Nov 16th - 22nd Downloads
& DVDs
 
  •  Jungle Cruise (2021):

    I struggled as to just who was the target audience of this film, based in part on the Disney parks' same-title theme rides, with action sequences thereafter, somewhat reminiscent of Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean," and an Indiana Jones quest thrown in. The casting of Dwayne Johnson as the Amazon boat skipper, Frank, of dubious character and Emily Blunt as Lily, a professor in search of a hidden tree that has the ability to cure all ills reminds us a lot of Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in "The African Queen, but the hokey humour is off-putting. I found myself looking "at" the movie, instead of feeling encompassed by it. The characters were more often than not, just cardboard depictions of what real, highly motivated action stars would be. There is the usual interplay between Lily and Frank, disliking one another from the outset, that has us knowing without a doubt that they are going to wind up together at some point. I was disappointed in the Disney theme park promotion that was never subtle - the opening sequence of eight minutes or so, was a commercial for the Jungle Cruise ride, with no apologies. I expected more from the special effects, which were pedestrian and often inadequate. The plot - the quest that I mentioned earlier, takes too long to get where it's going making the movie overly long by at least 20 minutes, and the shameless cribbing of lines and characters from Disney's Tiki Room, to the corny Jungle Cruise ride jokes - "I worked in a orange juice factory ... but I got canned - couldn't concentrate," were worn and shabby three decades ago. It's a passable movie which kids will like despite its 14A rating.

     

  • The Candyman (2021):

    This movie is a direct sequel to the 1992 original, and it ignores any and all of the events that occurred in the spinoffs and sequels that followed that film. The setting is Chicago, present day. The focus is on Anthony McCall (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II of "Aquaman" and "The Trial of the Chicago 7"), an artist who hasn't yet hit his stride, and his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Parris of "Wanda Vision" and "Mad Men"). She is a partner in a Chicago art gallery, and Anthony is viewed by many bystanders as a third-rate artist getting a free ride at Brianna's expense. In the original, the premise was set, in that if you stood in front of a mirror and said the name "Candyman" five times, he would appear in the reflection, and using the hook that substituted for one of his hands, would slash those who called his name leaving a trail of blood and death. The original was more of a teen slasher flick, while this one is a far more adult story delving into the motivation of the characters and exploring the true origins of the Candyman. The production values are crisp and sharp, and the direction by Nia DaCosta is to the point and very spare, with no extraneous scenes or needless explanations. Soon Anthony is showing his work in the gallery, a mirrored cabinet called "Say My Name" ... and people do - and the dying starts. A thought-provoking and complex film that packs a lot into its 91 minutes, I found it far beyond the typical slasher movie. Rated 14A.

  • Flag Day (2021):

    It's a family affair here, with Sean Penn directing this based-on-fact story of a very good father - nurturing, smart, and a fine role model ... except for the fact that he is a notorious world-class counterfeiter. This is the first time Penn has starred in a movie that he has directed, the story of John Vogel, who, as dad to Jennifer, was the centre of her universe as she was growing up. Jennifer is played by 30 year-old Dylan Penn, Sean's real-life daughter whose character grapples with the harsh reality of learning that her wonderful Dad is a master criminal. This is first and foremost a character study exploring the challenges faced by Jennifer once she is aware of her father's reality. She struggles to climb up and out of the dreadful mess that her family life has become, all the while challenged with the reality that John is still her father, and that they had a bond that was very difficult to break - and difficult for her to want to break, despite the fact that her father is a con man, a bank robber, and a lot of other very bad things. But he's still Dad. Hopper Penn, Sean's 18 year-old son also stars, so it's a Penn set all the way. Josh Brolin co-stars, as does Regina King as a US Marshall. Rated 14A.

  • Tick, Tick ... Boom (2021):

    This Netflix original marks the debut of Lin-Manuel MIranda as a director, spelling out the answer to the question, "what do we do with the time we have?" The story follows Jon (Andrew Garfield) who is a promising young theatre producer on the cusp of his 30th birthday. He waits on tables in New York City while waiting for what he hopes with be his big break, but pressure is everywhere in his life - pressure from his girlfriend who wants to leave New York and the arts community behind, pressure from his best friend who has just left the arts community for the financial security of a real job, and the pressure of an artistic community being ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. What does he do? Where does he turn? Stars include Vanessa Hudgens, Joel Grey and Judith Light based on the story by the late Jonathan Larson ("Rent"). Rated 14A.


     

    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

Star Trek: Discovery:

The long-awaited return of what has become the most complex and most thrilling of all the "Star Trek" iterations returns on Crave with season four. Set in a time 900 years after the events on the original Starship Enterprise, Sonequa Martin-Green is back as Michael Burnham, along with most of the regular cast including Anthony Rapp as Paul Stanets, Doug Jones as Saru who appeared to leave the Discovery for good, to go back to his home planet at the end of the last season; and Mary Wiseman as Sylvia Tilley. Tig Notaro will continue to make guest appearances as Jett Reno.

 

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.