February 14th - 20th Downloads
& DVDs
  •  Strange World (2022):

    From the Disney organization, this animated action-adventure story promised to be like nothing we have ever seen before, and judging by the result, that might be true for the world of animation. Director Don Hall ("Moana") says that the inspiration for the film was the influence that pulp comics of his childhood rendered unto him. Nothing in the world he has created here is impossible - we see strange creatures of every sort, most of which are completely original, offering the weird and the bizarre at every turn, and even more strange, in one scene we see parts of a huge, mountainous cliff face sprout legs and walk away. The visual images are remarkable and harken back to the 1950s where "Strange Worlds" was the title of two different comic book brands, Avon Comics, and Atlas Comics. Atlas became Marvel, which is now owned by Disney. The story in this new film is of the Clade family, a group of adventurers who have devoted their lives searching out the strange and the unusual, and here they are on a mission. The differences between them threaten their quest in the bizarre world created by the animators. The main characters are Searcher Clade (voice of Jake Gyllenhaal), Jaeger Clade (voice of Dennis Quaid), Meridian Clade (voice of Gabrielle Union) and Callisto Mal (voice of Lucy Liu). The first thought may be that the movie is not suitable for children, but the PG rating simply advises parents that anything under age 6 is probably too young for the strangeness that ensues, but over age 7 should be fine. As well, there is a message of inclusion that involves a family member, a teenage boy, who is clearly gay, and who longs for his heart’s desire, another young man on whom he has a crush. I am not certain that this delicately-handled situation would create a situation where children would have to have an explanation, or if it’s more an issue viewing through adult eyes than those of a child. Rated PG.


  • The Fabelmans (2022):

    This Steven Spielberg semi-autobiographical story of young Sammy Fabelman between the ages of 7 and 18, is, I think determined to tell us the role that movie-making had in the life of the young boy, right from the time he saw his very first movie on the big screen with his parents in 1952, Cecile B. DeMille's "The Greatest Show on Earth." From that moment on, Sammy wanted nothing more than to make movies. This film has been the darling of film festivals all over North America since its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September when it was named the winner of the People's Choice Award. There is all kinds of Oscar buzz around the project, but within all of those accolades I have become somewhat suspicious. Although a very interesting movie with Sammy at the centre, making movies first with his father's Super 8 Brownie camera, and later graduating to better equipment, we see him, as he edits his movie, uncover what can only be a family secret. This secret becomes a family problem, and eventually leads to the breakup of the Fabelman family which includes Dad Burt (Paul Dano), Mom Mitzi (Michelle Williams) and two younger sisters. As we grow with the family, moving across the country to Arizona where Burt has acquired a better job, and later to California for the same reason, the secret that Sammy has uncovered eats away at him dictating his everyday behaviour. As a Jewish kid in a non-Jewish environment, we see Sammy being bullied and abused by his schoolmates, and always being the new kid in class makes things difficult. As an audience, we are party to Sammy's family secret, and it eventually comes out to everyone, but here's my issue with this film: it is very good, a fine character study of a family in distress - but if it were not Steven Spielberg's family, if it were not written, produced, and directed by the man who did such ground-breaking movie work as "Jaws," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and "Schindler's List," would anyone really care all that much about "The Fabelmans?" In some respects, I saw it as a home movie and a vanity project of particular interest to the subject family, but not all that interesting outside of that. Again, I liked the movie - it was overly long at more than two-and-a-half hours - and it was interesting to see what made Steven Spielberg tick, to the extent that the things he portrays here actually happened - but I don't see Oscar written all over this, although his Golden Globe award may beg to differ. Rated 14A.

  • Savage Salvation (2022):

    If you want a vigilante movie with an odd, but very effective weapon of choice, this one, in which Robert DeNiro plays a county sheriff in a contemporary setting. The town is one in which there seem to be just two options for the residents – drug addiction, or church. Jack Huston (“Boardwalk Empire”) is a young man named Shelby, who, along with his fiancé, Ruby Red (Willa Fitzgerald), decide to take a new path in their lives by getting off drugs, staying clean, and starting a family. Ruby’s greatest desire was to be baptised in the local river, and begin her sin-free life. Before that can happen, Shelby finds her dead body on the steps of their home, leaving her most important wish unfulfilled. Shelby is more than just angry … he is so fuelled by the desire for revenge, that he begins to seek out every person involved with the drug trade in his town, working his way up from the street dealers to the man at the top who gives the orders. Shelby’s weapon of choice is a nail gun which makes for an interesting series of murders. It’s up to the Sheriff to put a stop to the mayhem before an all-out drug war is launched. John Malkovich also stars, rounding out a strong cast. Rated 14A.

  • That '90s Show (2023) (TV Series):

    Two decades have passed since a teenaged Eric Forman (Topher Grace), living with his family, and enjoying a life of 8 track tapes, the music of Led Zeppelin, and Farrah Fawcett posters, was the perception many had of what those days were like. To help make the transition to the '90s, a much more grown-up Topher Grace reprises his role of Erik in the first episode of this new series, not to be seen for the balance of the episodes of season one. The actors who played his parents, Red and Kitty Forman (Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp) are back for the full 10 segments of this new show however. Wilmer Valderrama who played Fez in the original series also makes an appearance in the initial episode. The venue is still the State of Wisconsin, and it's 1995. Leia Forman, daughter of Eric and Donna (Laura Prepon) pays a summer visit to her grandparents and is introduced to a whole new generation of friends, not-so-friendly teens, and some that will become friends for life in the town of Point Place. 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.



Detective Knight: Independence (2022):

The third and final segment of this trilogy that features a tough detective (Bruce Willis) has our hero struggling with a case in which an errant first responder threatens to make a disaster out of the Independence Day holiday using a stolen gun, a police uniform, and a lot of reasons to blow up a bank vault. Willis doesn't do a lot here, having filmed this segment, and the previous two simultaneously in Vancouver, using a number of Canadians to flesh out the cast. If you are a longtime fan of Willis, it's worth watching just to see what he is doing at the end of his acting career, but as a movie, it doesn't offer a lot that is new. Rated 14A.


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.