Dec 13th - 19th Downloads
& DVDs
  •  Smile (2022):

    Sometimes a horror movie comes along that gets the job of scaring us done so easily that it really sets itself apart from the rest of the genre, and that's the case here with a story that, while ultimately somewhat derivative, keeps us on our toes and on the edges of our seats from start to finish. The lead character is a doctor, a therapist in a mental hospital, who works 80-hour-weeks and who sees every patient as someone in whom she has a personal stake. She is Dr. Rose Cotter, and is played with remarkable reality by Sosie Bacon, who is genetically well-suited for this role - her parents are Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, and she has done a lot of television and movie work. When Rose sees a patient who is just checked into the hospital frightened more than half to death by something that the young woman saw, Rose goes to work. She learns that the patient sees "something," an entity of some sort, that wants her dead. She says the entity has a huge smile on its face, and that it is a horror beyond belief. The patient then does something that horrifies Rose, has her screaming for help, but it's too late. Now the detective work begins. What is behind this event? The story that plays out has Rose discovering more such incidents, all within the past few weeks, but each step that she walks down that road plunges her into a personal horror. Soon we are not sure, as an audience, if what is happening to Rose is real, or something in her mind. The scares are real ... one of the most impactful parts of a good horror story is the ability to take everyday things that are "normal," and make them scare the yell out of us, and that's what director Parker Finn manages at every turn, where a ringing telephone or a home alarm system that goes berserk, shake us to the core. Not a slasher film at all, although there is a little of that, this one reminded me somewhat of the Denzel Washington thriller, "Fallen," from 1998. A very good spooker that will leave you breathless. Rated 14A.


  • The Woman King (2022):

    I originally did not know what to expect from this inspired-by-actual-events story of the slave trade in Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries and how it was handled by the King of Dahomey, King Ghezo (John Boyega). What spun out was an amazing story of a woman named Nanisca (amazingly portrayed by Viola Davis) who led the King's army, an all-woman troop known as the Amazons. The cinematography is exceptional, the costumes, accents, and dialogue all spot on, and the complex story woven around the politics and practices of slavery a real eye-opener. Most of us may know, at some level, that it was the Africans themselves, in many nations, who rounded up their own and sold them to Europeans and Americans who shipped the slaves back to their homelands to be dealt with like livestock or worse. This film's portrayal demonstrates the fact that King Ghezo, like many of his counterparts, quickly became dependant on the money generated by human trafficking and all of its cruelty. Because most of the able-bodied men in the villages of Dahomey have either been enslaved and taken away, or have been killed in battle, it is Nanisca's female army that trains, foregoes all personal relationships such as marriage and motherhood, and fights ferociously for their country and king. The casting is great, with a fabulous turn by Uganda-born Sheila Atim who plays Nanisca's second in command, Amenza. Her ferocity is amazing, and she carries herself with such grace and with such murderous intent, when necessary, to be a well-rounded character in every respect. This film will be an Oscar contender on many levels. - outstanding story and a fabulous look into a culture that has rarely been portrayed with accuracy on the big screen. Allow the credits to roll as there is a final scene about four minutes in. Rated 14A.

  • Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (2022):

    The reviews for this combination live action / CGI sort-of-animated family adventure were as tepid as a Florida swamp at midnight, but I think that's because the reviewers are not eight or nine years old. Looking at a story such as this, about Lyle, a singing crocodile who originated in the sewers under New York City through a child's eyes, sees a film full of wonder, music, and excitement. Here, we first meet Lyle (voice of Shawn Mendes) in a pet shop where the tiny little baby croc is in his cage, singing the pop song "I Like It Like That." Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem - what was he thinking when he took this part??) is in the store and he finds his way to the sound of the musical voice. Hector sees an opportunity to make money here, he buys the little reptile and takes it home to his New York apartment, and before we know it, Lyle is fully grown, he's walking on two legs, and he and Valenti are about to debut their singing act. When Lyle gets stage fright and the act is a bust, the partnership is over. We then skip ahead to a new family that has moved into Valenti's former apartment, and they become acquainted with their reptilian resident who has been living in the attic. Mrs. Primm (Constance Wu) is a cookbook author, dad is Mr. Primm (Scoot McNairy) a math professor, and their young son Josh (Winslow Fegley), who really don't see a singing crocodile as being that unusual. As the story spins out, the youngsters will be perfectly happy. Just not the critics. Rated PG.

