Feb 14th - 20th Downloads
& DVDs
  • Arrival:

    When dozens of alien spaceships arrive at key places around the world, all the usual things occur early on – the military becomes involved immediately, operating on the premise that they are unfriendly.  Then the scientists show up, hoping to learn something new.  And finally, it’s the media that has its day, trying to figure out what is going to happen to whom.  Amy Adams is a PhD linguist who is brought into the situation in an attempt to communicate with whatever is inside the giant, football-shaped spacecraft.  Step-by-step some progress is made in learning the motives of the creatures from space, and in helping them to understand something about humans.  A tip: pay attention to the revelation early on that “time is not linear.”  It is the key to what becomes a very complex concept in understanding this story.  Jeremy Renner also stars, with direction by Canadian Denis Villeneuve.  The movie was shot in Montreal, although the setting is the United States.  It takes a couple of viewings, I think, in order for us to fully get what has happened here … a most interesting and intelligent film. Rated 14A.


  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk:

    Conceptually this looked like a very interesting, and a most patriotic movie.  The execution, however, left much to be desired, and that is likely a good part of the reason for this movie’s failure at the box office.  Billy Lynn, a 19 year-old soldier fighting in Iraq with his unit, is involved in an episode of heroism.  Needing some positive support for the war, the military leaders decide that Lynn and some his team, should come home on leave to do a victory lap, ending with a half-time appearance at the Super Bowl in Texas.  The soldiers are all suffering from forms of PTSD, and they struggle with all the opulence at home, when half a world away, their confreres are locked in life-or-death battles.  The language in this movie is atrocious, and the behaviour of the boys home on leave is anything but honourable.  Interesting concept, bad execution from a group of largely unknown actors.  Rated PG.

  • The Edge of Seventeen:

    Although high school movies telling tales of awkward times and difficult relationships are nothing new, what sets this very fine film apart is the outstanding performance by Hailee Steinfeld who  first caught my attention when she was 13 and starred in the remake of True Grit.  Here she is Nadine, a junior in high school with an older brother who has just begun dating Nadine’s best friend.  That makes her feel even more like a creature from some other planet and she views her remaining school years as something beyond survival.  When Nadine meets another student named Erwin (Hayden Szeto), it appears that life might just be worth living once again.  A very good cast includes Woody Harrelson and Kyra Sedgwick working under the direction of Kelly Fremon Craig who also wrote the script.  Rated PG.

  • American Beauty (1999):

    This winner of the Oscar for Best Picture in 2000 was a movie I just did not get back then, and I don't get it now, but it was a signature piece for Kevin Spacey, who got a Best Actor Oscar for his role as Lester Burnham, a man in the midst of a mid-life crisis who develops a crush on his teenage daughter's best friend.  Don't expect anything to end well for anyone, in this film with a big cast that includes Annette Bening, Chris Cooper, and Allison Janney.  Rated 18A.

    Blue Streak (1999):

    A much more rewarding, for the viewer, film from the turn of the century features Martin Lawrence as a jewel thief named Miles who planned his caper well.  If he were to get caught stealing a huge diamond that he had scoped out, he would hide it in a building under construction, he would do his time, and then he would retrieve the diamond and sell it for millions.  That's how it played out too ... except that, when released, he learned that the building under construction two years ago, was now occupied - and it's a police station.  Now what?  Some good laughs here.  Also stars Dave Chappelle and a younger bit player named Octavia Spencer, now an Oscar-winning actress.  Rated 14A.

The Outsiders (Season 1, 2016):

This original series from WGN America tells the story of feuding kinfolk in the hills of Kentucky.  In episode one, we meet Asa Farrell who returns to his mountain clan after years with other people.  Welcome back - hey, let's lock him up in a cage for six months.  So begins the complex story of a society that has evolved very little from its beginning.  Co-produced by Paul Giamatti, a second season has been given the go-ahead.