Nov 9th - 15th Downloads
& DVDs
 
  •  Respect (2021):

    Jennifer Hudson was hand-picked by The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, to play her life story out on the big screen. Franklin didn't get to see the finished product as she passed away from pancreatic cancer a year before production began, but Hudson certainly had her blessing, and does a superb job with each and every song that she delivers in the movie, whether it was hit music, gospel, or middle-of-the-road pop. The Oscar-winning singer showed her range as an actor here, as she worked through the challenges that Aretha faced at various times, dealing with alcohol issues, the loss of her mother, and the abuse of her first husband, Ted White (Marlon Wayans), which ranged from mental and emotional, to physical. If you watched the National Geographic seven-part mini-series from earlier this year, entitled "Genius: Aretha," in which Cynthia Erivo played the singer, you will likely find the big-screen treatment like a much-condensed Reader's Digest version, with Aretha's young life barely touched upon, including two pregnancies, one at 12 and another at 14. No explanation in the movie as to what happened and how, and what the fallout was, and most of her father's philandering and abuse of her mother is barely dealt with at all. The music is superb of course, with Hudson having taken an intense six months of piano training in order to authentically demonstrate her musical chops in the style of the real Aretha. A worthwhile biopic with a lot of soul at every level. Rated 14A.

     

  • Reminiscence (2021):

    This dramatic romance, with a sort of supernatural twist, stars Hugh Jackman as Nick Bannister, a man still obsessed with a long-lost love (Rebecca Ferguson) from whom he drifted, not through any fault of his own, many years ago. Nick is a private detective of the mind and works with his clients by administering drugs that allow him to view their thoughts. This process is dangerous as it can result in bad people using this process to hijack the thoughts of others. As a scientist, Nick discovers a way to relive his own past, and have a different outcome in his future, and he sets about putting the wheels in motion so that he might live that part of his life differently, so as not to lose the love of his life. Part mystery, part romance, and part sci-fi thriller, Thandie Newton and Cliff Curtis also star. Rated 14A.

  • Four Good Days (2020):

    Glenn Close stars as Deb, a mother with a mission in this intense character study. Deb’s daughter Molly (Mila Kunis) has a drug problem and has struggled with substance abuse issues that have taken over the young woman’s life. Heroin is the drug of choice for Molly, and like many similar films in which lives become train wrecks as a result of addiction, we don’t learn much that’s new here, but we get a great lesson in what a real acting performance can do for a standard kind of story. Unfortunately for me, I never really got into the story itself because the performances, particularly that of Glenn Close, so overshadowed the subject matter that I just sat back and marvelled at the acting – not at the characters and not at the script, but at the acting which was admirable. The title comes from Deb working to get Molly through four consecutive days without using in what is an intense and unforgiving subject. Rated 14A.

  • The Harder They Fall (2021):

    A Netflix original production, if you were to watch the movie with the sound off, it would have the look and the feel of a classic western. A mostly African-American cast populates the areas of the New Mexico desert working towards a revenge story where Nat Love (Jonathan Majors), a grown-up version of the 10-year-old boy who saw his parents brutally murdered in front of him by Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) now seeks to get even. Turn the sound on, and you hear a soundtrack that combines contemporary R & B, James Brown-like funk, a little rap, and even some light classical, along with dialogue straight outta Compton. Somehow it all works together to offer an excellent, and highly unusual take on the western genre. Also stars Zazie Beetz, Regina King, and Delroy Lindo. Rated 18A for violence and language.


     

    Passing (2021):

    The title refers to the behaviour of a person from one racial or ethnic group pretending to be from another - in this case, a pair of bi-racial friends from childhood now reacquainted as adults, with one married to a Black doctor, the other, "passing as white" married to a successful but bigoted businessman.  Tessa Thomson (daughter of singer-songwriter Mark Anthony) is Irene, and her former childhood friend is Claire played by Ethiopian-born Ruth Negga.  Written and directed by Rebecca Hall ("Godzilla VS King Kong''), this Netflix-distributed film is her way of exploring her own heritage with a biracial grandfather on her mother's side.  Irene and and Claire, who meet unexpectedly, not having seen one another since high school, find that their respective chosen paths create a threat to the lives that each has created.  Rated 14A.

New on CRAVE

Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021):

Chris Rock stars as a police detective in this gore-fest from the "Saw" series of movies that has a sadistic murderer picking his victims to die in horrible ways. Those who are selected can be deemed to "have it coming" because of the things they have done in life, as the mysterious murderer sets trap after trap to bring his victims into his sights. The first episode, off the top of the film, has a cop chasing a suspect in the subway tunnels. He is hit from behind, and comes to standing perilously on a support on a subway track with an oncoming train just around the corner ... and he has a device around his head that gives him a choice - bite off his tongue, and fall to the ground, avoiding the train, or be hit by it, a fatal choice. Samuel L. Jackson also stars. Rated 14A.

 

New on AMAZON PRIME

The Mad Woman's Ball (2021):

This Amazon studios original based on a best-selling French novel, tells the story, at the turn of the 20th Century, of a young woman named Eugnie who has a very specific psychic gift - she can both see and talk with the dead. That should be enough to help her to win friends and influence people, but in the late 19th Century in France, such things were frowned upon, and Eugenie, when her "gift" or "curse" is discovered by her family, has her father and brother escorting her against her will, to a mental asylum, a place from which she will never leave. Or maybe she will. An understanding and caring nurse who befriends the young woman soon comes to learn that she is not mad, but rather is gifted, and promises to help her escape. A series of tortuous events occur, each one possibly the thing that will bring the entire escape plot crashing down around them. Rated 14A.

New on DISNEY + /Star

Home Sweet Home Alone (2021):

Max Mercer (Archie Yates from JoJo Rabbit) is a young boy both mischievous and resourceful.  Those skills come into play when he is left home alone while his family is in Japan, and, just like in the original "Home Alone" from 1990, there is skulduggery afoot as a pair of thieves named Pam and Jeff (Ellie Kemper and Rob Delaney), a married couple hot on the trail of an heirloom item that they believe is in the home of Max's parents.  Of course, it's up to Max to thwart the would-be burglars at every turn, using smart planning, some imaginative traps, and a comeuppance for those who would threaten his family's possessions.  This is the sixth instalment of the "Home Alone" franchise, and one of three that did not appear in theatres.  It's the first to debut on a streaming platform, however.  Rated PG.

New on Apple +

Tom Hanks stars in this tale of a post-apocalyptic world in which Tom Hanks, an ailing inventor, is the title character and last man on Earth. His biggest concern, as he faces his ultimate demise, is that his trusted and beloved pet will be left alone to fend for itself. The dog, a mutt that looks a lot like Tramp from Disney's "Lady and the Tramp" will need companionship and caring, and to that end, Finch builds a robot with artificial intelligence. Once completed, the mechanical android, Finch and the dog, set off on a cross-country journey just to see what's out there. A product of Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, it was originally destined for theatres, but was purchased by Apple and will appear on that platform. Rated 14a.