Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

New Releases:

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – How do you recapture the lightning in a bottle that was the first Lego Movie? I’ve been a fan of the Batman and Ninjago movies that followed but none have been quite as good. The good news is the advance reviews on the follow up have been really good and while it definitely is not to the calibre of the movie that got this huge ball rolling it will satisfy your craving for all that Lego goodness and the voice cast is too good to pass up with Tiffany Haddish and Stephanie Beatriz joining Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks and Will Arnett.

What Men Want – This is a movie that should have never been made. When the Mel Gibson film What Women Want was released late night talk show hosts and comedians made the joke that they should make this movie and it would be five minutes long. Now almost twenty years later we get the real punchline as the studio has pushed through this abomination starring Taraji P. Henson that has a trailer that is one of the most repulsive things I’ve set eyes on this year. I have zero hopes for this movie and it shouldn’t exist at all. I’m adamant on that. (Not opening in Kamloops)

Cold Pursuit – About five years ago Stellan Skarsgard starred in a Norwegian film called In Order Of Disappearance, a revenge flick about a respected local plowman and a grieving father who exacts violent retribution on the crinal organization that was responsible for his son’s death. Liam Neeson got a look at it and seemingly ended his action retirement to remake the film with the original director and I really wish they just left it alone. Were the original came off as darkly funny this movie negates that for a more cartoonish approach, right down to Neeson’s performance. Skarsgard had a real broodiness to his performance and Liam decided to bring his Taken attitude into this film. Just watch the Norweigan film, trust me. (Not opening in Hamilton)

The Prodigy – Are we about done with creepy kid movies especially after it has been done so much better in the past? Hereditary, I’m definitely looking at you. This movie has Orange Is The New Black’s Taylor Schilling as a mother who is increasingly frightened and disturbed by her son’s increasingly erratic behaviour, suspecting that it is a supernatural possession. This seems to be the wheelhouse of director Nicholas McCarthy but what’s interesting is the film was written by Midnight Meat Train scribe Jeff Buhler who has Pet Sematary later this year. My hopes for this one are low though. (Not opening in Kamloops and Oshawa)

Blu-ray:

Widows – Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common are forced to accept a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. The buzz around this movie is huge and with an incredible cast and the amazing Steve McQueen directing and adapting a Gillian Flynn book I’m not surprised. Viola Davis takes command in the lead role and this movies awards snub gives me more ire at the voting academy.

The Girl In The Spider’s Web – Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials. Rather than continuing with the Daniel Craig/Rooney Mara version, we’re rebooting entirely with this one starring Claire Foy from The Crown but it comes from director Fede Alvarez who hasn’t failed me yet with Don’t Breathe and another remake, The Evil Dead, in his rearview. Another thing that has me excited is the inclusion of Sylvia Hoeks in the cast, who definitely steals some scenes in Blade Runner 2049.

The Grinch – A grumpy Grinch plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville. Illumination Entertainment, the people behind the Despicable Me movies, take the reigns for this animated adaptation featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch. I had a lot riding with this one. Besides Sing and Minions, I have been behind Illumination as an animation company and I adore the co-director Scott Mosier, aka Kevin Smith’s bestie and Port Moody native, but there’s something that bugged me about it and it was that it all felt so unnecessary. This movie brings nothing new to the table and just sort of lands like a mediocre pile. Cumberbatch doesn’t add anything special and in the end, it made me appreciate Ron Howard and Jim Carrey’s live-action adaptation.

Suspiria – A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up. A remake of the Dario Argento classic, this is one of my most anticipated films of the year and the reviews are through the roof as all my friends that got eyes on it loved it. I really dig the dedication director Luca Guadagnino has to his work and his collaborations with Tilda Swinton have always been memorable pieces of cinema. Even more intriguing beyond that is this is the film composer debut of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, joining his counterpart Jonny Greenwood in film scoring.

Mid90s – The film follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 90s-era LA who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop. This one is Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, which is an incredibly authentic little drama driven by great performances from lead star Sunny Suljic and the best managed young actor in Hollywood today, Lucas Hedges. Hill land his first film with absolute finesse, encapsulating a generational feel that went into my very core. You do not want to sleep on this movie and I can not wait to see what Jonah does next.

A Private War – One of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time, Marie Colvin is an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit, driven to the frontline of conflicts across the globe to give voice to the voiceless. I hear this movie is great and Rosamund Pike deserves all the awards recognition she has been getting as she consistently is moving up the ladder of the A-list. It’s only a matter of time until she brings home the Oscar. I also find it fascinating that this is the feature narrative debut of documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman who earned an Academy Award nomination for Cartel Land in 2015.

All The Devil’s Men – This is an action film that I have honestly never heard of but the leading lady Sylvia Hoeks is what draws me to it, this being her second home video release this week. The movie is essentially a manhunt movie with government agents headed to London to take down a disavowed CIA agent played by Mel Gibsn’s kid Milo. What excites me even more about this movie is that it was written and directed by Matthew Hope, the mind behind a killer little indie film called The Vanguard.

The Cloverfield Paradox – I’m totally aware that this is a Netflix release, sold quickly off by Paramount, but for a collector like me, it’s very cool to see all the Cloverfield Blu-rays together on my shelf. This movie didn’t get the love it should have in my opinion because it’s a fun sci-fi thriller with a bit of dark humor to it and I loved the way it tied into the franchise’s overarching storyline. I’m really hoping that this whole universe starts picking up steam and adding new stories.

Netflix:

High Flying Bird – Anytime the words “directed by Steven Soderbergh” are used my ears automatically perk up as He is a filmmaker I feel delivers more often than not. I enjoy how different each of his stories are and this one is no different, dealing with a star basketball player during the middle of a lockout. When approached by his agent with an interesting idea to keep active he must make a decision that may be controversial in the public eye and to those who own the team he plays on. The film features Atlanta’s Zazie Beatz who seems to be in more and more these days.

ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke – Another “tape” drops for this fascinating docu-series delving into the possible conspiracies within the music industry. This episode takes a look at Sam Cooke, a black singer who was widely popular and murdered way before his superstar time. Was it just a random killing or was it due to the fact that he was close friends with Muhammed Ali and Malcolm X? Was he deemed a threat by a shadowy government? All of these questions are so intriguing.

Jaws: Complete Franchise – Starting with the blockbuster that started it all, those great people at Netflix have added a great popcorn series of shark attacks that definitely in descending order of quality. The great thing is that Roy Scheider stars as Chief Brody in the first two before we go 3D with Dennis Quaid before the Revenge with Michael Caine. Either way, this could be such a fun series to go through, maybe even worthy of a podcast. Hmmmmm.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin – I would be so hard pressed to pick my absolute favourite between this movie and Knocked Up but this movie may have the slight edge just in the way the cast is utilized. Steve Carrell plays Andy, a quiet nice guy who sells home theatre equipment and happens to have never had sex with a woman, now into his forties, and plays it so earnestly. Netflix, besides being about binge series and finding new original films, is also about the rewatch and having great entertainment at our fingertips. This is certainly in that category.

Ray Romano: Right Here, Around the Corner – Looking for his own piece of Netflix the Everybody Loves Raymond star returns to the stage for his first special in over twenty years but this one has a little twist to it, taping it in two segments at a couple of comedy clubs a block away from each other. His comedy is pretty clean and much like his television show was. It’s funny that the creator of the series, Phil Rosenthal, got his food based reality series before his star did.

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