Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

New Releases:

Fast X – Over many missions and against impossible odds, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family have outsmarted, out-nerved and outdriven every foe in their path. Now, they confront the most lethal opponent they’ve ever faced: A terrifying threat emerging from the shadows of the past who’s fueled by blood revenge, and who is determined to shatter this family and destroy everything–and everyone–that Dom loves, forever.

Expectations: It looks like we might be nearing the end of the road when it comes to this Vin Diesel-led franchise as this film and the eleventh and twelfth installments will be the finale trilogy to end this series that started with stolen DVD players. It has now become an almost parody of itself as Dom and his family have survived the most ridiculous of scenarios repeatedly. I will say that I wish the egos of Diesel and The Rock hadn’t clashed so badly because I miss the invigoration his character gave the franchise.

Master Gardener – Deep within the lush grounds of Gracewood Gardens, horticulturist Narvel Roth tends to more than just plants. With a meticulous hand and unwavering devotion, he’s created an idyllic sanctuary for his demanding employer, Mrs. Haverhill. But when troubled great-niece Maya arrives seeking an apprenticeship, Narvel’s perfectly cultivated life begins to unravel, unearthing secrets from a violent past that threatens to destroy everything he holds dear.

Review: Paul Schrader returns with another complex character drama that gives Joel Edgerton a career-best performance in a filmography full of them. Schrader’s gift of getting the audience to care so deeply for conflicted and tortured men is fully on display here again and supporting work from the great Sigourney Weaver and Black Adam actress Quintessa Swindell strengthens it all that much more. Like the usual outcome of the Taxi Driver writer’s films, I doubt it will be spoken about around Oscar time but at this point, it’s one that I’d have at the top of the best actor and original screenplay conversation. 

White Men Can’t Jump – From 20th Century Studios, the all-new comedy “White Men Can’t Jump” is a modern remix of the iconic 1992 film that celebrates the streetball hustling culture of Los Angeles. Multi-platinum rap superstar Jack Harlow makes his movie debut as Jeremy, a former star of the game whose injuries stalled his career, and Sinqua Walls stars as Kamal, once a promising player who derailed his own future in the sport. Juggling tenuous relationships, financial pressures and serious internal struggles, the two ballers–opposites who are seemingly miles apart–find they might have more in common than they imagined possible.

Review: As a fan of the original film, starring Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson and Rosie Perez, I didn’t feel there was a need to revisit this one but apparently Hulu did and wanted to use it as an acting springboard for rapper Jack Harlow. They did manage to make a bland and toothless reimaging of it complete with another awful screenplay by Kenya Barris to follow up his terrible Netflix film You People. Harlow couldn’t emote his way out of a death sentence if he wanted to and most of the film was painful to get through.


Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania – Super-Hero partners Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) return to continue their adventures as Ant-Man and the Wasp. Together, with Hope’s parents Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Scott’s daughter Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), the family finds themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought possible.

Review: While I will say that this wasn’t the trilogy finisher that you wanted, given the quality and fun feel of the first two, this film manages to service the overarching Marvel Cinematic Universe more than it is a send-off for Avenger Scott Lang who I assume is probably done or at least for now. For a Paul Rudd starring film, the levity is a bit lacking here and there but when it takes broad sweeps at it, they generally connect. It may be a mess from time to time but it is still enjoyable and I liked a few of the Marvel character cameos hidden within.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre – In the film, super spy Orson Fortune (Jason Statham) must track down and stop the sale of a deadly new weapons technology wielded by billionaire arms broker Greg Simmonds (Hugh Grant). Reluctantly teamed with some of the world’s best operatives (Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone), Fortune and his crew recruit Hollywood’s biggest movie star Danny Francesco (Josh Hartnett) to help them on their globe-trotting undercover mission to save the world.

Review: This being the reunion of actor Jason Statham and director Guy Ritchie, I was immediately excited to check this film out although I had to wait a while as it wasn’t released in Canada. The film plays as a slick spy thriller with great dialogue and great characters but it doesn’t for a single moment feel like a Ritchie film. This leads to the belief that the guy who made Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch is a person of the past and now very much resembles a studio filmmaker but he still shows a little flair here and there. This will be a word-of-mouth type of film but those who pick up on it will love it.

Moving On – Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star as estranged friends who reunite to seek revenge on the petulant widower (Malcolm McDowell) of their recently deceased best friend. Along the way, Fonda’s character reunites with her great love (Richard Roundtree) as each woman learns to make peace with the past and each other.

