Dec 18th - 24th Downloads
& DVDs
 
  • Venom:

    Tom Hardy plays this lesser-known Marvel superhero, Venom is an alien with unusual powers.  Journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy), who, while trying to clear his name after a scandal, investigates a foundation that harbors the alien.  When he comes into contact with it, it becomes him, and he becomes it.  At the heart of the story is an Elon Musk-type named Carleton Drake (Riz Ahmed) who’s rocket launching system brought something back from space that is alive.  In his high-tech San Francisco research facility, he is attempting to match the space material with a human host to create a symbiote, and in the process has his research subjects dying horrible deaths.  When the creature, Venom, finds its way into the body of Eddie, the two form an uneasy alliance that allows Eddie, when Venom chooses, to turn him into a huge, horrid-looking creature that loves to eat human brains by biting off heads.  We get great special effects, scripted with a light touch that offers several humorous moments, and a storyline that hangs together well, keeping the viewer fully engaged.  Watch for the signature cameo by Marvel co-creator, the late Stan Lee towards the end of the film, billed as "Dapper Dog Walker."  Rated 14A. 

     

  • The House with a Clock in Its Walls:

    Based on a 1973 YA novel by John Bellairs, this dark comedy left me a little cold.  I think most people in its target audience, tweens and early teens, maybe ages 10 to 15 or so, will find it entertaining.  Part of that was the lack of chemistry between the lead actor, 10 - or-so year-old Owen Vaccaro, and the character of his warlock uncle played by Jack Black.  Owen Vaccaro is Lewis Barnavelt.  His parents have died in a car crash, and he is sent to live in his uncle's home in Michigan.  The Uncle is Jonathan Barnavelt (Black). He lives in an old house said, by the neighbourhood kids, to be haunted. Lewis sets out to try to have a normal life, but his first night inside the house makes him believe that something very strange is going on.  He is right.  The clock in the walls of the title was placed there, under a witch's hex so it would be unfindable, and Jonathan, and his neighbour, good witch Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) know only that it will spell the end of the world if it is allowed to run its course.  Part of the problem with the film, I think, is that it needs the viewer to be familiar with the source material - there are 12 novels in the series, and this one is the first.  Young-boy-wants-to-do-magic is so “Harry Potter”, even though these books were written long before JK Rowling first put word processor to paper, and that takes a lot of the steam out of the story.  Fine for young people, not so much for adults as it gets draggy.  Rated PG.

  •  A Simple Favor:

    There is nothing simple about this psychological thriller.  I can tell you about the set-up, but to go much further would raise the possibility of spoilers, and you don't want that, in what becomes an intense murder mystery with a twist or two ... or three.  Anna Kendrick plays Stephanie Smothers.  She's a suburban mom with a young son in first grade, and she also a video blog - on a regular basis, showing her audience of internet moms everything from making nice trimmings and treats for Halloween, to cooking various dishes.  Enter Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), another mom with a little boy in Stephanie's son's grade.  Emily is everything that Stephanie is not - she is rich, stylish, has a high-powered job in "the City," New York, and has a husband who wrote a successful novel that gave them the Porsche that she drives and the beautiful home in which she lives.  Stephanie and Emily quickly become friends of a sort, with their respective children as the glue that holds them together.  One day, just weeks into their relationship, Emily calls Steph and asks for a simple favour - can you pick my son up after school, and take him home with you?  Emily says she has a killer day and a late meeting, and appreciates the help.  But she does not show up that night to pick up her son.  Nor the next, nor the next.  Emily's husband Sean (Henry Golding) returns from London where he had been tending to his aged mother, and he immediately involves the police.  Things don't add up for Stephanie as time passes ... and she begins doing her own detective work and using the followers of her vlog to be on the lookout for Emily.  Tragically, a body is found in a lake, Sean IDs her, and that seems to be the end of things.  But the story is just getting started.  With more twists and turns than a mountain road, we follow Stephanie as her investigations continue, and wonder briefly if she could be a suspect.  A real nail-biter with a sense of humour built-in. Rated 14A.

  • Roma (2018):

    Directed and written by Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuaron (The Shape of Water), this Netflix original tells the story of life in a middle class family in Mexico City in the 1970s.  Because such film festivals as the one in Cannes refuse to recognize made-for-Netflix movies for awards, this one was also released to theatres on a limited basis so it could qualify.  In order to elicit the kind of chaotic surprises in his cast, the director only shown the script pages for the day's filming on the morning of the shoot, as he wanted the sense of fear, dread, and shock to be as real to the actors is it was to the characters.   Rated 18A.

     

    Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018):

    This Netflix exclusive opened in select theatres just a week ago, and now you can watch it at home on TV.  A much darker version of the Rudyard Kipling story than the Disney versions, this one tells just one of the many tales that make up "The Jungle Book."  The director is Andy Sirkis, who played the motion-capture Gollum on Lord of the Rings, as well as Caesar, the lead in the new Planet of the Apes movies, using the same technology.  Here, his voice actors who are CGI creations, have to act out their parts as well.  Benedict Cumberbatch is Shere Khan, the tiger, Christian Bale is Bagheera the panther, and Cate Blanchett is the voice of Kaa the snake.  A live-action Mowgli is played by Rohan Chand in this shot-in-South Africa feature.  Rated 14A. 

Krypton (2018) TV Series:

Set on the planet Krypton more than 100 years before baby Kal-El was rocketed to earth where he became Superman, we see the background history here that led to those events.  The House of El has been in disgrace because of the political event that saw it stripped of its wealth and prestige, leaving Sig-El (Cameron Cuffe) to work through the challenges.  Sig-El would become Kal-El's grandfather.  Made for Syfy network in the US, this one aired on Space here earlier this year.  All 10 episodes are available, and it has been renewed for a new season which will appear in 2019.


New on AMAZON PRIME

Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot (2018):

Based on actual events, Joaquin Phoenix stars as John Callahan, a young man severely injured in a car accident in which he was the impaired driver.  His alcoholism led him to that place, where he emerged a quadriplegic, and it appeared that his life was pretty much over.  While in rehab, he found that he had an ability to draw editorial cartoons, and with the help of his girlfriend (Rooney Mara) and his sponsor (Jonah Hill), he learns that perhaps there is a life worth living after all.  Set and shot in Portland, OR, home of the real-life John Callahan.  Rated 14A.