March 23rd - 29th Downloads
& DVDs
 
  •  News of the World (2021):

    This western, set in Texas five years after the American Civil War, and starring Tom Hanks, just begs for a movie theatre treatment. Although I enjoyed it on my home theatre, there are shots of a massive expanse of desert taken from above, with the camera tracking along a dust-blown trail that just don't work well on the small screen. Hanks is a former Confederate soldier, a Captain named Kidd, who travels from small town to small town with a leather valise full of newspapers. There, for 10 cents per person, he reads the news from these papers, to settlers and townsfolk who are largely illiterate at worst, or working too hard from sunup to sundown at best, to hear the news of the day. In his travels early on he encounters a young girl played by 11-year-old German-speaking actress Helena Zengel. She has just lost her second family when the Captain finds her in the remnants of an attack on a Black family. That family had taken over her care when her previous family of Kiowa Indians were killed by white settlers. And she had come to be with the Kiowa when she had been taken as a baby during a raid that killed her original family. Speaking only Kiowa, and a few words of German, she and the Captain develop an uneasy truce as he endeavours to find her only living relatives. From here, it's a road picture, as they move from situation to situation, many of them placing the two in constant peril. Directed by Paul Greengrass (The "Bourne Identity" movies, and another Tom Hanks vehicle, "Captain Phillips"), the story keeps us engaged, Hanks is excellent in his role, but young Helena Zengel steals the show. Rated 14A.

     

  • SongBird (2020):

    This takes place at a time in which many viewers might just want to take a pass. It's Los Angeles, 2024, and Covid-23 has decimated life as we know it. Every citizen has to have his or her iPhone do a daily health screen. It will either say, "green - no virus present," or it will be "yellow - you are infected. Please wait for armed guards to arrive, do not leave your home." It's a scary world out there, with those who are infected, dying terrible Covid-deaths, and those who live with them quarantined in huge holding pens that you go into, but from which you never return. A courier named Nico (Riverdale's K.J. Apa) is one of the few "Munies," people who have an immunity to Covid and who can work outside the boundaries of their homes. He is in love with Sara (Sofia Carson), a young woman who lives with her elderly aunt. Their love is all at a distance. When the aunt becomes ill, failing to pass her iPhone test, armed guards are ordered, and Sara will be sent to the compound for those who may become infected. There is lots of action, as he tears around a deserted LA on his motorcycle, soon pursued by the militia. It's a thrilling look at how much worse things could become. Rated 14A.

  • Brothers By Blood (2020):

    This mob movie has, at the heart of its action, warring factions of the Philadelphia crime world with rival factions poised to take control of the gambling, prostitution, and drug business that is the heart of big, big, money. It’s the Italian Mafia versus the Irish Mob, and it’s against this backdrop that Peter Flood, age 8 years, sees his younger sister killed by a reckless driver. Peter’s father devotes the rest of his life to gaining revenge, and now, as an adult, Peter (Matthias Schoenaerts), is walking a very fine line between what is right and just in the world, and how easy it would be to take up arms against the generational wrongs that were done. The further he gets from the family mob business, the more he is drawn into it as his cousin takes on a higher position in the mob. Also stars Ryan Phillippe and Joe Kinnaman. Rated 18A for violence and language.

  • Enola Holmes (2020):

    Netflix acquired the distribution rights for this whodunnit after it was decided to stream the movie rather than put it in theatres.  It's a Sherlock Holmes story, but unlike any that have come before.  Enola (Millie Bobby Brown who played "Eleven" on ``Stranger Things") is a much younger sister to Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, but she has the detective genetics that it takes to go looking for a mystery to be solved.  None of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books mention a younger sister, but here she is, and when her mother goes missing, Enola sets off to find her.  Helena Bonham Carter plays Mother Holmes, and Henry Cavill is Sherlock.  When it's discovered that mother is missing, and that there are a number of gifts and trinkets that she has inexplicably left behind, big brother Sherlock continues to insist that Enola leave the matter alone, and head off to boarding school.  Not her ... soon she is searching all of London, looking for clues.  A crime-adventure, rated 14A. 


