Steve Stebbing

Breaking down all things pop culture

New Releases:

Serenity – The trailer looks intense for this movie with Matthew McConaughey playing the captain of a fishing boat who is lured into a murder plot by his ex-wife, played by a blonde Anne Hathaway. In a desperate plea to free her from an abusive husband in the form of Jason Clarke, McConaughey’s ensuing reactions delve him deep into a work where his reality begins to get a bit warped. The film is written and directed by Steven Knight, a great writer who has found success on television with Peaky Blinders and Taboo and in the movies with Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things but even better than that his directing career is pretty solid with this movie following up the phenomenal one location and actor film Locke with Tom Hardy. I have a great feeling about this movie. (Not opening in Hamilton or Kamloops)

The Kid Who Would Be King – Joe Cornish is a name that people need to know and if this film gets the audience push I think it deserves people will know the name soon. As a director, he has just one other film under his belt, Attack The Block, an amazing sci-fi action mixed with a British urban sort of Gremlins type story but as a writer, he has made films with Edgar Wright, Steven Spielberg and set the groundwork for Marvel’s Ant-Man. Now he looks to revive the King Arthur story in modern days with kids at the center. Adding to that we get Patrick Stewart playing Merlin that rocks Led Zeppelin t-shirts and a villainous Rebecca Ferguson trying to take over the work. I am so excited to take my daughter to this film.

Destroyer – Nicole Kidman is an actress that people either like or do not it seems but there is no doubt that the Oscar winner has resided for a long time on Hollywood’s A-list and given anyone’s feelings on her, every one of these actors has those movies in their career that is a defining role. This is one of Kidman’s. Playing a character who is extremely unlikeable, she stars as a worn down and jaded police detective who is dragged back into a past undercover case that shaped the ruining of her personal life. This movie is a slow burn of dark reveal from director Karyn Kusama, Kidman in the grim driver’s seat as the past is revealed, painting the picture of the hardened and haggard face she displays throughout. (Not opening in Hamilton, London, Kamloops, Barrie or Oshawa)

Racetime – Canadian animated films don’t usually get a fair shake and for a good reason as they all feel subpar to their American counterparts, sometimes by a slight margin but mostly by a large one. This film comes from the French-Canadian side of our country, redubbed for us of the English speaking variety. The story is very simple, big sled race with the local kids in town centred around the hero Frankie Four Eyes and his crew. Aside from Noel Fisher of Shameless fame and also the guy who voiced Mikey in the Ninja Turtles reboots, this movie has no real star power and the repurposed foreign animated films are honestly a bit dodgy to me. This may be a “wait for video” movie, kids. (Not opening in London, Kamloops, Barrie or Oshawa)

Cold War – Nominated for a Golden Globe and an easy move from the Oscar shortlist to nominee, this movie is really the only competition for Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. Acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski crafts a love story between two people from totally different backgrounds with completely opposite viewpoints of the world, taking place in Poland, Berlin, Paris and Yugoslavia during the Cold War. This one looks like a film that will tug at the heartstrings as, from the outside, this relationship looks like a doomed one due to the world these two inhabit. I really wish I had seen this one before the year’s end as it possibly could be one of the best. (Only opening in Toronto and Vancouver)

Blu-ray:

First Man – A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Surprisingly, this movie only got nominations in technical categories and missed out on Ryan Gosling going for another kick at the Oscar along with director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz who I thought was a definite nominee having won the Golden Globe. This movie will be home theatre gold, I guarantee it.

Beautiful Boy – Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years. This film is at its heart all about the performances of Steve Carrell and Timothee Chalamet who deliver this soul-wrenching story off a kid spiralling out of control, falling deeper and deeper into addiction while his father tries to save his child from a disease he doesn’t understand. This film plays everything so real and so close to the beautiful bond between father and son it left me emotionally breathless by the end.

Johnny English Strikes Again – After a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all of the active undercover agents in Britain, Johnny English is forced to come out of retirement to find the mastermind hacker. For some reason, Universal decided that we needed another installment of this dated comedy starring Rowan Atkinson and that is exactly how this movie feels. Every spy trope that Jonny has rung the bell for he doubles back to hit. Want to see him goof on virtual reality and walk into traffic? Well, have I got a movie for you! Seriously, this movies is ten years back in comedy, maybe more.

Here And Now – Sarah Jessica Parker stars in this film that follows a New York singer for a day after she receives a diagnosis o a fatal brain tumour. The movie pretty much goes as you think, the stages of acceptance turning to an introspective look that ends with her trying to reconnect with those she loves and make amends and because of that, this movie fails to make a mark. Even still, Parker gives a very good performance which really is the saving grace of it.

The Sisters Brothers – In 1850s Oregon, a gold prospector is chased by the infamous duo of assassins, the Sisters brothers. A western with the cast of Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly and Jake Gyllenhaal is enticing enough on its own but adding the fact that Dheepan and A Prophet director Jacques Audiard made this catapults it to must-see as he takes the western genre and breaks the egg open to play around with the yoke within. Yes, the brothers are ruthless killers that would put a bullet in you just as quick as have a conversation but it’s a quality that they are starting to detest about themselves just as vehemently. This movie is all about dramatic character change just hidden within violent lawlessness.

