Feb 18th - 24th Downloads
& DVDs
 
  • A Beautiful Day i the Neighborhood (2019):

    Most people think, from a distance, that this movie, in which Tom Hanks stars as the iconic children's television host, Fred Rogers, of Mister Roger's Neighborhood, is a biopic of the life of its principal character.  Not true.  It isn't an origins story, it isn't a biography, and it isn't a highly dramatized version of a life well-lived.  In fact, it's really more the story of Lloyd Vogel, a feature writer for Esquire Magazine, who, in 1998, was assigned the job of writing what he calls "a puff piece" on Fred Rogers.  Vogel (Matthew Rhys) is based on the actual writer of that article, Tom Junod, and he was, at the time of the first meeting for the Rogers interview, a very angry man.  Vogel had serious family issues with his father, who abandoned him, his young sister, and their dying mother, when the kids were young, and the hurt and anger went with him everywhere.  Approaching his meetings with Rogers, he took his cynical attitude and passive aggressive anger with him.  It is in those scenes that we learn about the magic and the humble beauty of Fred Rogers' ability to relate to people at every age.  Tom Hanks is flawless in his portrayal, and it is through their growing relationship that he helps Lloyd with his family issues, including those with his wife (played by This is Us's Susan Kelechi Watson) and their infant son.  The film could have devolved into a pity party for the loss of Rogers, whose own life was taken at age 74 by stomach cancer less than two years after he retired.  In fact, every piece of the movie was much like Fred Rogers himself, in that it is carefully measured, thoughtfully presented, and drenched in love and understanding.  A beautiful story at every level.  Rated PG. 

     

  • 21 Bridges (2019):

    Two cop killers are on the loose. Chadwick Boseman (42, Black Panther) is Andre Davis, the police detective handling the case, and he's the one, in the middle of the night, who calls for every exit from Manhattan to be blocked - all 21 Bridges.  I saw this as a tightly-scripted story of a pair of criminals hired to secure 30 kilos of cocaine from a downtown location. It goes badly right from the outset when seven uniformed cops show up, just dropping by, it seems, and the ensuing gun battle leaves seven uniformed officers dead and the two perpetrators on the run. Taking place in the hours between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., it's up to Andre to figure out how to catch the killers, and to determine the bigger story hinted at that suggests police corruption.  I liked it, thought it was worth the time, and enjoyed watching Kelowna's Taylor Kitsch in the part of the worst of the two killers.  Rated 14A.  

  • Midway (2019):

    This is an excellent depiction of one of the turning-point battles of WWII in the Pacific which took place six months after the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, and one month after the indecisive Battle of the Coral Sea.  It has mastered the ability to tell both the military story, and some personal interest stories about the fliers, sailors, and senior officers who led this generation into danger of the most critical sort. The centre piece is Patrick Wilson who plays Naval Intelligence officer Edwin Layton.  Layton believed that the Japanese were going to stage a major operation at Midway, with the "desks" in Washington, the same people who did not believe that Pearl Harbor was at risk, in firm opposition to him. Wilson adds a deft touch of underplaying the role, making it completely believable. The surprise acting job here comes from Woody Harrelson who is perfectly credible as Admiral Chester Nimitz.  It's nice to see Harrelson take on a serious role creating the respect that both the character and the subject matter deserve. Long, at over 2 hours, the movie doesn't drag, and offers tension and drama at every level, also paying appropriate respect to the Japanese military and its commanders. I have just one criticism of the film, which overall is excellent, but which loses a significant edge in the overuse of CGI, computer generated images. Looking back at the 1976 version of Midway, a movie that I liked a great deal, we see a different picture ... CGI had not yet been invented, and many of the battles were colour film of actual WWII conflicts, as well as battle scenes cribbed from other films such as the Battle of Britain, or staged pyrotechnics with real planes, real people, and real fire.  Other that, a fine film! Dennis Quaid, and Nick Jonas are among the male stars, with Mandy Moore leading the charge for the ladies. Rated 14A.



  • Love is Blind (TV Series, 2020):

    This Netflix original is a dating show similar to some that have been around on network TV.  The difference is this: the couples don’t get to see each other. They are blindfolded, so they can talk, share information, and in some cases, fall in love … once they get engaged, the blindfolds can come off, and they can work their way through their relationship.  Hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey. Rate 14A.

     

    Isi & Ossi (2020):

    This is a Netflix original film from Germany, and is perfect for romantics who believe that love conquers all … unless you are in a fake relationship.  That’s what happens as Isi, the daughter of billionaire parents, strikes up a romance with a flat-broke boxer. Her goal is to coerce her parents into giving her what she wants – a future in the culinary world, but they refuse.  Perhaps using the boxer as a bargaining chip will tilt the scales. Rated 14A.

New on CRAVE

The Parting Glass (2018)
Edward Asner stars in this story of a family, if not in crisis, certainly in a strange place.  Having lost their sister in a sudden death, they travel from all over the country to meet, and to collect her belongings, as well as piecing together the recollections of their relationship with her.  Oscar winner Melissa Leo also starts, along with Canadian Paul Gross. Rated 14A.

The Witcher (TV Series, 2019):
This Netflix original series is a sword-and-sandal thriller that follows Geralt of Rivera, a solitary monster-killer who roams the earth righting the wrongs created by monstrosities everywhere.  Henry Cavill stars as the title character, based on a novel series.  A second season has already been announced, so you can binge watch this one safely.  Rated 14A. 

 

New on AMAZON PRIME

Al Pacino stars in this original series from Amazon Prime that focuses on the work done by Nazi hunters living in 1977 New York City.  They learn that myriads of relocated Nazis are planning the building of a Fourth Reich on American soil. It must not be allowed to happen!  Saul Rubinek and Carol Kane also star. Rated 14A.

 

New on DISNEY +

The Mandalorian, Chapter 6:

This Star Wars series made for streaming, is perhaps the most true and authentic spinoff that the franchise has offered in more than 20 years.  Taking place in the days of Jawas and Ewoks, it follows the adventures of a masked bounty hunter and his baby Yoda capturee across the galaxy.  The flavour is very much that of the Empire Strikes Back era, with outstanding special effects and a superb story.  Rated PG.