Serenity – The trailer looks intense for this movie with Matthew McConaughey playing the captain of a fishing boat who is lured into a murder plot by his ex-wife, played by a blonde Anne Hathaway. In a desperate plea to free her from an abusive husband in the form of Jason Clarke, McConaughey’s ensuing reactions delve him deep into a work where his reality begins to get a bit warped. The film is written and directed by Steven Knight, a great writer who has found success on television with Peaky Blinders and Taboo and in the movies with Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things but even better than that his directing career is pretty solid with this movie following up the phenomenal one location and actor film Locke with Tom Hardy. I have a great feeling about this movie. (Not opening in Hamilton or Kamloops)
The Kid Who Would Be King – Joe Cornish is a name that people need to know and if this film gets the audience push I think it deserves people will know the name soon. As a director, he has just one other film under his belt, Attack The Block, an amazing sci-fi action mixed with a British urban sort of Gremlins type story but as a writer, he has made films with Edgar Wright, Steven Spielberg and set the groundwork for Marvel’s Ant-Man. Now he looks to revive the King Arthur story in modern days with kids at the center. Adding to that we get Patrick Stewart playing Merlin that rocks Led Zeppelin t-shirts and a villainous Rebecca Ferguson trying to take over the work. I am so excited to take my daughter to this film.
Destroyer – Nicole Kidman is an actress that people either like or do not it seems but there is no doubt that the Oscar winner has resided for a long time on Hollywood’s A-list and given anyone’s feelings on her, every one of these actors has those movies in their career that is a defining role. This is one of Kidman’s. Playing a character who is extremely unlikeable, she stars as a worn down and jaded police detective who is dragged back into a past undercover case that shaped the ruining of her personal life. This movie is a slow burn of dark reveal from director Karyn Kusama, Kidman in the grim driver’s seat as the past is revealed, painting the picture of the hardened and haggard face she displays throughout. (Not opening in Hamilton, London, Kamloops, Barrie or Oshawa)
Racetime – Canadian animated films don’t usually get a fair shake and for a good reason as they all feel subpar to their American counterparts, sometimes by a slight margin but mostly by a large one. This film comes from the French-Canadian side of our country, redubbed for us of the English speaking variety. The story is very simple, big sled race with the local kids in town centred around the hero Frankie Four Eyes and his crew. Aside from Noel Fisher of Shameless fame and also the guy who voiced Mikey in the Ninja Turtles reboots, this movie has no real star power and the repurposed foreign animated films are honestly a bit dodgy to me. This may be a “wait for video” movie, kids. (Not opening in London, Kamloops, Barrie or Oshawa)
Cold War – Nominated for a Golden Globe and an easy move from the Oscar shortlist to nominee, this movie is really the only competition for Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. Acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski crafts a love story between two people from totally different backgrounds with completely opposite viewpoints of the world, taking place in Poland, Berlin, Paris and Yugoslavia during the Cold War. This one looks like a film that will tug at the heartstrings as, from the outside, this relationship looks like a doomed one due to the world these two inhabit. I really wish I had seen this one before the year’s end as it possibly could be one of the best. (Only opening in Toronto and Vancouver)
First Man – A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Surprisingly, this movie only got nominations in technical categories and missed out on Ryan Gosling going for another kick at the Oscar along with director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz who I thought was a definite nominee having won the Golden Globe. This movie will be home theatre gold, I guarantee it.
Beautiful Boy – Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years. This film is at its heart all about the performances of Steve Carrell and Timothee Chalamet who deliver this soul-wrenching story off a kid spiralling out of control, falling deeper and deeper into addiction while his father tries to save his child from a disease he doesn’t understand. This film plays everything so real and so close to the beautiful bond between father and son it left me emotionally breathless by the end.
Johnny English Strikes Again – After a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all of the active undercover agents in Britain, Johnny English is forced to come out of retirement to find the mastermind hacker. For some reason, Universal decided that we needed another installment of this dated comedy starring Rowan Atkinson and that is exactly how this movie feels. Every spy trope that Jonny has rung the bell for he doubles back to hit. Want to see him goof on virtual reality and walk into traffic? Well, have I got a movie for you! Seriously, this movies is ten years back in comedy, maybe more.
