Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

New Releases:

Gemini Men – The premise of this movie looks really interesting, Will Smith playing a hitman who keeps getting foiled and duped by a younger assassin who turns out to be a younger clone of himself in a twist that is given away in the trailer. The movie looks cool, with the star power of Smith in a long gestated project from producer Jerry Bruckheimer that was at one time in the hands of Curtis Hanson and Tony Scott. This movie has me on the fence as Ang Lee is the director on this, a filmmaker who is pretty hit or miss with me, but with his faster frame rate of 120 frames per second it could be pretty interesting or it could be a glossy mess.

The Addams Family – Its been around twenty-five years since Barry Sonnenfeld brought the classic television family of The Addams Family to the big screen so why not get a reboot but in animated form this time. The voice cast is pretty impressive for this film, featuring fan-favorite and requested Oscar Isaac as Gomez, Charlize Theron as Morticia, Chloe Grace Moretz as Wednesday, a pivotal role, Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard as Pugsley and Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester, which is a hilarious connection to the directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan who made Sausage Party their last time out. I want to have faith in this movie because I really love The Addams Family.

Jexi – Remember when Spike Jonze made the movie Her, a love story between Joaquin Phoenix and a computer program voiced by Scarlett Johansson set in the near future? Well, we get a more conceivable movie this time around as Workaholics star Adam Devine plays a man who falls for the voice of his smartphone with the vocals provided by the uber funny Rose Byrne. Written and directed by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the guys behind the Hangover movies, this looks like a ridiculous plot but still a very relevant one given how obsessed we are with our own phones, myself totally included. (Not opening in Kamloops)

Dolemite Is My Name – Eddie Murphy makes a triumphant return to feature films with this fantastic biopic, directed by Hustle And Flow’s Craig Brewer. Murphy plays Rudy Ray Moore, an ageing performer who made the big move from Arkansas to Los Angeles but hasn’t found any success whatsoever. His big break comes when he decides to gather the tall tales of a bunch of nearby hobos and packages them in a new larger than life pimp character named Dolemite, which leads to huge success in his self pressed album and a growing ambition that eventually has him wanting to make movies. Murphy is incredible in this movie but it’s the performance of Wesley Snipes as D’Urville Martin that floored me, a total game rejuvenation. Definitely see this one. (Only playing in Toronto and Vancouver. On Netflix October 25th.)

The Laundromat – I’m really excited about this one as it is made by the great Steven Soderbergh, based on a book from Jake Bernstein and written by Contagion and The Informant! writer Scott Z. Burns, but, holy crap, this cast gets me excited too. Gary Oldman, Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas, Jeffrey Wright, Matthias Schoenaerts and so many more star in this film about a widow who does a deep dive on a fraudulent insurance claim that leads to a pair of Panama City law partners that are exploiting the world’s financial system. The reviews aren’t hugely favorable for the film but the cast and filmmaker will always ensure that I will check out the validity of the movie for myself and I encourage you to do the same. (Only playing in Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver. On Netflix October 18th.)

Where’s My Roy Cohn – This documentary is absolutely chilling to it’s core, an engrossing look at attorney Roy Cohn, a man that got his first notorious start as part of the council employed by Joseph McCarthy to blackball supposed communists in America. A flamboyant individual who guarded his not too secret sexuality until the end of his life when he died of AIDS, something documented in Tony Kushner’s Broadway play Angels In America. Even more interesting, this film shows how much of Cohn’s personality was a blueprint for the tyrant in chief the States has currently in power, using moves that are all too familiar to us now. (Only playing in Toronto and Vancouver.)

Blu-Ray:

Toy Story 4 – When it was announced that a new Toy Story was being written, slated for release nine years after the third movie came out, I was a bit skeptical. I personally felt like Toy Story 3 wrapped everything up quite nicely in a beautifully made film but I can now say I was completely wrong because I fell in love with this movie just as hard as I did the other three. With the toys now with a new owner named Bonnie, gifted to her by Andy at the end of the last movie, they head on a road trip with a newly created pal named Forky who ends up getting lost. This leads Woody to go and bring him back to the family, to try and form some sort of connection with his new owner that he doesn’t have. This film forges a new direction for the Woody character, one that I didn’t see coming but it definitely fits in the growth of him. This movie again has all the emotional beats to shatter you emotionally so, you know, beware of that.

Annabelle Comes Home – I can’t believe we’re already at the third Annabelle movie but here we are. The series started horribly but Creation proved to be a really entertaining horror film so to up the ante this time Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson’s Lorraine and Ed Warren take left of center stage for this installment as the doll in question finds it’s way to their artifacts library where it wreaks havoc by waking all the other evil contained there. The movie, unfortunately, is a massive step down from the good trajectory of the last one and drags for the first twenty minutes before finding any sort of scares and then everything is a bit few and far between for my liking. This movie was kind of set up to be a culmination of a bunch of set pieces within the Conjuring universe and ultimately, it falls flat.

Midsommar – If there was a movie that I would put at the top of my list of anticipated films this year this would be number one with a bullet. The sophomore film from Hereditary director Ari Aster, the main details of this movie have been kept very under wraps, the trailer even giving a foreboding sense of mystery in a brilliantly bright wrapper. From what I can glean, the story is about a couple who travels to Sweden to visit a secluded town’s fabled mid-summer festival and what was thought to be an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult. From everything I’m hearing, this may be on par with the 1970s thriller The Wicker Man and, oh boy, does that excite me! I’m so disappointed that I still haven’t seen this as it didn’t come to my town and there’s even a director’s cut now!

