Fresh from the Academy Awards, director Steve McQueen brings us an astonishingly well-made film chronicling the true story of Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who, in the pre-Civil War United States, was kidnapped from upstate New York and was sold into slavery in the south. Very difficult to watch at times, it’s a grippingly accurate telling of the treatment of slaves by their “owners” … with a number of outstanding performances including that of Lupita Nyong’o who was exceptional as Patsey a favourite slave of Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). Rated 14A.
2. THE LAST DAYS ON MARS:
No Oscar noms for this one, but it’s a serviceable sci-fi thriller about the first manned expedition to Mars which, on its last day before the return trip home, discovers “something” – an apparent bacteria. Rather than follow protocol and photograph the specimen and leave it behind, one member of the team decides he’ll take matters into his own hands. Obviously none of these people have ever seen a sci-fi movie … even when they start getting picked off one-by-one by “something” they still don’t make the connection. Liev Schreiber stars. Rated 14A.
Josh Brolin stars in this uneven, and ultra-violent thriller in which a man finds himself locked in what at first appears to be a cheap motel room, and which turns out to be a sophisticated prison cell. He has no idea why he is there, no idea who his captors are, and soon has no hope of release. 20 years pass, and suddenly, he’s free. Why? That’s the question he pursues on the outside … but we learn soon enough that he still a prisoner of sorts. Elizabeth Olson co-stars. Rated 18A.
1. AMBUSHED (2013):
Dolph Lundgrin stars as a drug agent with a line on dirty cops and a huge cocaine bust that goes awry when his partner Beverly (Carly Pope) has her cover blown while infiltrating the mob. Then it gets personal. One-time WWE wrestler Randy Couture also stars. Rated 18A.
2. ARCTIC BLAST (2010):
No global warming here as our sun sends an explosive emission of super-cooled energy that hits the earth and threatens to set of an ice age. Michael Shanks (Saving Hope, Elysium) stars and is tasked with saving the world from this menace. Not bad, but a little on the cheesy side. Rated 14A.
3. FORCE OF EXECUTION (2013):
Tough crime story with a great “B” cast as four crime bosses struggle to take control of their world … Danny Trejo, Steven Segal, Ving Rhames and Ben Foster star. Rated 18A.
EASY RIDER (1969):
The late Dennis Hopper co-wrote (along with Peter Fonda) and starred in what is surely the classic road picture as two guys hit the roads of American on their choppers. Watch for a supporting role by music producer Phil Spector.