Sept 13th - 19th Downloads
& DVDs
  •  Elvis (2022):

    Australian producer-writer-director Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge," "The Great Gatsby") takes on the task of bringing The King to life in this 2:39 run time which is as much Col. Tom Parker's story (Tom Hanks) as it is that of Elvis (Austin Butler). I am not a fan of Lehrman because if his propensity to change the facts in his movies - "Moulin Rouge" for example, was set in Paris in 1900, we were told on the crawl at the beginning of the film, but soon we were listening to songs from Queen, The Beatles, and Nat King Cole. When he did "Romeo and Juliet" he moved them from Verona, Italy, to South Beach, Florida, so it's normal, based on his track record, to question some of the facts in "Elvis." Overarching all of this, though, is an outstanding portrayal of Presley by Austin Butler, who studied every move and every nuance of The King, and brought that to the movie with fabulous believability. The costumes, especially during the Las Vegas era during the Elvis residency at the International Hotel and Casino, are phenomenal and flawless. It is soon very easy to forget the real Elvis, and take Butler as the man himself. The first act is frenetic, with a lot of things happening all at once as we meet Elvis as a child in Tupelo, Mississippi, giving his life to the Lord in a Gospel Revival full of the church-spawned African-American rhythm and blues that he loved so much as an adult. I was reminded, in Lehrman’s cinematography, by the early days of colour TV when such shows as the original "Star Trek," "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," and Bonanza were over the top with Technicolor, and that's the look that the director gives us for much of the early going, which I found quite amazing. Col. Tom Parker, Presley's manager, turned out to be neither a Colonel, nor Tom Parker, as the movie demonstrates, and Tom Hanks as Parker uses a Dutch accent to excess, as the few YouTube videos of interviews with the actual Presley manager had a slight European accent, but nothing like that of Hanks. The Colonel tells us in voice-over early on who killed Elvis ... and admits that many believe he did. I thought the film was excellent, despite a number factual errors, like performances of songs at various points in the narrative that could not have happened because those songs hadn't yet been written - great performances, outstanding recapture of the era, and of course, the music. We end with a clip of the real Elvis at his overweight, perspiring worst, and you have to look twice to see that it's really him and not actor Austin Butler. Rated 14A.


  • "Where the Crawdads Sing "(2022):

    Based on the best-selling novel by Delia Owens and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon, this story, set in 1960s North Carolina, is many things - it is a murder mystery, it is a romance, and it is a family drama, but the murder at its heart is where the plot circulates. Kya lives in the backwaters with her family in a small house, barely more than a shack, and spends much of her time in fear of her abusive father who beats her, who beats her mother, and who beats her older brother. After a particularly bad beating, her mother leaves the dad and the two children, walking down the country road with a suitcase, never to be seen again. Not long after, her brother leaves, and it's just Kya and her father. He teaches her to trust no one. She does not go to school, is always barefoot, and is told by her father that if there is trouble, if someone comes looking for her, she is to take the little motorboat out into the marsh, out where the crawdads sing, and hide there. Eventually Kya is alone, with dad having disappeared, and she essentially raises herself. On rare occasions she goes to town to sell the mussels she harvests, to the proprietors of the general store, and when there, she is shunned by the townsfolk and referred to only as "The Marsh Girl." The grownup Kya is played by Daisy Edgar-Jones ("War of the Worlds," "Under the Banner of Heaven"), still living on the marsh, still harvesting mussels, but now accused of murder. The story rolls out as a series of flashbacks where we learn that there is a love triangle of sorts at play, with Tait Walker (Taylor John Smith who played young Steve McGarrett on "Hawaii Five-0") coming to visit Kya in the marsh regularly where he teaches her to read, and the two fall in love. Tait is marvelous as a character, full of respect, good manners, and as the son of a shrimp fisher, looking to become something more. To that end, he leaves for college, promising to come back. He does not. Four years later Kya has an encounter with Chase (Harris Dickenson from "The Kingsman") who becomes her new romantic interest, but alas she finds herself in the same cycle of violence with which she grew up. After a disturbing rape scene, she threatens to kill him, and soon Chase is found dead, and Kya is the only suspect. Red herrings abound everywhere, and as an audience we shift several times from saying, "oh, there's the killer," to "oops, not that guy, look, it's this one. The film has gentle, idyllic times, and moments of family violence, and the courtroom scenes with David Strathairn as Kya's lawyer are low-key and superb. I liked the movie a great deal, never read the book, but don't have to now. Rated 14A.

