March 13th - 19th Downloads
& DVDs
  • The Shape of Water:

     Truly unique.  Director and writer Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Pacific Rim) must have been a huge fan of the TV series Madmen, because so many elements of that show, featuring the advertising business in the 1960s, are present here. The focus is on two women who are on the cleaning staff of an aerospace company in the Washington, DC area.  Zelda Fuller and Elisa Esposito (Octavia Spenser, Sally Dawkins) clean the restrooms, and pick up the refuse left day-to-day by the workers in the top-secret facility. Elisa is mute and can only sign, although her hearing is fully functional.  They learn of a strange creature that has been captured and tethered to a chain in a large, saltwater tank.  Looks a lot like the Creature from the Black Lagoon in the 1954 movie.  It’s the height of the Cold War, and both the Americans and the Russians have a keen interest in what this creature may offer, found in the jungle rivers of the Amazon.  A Soviet spy is resident in the facility, unknown to its key agent, Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) who tortures the creature mercilessly with a cattle prod.  There is some belief that it may be of value in a military sense.  Elisa begins spending time near the creature unknown to the powers-that-be, and ultimately falls in love with it.  The Russian spy has been directed to kill it, and Strickland is bent on dissecting it, so it falls to Elisa to somehow save the strange being.  The look of cars, the TV programs, the hairstyles and the fashions is just superb, having stepped out of a highly stylized version of the '60s, and the way the story plays out is unpredictable and very special.  A warning for those who are sensitive to such things - there is nudity and a couple of sex scenes that I could have done without, but overall a unique spin on the beauty and the beast story.  Rated 14A, but really should be 18A - it's rated R in the States.


  • I, Tonya:

    I have never been a fan of Tonya Harding, even before she was implicated in the Nancy Kerrigan affair in 1994 when Kerrigan was attacked and had her knee damaged intentionally by the attacker.  Having seen this movie, different feeling now.  It's easy to understand how this physically and mentally damaged young woman ended up where she did, banned for life from the sport that she loved, with no hope of redemption.  I only knew of Harding as a tough-talking skater, and then as the one who ordered the attack on Kerrigan.  Her ex-husband, Jeff Gilooly was the mastermind.  Well, Harding, portrayed here with unerring accuracy by Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad), becomes a somewhat sympathetic figure.  She was physically and verbally abused by her rattlesnake of a mother, LaVona (Allison Janney), and later her first romantic relationship with Gilooly (Sebastian Stan) became a highly abusive marriage punctuated by restraining orders and beatings.  The film itself is remarkable in that it plays out like a series of interviews between the key players, all part of the tabloid TV show Hard Copy, in which the characters periodically break the fourth wall by talking directly to the audience.  The language is very rough, as one might expect from the major characters who are redneck uneducated people definitely not of privilege.  Rated 14A here, but it's R in the States.

  • Justice League:

    Superman is dead.  Now, with a new threat on the horizon, Batman (Ben Affleck) and his new ally Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) work at putting together a new team to try to save the world.  This film does not take itself too seriously, in part because of the work of The Flash/Barry Allen (Ezra Miller).  Here his character develops fully, as the youngest member of the group.  Batman is still brooding, but not quite so darkly as he recognizes, since the death of Superman, that the new threat facing the world, that of Steppenwolf, an ages old alien creature back to destroy the known universe if possible, and rebuild it his own way, is the most important thing to overcome at this time.  Pairing up with Wonder Woman, they find Cyborg (newcomer Ray Fisher), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and The Flash.  This is Wonder Woman's movie, despite the fact that other themes are in play throughout.  She takes on a leadership role after Steppenwolf runs amok with his world-threatening ways. There are some great special effects, especially during the fight scenes and battles that take us from the Island of the Amazons, to Gotham City to Metropolis, to Central City and to Chernobyl in Ukraine.  Director Zack Snyder handles his big-ego heroes with a deft hand, as if he knows them as people, as friends and colleagues, rather than as characters on a page of script.

  •  Snitch (2013):

    This overlooked movie brings us a different Dwayne Johnson than the one we see in all the movies in which he is an amazing, towering, physical presence.  Here, based on actual events, he is just a dad whose son gets into trouble with drugs.  It's not a serious issue until someone tells authorities an embellished tale of the son, and suddenly, he is facing a lengthy prison term with no appeal.  All of this is based on new laws that offer reduced sentences to those who are incarcerated and who snitch on other drug dealers by offering authorities apparent inside information.  Johnson is John Matthews, a dad who won't give up until his boy gets justice.  No heroics here, just a father trying to do the right thing.  Barry Pepper and Susan Sarandon also star.  Rated 14A. 



    2 Guns (2013):

    Another overlooked movie that will have action-adventure fans salivating.  Denzil Washington and Mark Wahlberg are strangers to one another, but they find themselves in the company of a Mexican druglord that has designs on taking their lives.  Each appears to be a relatively small time dealer looking to score big, but there is a secret that each holds that changes everything.  An excellent buddy movie that keeps you guessing all the way as we wonder just who the bad guys really are, and if there are any true good guys.  Rated 18A for violence.  Also stars Paula Patton and Edward James Olmos.  

Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars:

This documentary looks at "Slow Hand" Eric Clapton through the eyes of those who know him best.  The late BB King has a lot to say, as do Jimmy Hendrix and George Harrison, all dead and gone, but all having left a significant musical legacy.  Won an award for the top documentary by the National Board of Review.  Rated 14A.


First Flights with Neil Armstrong (1991)

Although this series is 26 years old, and Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, has been dead for five years, aviation buffs will want to catch each season of the three that Amazon is offering, in which Armstrong introduces specific eras in aviation, and sometimes flies the planes that he is profiling, from the old "Jenny" biplanes that delivered the mail in post-WWI America, to the first jet trainers such as the T-33 Silver Star that set the tone for the jet age.  I know it's a specific market, but if you like planes, you'll love all of this!