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch – Filmmakers travel to six continents and 20 countries to document the impact humans have made on the planet. Coming from the filmmakers behind Blackfish, this film is like a post-mortem on the damage we are doing to the earth, truly terrifying, and now a winner of best documentary from the Vancouver Critic’s Circle. Be warned, this film doesn’t play to any conventional documentary storytelling, instead letting its imagery speak for itself. This it does with a loud voice as we see the healing sab of the earth being torn out again and again. It really is that gut punch of humanity.

Steve’s Blu-ray Geekout:

Dracula: Prince Of Darkness – Shout Factory is reaching far back in the vault to 1966 for this Christopher Lee Hammer film classic. The movie is Dracula standard stuff, a group of English tourists get stranded and end u unwittingly finding an abandoned castle that houses the ancient evil of the prince of darkness. The real treasure is watching Lee play this iconic character in a silent performance and it’s one you can listen to him talk about in a commentary track that was made for the initial DVD release.

Murder By Death – Talk about a gold mine of a classic film in the Shout Select series. A Neil Simon written mystery-comedy featuring a cast including Peter Falk Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, Truman Capote and David Niven. A story that definitely served as the inspiration for the movie version of Clue, the film takes place at a dinner party where the eccentric hosts announces that there will be a murder when the clock strikes midnight and a million dollars will be given to the person who solves the crime. To end this write up with a nerdy tidbit, this is what Guinness was working on when he was given the script for Star Wars.

Netflix:

Animas – The trailer for this little fantasy thriller is one of those hard ones to decipher but this Spanish Netflix addition is definitely intriguing. Based on a novel, what I can figure out about it is there’s a group of teenagers that are connected through deadly visions that the main character has given to them through a portal to the other side. Spain is the country that gave us the [REC] series and Guillermo del Toro. I will give this a chance.

Black Earth Rising: Season 1 – A brand new series produced by Netflix, this show stars Chewing Gum’s Michaela Coel as a survivor of the Rwandan genocide who is adopted by a prominent London barrister and follows the family business. As an adult, she works for Michael Ennis (John Goodman) and takes on a case against an African militia leader. The show comes from Hugo Blick who did the highly rated Maggie Gyllenhaal series An Honorable Woman.

Kingdom: Season 1 – Many times Drex and I have talked about the zombie genre and how it consistently needs that fresh breath to keep it from decaying. I mean, let’s face it, even The Walking Dead is nearing the end of its popularity. The freshness is what makes this new series so great as its taking that zombie stuff and throwing it back to the medieval Joseon period in Korea. Adapted from a webcomic, the adaptation was put together by the acclaimed director of Tunnel and is right up my alley of South Korean film. Those who were all over Train To Busan, this is an easy binge for you.

Medici: The Magnificent – If you like your Borgias like drama you’ll want to get a look at this new series starring Sean Bean set in Florence during the Renaissance. The show is just as cutthroat, a bloody rise to power show with a good looking cast around its lead from one of the guys behind The X-Files and the director of the 1983 thriller The Day After. This show is the second season in the continuation of this families lineage, the first series being led by Bean’s Game Of Thrones son Richard Madden.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4, Part 2 – I just absolutely adore this insane comedy series. It has no tether and is Tina Fey and 30 Rock co-creator Robert Carlock making a heightened fish out of water story through the filter of the hilarious and adorable Ellie Kemper. I know a lot of people don’t really vibe with this show given its quirky nature but I think the ensemble of Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane and Jane Krakowski are fantastic and this show is one of my immediate binge shows on Netflix when the seasons are released.

Advertisements

New Releases:

Glass – A lot of people like to say that M. Night Shymalan’s days as a great filmmaker are over and, while I will concede that he made three of the worst movies I have ever watched, he has some really great things in his rearview mirror including a solid two previous films. His most recent film Split tied into my favorite of his movies Unbreakable which brings us to the culmination of his superhero trilogy here. The unfortunate thing is this film is getting some absolutely dismal reviews which has me very concerned. Did I overhype this movie in my head, something M. Night wasn’t capable of delivering on or is this movie going to be one of those misunderstood movies that I will cherish like a deep guilty pleasure? It worked for Venom, didn’t it?

Stan & Ollie – This is an example of a film that it seems everyone else loved and I’m wondering if I missed something. Starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly, this is a biopic about the legendary comedy duo of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy but instead of focusing on the origins, we join these two in the middle of their careers with the strain of having to keep up physically and mentally had started to form cracks in their resolve. The main piece of this film is the resilience of the relationship as friends, collaborators and, most of all, business partners. Being about comedy you might think that this would be a comedy itself but it really is far from it. Instead, director Jon S. Baird makes this a character drama, one that rests heavily on the shoulders of its stars and those being portrayed which unfortunately makes the film a tad bland, making its final resting spot in the unforgettable pile. That aside, the cinematography is just as big of a star as the two leads, done by Ben Wheatley’s usual director of photography Laurie Rose.

