Aug 11th - 17th Downloads
& DVDs
 
  •  Archive (2020):

    Although this theme has been seen many times before – that of an artificial intelligence (AI) being used to bring a human back from death, it’s always in the casting and in the execution that make the difference, and in this film, both are first-rate.  It’s the year 2038 and scientist George Almore (Theo James of the “Divergent” series of movies) is very close to the culmination of the work that has consumed most of his adult life – the creation of an AI that cannot be distinguished from a human being.  His project has gone from a marathon to a sprint because George’s wife Jules (Stacey Martin) has been killed in a tragic accident, and he is now challenged to try to bring her body back to life with the AI within, completely programmed with all of her thoughts, feelings, loves, and hates.  The clock is ticking, and he is desperate.  Also in the cast are Rhona Mitra (“Underworld: War with the Lycans”) and the always mysterious Toby Jones (“The Hunger Games,” Captain America,” “Wayward Pines”).  A taut thriller that will keep you in the game from start to finish.  Rated 14A.

     

  • How to Build a Girl (2019):

    Beanie Feldstein (“Lady Bird”) is the star here, playing a young woman based on the real-life person, Caitlin Moran, English journalist, author, and broadcaster.  Here her character is named Johanna, and she is tired of the dismal life in the overcrowded council house that she occupies with her parents and too many siblings.  As early as age 13, Johanna was convinced that she would be a writer, and at age 16 she submitted an off-beat music review to a group of stuffy critics at an independent music magazine.  She was shown the door initially, but soon she had reinvented herself with a change of name to Dolly Wilde, and she presented with an uncontrolled lust for rock music, for the business that frames it, and for the fame that goes with it … and for the men too.  Soon, Dolly is at the top of the heap, and she has pushed a goodly number of people aside to get there.   Like so many achievers who make their goals early in life, Dolly-Johanna begins to wonder if this is really all there is.  The movie is based on Caitlin Moran’s biographical novel, and is more than just a little racy as Dolly does what needs doing to make it to the top of the heap.  Rated 18A. 


    Valley of the Gods (2019):  Anytime you can attract John Malkovich to a project, you know it will be no ordinary film.  The story here brings together three highly separate concepts – that of incredible personal wealth in the person of a reclusive trillionaire of Jeff Bezos proportions, a journalist who wants to be the man’s personal biographer, and a significant amount of Navaho lore and culture that sometimes makes it difficult to separate reality from spirituality.  Directed by Poland’s Lech Majewski it was filmed in that country, as well as in the heart of the Navaho nation in and around Utah and the Four Corners, where Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico meet.  Josh Hartnett stars along with Jamie Ray Newman (“Bates Motel”) who is the female lead.  Another co-star is now 84 year-old Keir Dullea who likened working on this film to his starring turn in “2001: A Spacy Odyssey.”    Rated 14A.



  • The Soul Collector (2019):

    Set and shot in South Africa in 1977, this disturbing horror film is all the more disconcerting because very little about its plot is spelled out for us, and since it does not feature stars recognizable to North American audiences, even determining who is good and who is bad based on their casting is a problem for us.  Lazarus (Tshamano Sebe) is a black man with a reputation for being a witch doctor, a shaman.  He is befriended by a young white woman named Mary (Keita Luna), and neither really understands the role of the other as their relationship progresses, until it becomes clear that Lazarus is using Mary for something for which we are not immediately able to understand.  But images of a talking corpse (very scary), a dead monkey (very realistic), and the concerns of Mary’s adoptive parents on their large plantation, soon make us realize that Lazarus has been collecting souls for a long time, and that Mary’s role in this is very frightening.  Rated 14A.

  • Fearless (2020):

    This Netflix original documentary may fill a gap for those who love watching rodeo events, but have been losing out due to Covid-19 coupled with the attention such events gain in the eyes of animal rights factions.  It's all about bull riding, and in a six-episode span, we enter the world of World Champion Adriano Moraes, a Brazilian rider who inspires a group of his countrymen to head North to the pro rodeo circuit.  Their ultimate goal is to get to the World finals in Las Vegas, but along the way they are challenged by the lifestyle differences in North American which impacts both the riders and their families, as well as the level of competition in which the American riders have a technical edge ... and edge that will have to be made up, on the part of the Brazilians, with sheer will, determination, and guts.   Once in Nevada, injuries begin to take their toll, and one of the riders is forced to walk away from the sport, while others persevere.  Rated 14A. 



     

    Tiny Creatures (2020) (TV series):

    True-life animal adventures have long been a staple of television, with such series as "Shark Week" bringing us the biggest and the most frightening action scenes.  There's another world though, a much smaller one, in which the battles for survival and for life and death occur every day, sometimes right under our own feet.  This Netflix documentary is excellent for younger viewers - I would say 10 and up - as it explores the world of the field mouse, and all the dangers that exist, from people and their traps, to hawks and owls.  In another episode, little ducklings, all decked out in yellow fuzz, swim in line behind their mothers, but have to be wary of what's below the water, as fish and other predators lurk about.  The rating is G, suitable for all family members, and even little animals in danger get away ... but very sensitive younger children may find this a little intense.

New on CRAVE

Laurel Canyon (2020) (Part 1)

For those who lived the pop music of the '60s, or for those who wonder how the base of pop music that exists today was built, this exceptional documentary is just perfect.  Laurel Canyon was, in the days of the early-to-mid '60s, a part of greater Los Angeles that attracted musicians from all over the world.  It was, then, a cheap place to live, with rental houses available at bargain basement rates, and no shortage of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  It was a place where Eric Clapton first met Joni Mitchell at a barbecue put on by Mama Cass Elliot.  It was a place where The Beatles schmoozed with one of their idols, Little Richard, and it was a place where Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young hung out together, wrote music together, and played what would become the hits of the century in their Laurel Canyon backyard.  Mama Michelle Phillips speaks candidly in an interview recorded last year as to how her inability to be with just one man hurt her then-husband John beyond belief, but ... he knew what he was getting, she says.  Interviews with Linda Ronstadt, Don Henley, and Jackson Brown are included, and there's a great look back at other Canyon denizens such as The Doors' Jim Morrison, and singer-songwriter Carol King.  Rated 14A.  Part 2 will be released next week.

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

Radioactive (2019):

Madame Curie is, in this Amazon original, far more than just a commonly used answer-and-question on the game show Jeopardy.  Rosamund Pike takes on the role of the woman born Marie Sklowdoska in Warsaw, Poland in 1867, and who died at a relatively young age in 1934 in a French sanatorium where she suffered from aplastic anaemia, the result of a working lifetime dealing with radioactive elements.  She was the first woman to win a Nobel prize, and to this day is the only woman to win a Nobel prize twice.   Sklowdoska met and married fellow scientist Pierre Curie in Paris and their work together pioneered the field of radioactivity, a term that Marie coined, and radioactive elements. He is played here by Sam Riley.  She created portable X-Ray machines that could be transported to field hospitals, and she operated such machines during WWI, doing so with no protection whatsoever, as the results of exposure to X-rays was not yet known.  This film is both a scientific biography and a love story telling the tale of two people so perfectly matched that their romance was as amazing as their discoveries.  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.