Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

New Releases:

Evil Dead Rise – In the fifth Evil Dead film, a road-weary Beth pays an overdue visit to her older sister Ellie, who is raising three kids alone in a cramped L.A. apartment. The sisters’ reunion is cut short by the discovery of a mysterious book deep in the bowels of Ellie’s building, giving rise to flesh-possessing demons, and thrusting Beth into a primal battle for survival as she is faced with the most nightmarish version of motherhood imaginable.

Expectations: With a Twitter handle like Stevil Dead, it is no surprise that these movies are the tops of the genre for me and I love them deeply. That said, none of the films have disappointed me and from what I’m hearing, director Lee Cronin has gifted us with a glorious and gory entry that will keep us on the edge of our seats and give us nightmares for weeks. I can not friggin’ wait.

Beau Is Afraid – Following the sudden death of his mother, a mild-mannered but anxiety-ridden man confronts his darkest fears as he embarks on an epic, Kafkaesque odyssey back home.

Expectations: It really looks like this week is a cinematic gift to me as I get not one but two of my most anticipated movies of the year but I doubt my small town of Penticton will receive it unfortunately. This puts the words most anticipated in bold though as it is the follow-up for Ari Aster after his masterpiece Midsommar and pairs him with one of the best actors on the planet right now, Joaquin Phoenix. The reviews are praising Phoenix but I will say there are a lot of detractors saying that Ari is wasting studio money but that just makes me want to see it more. 

To Catch A Killer – A modern-day Clarice Starling, Eleanor (Shailene Woodley) is a young police investigator wrestling with the demons of her past when she is recruited by the FBI’s chief investigator (Ben Mendelsohn) to help profile and track the work of a disturbed individual. As the police and FBI launch a nationwide manhunt, they are thwarted at every turn by the individual’s unprecedented behaviour. Given her tortured psyche, Eleanor may be the only person who can understand the mind of their assailant and bring him to justice.

Expectations: The buzz for this film is damn near non-existent as it seems studios are unwilling to even try selling Shailene Woodley films now or something, maybe a residual effect of her Divergent franchise tanking at the box office repeatedly over a five-year span. This film does look interesting, a cat-and-mouse FBI agent versus a serial killer but the Silence Of The Lambs reference in the synopsis will do only harm to the end result I think. Even still, it has Mendelsohn in a main role as well as The VVitch’s Ralph Ineson, some character actor studs in my opinion.

Chevalier – It looks like the big-budget, big studio period films are back or at least for this week as we head to Marie Antoinette’s France for a music-focused drama spearheaded by a fantastic performance from Waves actor Kelvin Harrison. The film is definitely ambitious in scope with costuming, lavish sets and gorgeous art direction and is the first feature film from veteran television director Stephen Williams. It is based on the true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner, who rises to heights in French society as a composer before an ill-fated love affair with the wife of a Marquis destroys everything he has built. Co-starring Samara Weaving, Lucy Boynton and Minnie Driver, the film manages to circumvent the stuffiness usually exhibited by this dramatic genre with a script and story that is interesting from the start and characters that don’t feel like biopic stereotypes. Harrison keeps getting better and better in every film as well, an actor on a fast track to awards glory.

Ghosted – Salt-of-the-earth Cole (Chris Evans) falls head over heels for enigmatic Sadie (Ana de Armas)–but then makes the shocking discovery that she’s a secret agent. Before they can decide on a second date, Cole and Sadie are swept away on an international adventure to save the world.

Expectations: Years ago when a film went straight to video, pay per view or streaming it was usually the nail in the coffin of a bad film but since the pandemic in a big way some blockbuster-sized films have been getting the streaming release treatment and action is a regular candidate with studios that are unsure what to do with them. This film looks like exactly one of those types of films, an action romantic comedy, sort of like the recent JLo flick Shotgun Wedding on Prime Video, This one has the very gorgeous and likable Chris Evans and Ana De Armas starring in it, making it the third time they’re been in a film together. The trailer is enjoyable enough but I don’t think this is going to do huge streaming numbers for AppleTV+.

Judy Blume Forever – The radical honesty of the books by trailblazing author Judy Blume changed the way millions of adolescent readers understood themselves, their sexuality, and what it meant to grow up, but also led to critical battles against book banning and censorship.

Expectations: One week before one of this author’s greatest works, Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?, hits the big screen, this documentary arrives on Prime Video to give her some very deserved flowers. Featuring Judy and some of the women she inspired, like Molly Ringwald, Samantha Bee, Lena Dunham and many more, I love a good biopic doc and this looks like a solid one that is already getting stellar reviews.


