teller that he is secretly in love with. Starring Patrick Dempsey, Ashley Judd, Tim Blake Nelson, Mekhi Phifer, Jeffrey Tambor.

I enjoyed this film. It’s not perfect: at times it falls flat or seems obscured, but it does bring laughter. A dark comedy/thriller, it can be confusing and yet it is brilliantly written. The twists and turns throughout the film are subtle and intriguing. It is worth a watch.

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New This Week on DVD, November 21, 2017

 The Hitman’s Bodyguard (R)

The world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Criminal Court. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time. Starring Elodie Yung, Ryan Reynolds, Tsuwayuki Saotome, Gary Oldman

 Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (PG-13)

A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe. Starring Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke

 Leap! (PG)

An orphan girl dreams of becoming a ballerina and flees her rural Brittany for Paris, where she passes for someone else and accedes to the position of pupil at the Grand Opera house. Starring Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Carly Rae Jepsen

 Birth of the Dragon (PG-13)

Set against the backdrop of 1960s San Francisco, BIRTH OF THE DRAGON is a modern take on the classic movies that Bruce Lee was known for. It takes its inspiration from the epic and still controversial showdown between an up-and-coming Bruce Lee and kung fu master Wong Jack Man – a battle that gave birth to a legend. Starring Yu Xia, Wang Xi’An, Hai Yu

 Good Time (R)

After a heist goes awry, a bank robber spends a night trying to free his mentally ill brother from being sent to Riker’s Island prison. Starring Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, Taliah Webster, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barkhad Abdi

 Beach Rats (R)

A Brooklyn teenager spends his days experimenting with drugs and looking online for older men to meet with. Starring Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge

 Crown Heights (R)

When Colin Warner is wrongfully convicted of murder, his best friend Carl King devotes his life to proving Colin’s innocence. Starring Luke Forbes, Lakeith Stanfield, Adriane Lenox

 My Journey Through French Cinema (NR)

Bertrand Tavernier’s personal journey through French cinema, from films he enjoyed as a boy to his own early career, told through portraits of key creative figures. Starring Bertrand Tavernier, Thierry Frémaux, André Marcon

 One Last Heist (R)

In April 2015, the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company, an underground safe deposit facility in London’s Hatton Garden area, was burgled by 4 elderly men. The total stolen may have a value of up to £200 million, the incident has been called the “largest burglary in English legal history.” Starring Stephen Moyer, Matthew Goode, Joely Richardson

 A Year In Space / Beyond A Year In Space (PG) *

A Year in Space takes viewers behind-the-scenes of astronaut Scott Kelly’s 12-month stay on the International Space Station, where he tests human limits for space travel and lays the groundwork for a manned mission to Mars. Beyond A Year in Space follows Scott Kelly’s life after spending a record-breaking year in outer space. Starring Scott Kelly

 The Fall: Series 3 (TV-MA)

A seemingly cold but very passionate policewoman goes head to head with a seemingly passionate father who is in fact a cold serialist in this procedural out of Belfast. The only thing they share is their common complexity. Starring Gillian Anderson, Jamie Dornan, John Lynch

 Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed The World (TV-PG)

500 years ago, Martin Luther triggered a seismic upheaval that rocked the western world-with an impact that continues to reverberate to this day. This entertaining new film follows the great adventure story of Luther’s life, packed with political intrigue, kidnappings, secret hideouts, and life-or-death showdowns. At the same time, it’s a story about the most important questions of life. “Who am I?” “What is my purpose?” “How do I get right with God?” Starring Padraic Delany, Hugh Bonneville, Kuba Rudzinski

 November Christmas (NR)

A brave young girl is battling cancer, which has an effect on the people around her. Starring Sam Elliott, John Corbett, Sarah Paulson

 Christmas in Conway (TV-PG)

To the folks in Conway, South Carolina, Duncan Mayor is a very cranky guy. To “my sweet girl” – his wife, Suzy – he’s a doting pussycat. But Suzy is just home from the hospital and cared for 24/7 by nurse Natalie, whom Duncan tries his best to ignore. Duncan decides the best medicine Suzy could possibly have – and a Christmas present she’ll never forget — is a ride on a real Ferris wheel, set up in their own back yard. Why a Ferris wheel? Because it was while riding one many moons ago that Duncan asked Suzy to marry him. Where to find a 45-foot-high used Ferris wheel? Duncan strikes gold in an abandoned amusement park, presided over by a lonely ex-carnival worker — Henry. Assembling the mechanical monstrosity is not exactly a one-man job. Duncan gets a crucial assist from Tommy, a former student of Suzy’s, who is deeply in her debt. He’s become a successful landscape designer after a troubled youth; it was Suzy who set him straight. Meanwhile, the neighbors are not amused; especially prim and proper Gayle Matthews. She’s entered her garden in an upscale magazine’s “Christmas Showcase” contest. The interest of the contest’s judges witnessing the atrocity next door is more than Gayle can bear. Fortunately, her brother is the local sheriff – and there are zoning laws to prevent this kind of thing, aren’t there? Starring Andy Garcia, Mandy Moore, Cheri Oteri, Mary-Louise Parker

 Saving Christmas (PG) *

In this clever, crazy family adventure starring comedy legend Ed Asner, Danny and his brainy buddies launch an ”X-Files” style investigation to discover the truth about Santa. But they have no clue that St. Nick is real and he’s making toys right in their hometown! As Danny’s flirty mom gets wrapped up with Santa’s social-media director, Danny and his gang of secret sleuths unravel the funny, festive truth that’s out there. Starring Chase Andersen, Edward Asner, Mike Bennett

 A Nutcracker Christmas (TV-G)

Ballerina Lilly Jamison is raising her sister’s daughter. Her niece turns out to be a ballet prodigy and is offered the lead in The Nutcracker. The director, Mark, is Lilly’s ex boyfriend. Starring Amy Acker, Sascha Radetsky, Sophia Lucia

 I’ll Be Home For Christmas (NR)

Jackie Foster, is a dynamic Assistant District Attorney and single mom. But when Jackie’s estranged dad, Jack, a gruff retired police officer, unexpectedly shows up at her door, they will be forced to confront old wounds. Starring James Brolin, Mena Suvari, Giselle Eisenberg

 A Christmas to Remember (NR)

A harsh TV personality needs a break from her own life, so she hops into a car and drives to a small town mountain retreat. On her way there, a blizzard veers her off the road and she crashes. When she comes to, she has complete amnesia and a friendly passerby takes her in. Starring Mira Sorvino, Cameron Mathison, Jesse Filkow

 The Librarians: The Complete Third Season (TV-14)

A group of librarians set off on adventures in an effort to save mysterious, ancient artifacts. Starring Christian Kane, Lindy Booth, John Harlan Kim

All Synopsis’ by IMDB unless otherwise noted.

*Synopsis by Amazon.

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Evil Things (TLC) Rated TV-14

Real people recount the unusual and evil incidents that have happened to them. Starring Don Baldaramos, William Daubert.

This story explores the validity of unexplained incidents in the lives of real people. Using both interviews and reenactments, we are invited to consider whether these things could have truly happened. What is intriguing is that each incident deals with a specific object in the person’s home. There is emphasis placed on the positive (good) or negative (evil) energy our possessions possess. Although it is fascinating and well-presented, I still have to say this show is a pass.

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Boy Band (ABC) Rated NR

A reality show that tries out amateur singers for a new boy band. Starring Rita Ora, Nick Carter, Emma Bunton, Tim Mosley, Sergio Calderon, Drew Ramos, Jaden Gray, Marcus Pendleton, Michael Conor, Chance Perez, Mikey Jimenez, Brady Tutton.

I actually enjoyed this reality show. It doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is. It’s one of the lower production reality shows, but all good reality shows start out that way. Think back to the first season of American Idol. This show already has the talent, they just need to narrow it down to the best candidate for the boy band. There are guys you root for and get attached to, and you feel sad when they have to go. It is obvious that the contestants are prompted beforehand, and the producers take long breaks so the contestants can prepare for on-the-spot performances. Do I think they’ll actually discover a new boy band? I don’t think so. A boy band needs a fan base and that’ll be hard to get in 10 weeks. They’ll need to work harder after the show. Still, this show is entertaining enough to make it worth a watch.