Capernaum – Nominated for a Golden Globe and on the Oscar shortlist, this drama from Lebanon is a heartbreaking journey through the eyes of a child. The film follows Zain, a young boy who is suing his parents for the simple act of being born. Going through the backstory his mother and father cheat and steal using his help to make a living and when they sell his sister into marriage Zain decides that is the final straw causing him to run away. He finds a young Ethiopian mother who is forced to hide her infant son and decides to stay and help. This movie shook me, a real look into the class struggle, racial divide and poverty in the third world. It will haunt you.

Science Fair – A documentary from National Geographic, the film follows nine students from across America who have won entrance into the most important science fair in the world, The International Science and Engineering Fair. I really enjoyed this one, glimpse into the young minds trying to make an impact on our planet with some very ambitious ideas and practical methods to achieve it. All they need to do is win the ISEF Best In Fair to kickstart it. The film is both fascinating but sad when you think of the current status of schooling and science during the current government administration.

Blu-Ray:

Halloween – A massively anticipated movie for me given my obsession with the John Carpenter original, this follow up forty years later had a lot riding on it for me. I’m so happy to report that this movie totally satisfied all of my Michael Myers cravings and fanboy needs with its homages but still managed to keep its own identity and forge its own path. It’s not the Blade Runner 2049 of follow-ups but gives a beautiful resolution to the story that the Master Of Horror started in 1978 and provides some great thrills and, for me, an infinitely rewatchable story.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween – Who would have thought that Jack Black would find himself the cushy little niche genre of family horror? Well, between the first Goosebumps film, which was a pretty big hit, and The House With A Clock In Its Walls, a movie that surprised me with its gothic fun, he seems to be doing a pretty stellar job. This might be the reason that this sequel seems to be on the losing end as they decided to do this movie without Black and it was definitely detrimental as this one is being called a total dud. The kids may glean a small bit of enjoyment from it but not as much as its predecessor.

The Old Man And The Gun – Writer and Director David Lowery and his usual actor counterpart of Casey Affleck reunite for this film about an ageing bank robber played by Robert Redford who has a gentlemanly report to his heists knocking off banks across America during the 1980s. Lowery has this incredible ability to immerse you in his films, something he has done with every film so far. The way he achieves this is the rich detail he gives to not only the time period but the feel of America at the time right down to being shot on Super 16 film. David Lowery is one of the most interesting filmmakers out there and if this is truly Robert Redford’s final onscreen film then he did it with a filmmaker that really understands the man’s legendary look and status.

Madeline’s Madeline – Another film that seemed to skip me when it came to landing like a cinematic masterpiece because I didn’t really get this one and furthermore it kind of annoyed me. The story is about a troubled teen girl with a volatile relationship with her mother who forms a creepy obsession with a theatre director. The movie is well acted, with standout performances from Molly Parker, Miranda July and newcomer Helena Howard, but it never really hit a consistent tone for me. Touted as “experimental cinema”, I feel like this film should have been something I’d be on the same wavelength with but it’s an arthouse mismatch.

Howling III – I’ve known about the Howling for a long time. I remember seeing the VHS cover of the original Joe Dante film and its sequels including this special one right here which gets the Shout Factory collector’s edition treatment. See, I didn’t know the oddity of the third movie, one that got an Australian revamp which I discovered in the documentary on Ozploitation Not Quite Hollywood. It’s so Aussie that the film replaces werewolves and instead substitutes were-kangaroos instead which to me is just fantastic. Even better, it claims to be the continuation of the book series that spawned it but that is completely untrue. They just took werewolves and did whatever the hell they wanted. Hilarious.

Special VOD:

The Bookshop – On the outside, this looks like a delightful little film starring Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy and Patricia Clarkson about a woman who moves to a small town to open a bookstore in 1959. The delightfulness takes a sour turn as the rich citizens of the town take offence to the bookstore, as the location is in one of the historical landmarks, causing a battle between the entrepreneur and those who hold sway. For the entire first act, it feels like this movie is struggling to find its tone and voice but midway through the second it hits with a wallop with powerful scenes between our lead and Bill Nighy’s character, one of the rich that is on her side and is also a regular customer. Furthermore, the acting clinic continues in a scene between Nighy and the adversary Clarkson in a bid to fight for his beloved bookstore and the special friendship he has made with its proprietor. This is a film that surprised me, moved me and left me with a tear in my eye.

Steve’s Blu-Ray Geekout:

Hang ‘Em High – A western classic starring the most iconic stars of the genre, Clint Eastwood, I was really excited to see this movie drop in my mailbox, the fiftieth-anniversary edition from Shout Factory. With Ed Begley SENIOR in the role of the dastardly villain, Eastwood plays a man mistaken for a criminal who is lynched by a gang of crooked lawmen in an Oklahoma town. You know revenge ensues in memorable fashion, restored on Blu-Ray and including two separate commentary tracks from film historians. Very cool.

The Mangler – I was always a big Stephen King fan. I mean, he is probably responsible for my love for reading as I burned through his entire bibliography, looking for everything I could get my hands on. The main pull point where a lot of his films come from are his short stories and, really, some are good and some are decidedly not. This film has the added horror credibility of being directed by one of the genre’s greats, Tobe Hooper, but I remember it not quite being good. The upside is that this Shout Factory special edition has an unrated cut made from the 2K restoration from the original camera negative they did for it. I’m willing to give second chances.