Magic Mike’s Last Dance – “Magic” Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) takes to the stage again after a lengthy hiatus, following a business deal that went bust, leaving him broke and taking bartender gigs in Florida. For what he hopes will be one last hurrah, Mike heads to London with a wealthy socialite (Salma Hayek Pinault) who lures him with an offer he can’t refuse… and an agenda all her own. With everything on the line, once Mike discovers what she truly has in mind, will he–and the roster of hot new dancers he’ll have to whip into shape–be able to pull it off?

Expectations: I know these movies are a big reason for a good amount of Channing Tatum’s fame and I thought the first movie was great but my enthusiasm stalls with XXL and this third film, even with a returning Steven Soderbergh behind the camera, feels forced. As the title implies, this is Mike’s last time on stage so it makes it all that much worse to fizzle at the end of your trilogy.

Emily – The film imagines Emily Brontë’s own Gothic story that inspired her seminal novel, ‘Wuthering Heights.’ Haunted by her mother’s death, Emily struggles within the confines of her family life and yearns for artistic and personal freedom, and so begins a journey to channel her creative potential into one of the greatest novels of all time.

Review: A gorgeously filmed period piece from the first moment, the bold first feature from actress turned filmmaker Frances O’Connor who also wrote the screenplay as well. Emma Mackey has a bubbling intensity to her that is fascinating to watch as Emily, the gifted black sheep in the mix with two equally gifted sisters and Fionn Whitehead and Oliver Cohen-Jackson are two character actors who keep getting better and better. This film was a total win that took chances and escaped being a dry romantic drama biopic.

Kids Vs Aliens – All Gary wants is to make awesome home movies with his best buds. All his older sister Samantha wants is to hang with the cool kids. When their parents head out of town one Halloween weekend, an all-time rager of a teen house party turns to terror when aliens attack, forcing the siblings to band together to survive the night.

Expectations: Jason Eisener, the brilliant mind behind Canadian Grindhouse actioner Hobo With A Shotgun has returned with something a little bit different for Shudder but guaranteed to have the same charm. What has me more excited about this film in particular as it is the fully realized version of the short film which appears in the anthology horror flick, V/H/S/2. If you are a genre fan, I think you owe it to play Canadian this weekend with this film.

Steve’s Blu-Ray Geekouts:

Neptune’s Daughter – Aquatic dancer Eve Barrett (Esther Williams), now partnered with Joe Backett (Keenan Wynn) in a swimsuit design company, tries to prevent her sister, Betty (Betty Garrett), from falling in love with Jose O’Rourke (Ricardo Montalban), a suave South American polo player. Unbeknownst to Eve, Betty has actually fallen for Jack Spratt (Red Skelton), a masseuse who is posing as Jose. To protect her sister, Eve finds the real Jose, agrees to a date, and falls in love.

Review: An Oscar winner for Best Original Song, this is the film we have to credit for bringing the Christmas song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” which would ignite debate seventy years later. The film itself is the definition of easy and breezy fun with an early English-speaking performance from playboy Ricardo Montalban. The film also features a rare on-camera appearance by legendary Looney Tunes voice actor Mel Blanc doing a sort of Mexican accented performance, reminiscent o Speedy Gonzalaz, who wouldn’t debut in animated form until four years later.

The Prince And The Showgirl – A travelling party of royals from central Europe arrives in England in 1911, as the host country prepares to celebrate the coronation of a new king. But when the visiting Regent (Laurence Olivier) goes to a musical theatre, his attraction to American performer Elsie (Marilyn Monroe) makes it hard to stay focused. Soon, Elsie learns of a potential coup in the Regent’s home country, and it’s up to her to smooth things out — or watch as the nation hurtles toward instability.

Review: This is an interesting one as it was directed by Olivier as well and the only one of the few to not be Shakespeare or Chekov. The first movie from Marilyn’s own production company, she and Olivier had trouble filming together. He would often get angry at her for forgetting lines or being late to the set. Monroe was furious one day while filming when Laurence told her to “just be sexy.” The odd thing is, in the final product, I thought she upstaged him in a lot of their scenes together as the movie star quality wins out over his polished deliveries. Late to seeing her actual product on screen, I’ve found her performances really likable but this one might be her best.

Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes! – After a wave of reports of mysterious attacks involving people and pets being eaten by the traditionally docile fruit, a special government task force is set up to investigate the violent fruit and put a stop to their murderous spree. Included in this crack team are a lieutenant who never goes anywhere without his parachute, an underwater expert who’s never out of his scuba gear, and a master of disguise who conceals his appearance by dressing as a black Adolf Hitler.

Review: This was a many-time rental for me when I was a kid and after getting a refresher with this MVD Rewind Collection Blu-Ray I can’t tell you why I was so obsessed. The campy cult status of the movie bleeds off the screen with its ridiculous premise and it is very cool to see this spoof classic restored for home release. One of my favourite pieces of trivia from this film is that the big helicopter crash in it was unintentional and totally spun for story in the aftermath. All this length to make a horror film about man-eating tomatoes made out of sponge.


Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always (Netflix) – Thirty years after the wise and powerful Zordon formed the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the team comes face to face with a familiar threat from the past. In the midst of a global crisis, they are called on once again to be the heroes the world needs. This 30th Anniversary Special is inspired by the legendary mantra from the franchise “Once a Ranger, Always a Ranger,” meaning once you become part of the Ranger family, you are always welcome back.

Expectations: This one is bittersweet for obvious reasons with the recent passing of Green/White Ranger Jason David Frank and the return of the old cast here but the film was actually made when he was still alive. The reality is that Frank and famed Pink Ranger Amy Jo Johnson had actually declined to return which makes the extra-long episode more of a partially transparent cash grab for Netflix. That said, I’ll most likely still watch it, being an old-school Power Rangers fan.

The Diplomat (Netflix) – In the midst of an international crisis, Kate Wyler a career diplomat lands in a high-profile job for which she was not suited, with tectonic implications for her marriage and her political future.

Thoughts on the show: On the outside, the show looks really formulaic, like a series ripped off of a CBS drama like Madam Secretary but that feeling is dispelled a few scenes into the pilot episode. The show then starts to rise in interest with great character work from the lead star Keri Russell, still riding that high from The Americans, and Rufus Sewell as her former ambassador husband. The show manages to set up a great political drama in the first hour and then pull the rug from under you in the last thirty seconds before the credits and that is how you hook an audience. It got me on an immediate binge so I think it will be pretty effective.

Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head: Season 2 (Paramount+) – The iconic animated duo are back and dumber than ever. The ’90s pop-culture phenomenons return, voiced by creator Mike Judge, to confound common sense, torment each other, and showcase some of the dumbest comedy imaginable.

What to expect this season: Really what can I say about this one? If you are into it, you will love it. If you hated this show the first time around, well, expect more of the same.I will say that the original film that got us here to a new Paramount+ series is entertaining as hell and I really liked season one so hopefully the well hasn’t run dry yet.

Dead Ringers (Prime Video) – A modern take on David Cronenberg’s 1988 thriller starring Jeremy Irons, Dead Ringers will feature Rachel Weisz playing the double-lead roles of Elliot and Beverly Mantle, twins who share everything: drugs, lovers, and an unapologetic desire to do whatever it takes–including pushing the boundaries of medical ethics–in an effort to challenge antiquated practices and bring women’s health care to the forefront.

Expectations: The track record for remaking the works of the amazing David Cronenberg hasn’t been great but the casting of Rachel Weisz as our lead twin characters causes me to be so intrigued that I will likely finish every episode by the end of the weekend. The story always was fascinating and I’m really looking forward to the modern take as well as the new avenues the gender swap could lead to as two brilliant women surgeons.

Barry: Season 4 (Crave) – Disillusioned at the thought of taking down another “mark,” depressed, low-level hitman Barry Berkman seeks a way out. When the Midwesterner reluctantly travels to Los Angeles to execute a hit on an actor who is bedding a mobster’s wife, little does Barry know that the City of Angels may be his sanctuary. He follows his target into acting class and ends up instantly drawn to the community of eager hopefuls, especially dedicated student Sally, who becomes the object of his affection. While Barry wants to start a new life as an actor, his handler, Fuches, has other ideas, and the hitman’s criminal past won’t let him walk away so easily.

What to expect this season: The end, that’s what to expect. The end of Barry himself? Probably. Most likely. I really don’t think it could happen any other way by this point but the one thing that this show and creator Bill Hader has managed to do is always keep us on our toes, always keep us laughing and guess at what will happen next and constantly blurring the lines between true comedy and the darkest of souls. The final season of Barry has arrived so buckle up, I think we’re going to get pummeled.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: