Aug 31st - Sept 5th Downloads
& DVDs
 
  •  IN the Heights (2021):

    Touted as being the next big box office blockbuster because of its diverse cast, it's feel-good themes and its rave reviews, I am sad to say I just didn't get this Lin-Manuel Miranda musical. Miranda, who created the Broadway play "Hamilton" after "In the Heights, had 13 Tony nominations and won four, including "Best Musical." I have to admit that I didn't get Hamilton either, when Disney + brought it to television. The revised history and the rap music as well as my lacking American history skills left me cold. "In the Heights" is an ambitious musical with a huge cast, outstanding set-pieces and ... well, a lot of rap music. That, combined with the story that was difficult for me to fathom because of the strong Latino culture in which it is immersed, had me impressed with Miranda's skill as a purveyor of musical theatre, but it just wasn't my thing. Now, in defence of all that, I went back and read the synopsis of what story was being told. Then I got it, and in retrospect, appreciated the production far more. Unfortunately, I didn't know going in what was being said about the Dominican, Cuban, and other Latino communities that populate the Washington Heights district in uptown Manhattan, the place where Miranda grew up. There are several stories going on at once, all of them interesting and relevant, once you know what's being said, and the musical numbers are exceptional ... except, well, too much rap. I love musicals, and I love New York settings, and I liked this film more after the fact than during ... and I guess that's all on me. Rated 14A.

     

  • Spirit Untamed (2021):

    This product of DreamWorks animation offers a promise – young, horse-crazy girls, are just going to love it! That doesn’t preclude their parents, or young boys from enjoying the story about a girl and a horse, but this one is tailor-made for every girl who wanted her own pony. It’s the story of Lucky Prescott (voice of Isabela Merced) who lives an urban, East Coast life with her aunt Cora (voice of Julianne Moore). It is a restless life for Lucky, who just can’t obey the rules, and who is a rebel and a free spirit at every turn. Having had enough of the disobedience and insolence, Aunt Cora packs up all that they own, and moves herself and Lucky to the small, western town of Mirado, to live with Lucky’s father. When the girl has a chance encounter with Spirit, a wild mustang, she recognizes that she has more in common with the horse than she does with the rest of the world. Rated PG.

  • 12 Mighty Orphans (2021):

    This true story of a high school football coach with a hidden past, Rusty Russell (Luke Wilson), and the team he built from scratch during the Dustbowl years in Texas in the 1930s and ‘40s, is inspiring and exciting. Rusty, on looking at the dozens of kids who had neither shoes nor a football during the Depression, felt a calling to leave his prestigious high school coaching job for a much bigger calling – to help these orphan boys make something of themselves on the gridiron. From no shoes and no ball, they were soon playing for the State championship in Texas, a state where football and Friday nights go together like bacon and eggs. Martin Sheen and Robert Duvall also star. Rated 14A.

  • He's All That (2021):

    This Netflix original is a remake of 1999's "She's All That," with a bit of a gender switch up.  Padgett Sawyer (Addison Rae) is the high school's biggest influencer with an online social presence that has made her appear, in the eyes of the other students, as a goddess.  She takes on a challenge, one that her ego cannot resist - she is charged with taking the school's biggest loser, Cameron Kweller (Tanner Buchanan of "Cobra Kai), giving him a makeover, and turning him into a prom king.  Yet another riff on George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion), the story is old, but the casting is all new, and includes Kourtney Kardashian just for a little realism.  Rated 14A.


     

    Beckett (2021):

    This crime drama, distributed worldwide by Netflix, follows the story of the title character played by John David Washington (Denzel's son), an American tourist badly injured in an incident in Greece. He realizes that he is a target for some reason, and that those pursuing him are up to no good at all, wanting him dispatched as soon as possible. A chase movie at its heart, he strikes out across the country to the American Embassy, but as things play out, he realizes that he has no idea as to who he can trust and whom he cannot. Alicia Vikander also stars in this web of conspiracy that only deepens with each passing minute. Rated 14A.

New on CRAVE

The Croods: A New Age (2020):

Seven years ago DreamWorks Animation introduced us to the Stone Age family, the Croods.  They were an appealing bunch, with a Neanderthal sense of humour that appealed to both kids, who loved the cartoon aspect, and adults who found the dialogue particularly smart.  This sequel, which consistently brought families into those few theatres in the US that were still open during the height of the Pandemic, brought in audiences to the tune of about $2 million a week, even though it was available on Premium On Demand for much of that time.  Now available on Crave for no additional fee, we are allowed to see just how clever this new story is.  It’s a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses theme as the father Grug (voice of Nicolas Cage) runs into the Betterman family headed by Guy (voice of Ryan Reynolds).  It seems that the Bettermans are a step ahead of the Croods in everything that occurs.  Also includes a voice cast with Cloris Leachman, Emma Stone, and “Game of Thrones” star, Peter Dinklage.  Rated PG.

 

New on AMAZON PRIME

Jolt (2021):

Kate Beckinsale is Lindy, an attractive woman with an unusual occupation. She is a bouncer in a high-end club, and she also has serious anger management issues. She loses her temper often, and employs the martial arts skills that made her a great bouncer, but her behaviour has become more and more bizarre, and as part of managing her intense anger, she wears a vest which gives her a serious jolt of electricity whenever she begins to lose her temper, the set up for her next rampage. The first guy she has ever fallen for turns up murdered, and Lindy goes on an anger-fuelled rampage to get revenge, while the police are after her as the prime suspect. An excellent cast also includes Susan Sarandon, Bobby Cannavalle, and Stanley Tucci. Rated 14A, R in the States.

New on DISNEY + /Star

The Owl House (2021)(TV Series):

This animated series debuts its second season this week on Disney +.  It's a fantasy story with some sci-fi overtones about a teenage human girl named Luz who, on the way to a detention summer camp for alleged misbehaviour, accidentally stumbles into a portal to another world, one of magic and witchcraft.  During season one, Luz became set on mastering witchcraft by serving as an apprentice to a woman of magical abilities in a place called The Owl House.  As season two opens, three separate storylines converge as Luz has supporters who want to help her to go back home to the human realm, while she works to support and help her friends in the Owl House.  A third season of three 90-minute specials will appear next spring and that will round out the life of the series.  Rated PG.  

New on Apple +

The Beatles: Get Back (2021):
Originally slated for release last year to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' Abbey Road album, Covid issues forced the date back, and ultimately created a window for a streaming release rather than a theatrical one.  Director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) does some of the same movie special effects magic here that he used on his World War I documentary "We Will Not Grow Old" which allows us to see the never-before-released footage from hundreds of hours of filming, in an entirely new light.  The focus of the documentary is around the recording of "Let It Be," and it offers its share of surprises for Beatles fans and for those who wish they could have been there.  Rated PG.