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 -I know, it’s far too late to be talking about Christmas movies but in my defence Shout Factory just sent this collector’s edition to me and it also helps me plug my new episode of the Tremble Podcast in which we cover the Christmas heavyweight Krampus. Cheap plug, yes. Really though, who doesn’t remember Silent Night, Deadly Night? Passing it in the video store and being agape in wonder at the fact that there was a Santa related horror film, ah, the memories. Are these movies good? No, but they are fantastically campy and this edition is crammed with special features, commentary and a 2K restoration from the theatrical print.

Netflix:

Carmen Sandiego: Season 1 – When this new series was announced, I can’t lie, the childhood memories in me resurfaced and I got excited. It all flooded back. The public broadcast show. The game show format with the different rounds. Rockapella! Seriously, if they don’t get this exactly right there may be a big uproar from this direction but so far Netflix has consistently nailed every revival they have been a part of so I have good faith in this.

Close – As soon as I saw this starred The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s Noomi Repace I was automatically on board with it. She plays the hired bodyguard of a rich teen heiress who is forced to go off the grid when they are attacked at her mansion. This action thriller may be nothing more than fluff with stylish gun fights but, you know, I’m totally alright with that. The film also features Indira Varma from Game Of Thrones in what looks to be a villain role, something she didn’t fully get a chance to explore in Torchwood.

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened – Picture a bunch of douchebags that thought they could organize a destination music festival and when it fell through decided to just go ahead with it anyways in result stranding a bunch of young and rich people on an island. I can’t believe this is a true thing that happened but I was glued to this ridiculous story and I’m so happy that there is a Netflix documentary on the whole crazy thing. Can. Not. Wait.

GIRL – This film out of Belgium is getting a lot of awards talk, already nominated for a Best Foreign Golden Globe and on the short list for an Academy Award as well. The movie is about a fifteen-year-old transgendered girl who dreams of being a ballerina and enters into one of the top schools. The drama looks interesting as she has to battle against fact that she was born in the body of a boy and find her own grace. The trailer is so good for this.

IO – Netflix definitely has something good going for it right now with all of these big feature films they are producing, whether you like them, like Dumplin and Apostle, or hate them like Bird Box. This new one definitely does big as it follows two people after the end of the world and the rest of humanity has abandoned the planet. The movie takes a chance with new director Jonathan Halpert and three inexperienced writers but the look and style of it looks really intriguing and star Anthony Mackie is a draw.

New Releases:

The Upside – Based on the very popular French film from 2011, this film has Bryan Cranston playing a quadriplegic billionaire who hires Kevin Hart’s character, an unemployed former criminal to be his caregiver. I am definitely on record more than once saying that Kevin Hart’s comedy feels stale but this is the kind of partially dramatic turn that piques my interest as I don’t think he’s ever done this kind of film. I’m also drawn in by the film being helmed by Neil Burger who’s put out great movies like The Illusionist. (Not playing in Hamilton or Oshawa)

A Dog’s Way Home – Anytime I see a new dog related movie I feel a little bit worried that I’m going to step in a big old pile of canine crap because it’s really hard to get one of these stories that work without sickening amounts of sappiness, bad acting and animal frolicking B roll. This may just mean I’m still angry since Ken Marino’s Dog Days. Anyways, this film doesn’t look any better than the Dennis Quaid movie A Dog’s Purpose, a film that was so bland but still gets a sequel that is currently filming. I guess there’s a market for this but don’t watch the trailer because it is essentially the entire film condensed. (Not playing in Hamilton)

Replicas – Sci-fi with Keanu Reeves? I’m sold. Will it be good? Actually, it might be cool as it comes from Jeffery Nachmenoff who’s only other directed film is the fantastic thriller Traitor starring Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce. This is a futuristic film about a scientist who learns a costly lesson when he becomes obsessed with bringing his family back after a deadly accident. The story for the film was developed by Reeves himself, alongside his frequent collaborator Stephen Hamel who he also made Henry’s Crime, Siberia and the upcoming Rally Car. This may be just that popcorn fluff science fiction to start your year. (Not playing in Kamloops or Barrie)

Vox Lux – This film almost looks like the story of a Lady Gaga style pop singer, played by Natalie Portman in a performance that is getting some notoriety with critics. The film is written and directed by actor Brady Corbet who, in his second feature, is hitting some grand scale filmmaking here with some absolutely gorgeous art direction and visuals. This looks like a movie right up my alley and the first look of it kind of reminds me of the late nineties film Velvet Goldmine. (only opening in Toronto)

Blu-Ray:

Venom – The best terrible movie of the year, I really adore this mess of a Marvel origin film and it all has to be attributed to Tom Hardy. Cancelling out Sam Raimi’s crack at the character in Spider-Man 3, we enter a world where, confusingly, there is no Spidey and just Venom. Can this character even make it without the inclusion of the web crawler? I guess so as we really don’t miss him as this movie hurtles through its plot at a sometimes nonsensical pace. How this movie manages to work and be totally entertaining will be a forever mystery to me but believe me, it does.