  • The Swimmers (2022):

    Yusra and Sara Mardini are a pair of Syrian sisters who, in 2015, fled the civil war in their home country to find themselves on a rubber raft in the middle of the Aegean Sea with a number of other refugees who had fled to Lebanon, then to Turkey, and ultimately to Greece when the overloaded raft ran into trouble. The two sisters, along with another two people who could swim, were responsible for saving the lives of all on board. One year later, Yusra was competing in the Olympics in Rio as part of the 2016 Refugee team. This dramatic biography was shot on location in all the places that the girls had fled, hidden in, and looked for salvation in before becoming heroes. Rated 14A.


    Slumberland (2022):

    A good cast shows up for this adventure story that will appeal to children 8 or 10 and up. Based on the comic book series "Little Nemo in Slumberland '' by Winston McClay, we follow the adventures of a tweenage girl named Nemo and her eccentric companion Flip (Jason Mamoa) who come together after Nemo's father Peter (Kyle Chandler goes missing at sea. Set in the Pacific Northwest, but shot in Toronto, we follow Nemo as she is sent to live with relatives in the big city, a place foreign to her after the coastline life she had been living. While struggling in a new school with new people all around her, Nemo finds a secret map which hooks her up with Flip, and begins a challenging journey through lands of dreams and nightmares that she believes will help reunite her with her lost father. Rated PG.

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.



My Policeman (2022):

In 1950s London, we become acquainted with a young police officer named Tom (Harry Styles), a teacher named Marion (Emma Corrin), and a museum curator named Patrick (David Dawson). The morals and the conduct of those days is significantly different than what is acceptable in today's world, and the relationship between the three, in those early days not long after WWII, evolves into and emotional firestorm in which alliances are made and lost and regrets hang heavily in the air as the trio struggles with their respective relationship issues. Then, a flash forward to the 1990s, and our trio come together again, still full of remorse and hurt from the events of the past, but they feel they have one last chance to heal the wounds that still fester, and to heal the damage that was near fatal at a psychological level. A character study with a level of intensity that may be too strong for some viewers. Rated 18A.


New on DISNEY + /Star

Disenchanted (2022):

Amy Adams and much of the original cast, including James Marsden and Patrick Dempsey, show up 15 years after the movie "Enchanted" graced the big screen and was a blockbuster hit bringing in more than $350 million. In that film, Princess Giselle (Adams), living in an animated fairytale land, was just biding her time and singing her songs while she waited for Prince Charming. He showed up in the person of Prince Edward (Marsden) and the day before their marriage, a tragedy befell the princess. At the hands of an evil hag (Susan Sarandon), she was dumped into a well, which was actually a conduit between two worlds, the animate land of Andalasia, and now, the harsh, racaus world of New York City, complete with honking taxis and frenetic pedestrians. There she met a divorce lawyer named Robert Philip (Dempsey) and eventually fell in love, married, and lived happily ... well, not quite ever after. As this new story opens, it is 10 years later and Giselle and her husband are moving to the suburbs with their child and new baby in tow. On arrival, it's clear that something isn't quite right as their new home in Monroeville seems to be under the control of Malvina Monroe (Maya Rudolph) who is not what she seems. As Giselle struggles with this new twist, she makes a wish, wanting everything to be a perfect fairy-tale. The spell backfires and it turns both her live-action world and the animated world of Andalasia upside down. There are more songs in this sequel than in the original, a good account given by Idena Menzel who once again plays Nancy. Rated PG.

New on Apple +

Spirited (2022):
Just when you thought you had seen every possible variation on the Dickens classic, "A Christmas Carol," from the Muppets to George C. Scott, to the Alistair Sim version from 1951, along comes a truly different twist. Set in the present day, the star here, the Scrooge of the story, is a character named Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds). As expected, he is a miserable soul given to creating chaos and grief all around himself through his thoughtless, sometimes mean, stingy mannerisms. As Christmas Eve approaches, Briggs is visited by the first of three ghosts, this one being the spirit of Christmas Present played by Will Farrell. Each Christmas Eve, this spirit seeks out a wretched person to reform, and this time it's Briggs. Unlike Dickens' original story, Briggs turns the tables on the ghost and soon has Christmas Present examining his own past, present and future, completely forgetting the original mission. This is the first version of "A Christmas Carol" told from the perspective of the spirits themselves, Past, Present, and Future, and it's clear that they picked on the wrong Scrooge this time. Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer also stars, as does Sunita Mani from the series GLOW, as the spirit of Christmas Past. An interesting spin on an old classic, and a musical version at that. Rated PG.