Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

New Releases:

BlackBerry – A company that toppled global giants before succumbing to the ruthlessly competitive forces of Silicon Valley. This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBerry reveal the dangerous speed at which innovators race along the information superhighway.

Review: A friend of mine called this film The Wolf Of Wall Street of Canadian cinema and I love that term. Writer and director Matt Johnson was the perfect person to tell this story, also taking on the role of Research In Motion co-founder Doug, and the grainy look of the film and the fly-on-the-wall feel of it is directly attributed to him Glenn Howerton’s Jim Ballsilie is the big star of the film but Jay Baruchel’s understated then ferocious performance as founder Mike Lazaridis is so compelling to watch. Definitely one of my favourite films of the year and a champion for Canadian movies.

Book Club: The Next Chapter – The highly anticipated sequel follows our four best friends as they take their book club to Italy for the fun girls’ trip they never had. When things go off the rails and secrets are revealed, their relaxing vacation turns into a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country adventure.

Expectations: After the “what the hell am I watching?” experience of 80 For Brady, I think I need a cooling off period before I jump into another Jane Fonda vehicle, especially this film that had a loathsome first film. I’m very aware that these films are written for a very specific age group but the construction of the first film felt so clunky that no one could elevate it. I do like that cast though as I adore Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen. All of this aside, this movie is definitely digging for that Mother’s Day market this weekend and will surely make some money.

Fool’s Paradise – The film is a satirical comedy following a down-on-his-luck publicist (Ken Jeong), who gets his lucky break when he discovers a man recently released from a mental health facility (Day) looks just like a method actor who refuses to leave his trailer. With the help of a powerful producer (the late Ray Liotta), Ken helps the man become a huge star, even marrying his beautiful leading lady (Kate Beckinsale). Their adventures lead them to cross paths with drunken costars (Adrien Brody), irreverent unhoused action heroes (Common), unpredictable directors (Jason Sudeikis), a super-agent (Edie Falco), and power-mad moguls (John Malkovich). Fame and fortune are not all they are cracked up to be, and the two men must fight their way back to the things that matter the most.

Expectations: This feature directorial debut for actor Charlie Day has actually been fully filmed and in the can for years as I heard him talk about it on Dax Shepard’s podcast so I’m not sure why it took so long to see its release but it is now here. I love the dynamic here as Day is doing a fully silent and pantomimed performance, working against type, and the cast here is fantastic including Kate Beckinsale, Jasons Bateman and Sudekis, Academy Award winner Adrien Brody and one of the final performances from the legendary Ray Liotta. I really like the trailer for this and fully believe it will meet up with my expectations.

Hypnotic – Determined to find his missing daughter, Austin detective Danny Rourke finds himself spiralling down a rabbit hole investigating a series of reality-bending crimes where he will ultimately call into question his most basic assumptions about everything and everyone in his world. Aided by Diana Cruz, a gifted psychic, Rourke simultaneously pursues and is pursued by a lethal spectre — the one man he believes holds the key to finding the missing girl — only to discover more than he ever bargained for.

Expectations: Being a Ben Affleck guy for a long time now, I’m rooting for this movie to be a great action ride and that’s not just because of the leading Boston-born actor but because it is directed by badass filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, who I’ve loved ever since his debut with El Mariachi. I have to say that the film doesn’t loo like any Rodriguez film I’ve ever seen but the man has always been super inventive with his style and I’m interested to see what he’s doing with this very studio-looking production.

The Mother – While fleeing from dangerous assailants, an assassin comes out of hiding to protect her daughter she left earlier in life.

Review: I can not glaze over the fact that both Ben Affleck and his wife JLo have vacation movies coming out this week but Jenny From The Block’s flick is on Netflix but also from a pretty solid director as well. Niki Caro follows up Mulan with a pretty standard action film and Lopez manages to do her best Mark Wahlberg impression to keep it all afloat. This won’t blow any minds but I thought it was a pretty solid one-woman army type of genre movie.

Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie – The film, which will incorporate documentary, archival and scripted elements, will recount Fox’s extraordinary story in his own words — the improbable tale of an undersized kid from a Canadian army base who rose to the heights of stardom in 1980s Hollywood. The account of Fox’s public life, full of nostalgic thrills and cinematic gloss, will unspool alongside his never-before-seen private journey, including the years that followed his diagnosis, at 29, with Parkinson’s disease. Intimate and honest, and produced with unprecedented access to Fox and his family, the film will chronicle Fox’s personal and professional triumphs and travails. It will explore what happens when an incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease. With a mix of adventure and romance, comedy and drama, watching the film will feel like… well, like a Michael J. Fox movie.

Review: This is the most inventive biopic documentary I have ever seen, something that uses every possible footage of Michael to allow him to tell his own story from the beginning. With his endearing humour on his sleeve, he tells the story of his childhood in Burnaby, his move to Hollywood to pursue his dreams and the struggle until Family Ties, superstardom launched by Back To The Future and, of course, his battle with Parkinson’s. As someone who has the very real possibility of getting the disease myself, I was deeply rooted in Michael’s story and hung on to every word of his journey. An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim did a fantastic job in realizing it to a film form and I think it may well be one of the best this year.

Crater – This film is the coming-of-age adventure story of Caleb Channing (Isaiah Russell-Bailey), who was raised on a lunar mining colony and is about to be permanently relocated to an idyllic faraway planet following the death of his father (Scott Mescudi). But before leaving, to fulfill his dad’s last wish, he and his three best friends, Dylan (Billy Barratt), Borney (Orson Hong) and Marcus (Thomas Boyce), and a new arrival from Earth, Addison (Mckenna Grace), hijack a rover for one final adventure on a journey to explore a mysterious crater.

Review: With The Stanford Prison Experiment director Kyle Patrick Alvarez helming the film and rising young star Mckenna Grace in a starring role, I was definitely keen on checking this film out, something I compared a bit to Holes upon first impression, a rare Disney genre film. The execution I wasn’t so keen on as I found the film painfully dull with a plot that had faint stakes and no real peril to it. The script is dull and filled with cliches and the effects come off goofy from time to time, which is a glaring problem being Disney produced. I was pretty disappointed by this one.


Knock At The Cabin – Wen, only seven years old, is vacationing with her two dads, Eric and Andrew, at a remote cabin. While catching grasshoppers, she is approached by a stranger named Leonard. Initially friendly, he explains that he needs Wen and her parents’ help to save the world. However, Wen becomes suspicious when three other people appear with makeshift weapons. Wen flees to warn Eric and Andrew, but the visitors break into the cabin and tie them up, with Eric sustaining a concussion. Leonard and his companions claim that they have never met before this day and have no intention of harming the family. However, in the past week, they have been driven by visions and an unknown force to find the family as they are predicting an impending apocalypse. Vision or illusion?

Review: I will fully admit that after the disappointments of M. Night Shyamalan’s trilogy finisher Glass and the thriller Old, my bar for this film was considerably low. The thing keeping me going on it was the inclusion of Dave Bautista in the cast, a wrestler turned-actor who keeps getting better and better in every role. Needless to say that the man rules in this film, giving a complex and nuanced performance that is the mysterious heartbeat of the thriller. The ideas are complex and surprisingly straightforward for a Shyamalan film which is actually quite refreshing. The film actually resonated with me for a couple of days and I hope this is another good patch in the uneven filmmaker’s career.

Children Of The Corn – Possessed by a spirit in a dying cornfield, twelve-year-old Eden recruits the other children in her small town to rise up and take control. Tired of having to pay the price for their parent’s mistakes, Eden leads the kids on a bloody rampage, killing the adults and anyone who opposes her. With all the adults jailed or dead, it comes down to one high schooler who won’t go along with the plan and becomes the town’s only hope of survival.