What They Had – A film listed on my honorable mentions of 2018, this movie is a drama with a little life comedy to it. Hilary Swank plays an uptight woman who goes home to Chicago after her dementia-suffering mother (Blythe Danner) starts to decline further, putting a strain on her father (Robert Forster). Given that she has the power of attorney, her exasperated brother (Michael Shannon), the one who stayed behind to hold the family together, tries to convince her to use her position to have her mother and father put in a home. The acting is so incredible in this film and first-time writer-director Elizabeth Chomko crafts an endearing and wholly relatable story that I think is a must see.

Hell Fest – Every year little film trends surface and disappear without notice and one of them happened in 2018 horror and it is serial killers at theme parks. The first was a low budget slasher called Blood Fest and then the big studio and decidedly less critically loved Hell Fest came out. The story is simple, a bunch of kids descend on an amusement park only to be picked off one by one due to a masked maniac on the loose. To me and this is nerdy but the saving grace of this movie could come from the fact that Gregory Plotkin made this movie and while, yes he made Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension he also EDITED Get Out. That’s a win, right?

When Harry Met Sally – Remember the iconic moment of Meg Ryan faking an orgasm in the middle of a New York City diner? Can you believe it was thirty years ago? Rob Reiner directed this Nora Ephron written treasure about two best friends who fear that sex would change their whole dynamic. Punctuated by brilliant performances from Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, this is a benchmark in romantic comedies, one that in many ways has never been surpassed and now you can relive it with Shout Factory’s anniversary edition packed with special features.

Netflix:

Friends From College: Season 2 – This Netflix comedy makes its sophomore debut, an ensemble featuring Fred Savage, Keegan Michael Key and Cobie Smulders. The show is about a group of Harvard classmates now reconnecting as they enter their forties and, this season, looking to put their past behind them in celebration of a big wedding. Created by Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s Nicholas Stoller and Francesca Delbanco.

ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium – Episode four rolls out for this docuseries focusing on conspiracies within music, this one looking at the murder of Chilean protest singer Victor Jara. The case was closed, incarcerating a member of Augusto Pinochet’s army. That man was sent to live in exile and, wrongly accused, now is looking for exoneration. This series has been awesome since it started and has become hotly anticipated each month.

Sex Education: Season 1 – A new British comedy series, this stars Gillian Anderson and Asa Butterfield about the teenage son of a sex therapist who decides to use the smarts he’s learned from her to run his own “practice” in his high school with the help of the edgy girl in his class. The show looks like it has a fun script which could be the saving grace is this coming of age horny teen romp series.

The Last Laugh – Hot of the Golden Globes win for The Kominsky Method, Netflix is doubling down on old guys with this road trip comedy starring Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss. Chase plays a comedy agent who coaxes one of his old clients from decades ago on a comedy tour believing that he still has the potential to be a star. While I’m on the fence with Chevy, being that he’s a legend but also a world-class piece of shit, I’m really excited to see Dreyfuss in this as I’ve always been a big fan of his. Also, the film was written and directed by Greg Pritikin who made Dummy with Adrien Brody.

Titans: Season 1 – DC and Warner Bros can’t seem to get their movies to work, aside from Wonder Woman and Aquaman, but their television division is doing just fine and this new series adds another win to that total. The debut show of their online component, this is the darker themed adaptation of the Teen Titans, led by Robin and featuring Cyborg, Starfire and Beast Boy. It also is the lead in for the upcoming Doom Patrol, another great looking series. We may be seeing some really great comic work with classic characters.

New releases:

Escape Room – The next film from horror director Adam Robitel, who made The Taking of Deborah Logan, a really great possession movie, comes this Saw mystery style horror film based on the very popular fad that has been going on for years. The cast looks good, including Daredevil’s Deborah Ann Woll and Tyler Labine but there has been a precedence set where the first studio release of the year usually is a horror film and it is usually absolutely terrible. I want to believe this could be a cool flick but the curse is very real. January is the month movies come to die.

On The Basis Of Sex – The Oscar-bait movie is definitely this one, following Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her struggle against her own peer equality to fight for equal rights culminating in her first fight in the Supreme Court. This film is punctuated by great performances from Felicity Jones as RBG and Armie Hammer as her husband Martin but it feels like the script and the direction where what kept this one from connecting with me. The Hollywood gloss was felt over and over, giving it a whimsical and very formulaic feeling. I may be on the minority thumbs down side of this but I just wanted more, especially after the stellar RBG documentary earlier this year. (Opening in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver)

Blu-ray:

Night School – Now, I’m definitely not really all that excited by a new Kevin Hart movie but the simple fact that this has Tiffany Haddish in it has me intrigued to watch this as she is one of my favorite newcomers to comedy. The movie has Hart playing a man desperate to get his GED to take advantage of a new business opportunity. He joins a night school with a bunch of oddballs taught by Haddish’s character and I’m sure a lot of Kevin Hart mugging occurs. I know it feels like I’m ripping on him in a more focused manner but the guy has a cookie cutter in comedy already. I’m very on the fence with this one.

Bad Times At El Royale – This one was high on my list of anticipated films in 2018 as it’s Drew Goddard’s follow up to the incredible Cabin In The Woods. Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, John Hamm and Chris Hemsworth star in this deeply twist-filled mystery set in 1969 at a Lake Tahoe hotel which is on the dividing line between Nevada and California. A hotel that was once a prestigious and beautiful landmark, it is now rundown, seedy and off the beaten path meaning that anyone coming there did not mean well. This movie has so many game-changing moments that keep you on the edge of your seat throughout, I had so much fun with it.