  • Lightyear (2022):

    This new animated feature from Disney Pixar begins with an explanation as to the origins of this film. We are told that "Buzz Lightyear was Andy's favourite character in "Toy Story (1994)." He was a toy inspired by what was then Andy's favourite movie. This is that movie." With those words we are launched into a universe where Buzz (voice of Chris Evans), a Space Ranger, and his commanding officer Alisha Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba of "Orange is the New Black), along with their crew and hundreds of colonists, are in deep space, set down on an unknown planet while dealing with mechanical problems that disrupt their mission. The planet turns out to be one that is populated by alien forces in the shape of malevolent huge vines that grab any human in a tentacle-like grip and drag them away. Two missions are now critical - one, keep the passengers and crew safe; and two, get the mechanical problem, which involves recreating their power source to allow for warp-speed travel, to get everyone home safely. Buzz gets his part of the job done, but while piloting the huge colonists' ship off the ground, he fails to clear a mountain that stands in the way, and crashes back to the surface. That's the setup, and Buzz, determined to find a power source that will get them going again, works tirelessly to solve the problem. I will pause here and offer some insight as to what you might expect from this sci-fi thriller. First, unlike all the "Toy Story" movies that preceded it, the rating here is PG, for "Parental Guidance," rather than "G", suitable for all audiences. The PG rating allows for much more of an action film, but also for a lot of "science" in the science fiction. As Buzz attempts to pilot an experimental rocket alone off the planet's surface, to try out a new power source, he fails to achieve full warp speed, but comes close. On his return to the surface, he finds that he has been gone for four years, but for him, just a few hours have passed. This is related directly to Einstein's Theory of Relativity that says the closer to the speed of light one travels; the slower time passes for that individual. Buzz tries the experiment time after time, and each instance on returning to the surface, he finds that time has marched on, and many of those he loved and worked with have aged, with some having passed on. That is a pretty complex concept for any youngster to appreciate, and it's right out of the Matthew McConaughey movie "Interstellar" (2014). There are many scenes cribbed from popular sci-fi, including a foggy swamp that is right out of "Star Wars" when Luke first meets Yoda, another, as Buzz attempts warp speed that looks like "2001," and yet others that emulate "Star Trek," with Buzz narrating as he goes, with the classic line, "Stardate 2534.2 on the planet Alderon where a strange life force is attacking our crew." Most kids won't get any of this, nor will they appreciate the dialogue which is sometimes lengthy explaining to the audience what's happening. I enjoyed the movie, often forgot I was watching a cartoon, and found identifying those scenes cribbed from classic sci-fi a lot of fun. There is also a tip of the hat to the LGBTQ community, as a major female character marries her equally female fiancée, which has caused the film to be banned in many Muslim countries. Through it all, a worthwhile experience, but my guess is that it isn't for anyone under about age 10, although I leave that for the parents to determine, based on their knowledge of their own children. Rated PG.

