June 23rd - 29th Downloads
& DVDs
 
  •  The Marshes (2018):

    With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to devastate the movie and television business worldwide, distributors are looking more and more to overseas productions to fill in the gap being left by the Hollywood films that stopped showing up more than 90 days ago.  This horror-thriller is set in Australia and focuses on three young biologists who head into a remote area set to take water samples as part of a significant environmental study.  The further they get from civilization, the more likely they are to cross paths with someone – or something that has previously been unknown.  As they work methodically through the marshes, they get the distinct feeling that they are not out there alone, and soon it’s clear that they are not welcome here.  The mysterious entity seems bent on killing anything that enters its domain, and soon science and its applications are left behind as the trio is forced to flee for their lives … but to where?  They are so deep into the backcountry that no there seems to be no direction home.  Rated 14A.

     

  • The Etruscan Smile (2018):

    Brian Cox is the central character here, in this film based on the best-selling by Jose Sampedro.  Cox is Rory McNeil, a tough, crusty, old-country Scotsman who has been estranged from his son for many years.  A serious medical issue intervenes which forces Rory to travel from Scotland to San Francisco for life-saving treatment.  The challenges are both physical and financial – the cost of treatment, and the cost of living in the City by the Bay are such that he is forced to move into an awkward living arrangement with his son.  We learn quickly, as does Rory, that he is a grandfather, and soon he begins building a bond with the infant that is both special, and scary – it is a difficult road to walk, with Rory’s becoming closer to the child, but having no real way to bridge the gap with his son.  A strong cast shows up here, including Thora Birch, Peter Coyote, Treat Williams, Rosanna Arquette, and Tim Matheson.  Rated 14A.

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019):

    Filmed entirely in France, and set there in the 18th century, this is a story of life, love, loss, and relationships built and relationships foundering.  Marianne is an artist, commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of a young woman named Heloise.  Heloise is being moved into a marriage that she does not want, and is, in every way, a most reluctant bride.  Marianne’s commission states that she paint the bride-to-be without her knowledge, which creates substantial difficulty, as there will be no sitting for the portrait in the traditional sense.  Marianne’s only option is to spend her days in the company of Heloise, becoming first her friend, and later her confidante, retreating into her makeshift studio at night to paint from memory, using only the light of the fire to offer her an environment in which to work.  Soon they are becoming attracted to one another, and the painting becomes something much more than a wedding memento … it becomes a facsimile of their feelings.  Rated 18A.

  • Lenox Hill (2020)(TV series):

    Although it's not fiction, this new medical documentary series may help fill the gap that medical television junkies miss at this time of year when such shows as New Amsterdam, The Resident, and Chicago Med are either in reruns, or gone altogether for the summer.  This eight episode Netflix original series takes us inside New York's Lenox Hill hospital and into the lives of four doctors who will be profiled in a most intimate and unflinching way.  We will watch as they struggle with their professional and their personal lives, as well as learning how they cope with the difficulties of dealing with bad news for the families they support through their efforts.  The doctors are two brain surgeons, an Emergency Room physician, and a chief resident OBGYN.  As well as the insight into these doctors lives, we also get a significant look into the lives of the patients they treat.  Complex, fascinating and emotional - those are words that describe where this journey will take us over eight episodes.  Rated 14A. 

     

    Da 5 Bloods (2020):

    This brand new Spike Lee joint produced for Netflix, tells a Vietnam War story from the perspective of today's world rather than the trauma on the battlefield and in the jungles so many years ago.  An excellent cast is headed up by Delroy Lindo, Clark Peters, Norm Lewis, and Isiah Whitlock, Jr. Their characters are Paul, Otis, Eddie, and Melvin, part of an African-American unit that lost their squad leader (Chadwick Boseman) during a firefight in one of those events that highlighted the abject immorality of that war.  The four men get together, along with the son of their fallen leader, and travel back to Vietnam, with a dual purpose.  One is to find the remains of their squad leader, to help bring closure to his son, and the other, a little more covert, involves rumours or truth of buried treasure.  The battles now are psychological and against nature, the jungles and the rain, rather than with an often unseen enemy.  Rated 18A. 

New on CRAVE

Laurel Canyon (2020) (Part 1)

For those who lived the pop music of the '60s, or for those who wonder how the base of pop music that exists today was built, this exceptional documentary is just perfect.  Laurel Canyon was, in the days of the early-to-mid '60s, a part of greater Los Angeles that attracted musicians from all over the world.  It was, then, a cheap place to live, with rental houses available at bargain basement rates, and no shortage of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  It was a place where Eric Clapton first met Joni Mitchell at a barbecue put on by Mama Cass Elliot.  It was a place where The Beatles schmoozed with one of their idols, Little Richard, and it was a place where Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young hung out together, wrote music together, and played what would become the hits of the century in their Laurel Canyon backyard.  Mama Michelle Phillips speaks candidly in an interview recorded last year as to how her inability to be with just one man hurt her then-husband John beyond belief, but ... he knew what he was getting, she says.  Interviews with Linda Ronstadt, Don Henley, and Jackson Brown are included, and there's a great look back at other Canyon denizens such as The Doors' Jim Morrison, and singer-songwriter Carol King.  Rated 14A.  Part 2 will be released next week.

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

Equilibrium (2002):

This is an outstanding film that has had very little distribution over all these years.  It stars Christian Bale in an oppressive sci-fi future in which all forms of feeling are illegal.  The movie reminded me a lot of The Matrix when I first discovered it, many years ago, with martial arts scenes that are almost beyond belief, even judging against today's available technology.  The cast also includes Sean Bean (Game of Thrones), Dominic Purcell (Prison Break), Taye Diggs (Chicago), and William Fichtner (Blackhawk Down).  The complexity of the story, and the special effects combine to make an outstanding movie that has been largely known only to action-adventure fans that may have encountered it on DVD.  The reason it received no release or distribution in North America is that its European release (it was shot in Germany) made a pot full for money, and the distributors did not want to run the risk of turning a money maker into something less if it didn't do well in the US and Canada.  They should have done it - would have just added more to the profits.  Excellent film!  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.