March 17th - 23rd Downloads
& DVDs
 
  • Jumanji: The Next Level:

    The cast from the last Jumanji movie, "Welcome to the Jungle" is pretty much back, so we have Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Danny DeVito, Kevin Hart,  and the addition of Awkwafina, and some minor players, as the videogame in which the characters were trapped in the bodies of others, moves it up a notch. They also change bodies again, which makes the challenge of rescuing one of their own that much more difficult.  Now, instead of slogging through the jungle, they also have to deal with desert heat and mountain snows. This expanded series of vistas adds a new dimension to the film series, which arguably, has three other predecessors - the original Jumanji with Robin Williams, Zathura, and Jumanji: Back to the Jungle.  All based on the books by Chris Van Allsburg, the ongoing adventures of people inadvertently sucked into a vintage videogame play out just like a game, going from level to level, and becoming more outrageous with each new iteration. I was kept on my toes trying to figure out whose avatar was whose, as the game kept changing them up - Dwayne Johnson's body is occupied first by Danny De Vito, complete with Brooklyn accent, and later by Alex Wolfe.  One character even comes back as a horse. There is lots of good humour here, Kevin Hart, playing a couple of different people stands out as being one of the most interesting characters, special effects abound, and it comes down to just one thing - what's not to like? Rated 14A.

     

  • Richard Jewell:

    Clint Eastwood directed this based-on-actual-events story of the title character, a former police officer working as a security guard at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.  He saved dozens, and maybe hundreds of lives by recognizing a hidden bomb in a crowded area, and forcing, against all odds, a major evacuation. Jewell is played by Paul Walter Hauser, and has a supporting cast around him that includes Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, John Hamm, and Kathy Bates.  Initially Jewell was viewed as a hero, but within four days he became a suspect, and was largely tried in the media. His life was destroyed by the press's crucifixion of his character. He was innocent, but the damage was done. Director Eastwood uses a deft hand here to simplify a complex case, and strip away everything but the humanity, and lack thereof in terms of the ways Richard was treated by both the media and the FBI.  He was a good ol' Georgia boy who loved his guns (for hunting deer), loved his collection of books on law enforcement, and lived alone with his mother Bobi (Kathy Bates in an Oscar-nominated role). Immediately after the bombing, it became clear that a suspect was needed, as there was pressure at international levels to perhaps cancel the OlympicGgames, which had become a financial boon to Atlanta. An intensely aggressive reporter from an Atlanta paper, the now-deceased Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde) and an overly ambitious FBI agent (John Hamm) conspired, perhaps somewhat unknowingly, to create the impression that Richard, because he was "different," fit the profile of the bomber, and the media frenzy and the extreme liberties taken by the FBI quickly led the public, and Olympic officials, to believe that they had their man.  In the end, they did not, but they all but destroyed Richard's life with their zeal. Six years later the real bomber confessed, after having set off three more bombs, and was caught. I found the movie's second act very difficult to watch because it was such an unjust and harsh treatment of a person who had just tried to do the right thing. Excellent portrayal of controversial events, with a pivotal role by Sam Rockwell as the lawyer who pulls it out of the fire for his client. Rated 14A.

  • Black Christmas:

    This is the second remake of the 1974 film, a horror mystery in which a college campus, quieting down for Christmas, becomes the scene of female students being stalked and murdered.  The young ladies realize that the stalker is actually a part of a bigger conspiracy, and they pledge not to allow their demise without a fight, and girl power goes to work. It is fine for what it is – a teen horror romp that will appeal to those who like their terror-filled stories dripping with blood – and the timing of the release is just about right for the Spring Break crowd in the U.S. This is a Blumhouse Production (the Paranormal Activity people, as well as the recent “Fantasy Island” film) with a strong sense of tension and fear.  Imogene Poots and Cary Elwes (Saw) star. Rated 14A.




  • 100 Humans (TV Series, 2020):

    This Netflix original series takes 100 individuals, all volunteers to the program, and puts them through a number of tests involving choices.  What would you do if there were no consequences for your actions?  What would you do if willing participants were happy to do almost anything?  It's a social experiment of sorts, but with a hundred people, things can go wrong.  Rated 14A.

     

    The Valhalla Murders (TV Series, 2020):

    Another Netflix original, this one the first co-production with Icelandic filmmakers.  An Oslo detective returns to his native Iceland where there is a serial killer on the loose, and he teams up with another cop, a female detective, to get to the bottom of the mystery.  This dark suspense has a distinctly non-Hollywood look to it.  Rated 14A. 

New on CRAVE

Westworld
Season three of this sometimes-amazing-sometimes-confusing series starts this weekend, likely to be the final one.  An very expensive show to produce, each hour has a budget in the range of $3 million, enough for a feature film all on its own.  Anthony Hopkins stars as the man whom (we think) created this world, which has now turned on him, and on the rest of the planet.  Rated 14A. 

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

Run the Race (2019):
This sports drama focuses on the world of high school football, and puts a good cast together was we watch two brothers, Zach and Dave Truett (Tanner Stine and Evan Hoffer) take two very different approaches to the competitive life on the gridiron.  Mario Van Peebles, Mykelti Williamson, and Francis Fisher co-star as the adults who try to bring some resolution to the brothers’ conflict. 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.