February 28th - March 6th Downloads
& DVDs
  •  Devotion (2022):

    Sometimes a movie title gives us a good idea of what the film is going to be about - think "Top Gun," "Mission Impossible," or "Toy Story," ... and other times there is no clue as to what the title means, until you have seen the film. That's the case here, with "Devotion," really being meaningless until you see the movie, which follows a number of U.S. Navy pilots in the years following WWII, which they refer to as "The Big Show," and the time leading up to the Korean War in 1950, which many view as "The Forgotten War," or the non-war as the U.S. had never declared war and was in-country as part of what President Harry Truman called "a police action" under the auspices of the U.N. The focus is on Ensign Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors of the Oscar-nominated movie "Da Five Bloods" set in the Vietnam War era). Brown was the first African-American Navy pilot, having earned his wings after WWII's conclusion, and entering action in the Korean War as a Corsair pilot onboard the aircraft carrier the USS Leyte. Early on, before the war begins, we meet Brown's family, his wife Daisy (Cristina Jackson from "The Good Fight"), and his young daughter Pamela. We also meet his fellow pilot and wingman Tom Hudner (Glenn Powell from "Top Gun Maverick"). This is where the biggest surprise is of the story. I was expecting a shoot-em-up war story, which does happen eventually, but it's really a character study about Brown's love of family, and the friendship between Brown and Hudner that develops slowly. I was also expecting a story rife with racism, with the Black guy being letter-perfect and the Whites who taunted him being evil to the core, but much of that, when it occurs, is low-key and doesn't last. Also, we have a hard time really "getting" Jesse Brown, as he is not a likeable character, other than when he is with his family, where he is loving and strong. By the third act, the Navy pilots are flying sorties into South Korea and flirting with the border between North and South, when Brown's plane takes ground fire from Chinese soldiers, and begins to lose oil. It's winter, they are in the mountains, and the enemy is everywhere. Brown crash-lands his plane in a mountain clearing, it catches fire, and Hudner, who has remained on his wing, cannot let his friend burn, so he crashes his plane nearby, and attempts a rescue. Things do not go well, but we now understand the "Devotion" of the title. The story is true, the characters are real, the restored Naval aircraft are like flying museums, and the pre-credits scenes with the real people involved in the story are most touching. Excellent film! Rated 14A.


  • High Expectations (2022):

    Sometimes a movie looks like a story that has to be told, and sometimes it looks like something taking advantage of a tax shelter and an attempt to cash in on a current trend. I have a strong feeling this film, which stars Kelsey Grammar (Frasier) is exactly that kind of film. I wasn’t far into it before I thought, “this looks like it was shot in Georgia.” A quick check verified that. The State of Georgia offers very generous tax incentives to film companies that shoot there, and a project can be completed on a budget that is very favourable for the producers. The other trend that seems like a slam-dunk, is the popularity of the series “Ted Lasso,” about an American coach working with a soccer team in England. Those two issues together seem to have spawned this movie that has Grammar as Coach Davis, a tough-as-nails leader of a soccer team that has a great opportunity to become the next big thing. Davis is so ruthless that he cuts his own son from the team. The son, Jack Davis, is played by Taylor Day. He is devastated by his father’s actions, which results in estrangement. The other family issue is the fact that Jack’s brother Sam (Adam Aalderks) is the team’s star goalie, which results in a great deal of strain between the siblings. Jack, after a terrible downward spiral psychologically, is inspired by the ambition of his ex-girlfriend who is bent on becoming a major recording artist. He dusts himself off and decides to try soccer again, this time with a rival team. Rated 14A.

  • Nocebo (2022):

    This thriller, shot largely in the Philippines, has a small international cast, and a story that focuses on what happens to a woman named Christine (French actress Eva Green) when her career as a fashion designer is side-lined by a mysterious illness. Her husband is mystified as to what could be wrong with her, and the doctors have no clue as to what presents Christine with a series of symptoms that make living her old life impossible. All appears lost until she comes into contact with a Filipino “expert” in the kind of care he believes she needs, but as he treats her, it becomes clear that what ails her is the result of something terribly traumatic that happened to her body, something she has been unable to face. The folk-healing methods are helpful on one level, and become more and more frightening on another. A very “small” movie that was written and directed by a pair who have little experience and a short resume, the surprising outcome makes this almost worth the time. Almost. 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.