A.X.L. – In a “where the hell did this movie come from?” sort of way, this is a family film about a teen and his robot dog, you know, that age-old story. The reason this one is most likely new to you is that there was zero ad campaign for it and it played in limited theaters from probably two weeks tops. Starring Colony’s Alex Neustaedter and Becky G, the Yellow Ranger from the recent Power Rangers movie, I wouldn’t actively recommend this to anyone unless they wanted to occupy a few preteens for an hour and a half.

Netflix:

Lionheart – A feature film from Nigeria, this drama is about the headstrong daughter of a business CEO who has to hold his company together after he takes ill. When her father decides to bring her uncle to run the place, she must fight against the male-driven world and country to correct the mistakes the men are too naive to see. The film did well on the festival market, including TIFF, and the one review I’ve found for it calls it uplifting without the cheese factor.

A Quiet Place – Capitalizing on all of those subscribers who were let down by Bird Box by adding a creature feature film that John Krasinski absolutely nailed in every single way, this is a Netflix apology that we can immediately accept. On my top ten of best movies of the year, this is not only one of the most original horror films of recent years but it operates with the most limited of sound and dialogue making it pretty groundbreaking.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 3 – The time for this Vancouver made adaptation of the Lemony Snicket series is coming to an end as the third season marks the final one. I was always a big fan of the original movie with Jim Carrey and was pretty skeptical when it was announced that Netflix had commisioned a series. Neil Patrick Harris is perfect as Count Olaf though and the series was able to expand on the large ground the books had provided, doing it the ultimate justice. It’s great to see this series come to its natural conclusion.

Across The Universe – This is a very special film to me and my Beatles obsessed family but this is such a love letter to the fab four from Julie Taymor, an incredibly visual director who gets the feel and atmosphere of their legendary music in a story that feels very familiar to the fans. This is without a doubt a total comfort film with a soundtrack that’s great on its own. This is also another sneaky way to get me loving a musical.

Adrift – I didn’t get to check out this true story survival drama in theaters and I kind of wish I had because director Baltasar Kormakur and legendary cinematographer Robert Richardson infuse this film with great atmosphere. The film is about Tami Oldham and her fiance Richard Sharp who are stranded in the middle of the ocean on a destroyed yacht after a massive hurricane. The film is gripping with great performances from Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin.

As heard on The Shift with Drex, I gave a little rundown of the films you can look out for between now and March.

Thriller

Glass (January 18) – Who knew that after the phenomenal Unbreakable in 2000 we’d have to wait almost two decades for the real follow up, during which M. Night Shyamalan entered a dark period of awful filmmaking. Well, he’s back in a big way, entering this film on a string of two great films, the last one Split totally threw us for a swerve when it was connected to the Unbreakable universe.


Cold Pursuit (February 8) – When Liam Neeson said he was retired from the action game it certainly didn’t mean that he was done taking revenge, which is evident with this new icy thriller. This film is a remake of the Stellan Skarsgard Norwegian movie In Order Of Disappearance, one I really enjoyed that plays a little like a Coen brothers movie. This could be a big sleeper hit for Neeson.

Family

The Kid Who Would Be King (January 25) – If you aren’t familiar with the name Joe Cornish then you should be educated because he’s one of the most inventive writer/directors right now. Previously he wrote Ant-Man and The Adventures Of Tin-Tin but the directing is the interesting part, with him being responsible for the incredible sci-fi action Attack The Block, a must see. This time he wades further into the family genre with this modern telling of the King Arthur and the Round Table when a bullied kid finds Excaliber embedded in stone at a construction site. This movie looks fun and totally charming.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (February 8) – Following up on the massive success of the first LEGO Movie and the subsequent hits of the spinoffs LEGO Batman and LEGO Ninjago, it feels like we’ve been waiting patiently for this one. Directors Chris Lord and Phil Miller have stepped aside but still provide the screenplay so you know the same comedic timing will be there along with a great returning cast including Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett and Alison Brie. Adding to that excitement is Tiffany Haddish, Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz and yes, Aquaman is voiced by Jason Momoa. That’s a win.

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (February 22) – It felt like we weren’t ever going to get the third and final installment of this wildly popular Dreamworks animation franchise that even spawned at Netflix series. Just from the trailer alone, I can tell that we are going to get some closure as Toothless and Hiccup discovers a “Lightfury”, the opposite to the “Nightfury” and a possible soulmate for our hero dragon. It also appears emotions will be on high with Hiccup’s father passing on, leaving him to take his rightful leader mantle. Yes, prepare for so many emotions.

Dumbo (March 29) – Speaking of emotions on high, the simple story of this circus elephant has made the world weepy since 1941 so, in the continuing effort of Disney’s live actioning of their animation library, Tim Burton takes a crack at this classic. Now, I’m definitely not a fan of his work over the last fifteen years or so but Burton’s inclusion of his classic mainstays like Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito has me very intrigued and everything I’m seeing in the trailers look like he has put his usual tropes aside to pay homage to everything we remember and love about the original film.