     

    Country-ish (2020)(TV series):

    This Netflix original is a reality series that features country singer and internet star Coffey Anderson and his wife Criscilla.  It walks through their daily lives with the couple, and focuses on their careers - she's a hip-hop artist - their Christian faith, and their desire to provide wholesome entertainment in a world that seems to want things a lot more raunchy.  A former U.S. Marine, and an active participant in the Nashville music scene, Coffey has released nine albums so far, about half of them faith-based and the other half mainstream.  He was a contestant on season 2 of American Idol in 2003 where he made it as far as the Hollywood round.  Rated PG.

     

    Pets United (2020):

    A perfect animated film for youngsters, parents, and grandparents, but only if they watch with the kids. The central characters are all pets of one sort or another, and their common thread is that they are spoiled, they are selfish, and they live a life of luxury, because their owners have all the mechanical denizens of Robo City doing the hard work.  But what happens when the robots run amuck and the humans have to flee?  Time for the skate-boarding pug, the self-aggrandizing Siamese, a pet pig, and a smart fox to grow up and take some responsibility.  Good fun for kids of all ages - meaning, much past 13, they will probably think it's lame, but younger ones will relish it.  Rated G.

New on CRAVE

A Hidden Life (2019)

This dramatic re-enactment of actual events that took place during WWII tells the story of an Austrian farmer named Franz Jagerstatter (August Diehl) who was recruited by the German army during the days prior to the outbreak of the war.  After basic training, he, and the other able-bodied men who had been conscripted, returned to their farms and villages, and to their previous lives.  With the fall of France, Jagerstatter and his peer group were called to active duty, and as their first requirement, had to swear allegiance to Adolf Hitler and to the 3rd Reich.  He refused, despite the fact that the consequences of doing so could be severe.  He fell back on the support of his wife and children, and despite the pleas of people in his village to capitulate, Jagerstatter refused.  They told him he could face prison, and even death.  He refused to swear allegiance, and was whisked away to prison to await trial.  Many of the locations used in the film are the actual places that Jagerstatter lived, raised his family, and ultimately faced incarceration and a trial.  Directed by Terence Malik, 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

The Legion (2020):

This Amazon original takes place in the time of the Emperor Nero, who was busy fiddling - actually, if he played anything, it was the Lyre - while Rome began its torturous fall.   Noreno (Lee Partridge) is perfectly cast here, a short holdover from his badly groomed days in 2017's "Viking Siege."  The invasion of Parthia by the Roman Legions has been a total screw-up, and now two full Legions are stranded in the snowy mountains, slowly facing starvation and death by freezing.  There is a larger part of the Roman army that is in Syria, across the mountains and down into the desert, where the facing of the elements is different.  Someone needs to get from the snowy soon-to-be-graves, to the rest of the army so that help and supplies can save the remaining soldiers.  That someone is Noreno, as he is an amazingly fast runner and could cover the distance in the shortest time.  The problem?  Noreno is only half Roman, and his other half hates the city state that has never done him any favours.  Mickey Rourke and Bai Ling also star.  Rated 14A. 


New on DISNEY +

Mulan (2020):
T21 years after the animated version of this classic story was in theatres as an animated, full-length feature, it's now a live-action film that was originally headed for theatres this summer, but which is now going to be streamed by Disney + for an extra fee - probably in the $30.00 realm, in addition to the five or six dollars that is your monthly Disney + fee.  33 year-old Liu Yifie plays the title character here, a young woman who steps in for her ailing father when the Emperor decrees that one man per household must serve his country in a war against northern invaders.  Disguised as a man, Mulan is tested every step of the way, as no one knows her true identity.  The story is based on a Chinese folklore tale and also stars Jet Li and Rosalind Chao.  Rated 14A.