Red Joan – Let me set this one up for you. Dame Judi Dench plays a woman in her eighties who is found to be a KGB spy who gave secrets of the British government to the Russians about their research into obtaining an atomic bomb. Intriguing, right? It’s just so unfortunate that director Trevor Munn made this film such a slog to get through making the story and its relationships so painfully dull. The worst part is that Dench puts on such a great performance but it is intercut with the flashbacks to her younger self, played well by the Kingsman’s Sophie Cookson, but with an absolutely painful on the sleeve script. This true story deserved better, although I really liked the ending.

Light Of My Life – Probably one of those “hey man, this movie is thematically problematic for you” but Casey Affleck has made a movie where he exists in a world with no women. Yes, you read that right and he not only stars in it but wrote and directed it as well but let’s take a deeper look. He plays a parent who must protect his 11-year-old child journey through the outskirts of society a decade after a pandemic has wiped out half the world’s population. So, automatically if has that The Road feeling for me, which I’m completely on board for, but I get people’s trepidation with Affleck as the allegations are very damaging. I try to skirt away from this opinion but I still really enjoy Casey’s work but I feel in no way like a sort of Woody Allen apologist, I usually keep this kind of stuff to myself. I got a little revealing in this write up I guess.

Deadwood: The Movie – The long, long, long anticipated conclusion to the greatest western series ever made is now on blu-ray as we finally own the closure on the characters of Seth Bullock, Al Swearengen and all the other people in the infamous outlaw town. It’s bittersweet as I really wanted another series instead of a movie but creator David Milch was finally able to get his crowning achievement finished and out to the masses after years of building it up and his recent and tragic diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. This is going to be something truly special to behold and I can not wait.

Life With Lucy: Complete Series – I was weirded out by the cover of this boxset as I thought I would be receiving the original I Love Lucy series but what this is is the final series Lucille Ball ever did, broadcast in 1986. This show has Ball playing a widowed grandmother who inherited her husband’s half-interest in a hardware store in California, the other half being owned by his partner, widower Curtis McGibbon, played by longtime friend of Lucy, Gale Gordon. The show was not well received, earing Lucille Ball the worst reviews of her career and well cancelled after it’s first season. For nostalgia reasons and to see a comedienne that still had it up until the end, I found it entertaining.

Television:

The Walking Dead: Season 10 (AMC) – I can’t believe we are in double digits now for the length of this Robert Kirkman created series, based on a book that has now come to a close, but there is no end in sight for this show according to the showrunners and Fear The Walking Dead is going strong with yet another, at this point unnamed, spin-off series to come. Is there any signs of fatigue in this franchise? We may have seen some as the show has gone on but I think they’ve recovered quite well and they’ve been journeying on without original star Andrew Lincoln for a while now. Not many shows can make that claim.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (Netflix) – The long-anticipated movie follow up to Breaking Bad is now upon us and the great thing is that the trailer and synopsis released by Netflix and AMC is so fantastically ambiguous that there is really no hint to what this movie will be about except that Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman leads it. It should be noted that Badger, Mike, Skinny Pete and Old Joe are the only other characters listed in the cast list so contained cast means a smaller scope film but that could lead to a bunch of uncredited cameos just the blow away the viewer with surprise. It’s almost here, friends!

Fractured (Netflix) – A brand new film picked up by Netflix, this film is directed by Brad Anderson, the mind behind Session 9 and The Machinist, written by Alan B. McElroy, the guy who created the freaks of the horror franchise Wrong Turn as well as got Todd McFarlane’s Spawn to animated series form on HBO. This thriller is one of those “vanished” type mysteries, following a man and his family who go on a road trip and have to rush the daughter to a hospital after a fall. The father then falls asleep in the waiting room and upon waking his family has disappeared with no one having knowledge of having them check-in. Sam Worthington and American Horror Story’s Lily Rabe star in this and it’s getting some favorable reviews.

Rhythm & Flow: Season 1 (Netflix) – I’m usually not one for putting reality shows on this list or competition shows either but this one has me interested. The show is hosted by Cardi B, Chance The Rapper and T.I and is a talent search for the next hip-hop superstar, what Netflix sees as their answer to X-Factor and American Idol. The series will just be releasing the first four episodes, as they scour for undiscovered talent from Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, releasing the next batch of episodes on October 16 and then the final episodes on the 23rd. The show will also feature appearances from Snoop Dogg, DJ Khalid, Quavo, the late Nipsey Hustle and many more.

Batwoman: Season 1 (The CW) – I’ve been waiting a long time for a live-action onscreen version of Kate Kane aka Batwoman to be made and finally we’ve got it and I think the casting of Ruby Rose is kind of incredible as she already invokes many of the character traits right out the door. For those not in the know, Kane was inspired by Batman to use her own resources to fight crime in Gotham as well under the moniker of Batwoman, but is a woman of Jewish descent and is also a lesbian, something that was a hard pill to swallow for the mainstream. It’s great timing for her brand of vigilante justice to land on the CW now as Arrow is in its final season something is going to need to pick up the lead on that.

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