Sci-Fi

Alita: Battle Angel (February 14) – With the right to the graphic novel belonging to James Cameron for a long time, it’s about time we finally got this movie, now produced by the Terminator filmmaker with Robert Rodriguez directing. Delayed from the fourth quarter of 2018 to now to fix up some CGI issues, the trailer has me really excited and the effects look brilliant, especially the ethereal huge eyes given to Rosa Salazar’s Alita. Add a villain played by Mahershala Ali and Christoph Waltz as her discoverer and mentor and I think you get a really fascinating sci-fi action adventure. It’s also really great to see Rodriguez back it the director’s chair.

Captive State (March 29) – This is definitely a sci-fi thriller that is benefiting from the notion that in a trailer less is more. After the first teaser trailer, I was incredibly interested because they hit me with that sort of “what’s going on?” appeal like the Cloverfield movies did. It depicts a world that is under some sort of one government, a sort of Orwellian Big Brother utopia with crime and disobedience eradicated but why? It appears that we are all operating under a shadowy alien takeover and the new updated trailer depicts it as such but no real info is given beyond that. The film comes from Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes director Rupert Wyatt, looking to make up for the stumble he took remaking The Gambler.

Comedy

Fighting With My Family (February 14) – Now this one may just be for me but The Rock produced and co-stars in this biopic about British WWE wrestler Paige and her emergence into the massive wrestling promotion and the adversity that pushed her to get there. Coming from a real wrestling family, I’m really excited to see how this story will be told and one of my favorite breakthrough actresses of last year, Lady MacBeth’s Florence Pugh, stars in the lead. Also being the American feature directing debut of Stephen Merchant, I feel like the comedy aspect will be on point.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (March 22) – I always have been and always will be interested in what director and writer Richard Linklater is up to and this one is no different, featuring two actresses that haven’t worked with him before, Cate Blanchett and Kristen Wiig. Blanchett plays a troubled mother who goes missing, forcing her fifteen-year-old daughter to go on a search for her and uncovering all her secrets along the way. Based on a novel by Maria Semple, this screenplay reteams him with his co-writers on Me And Orson Welles, a well done but largely forgotten about film in his filmography.

The Beach Bum (March 22) – For a long time we’ve been waiting for most times controversial filmmaker Harmony Korine’s next film after the fantastic Spring Breakers and now we have it. Continuing his trend of depicting characters who are really on the fringe of society, this film has Matthew McConaughey diving back into that deep method work playing a rebel stoner named Moondog. I highly recommend people Google this one for a look at McConaughey’s wardrobe for this one as well as his co-star Zac Efron, who is rocking some great hair along with some sweet razored sideburns. It should also be known that Snoop Dogg stars in this as a character named Lingerie and Martin Lawrence who is listed as “Captain Wack”. I love oddball stuff like this so it’s high on my list, no pun intended.

Superhero

Captain Marvel (March 8) – Looking for your Marvel fix, seeing as it’s been a long time since Ant-Man and The Wasp and even longer since Avengers: Infinity War? Well, it hasn’t been THAT long but you get my point, the whole MCU is in crazy disarray and we need closure. It’s great that the next and hugely pivotal piece arrives soon in the form of Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, also known as Captain Marvel. Being a huge fan of the comic character, I don’t think any of the uninitiated are ready for how powerful of a hero this is and just how important she is to the battle against Thanos. This ladies and gentleman will be a total gamechanger. Get excited immediately.

Horror

Us (March 15) – When it comes to the most anticipated of 2019 the conversation cannot be finished without talking about the next film from Academy Award winner Jordan Peele’s mind, his follow up to the massive phenomenon Get Out. The trailer for this, given on Christmas Day, is terrifying on it own, showing a vacationing family who has to battle the scariest thing any of us would ever think of, an evil replica of themselves. Starring Oscar winner Lupita N’Yongo, even the first trailer for this shows just how effective Peele is as a filmmaker and is proof that he is now a mainstay in this genre. I can’t wait for this movie and I’m sure it will be in my top ten for 2019.

New Releases:

Holmes & Watson (Out Christmas Day) – For a long time we comedy fans have been waiting for a follow up to Stepbrothers or Talladega Nights just to get Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly on screen again as some of our favorite characters. So instead we get them playing versions of the greatest detectives of all time Sherlock Holmes and John Watson? Yes, it’s quite confusing to me as well as I don’t think anyone really wanted a more absurd and slapstick version of Without A Clue but here we are. I want to have even the slightest hope for this movie but the trailer is just god awful. I don’t even think I cracked a smile.

