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Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.

Bridget Jones' Baby
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, and Emma Thompson
Synopsis: It’s been 15 years since Bridget Jones first made her way to theaters, and it’s been 12 years since her last cinematic outing. That’s a long time to wait to find out if everyone’s favorite under dog found a happy ending. Now Bridget Jones is back, with returning stars Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth in the mix for new adventures. It was a fall treat for fans of the comedy and fans of romantic comedies in general, as this one offered the typical antics you’d expect from a Bridget Jones adventure. In the new film, Bridget (Zellweger) is turning 43. In fact, the film opens on her birthday and things aren’t going quite as she’d planned — at least in the romance department. While she’s a successful news producer and seems confident in her professional life, there’s a big hole in her personal life. By now, people know what to expect from these kind of movies. You get plenty of awkward situations, plenty of jokes, a lot of subtle observations on life and a heavy dose of romance. These movies aren’t deep and complex, but they’re meant to be satisfying to audiences. And from that standpoint, this film does its job. Zellweger effortlessly slips back into the role — and the British accent — and seems at home in Bridget’s shoes. She carries a lot of the movie and does a great job of bringing Bridget and all her foibles to life. Dempsey easily slides into the third wedge in the film’s love triangle, and Firth is strong again as Darcy. They have such different styles and screen personas, which helps balance out the comedy on the screen. But perhaps the best performance comes from Emma Thompson, who is completely hilarious as Bridget’s put-upon doctor. She has some of the best lines and really helps punch up the comedy in a few key scenes in the film. The 12 year layoff did little to diminish the effectiveness of the Bridget Jones films. And of course, what most fans want most is a happy ending for Bridget in her quest for love. This film should be satisfying for fans of the franchise, and just those looking for a good time at the movies. It’s not overly complex, not hard to figure out what’s happening and where it’s going, but it is a fun journey along the way.
Rating: R  for language, sex references and some nudity. Enter with caution.
Verdict: Three stars out of four.

Snowden
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Rhys Ifans, Nicholas Cage, and Tom Wilkinson
Synopsis: Director Oliver Stone's latest film is "Snowden," which traces the life of Edward Snowden, famed whistle blower/traitor, during his career from 2004 until 2013, when he leaked classified documents and went on the run. Most have heard Snowden's name, but few are probably familiar with his story and his career. I had the chance to see the fantastic documentary on his decision to become a whistle blower, "Citizen Four," which came out a few years ago. Stone's film isn't meant to just chronicle that event, though it does capture the bulk of that decision to leak documents and a bit of the after math. Instead, the film follows his career, and the growing concerns he had about America's national intelligence gathering that led him to make that decision. Some view Snowden as a hero, while others view him as a traitor. History will ultimately be the judge of which category he falls into. This film, however, is less political than one might expect given the director and the story. It's an interesting look into Snowden's life, career, and the mindset that led him to turn against his country. It's well acted and put together and a fascinating story to watch, regardless of how you feel about him.
Rating: R for language and some sexuality/nudity. Enter with caution.
Verdict: Three stars out of four.

Upcoming Releases:
Friday, September 23 — "The Magnificent Seven," "Queen of Katwe," "Storks"
Friday, September 30 — "Deepwater Horizon," "Masterminds," "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children"

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