  • Do Revenge (2022):

    Sophie Turner stars in this high school bullying-and-revenge story and her resume is well-suited for the part that she plays as she was Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones where she received four Screen Actors Guild nominations. Camila Mendes who plays Veronica Lodge on "Riverdale," and Maya Hawke, daughter of actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, are point and counterpoint in the story that has too many roots in the truth to take lightly. Mendes and Hawke are Drea and Eleanor respectively. Drea is at her peak in high school, Miss Popularity and the delight of all who look upon her ... until her sex tape is released to the entire school, presumably by her boyfriend. Eleanor is a new transfer student who finds herself in the same school as a girl who has been bullying her since summer camp when they were age 13. A coincidental event brings polar opposites Drea and Eleanor together, and after some awkward moments, they decide to work together to extract revenge on those that have wronged them. Directed by Jennifer Katlyn Robinson who was a producer and writer on "Thor Love & Thunder." Rated 14A.


    Day Shift (2022):

    This film, based on actual events in WWII, was released by Warner Bros in the UK theatrically, and is being released by Netflix in North America. Colin Firth stars in this ingenious story of an espionage operation in 1943 that turned the tide of the war when a pair of British operatives used a combination of a corpse and false identity documents to deceive the Germans at a critical point when a huge build-up of troops was set to quash the allies. It tells the story of those who fight in the shadows, and whose true exploits are sometimes unknown and lost in the fog of war and the mirage of history. Rated 14A.

New on CRAVE

The Serpent Queen (2022) (TV Series):

The only snakes and serpents in this historical drama are of the human variety as we get an eight-part series based on Leona Friede's book "Catherine de Medici, Renaissance Queen of France." Samantha Morton ("Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them") plays the title role here. She was queen of France by marriage to King Henry II for a dozen years and became one of the most significant political voices of her generation. After the death of her husband, she continued to become increasingly more influential, pulling the strings on the reigns of her subsequent sons who had no idea of the extent to which they were being manipulated. For most of the 16th century she was the most important woman in Europe, and was known for her ruthlessness and for her ability to make ground-breaking decisions with no concern for the human price. Rated 14A.



Thirteen Lives (2022):

This is the dramatized story of the 2018 cave rescue in northern Thailand in which a dozen boys and their soccer coach were trapped in a flooded cave system for two weeks as the world watched and waited for some kind of rescue to be mounted before the monsoon rains threatened to flood the cave system completely. Disney + has already streamed the National Geographic film "The Rescue" from last year, and now we have Ron Howard directing, and Colin Farrell starring as John Volanthan, the British cave diver who was the key player in the rescue of the trapped team. Joel Edgerton and Viggo Mortenson also star in what is designed to be an accurate depiction of the challenges of this rescue that resulted in the death of a Thai Navy Seal. Rated 14A.


New on DISNEY + /Star

Cars on the Road (2022) (TV Series):

It has been some time since we have seen the likes of Lightning McQueen and his pal Mater the tow truck in a new vehicle, so to speak, but here we go with a new series of adventures that begin with McQueen, still voiced by Owen Wilson, and Mater, his best friend, still voiced by Larry the Cable Guy, heading out on a road trip leaving their hometown of Radiator Springs behind for a trip east to visit Mater's sister. This nine-episode series begins with the cross-country trip, and leads to the kinds of adventures only these two friends can encounter. John Lasseter who wrote the previous "Cars" movies is the writer here, and he has preserved the charm and the sense of excitement found in the films, leading us to feel that we are still watching a "Cars" movie, and not a quickie TV rip-off. "Cars" fans will be very happy with the result. Rated G.

New on Apple +

Luck (2022):
This animated feature smacks of the world of Disney for good reason - John Lasseter, who executive produced everything from "Finding Nemo" to the "Cars" movies, to the "Wreck-It Ralph" films was the key Disney Pixar creative head. He has now left that fold and has produced his first G-rated animated feature for Apple +. The ages-long battle between good luck and bad luck is explored here from the inside out, with voices provided by Simon Pegg, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, and Pixar standard, John Ratzenberger, who was Cliff Clavin, the mailman at the bar in "Cheers." Lasseter has taken most of his creative team into this project so if it looks a lot like Pixar, there is good reason. Rated G, suitable for all family members.