July 7th - 13th Downloads
& DVDs
 
  •  Blood & Money (2020):

    Originally titled “Allagash” after the town in Maine in which the action starts, this is a movie that is okay, and it’s worth the passing of the time, but it’s not going to get any awards, as in none at all.  Tom Beringer is Jim Reed, a Marine vet, and a guy who loves to hunt deer in winter.  I don’t quite get how a woman out in the bush and the snow gets mistaken for a deer, but somehow Reed makes that mistake, he shoots her, and as she bleeds out, she tells him he is “so dead.”  He heads back to town intent on making things right and negotiating a plea of involuntary manslaughter. Reed doesn’t recognize it at the time, but Debbie had a bag of money with her, and was the leader of a five-person team that committed the heist that resulted in the loot. When he realizes that fact, as well as the fact that he left a personal item near her body that could identify him, he heads back to the scene of the accident.  Now he’s got the money, but the other four guys are after him.  The cat-and-mouse game takes up the rest of the story, which is okay at best.  Rated 18A.

     

  • The Lost Husband (2020):

    Leslie Bibb (“Crossing Jordan,” “American Housewife”) is a mother and a widow who is forced to move in with her ultra-critical mother when her husband dies suddenly.  Things are going rapidly downhill for both Libby and her kids, under her mother’s thumb, when a call comes from out of the blue that has the potential to change everything.  Her Aunt Jean (Nora Dunn) calls from Texas with a proposition.  If Libby would come to live with her, bringing the children of course, she could offer both a job and a place to live.  Libby packs the kids up, and she’s off to the Hill Country to help run Aunt Jean’s goat farm, building a life that seems almost magical.  It sort of helps that the farm’s hired hand is played by Josh Duhamel, and it soon becomes a city-girl-falls-for-country-boy story, but it’s one that plays out with warmth and tact, and is in no way smarmy or overly soft.  There are problems on the farm, and problems with this life, but the aspects of overcoming grief and building a new life are handled with a nice touch.  Rated 14A.

  • Hope Gap (2019):

    Annette Bening stars a Grace, a woman married 29 years to Edward (Bill Nighy), happily and in the lap of contentment, she thinks.  When Edward tells her that he is leaving her, breaking the news first to their son Jamie (Josh O’Connor).  There is another woman, he explains, but had no idea what kind of fallout would occur after his news.  His expectation was that Grace would be devastated, but he had no idea of the impact on Jamie.  Grace looks for comfort and for solace in her community, a little seaside town which, under different circumstances would be idyllic, but now is a constant reminder of her loss.  This British drama debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, to generally good reviews, although the film is tinged with great sadness.  Rated 14A.

  • The Old Guard (2020):

    This Netflix release is a sci-fi fantasy mix in which Charlize Theron plays Andy, the leader of a warrior group who are immortal, and who have powers, such as the ability to heal.  They have been a part of our world for hundreds of years, fighting in the background, completely unknown, with a mission to keep our world safe from powers and entities unknown to humankind.  When a special mission of mercy and of help turns on the group, Andy realizes they are about to be exposed by a faction that is onto them, and seeks not only their destruction, but the spoils of war, picking clean the bones of humanity.  Andy, and a new recruit to her force named Nile (Kiki Layne) now have to backtrack, covering all evidence of their existence, while trying to determine how and what will overcome the invaders.  Chiwetel Ejiofor also stars in this action-thriller that was filmed in the UK, as well as in Morocco which fills in for Somalia and for Kenya.  Rated 14A. 

     

    Stateless (2020) (TV Series):

    A Netflix original, this is an Australian-produced-and-set six-part series that explores the dynamics between four people who find themselves incarcerated in an international detention centre.  Based on actual events and real people, we meet the group one at a time, which includes a flight attendant, Sofie Werner (Yvonne Strahovski), who is escaping an urban cult, who is an Australian permanent resident, and who has been detained illegally and against her will, along with an Afghan refugee who is fleeing persecution; a bureaucrat who is caught up in an international scandal; and a young Australian father escaping a dead-end life.  As each is introduced into detention, we see their lives becoming intertwined in interesting ways, and we see treatment at the hands of the authorities that one would not expect from a civilized country.  The film was inspired by the real-life situation of Cornelia Rau who was unlawfully detained under Australia's Mandatory Detention Program.  Rated 14A. 

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

Equilibrium (2002):

This is an outstanding film that has had very little distribution over all these years.  It stars Christian Bale in an oppressive sci-fi future in which all forms of feeling are illegal.  The movie reminded me a lot of The Matrix when I first discovered it, many years ago, with martial arts scenes that are almost beyond belief, even judging against today's available technology.  The cast also includes Sean Bean (Game of Thrones), Dominic Purcell (Prison Break), Taye Diggs (Chicago), and William Fichtner (Blackhawk Down).  The complexity of the story, and the special effects combine to make an outstanding movie that has been largely known only to action-adventure fans that may have encountered it on DVD.  The reason it received no release or distribution in North America is that its European release (it was shot in Germany) made a pot full for money, and the distributors did not want to run the risk of turning a money maker into something less if it didn't do well in the US and Canada.  They should have done it - would have just added more to the profits.  Excellent film!  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.