Here And Now – Sarah Jessica Parker stars in this film that follows a New York singer for a day after she receives a diagnosis o a fatal brain tumour. The movie pretty much goes as you think, the stages of acceptance turning to an introspective look that ends with her trying to reconnect with those she loves and make amends and because of that, this movie fails to make a mark. Even still, Parker gives a very good performance which really is the saving grace of it.
The Sisters Brothers – In 1850s Oregon, a gold prospector is chased by the infamous duo of assassins, the Sisters brothers. A western with the cast of Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly and Jake Gyllenhaal is enticing enough on its own but adding the fact that Dheepan and A Prophet director Jacques Audiard made this catapults it to must-see as he takes the western genre and breaks the egg open to play around with the yoke within. Yes, the brothers are ruthless killers that would put a bullet in you just as quick as have a conversation but it’s a quality that they are starting to detest about themselves just as vehemently. This movie is all about dramatic character change just hidden within violent lawlessness.
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch – Filmmakers travel to six continents and 20 countries to document the impact humans have made on the planet. Coming from the filmmakers behind Blackfish, this film is like a post-mortem on the damage we are doing to the earth, truly terrifying, and now a winner of best documentary from the Vancouver Critic’s Circle. Be warned, this film doesn’t play to any conventional documentary storytelling, instead letting its imagery speak for itself. This it does with a loud voice as we see the healing sab of the earth being torn out again and again. It really is that gut punch of humanity.
Steve’s Blu-ray Geekout:
Dracula: Prince Of Darkness – Shout Factory is reaching far back in the vault to 1966 for this Christopher Lee Hammer film classic. The movie is Dracula standard stuff, a group of English tourists get stranded and end u unwittingly finding an abandoned castle that houses the ancient evil of the prince of darkness. The real treasure is watching Lee play this iconic character in a silent performance and it’s one you can listen to him talk about in a commentary track that was made for the initial DVD release.
Murder By Death – Talk about a gold mine of a classic film in the Shout Select series. A Neil Simon written mystery-comedy featuring a cast including Peter Falk Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, Truman Capote and David Niven. A story that definitely served as the inspiration for the movie version of Clue, the film takes place at a dinner party where the eccentric hosts announces that there will be a murder when the clock strikes midnight and a million dollars will be given to the person who solves the crime. To end this write up with a nerdy tidbit, this is what Guinness was working on when he was given the script for Star Wars.
Animas – The trailer for this little fantasy thriller is one of those hard ones to decipher but this Spanish Netflix addition is definitely intriguing. Based on a novel, what I can figure out about it is there’s a group of teenagers that are connected through deadly visions that the main character has given to them through a portal to the other side. Spain is the country that gave us the [REC] series and Guillermo del Toro. I will give this a chance.
Black Earth Rising: Season 1 – A brand new series produced by Netflix, this show stars Chewing Gum’s Michaela Coel as a survivor of the Rwandan genocide who is adopted by a prominent London barrister and follows the family business. As an adult, she works for Michael Ennis (John Goodman) and takes on a case against an African militia leader. The show comes from Hugo Blick who did the highly rated Maggie Gyllenhaal series An Honorable Woman.
Kingdom: Season 1 – Many times Drex and I have talked about the zombie genre and how it consistently needs that fresh breath to keep it from decaying. I mean, let’s face it, even The Walking Dead is nearing the end of its popularity. The freshness is what makes this new series so great as its taking that zombie stuff and throwing it back to the medieval Joseon period in Korea. Adapted from a webcomic, the adaptation was put together by the acclaimed director of Tunnel and is right up my alley of South Korean film. Those who were all over Train To Busan, this is an easy binge for you.
Medici: The Magnificent – If you like your Borgias like drama you’ll want to get a look at this new series starring Sean Bean set in Florence during the Renaissance. The show is just as cutthroat, a bloody rise to power show with a good looking cast around its lead from one of the guys behind The X-Files and the director of the 1983 thriller The Day After. This show is the second season in the continuation of this families lineage, the first series being led by Bean’s Game Of Thrones son Richard Madden.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4, Part 2 – I just absolutely adore this insane comedy series. It has no tether and is Tina Fey and 30 Rock co-creator Robert Carlock making a heightened fish out of water story through the filter of the hilarious and adorable Ellie Kemper. I know a lot of people don’t really vibe with this show given its quirky nature but I think the ensemble of Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane and Jane Krakowski are fantastic and this show is one of my immediate binge shows on Netflix when the seasons are released.