Review: Being an adaptation of one of my all-time favourite authors and written and directed by the man who brought us the sci-fi epic, Equilibrium, I thought that this might be a fun watch at best. The twist on the original story should have been the first red flag as Kurt Wimmer’s take on the story is completely toothless and wastes creepy imagery on not being scary whatsoever. The film was done in lockdown with a start and stop schedule so maybe that led to the problems in it. Or maybe it’s another bad Children Of The Corn movie. Besides the original, they just can’t get it right.

Unwelcome – Maya and Jamie escape their urban nightmare of London to the tranquillity of rural Ireland only to discover malevolent, murderous goblins lurking in the gnarled, ancient wood at the foot of their new garden. Heavily pregnant, Maya is soon targeted by the goblins and the family she befriended after forgetting to make sure the creatures are fed. Who – or what – will come to her rescue and what extremes will she go to to protect her unborn child?

Review: This movie taps into one of my favourite horror tropes, the secluded cabin chillers, much like The Evil Dead, so it all tracks with my personality. This one is an absolute blast that also plays with an underused horror and fantasy monster, the goblin, which I feel like hasn’t been used since Ghoulies. The cast is game, with Ant-Man & The Wasp’s Hannah John-Kamen and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies actor Douglas Booth leading the way well. I hope this one gets some word of mouth because it is worth checking out.

Yellowstone: Season 5 Part 1 – Oscar and Emmy winner Kevin Costner is the marquee attraction of the ensemble cast in this drama series, starring as the patriarch of a powerful, complicated family of ranchers. A sixth-generation homesteader and devoted father, John Dutton controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. He operates in a corrupt world where politicians are compromised by influential oil and lumber corporations and land grabs make developers billions. Amid shifting alliances, unsolved murders, open wounds, and hard-earned respect, Dutton’s property is in constant conflict with those it borders — an expanding town, an Indian reservation, and America’s first national park.

Review: When I started watching this current season on Paramount+, I never thought for a second that we were entering the final season of this fantastic and addictive show but after a conflict between creator Taylor Sheridan and Kevin Costner, this is exactly where we are. Now it’s completely unpredictable where this show will go but where we are right now is with a John Dutton who is now the Governor of Montana and a jaded son in Jamie Dutton looking to take him down and usurp his power. This show is brilliant and if you haven’t started it, there’s no better time than right now.

Steve’s Blu-Ray Geekouts:

The Maltese Falcon 4K – Spade and Archer is the name of a San Francisco detective agency. That’s for Sam Spade and Miles Archer. The two men are partners, but Sam doesn’t like Miles much. A knockout, who goes by the name of Miss Wonderly, walks into their office; and by that night everything’s changed. Miles is dead. And so is a man named Floyd Thursby. It seems Miss Wonderly is surrounded by dangerous men. There’s Joel Cairo, who uses gardenia-scented calling cards. There’s Kasper Gutman, with his enormous girth and feigned civility. Her only hope of protection comes from Sam, who is suspected by the police of one or the other murder. More murders are yet to come, and it will all be because of these dangerous men — and their lust for a statuette of a bird: the Maltese Falcon.

Review: While it doesn’t have the stature of a film like Casablanca, this detective noir still holds a place on the list of cinema greats that star Humprey Bogart and to get this 4K film during the one-hundredth year of Warner Bros. existence is a movie lover’s gift for sure. Listed as one of the top one hundred films of all time according to the American Film Institute, the film was actually nominated for three Academy Awards but won none of them. Watching it now, I’m still struck by the fantastic writing, Bogart’s transfixing performance as well as Peter Lorre’s stand-out supporting work. This is a classic and no tarnish has touched its legacy in my opinion.

Cool Hand Luke 4K – Lucas Jackson, natural born world shaker, someone with more guts than brains, a man who refuses to conform to the rules he has been given. Sent to a prison camp for a misdemeanor Luke soon gains respect and becomes an idol. He has some fun in jail doing things for the hell of it, after his mother dies the Bosses put him in the box afraid he might want to attend the funeral. When he gets out he runs and gets caught and runs and gets caught, the bosses try to break him but he just won’t break.

