Feb 5th - 11th Downloads
& DVDs
  • The Grinch:

    At first I was put off by this beautifully produced, and most colourful version of the Dr. Seuss classic that was an animated Christmas feature on television in 1966, and every year since, and later, a live action version starring Jim Carrey in 2000.  This time it's an animated version again, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of the Grinch.  In the original it was Boris Karloff both narrating and speaking the part of the Grinch - narrator in the new film is Pharrell Williams.  What put me off was, being a traditionalist, the fact that this Grinch, although perfectly animated and delightfully decked out, just wasn't mean enough.  Oh, he still wants to stop Christmas in the town of Whoville because he hates all that happiness, but he is very kind to his dog Max, and it just seems too difficult, even when stealing all the gifts and trimmings on Christmas Eve, for him to be really, really evil ... and when he runs up against little Cindy Lou Who, a girl interested only in having her mother get a better life, rather than in her own presents, that heart that was two sizes too small melts just a little.  As the story progressed, I realized what the point was.   At the end of it all, the more-gentle Grinch is part of an overriding message that we need more kindness and less hate in our world ... so a new generation of young viewers will not be taught by an evil Grinch,  but rather by a misunderstood green guy who just doesn't want to be alone at Christmas.  Excellent story, very well done, and plenty of fun for all ages, parents too.  Rated G.


  • Widows:

    This is a gritty movie, set in present day Chicago, in which a sophisticated thief (Liam Neeson), uses his ill-gotten gains to provide a high-end lifestyle for his wife Veronica (Viola Davis).  We see a major heist go bad, and Neeson's character, and those of his accomplices, all go up in flames when the Chicago PD closes with guns blazing.  It turns out that the money that burned up along with the crew, in a van used for a heist, $2 million in all, belonged to a crooked politician running for re-election, who, through his henchmen, leans heavily on Veronica for his cash.  She doesn't have it ... in fact, she learns quickly that she actually has almost nothing, with the fancy water-view apartment and everything in it at risk financially.  She has 30 days to come up with the $2 million.  She decides to approach the other wives, now widows, who lost their husbands in the conflagration, to tell them they are all at risk until the money is repaid. Characters played by Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Debicki, are joined by Cynthia Erivo's,  and they plan a sophisticated heist to get the money that is owed.  A highly complex series of events follows, with little action, but tension that ramps up scene after scene, as all the bits and pieces of people, pets, and things seemingly innocuous, come into play in a bigger and bigger way at every moment.   Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), it also stars Robert Duvall, and Colin Farrell, Rated 14A ... but leaning towards R for sexual scenes, language, and violence. 

  •  The Girl in the Spider’s Web:

    This the third in the series of stories about Lizabeth Salander, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This time Salander is played by British actress Claire Foy (The Crown).  Filmed mostly in and around Stockholm, Sweden, the dark winter skies contribute to the bleak look of this story of intrigue, of spies, counterspies, and of dreadful behaviour.  We begin with a flashback to Salander's childhood where it becomes clear that both she and her sister were sexually abused by their father, and then we jump to the present where an imminent threat to the world exists with a sophisticated missile launching program on the black market, for sale to the highest bidder.  Foy's character, Salander, is no superhero - she has all kinds of martial arts and computer talents, but like a regular person, she makes errors in judgement that see her, throughout the story, beaten, shocked with a cattle prod, poisoned, and suffocated when the air is pumped out of black plastic wrap that enshrouds her.  You have to pay close attention to the nuances of plot and story as she tries to help stall the move for world domination by the bad guys, but the payoff is in a gritty, smart, and very violent film that pays perfect homage to its original ... although for those who know the book, there are many, many major differences.  Rated 14A here, R in the States.

  • Velvet Buzzsaw (2019):

    A Netflix original movie that comes to us from the director of Nightcrawler, the Jake Gyllenhaal movie about a freelance news cameraman who showed up at the scene of every big crime, every terrible accident.  Director Dan Gilroy has once again brought Gyllenhaal on board to head up a cast that includes John Malkovich and Toni Collette.  Set in the world of high-end art, we watch Collette as a struggling artist, who, on the death of an established painter, gets hold of some of his unreleased work ... will she try to pass it off as her own, or does she have an even more malevolent idea in mind.  A dark thriller, rated 14A.


    Black Earth Rising:

    This Netflix original traces the story of a woman who escaped the Rwandan genocides as a child and who now lives in London.  As Alice Munezero (Noma Dumazwni) she grows up working to escape the shadow of her past, becomes a gifted lawyer, but ends up fighting the same battle in court with a man who tried to help the Rwandans, but is now accused of genocidaly crimes.  John Goodman also stars.  Rated 14A. 

Upgrade (2018):

An intriguing look at a distant-future time when Artificial Intelligence becomes available to some very interesting ends.  A man named Grey Trace (Loan Marshall Green) is involved in a terrible accident with a self-driving car - it leaves his wife dead, and he is now a quadriplegic.  She worked for a preeminent AI corporation, and it soon becomes clear that the accident may have been no accident at all.  When the company comes calling to the disabled Trace, offering to put a device called STEM in his body to help him walk again, no one knows what they are in for - not Grey Trace, not the company, and not the memory  of his deceased wife.  Strong story, good sci-fi movie.  Rated 14A.  



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.