Expectations: The career move for these two legends is definitely to work with each other for as long as they can and with the success of 80 For Brady, a surprising one, it seems to be working out. Tomlin reteams with writer and director Paul Weitz for the third time after Admission and Grandma, both great movies, and the film also having McDowell in the cast leans on my love of the actor from all the way back to A Clockwork Orange. The reviews are not too bad so this might be a sleeper home video hit of this week.

One Day As A Lion – Jackie Powers (Scott Caan) is a nice guy but a lousy hitman, and when he’s sent to take out a crafty debtor (J.K. Simmons), Jackie only pisses him off. Fleeing the scene, Jackie takes bored waitress Lola hostage. When Jackie reveals he needs money to get his son out of jail, Lola cooks up a scheme for them to get cash from her dying mother (Virginia Madsen). Meanwhile, a thug sent to kill him is sleeping with Jackie’s ex. Also starring Frank Grillo, this crime-comedy is a witty homage to Tarantino and the Coen brothers.

Review: Caan writes and stars in this small-town noir that feels a little too uneven to be satisfying in the end. Every actor plays well into their strengths but that can only float so far as it gets a bit lost in finding its edge and trying to be too much like what inspired it. Director John Swab and Caan are a promising pairing though and I didn’t feel like this was a wasted watch.

Max Fleisher’s Superman – A series of 17 animated short films released in Technicolor by Paramount Pictures and based upon the comic book character Superman, making them his first animated appearance.

Review: This little collection is honestly for the super fans of the character, pun only sort of intended. It definitely shows its age and leans into the big blue boy scout side of the Superman lore but it is kind of cool to see the first animated representation of one of the original worldwide known superheroes. It’s safe to say that animation has only improved in the time since.

Steve’s Blu-Ray & 4K Geekouts:

The General and Three Ages – After being rejected by the Confederate military, not realizing it was due to his crucial civilian role, an engineer must single-handedly recapture his beloved locomotive after it is seized by Union spies and return it through enemy lines.

In his first independently produced feature film Buster tells of love and romance through three historical ages: the Stone Age, the Roman Age, and the Modern Age.

Review: My journey to own all of the Kino Lorber classic releases starts with this double feature Blu-ray, featuring two huge films in the career of the legendary Buster Keaton. As a film lover who is playing catch up with a lot of pre-1965 cinema, I know how important Keaton is and how inspiring his work is and to own a restored version of his work is very cool.

Aftersun – Reflecting on the brief summer holiday she spent with her father at a budget seaside resort when she was 11 years old, Sophie replays the same nostalgic, sun-kissed memories of happy times in her mind. And two decades later, a now adult Sophie tries to process the fading remembrance of her father by filling in the blanks through bitter-sweet recorded recollections. But memory is unreliable, and Sophie needs to make sense of the parent she loved but thought she knew.

Review: Easily one of my favourite movies of last year, Paul Mescal earned his Academy Award nomination with so much heart and soul brimming behind a guarded performance as a father who does his best to hide his conflicted psyche. This one is exceptionally geeky for me as the only way to purchase this Blu-ray was through the A24 studio store. I’m giddy that I could give directly to my favourite studio.

Rebel Without A Cause 4K – Jim Stark is a troubled youth who constantly seems to get into trouble. He’s new in town – they moved because Jim had gotten himself into some kind of trouble – and he seems to be starting off where he left off when the police pick him up for being drunk on the street. At school, he meets a group of young toughs who challenge him to a game of chicken. When that leads to an accident and a death, Jim wants to go to the police but his parents refuse to let him do so. When some of the teenagers go after Jim thinking he might go to the police, tragedy ensues.

Review: It’s crazy that a single film out of the tragically short career of James Dean can still exude so much cool but even now, almost seventy years later, this is definitely the case. Beyond Dean, Natalie Wood has become an absolute favourite of mine as I go through all of these classic films, and this is a beautiful performance alongside the lead’s tortured soul. Nominated for three Academy Awards, for Wood, co-star Sal Mineo and the screenplay by director Nicholas Ray, this is still a crown jewel in the one hundred years of Warner Bros.


High Desert (AppleTV+) – Peggy Newman, a woman with a checkered past, makes the life-changing decision to become a private investigator following the death of her beloved mother, with whom she lived in the small desert town of Yucca Valley, California.

Review: As soon as I saw Patricia Arquette’s name attached to this comedy-drama, I knew I had to watch it as I’m a huge fan of the Oscar-winning actress and this is a really great role for her. There’s something about a complete anti-hero private detective story that grabs me and the fish-out-of-water nature to it makes it even better. With a cast that includes Brad Garrett, Christine Taylor, Kier O’Donnell and a quick visit by Matt Dillon as her ex-husband, I’m really enjoying the show so far and hope to see more.

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