Review: An iconic character piece, this is easily one of my favourite Paul Newman performances and I know I’m not alone in that opinion. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards but only walked away with one, for Best Supporting Actor George Kennedy and his role as Dragline, but the resonance it has had on filmmaking can still be felt today. You simply can not even make a prison movie without thinking of this film and you definitely can’t eat a hard-boiled egg without bringing it to mind either. This is a special flicka and it looks glorious on 4K, an easy purchase decision to make.

All-Star Superman 4K – Grant Morrison’s epic swan song to the Man of Steel, is wonderfully brought to the screen. Soaring to the rescue of a scientific explorer team near the Sun Superman’s cells become overexposed to the solar radiation. As a result, his abilities have increased exponentially, but at the same time destroying him on a cellular level. Yet this is just a part of Lex Luthor’s ultimate plan to destroy his nemesis. With his time nearing its end can the Man of Tomorrow rise to his greatest challenge and save humanity one last time?

Review: As a comic fan, I am a huge fan of the comic that this DC Comics animated adaptation is based on, probably one of my favourite stories about the Man Of Tomorrow from one of the greatest creative minds in the industry, Grant Morrison. The voice cast also has some favourites for me as well as Christina Hendricks, Alexis Denisoff, John Dimaggio, Matthew Gray Gubler, Linda Cardellini and more feature in some classic supporting Superman roles. I already had this one on DVD so it’s very cool to get the fully updated version of it on 4K.


The Muppets Mayhem (Disney+) – The Electric Mayhem Band as they go on an epic musical journey to finally record their first studio album. Lilly Singh plays the (human) lead role of Nora, a driven junior A&R executive tasked with managing and wrangling the mayhem that is The Electric Mayhem Band. With the help of Nora, the old-school Muppet band comes face to face with the current-day music scene as they try to finally go platinum.

Review: It’s like someone read my fever dream journal and made a series just for me, following Dr. Teeth and his band featuring the drummer of all drummers, Animal. I am a total nerd for these Jim Henson creations and I will watch anything they put out it’s pretty refreshing to see that they have something not featuring the main cast.

Class Of ’09 (Disney+) – A suspense thriller limited series, the story follows a class of FBI agents set in three distinct points in time who grapple with immense changes as the U.S. criminal justice system is altered by artificial intelligence. Spanning multiple decades and told across interweaving timelines, the series examines the nature of justice, humanity and the choices people make that ultimately define their lives and legacy. The series stars Bryan Tyree Henry as Tayo, one of the most unorthodox agents to ever join the bureau, and Kate Mara as Poet, one of the most successful undercover agents of all time.

Review: I was initially pretty uninterested in this show, which I perceived to be a police procedural at first glance but the complexity of the character over the span of decades was really enticing. The cast is solid as I think Henry is one of the fast-rising lead stars, especially after his work in Causeway with Jennifer Lawrence recently and Mara has been a dependable actress for years. The story has a deeper subplot than the general premise would lead you to believe so I think I’m in it for at least the first five episodes.

Mulligan (Netflix) – After Earth is destroyed by an alien attack, a rag-tag band of survivors has to start society over from scratch. It’s an opportunity to learn from humanity’s past mistakes and get things right this time. Or make the same mistakes all over again. Probably the second one.

Review: Coming from the mind of 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt co-creator Robert Carlock, this is the opportunity to move his madness to the animated landscape. Featuring a solid cast with Nat Faxon, Chrissy Tegen, Tina Fey, Daniel Radcliffe and Sam Richardson, the show has failed to catch fire with me so far like Carlock’s previous work has. The Boston doofus who has to act the hero is a bit Family Guy-leaning, even given the different premises, and it doesn’t seem to have the same sort of writing to have a sustainable drive for a whole series. I smell an early cancellation on this one.

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