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Reel Time

Wonder Woman

Diana (Gal Gadot), a princess and demigod of the Amazon race of women, was created by Zeus from clay to protect humanity. The women live on an island hidden from the rest of time and creation. Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), forbids her to train for war despite pressure from her aunt, Antiope (Robin Wright), a great warrior.

Zeus left a sword with the women to kill Ares, his renegade son, who killed all the other gods. Only a god can kill another god, and Diana believes she must be ready. One day, American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes his plane off the island as Germans chase him. Diana, who has never seen a man and has no idea of World War I raging beyond their island, follows him to England in search of Ares. If she can kill him, she can save the world. Steve gathers an eclectic team to help him search out a mad German scientist who is making nerve gas. Accompanied by Diana, they go in search of the bad guys.

Wonder Woman, as far as superheroes go, is a unique creation in the comic book-into-film universe because it takes place during World War I. It is a prequel to the original DC comic, which first appeared in 1941. And this adaptation is very exciting.

The story is by Zack Snyder, who produced the last two Superman movies, Jason Fuchs, and Allan Heinberg, who also wrote this script. Patty Jenkins directs. I liked the Diana/Wonder Woman character, brought to life by Gadot. She believes in the power of love and implies that women will save the world. The conflation of violence and war as the only way to achieve peace is always a concern for me with blockbusters.

A-3, PG-13 ♦ Violence, intense action scenes, peril.

Megan Leavy

Megan Leavey

After the devastating loss of her best friend in high school, Megan Leavey (Kate Mara) bounces between her divorced parents, the erratic Jackie (Edie Falco) and hardworking Bob (Bradley Whitford). Walking aimlessly one day, she passes a United States Marine Corps recruiting office and decides to sign up.

It is 2005, and the war in Iraq is at its height. For an infraction, Megan is assigned to clean up the kennels that house dogs being trained to sniff out explosives and roadside bombs. Megan immediately wants to be a dog handler. She persists in her request and begins working with Rex, a 6-year-old German shepherd with an intense personality. They are deployed to Iraq. After six months of working checkpoints, Megan and Rex go out on patrol in advance of the tanks. On that day, a young woman and her dog become heroes.

Based on a true story, Megan Leavey is a straightforward and deeply moving tale of a young woman without direction or purpose who learns the lessons of love and loyalty from a lovable dog. She must overcome military and political challenges to return that love to Rex. The battle scenes are very real, though the setup seems somewhat contrived. The performances in the film are solid, especially Mara’s.

A-3, PG-13 ♦ War violence, language.


Annabelle: Creation

Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman) accompanies a group of orphaned girls to an old, isolated farmhouse, where the owners, Samuel (Anthony LaPaglia), a dollmaker, and his wife, Esther (Miranda Otto), have offered them a home. Their young daughter died several years before.

Esther is hidden away in her bedroom. Samuel tells the girls never to go in there. He warns them not to venture into another room as well, but the girls are curious. One of them ventures into the forbidden room and sees a doll. They soon find out that the doll is inhabited by the devil. All hell breaks loose.

Annabelle: Creation is an origin story for The Conjuring franchise. The couple, plagued by grief, had invited the devil into their home years before as a way to get their deceased daughter back, no matter how. When they realized what they had done, priests exorcised the home. Instead of casting out the devil, they cast it into a doll and locked it in a closet papered with pages from the Bible.

Hollywood cranks out too many films about the devil. This one, which is highly contrived, will nevertheless scare you. Don’t mess with the devilÑseriously.

Not yet rated, R ♦ Violence, peril, horror.

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