 

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From Time to Time (2009) Rated PG

 A boy visiting his grandmother discovers he can travel between two centuries and unlocks family history mysteries. Based on the book, The Chimneys of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston. Starring Alex Etel, Timothy Spall, Maggie Smith, Dominic West.

I wanted to watch this film mainly because I wanted to see what Julian Fellowes made before Downton Abbey. The film is brilliantly told with great cinematography. It’s well written and it showcases Fellowes’ great storytelling. With that, I have to say the story is rather predictable. There were aspects of the film that weren’t as smooth or consistent as they could have been. Even with those blunders, though, the film is worth a watch.

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Blood Drive (SYFY) Rated TV-MA

 Set in the future, a cop is forced to participate in a death race where the cars run on blood. Starring  Alan Ritchson, Christina Ochoa, Thomas Dominique, Marama Corlett, Colin Cunningham

This is the worst show I’ve seen. It’s over the top bad. Yes, it has the grindhouse basics film genre but it is a show that doesn’t need to be on TV. The gore is very grindhouse and the sex is over the top. The writing needs some work although, it does have a good story that could unfold as the series goes on. The cohesiveness of the show just doesn’t work. It’s a show not worth watching.

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New This Week in Theater, November 16, 2017

 Justice League (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, November 17
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.

 Wonder (PG)
Opens on Friday, November 17
Starring: Julia Roberts, Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson, Mandy Patinkin

Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.

 The Star (PG)
Opens on Friday, November 17
Starring: Steven Yeun, Kristin Chenoweth, Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez

A small but brave donkey and his animal friends become the unsung heroes of the first Christmas.

 The Breadwinner (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, November 17
Starring: Saara Chaudry, Laara Sadiq, Shaista Latif

A headstrong young girl in Afghanistan disguises herself as a boy in order to provide for her family.

 Roman J. Israel, Esq. (PG-13)
Opens on Friday, November 17
Starring: Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, Lynda Gravatt

Denzel Washington stars as Roman Israel, a driven, idealistic defense attorney who, through a tumultuous series of events, finds himself in a crisis that leads to extreme action.

  Mudbound (R)
Opens on Friday, November 17
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks

Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.

 Big Sonia (NR)
Opens on Friday, November 17
Starring: Sonia Warshawski, SuEllen Fried, Caroline Kennedy, Regina Kort

In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski – great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor – runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than thirty years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to revisit her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, BIG SONIA also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all.

 Almost Friends (NR)
Opens on Friday, November 17
Starring:  Freddie Highmore, Odeya Rush, Christopher Meloni, Haley Joel Osment

Charlie is an unmotivated man in his mid 20s still living at home with his mother and stepfather who falls for a young woman who has a serious boyfriend.

 Mr. Roosevelt (NR)
Opens on Friday, November 17
Starring: Noël Wells, Nick Thune, Britt Lower, Daniella Pineda

After a loved one falls ill, struggling comedian Emily Martin returns to her college town of Austin, Texas and must come to terms with her past while staying with her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.

Synopsis by IMDB.

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The Central Park Five (2012) Rated NR

This documentary examines the rape of a woman in Central Park in 1989 for which five black and Latino boys were convicted. Years later, a serial rapist confessed to the crime. Starring Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise, Matias Reyes.

This is a brilliant documentary, revealing how the pressure police face to get a conviction for a crime can change the course of innocent people’s lives. It covers crime in New York in the late 80’s, what the boys were up to during that time, the time line of the crime, and the DNA evidence. It also shares what happened to the boys after they were convicted. You cannot turn back the hands of time. I can only imagine how hard it would be to forgive such a grievous mistake. This film definitely sides more with the victims (the boys who were wrongfully convicted), which is understandable, given how messed up the case became. This documentary is worth a watch.

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