Vice (Out Christmas Day) – Let me start this one out by saying that if Christian Bale doesn’t get every award for best actor this coming awards season then it is all a sham. His portrayal of Dick Cheney is so chameleon-like that it’s hard to believe this is a scripted film. Don’t let my praise of Bale’s work sell anyone else short as the entire cast is brilliant in their respective roles, the finest ensemble of 2018. Written and directed by Adam McKay, the anger and frustration of nearly twenty years of political exhaustion is felt in every frame of this movie and it is glorious. The narrative chances this movie takes pay off in every way and makes this your must-see movie to end the year. (Not opening in Hamilton or Kamloops)

If Beale Street Could Talk (Out Christmas Day) – This is the long-anticipated film from Moonlight director Barry Jenkins adapted from the novel by James Baldwin. The story follows Tish Rivers, a twenty-year-old black woman living in 1970s Harlem who must fight to get her wrongly accused fiance out of jail, all while pregnant with their child. The performances in this film are beautiful and understated, the two main leads Stephan James and KiKi Layne putting themselves on the fast track to critical acclaim. The notable performance here is Regina King as Tish’s mother, who makes it a personal crusade to free the father of her grandchild. Jenkins shows his knowledgeable command of making pure and driven cinema with the most gorgeous of shot framing. It’s hard to believe that this is just his third feature film. Barry Jenkins is a very special filmmaker who deserves to be celebrated and this might be his year. (Only opening in Toronto and Vancouver)

Blu-Ray:

White Boy Rick – This true story from the mid 80s stars Matthew McConaughey sporting a pretty solid mullet. Playing Richard Wershe Sr., a gun enthusiast who makes his living in the resale market, this film is predominantly about his son, Ricky Jr., a teen who let his ambition curtail his life as he started selling the guns to local Detroit gangs. Soon the FBI would nab him and push him deeper into the life by having him sell crack cocaine. It would be something that would set up the biggest downfall of his life. The film is great for those who like these “Blow” and “Donnie Brasco” type movies but I felt it was missing a little something.

Netflix:

A Twelve-Year Night – A foreign film that comes to Netflix from Uruguay, this is a political biopic thriller about three men jailed in 1973 who, even incarcerated, defied the government who put them there in any way they could. They were put into solitary confinement where they started to be a representation of the downtrodden people of the country, raising their message and political clout. This looks fascinating from the trailer and could be a hidden gem.

You: Season 1 – A brand new Netflix produced thriller series from popular television creator Greg Berlanti and the minds behind Riverdale, this show has Gossip Girl actor Penn Badgley as a bookstore owner who manipulates the woman of his dreams into falling in love with him.

Avengers: Infinity War – It’s almost like Netflix wanted to thank their subscribers and give back by adding the greatest blockbuster moment of the year to their catalogue with this culmination of ten years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanos is the man in control of this film that indelibly changes the whole trajectory of the stories to follow with some of our favorite superheroes. Heck, after this move we don’t even know where any of the individual franchises lie anymore although we do know there are some being filmed right now. In any case, relive this one over and over again.

Room – Looking to let loose some of those leftover tears from 2018 before the end of it? Well, Lenny Abrahamson has what ails you and through participation from Netflix, we can now watch the emotional story of Ma and Jack, a mother and son trapped in a shed with only a sliver of a window to let the light in from the outside world. Captured by a kidnapper while pregnant, Ma knows that there is an escape in the world beyond but to Jack, it’s all he’s ever known and his entire reality is just in that small room. Brie Larson won Best Actress for this movie and young Jacob Tremblay got robbed of a supporting nod but it’s no better time than now to watch this for the first time or to get acclimated with it. It’s truly unforgettable.

Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski – Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, this is the fascinating story of a long lost Polish artist whose work was progressive, striking and unlike anyone else. With most of his work destroyed, lost or hoarded by the artist himself, many thought the pieces were gone but he actually lived in Los Angeles, California the whole time. The film goes through archives of videotape with Stanislav Szukalski to explore his art, his ego and his effect on the world. This trailer is fascinating and I bet the documentary is too.

New Releases:

Mary Poppins Returns (Opened Wednesday) – Who would have thought that we’d see a sequel to one of the most iconic Disney films of all time and for a new actress to take on one of the most recognizable characters ever but here it is. The charm is all here as director Rob Marshall has crafted a movie that has exactly the feel of the original, down to atmosphere, sets and set pieces. In all honesty, it may be too close to the 1964 original to forge it’s own identity really but Emily Blunt knocks this performance out of the park, the kids don’t come off as incredibly annoying and Lin Manuel Miranda is totally charming and even rings his own terrible Dick Van Dyke like British accent. And yes, we get a Hamilton rap influenced scene.

Aquaman – We have gotten to the point that we sigh and roll our eyes when it comes to any announcement of a DC universe film, no matter how much we can say that Wonder Woman was a solid piece of it. Now with this movie, we have to battle that popular opinion along with the long-standing stigma that Aquaman is a lame superhero. As a fan of the character, I’m really happy to see that the film is getting pretty favourable reviews, which I believe comes with the allure that actor Jason Momoa brings to the role as well as the creative control director James Wan was granted. Either way, I’m super excited to see this one as is my little one.

Bumblebee – Again, just like the DC comics issue, the Transformer series has gotten to the point of “oh god, why another one” as, since the release of the first live-action film, this franchise has depreciated in value one by one until the point that it feels like Mark Wahlberg is starring alongside the clanging of pots and pans. Luckily this new prequel looks to smooth things over thanks to the mind of Kubo And The Two Strings filmmaker Travis Knight who takes on of the more loveable characters and pairs him with the great talents of Hailee Steinfeld. Lo and behold, this movie is getting some excellent reviews and is removing the spins and tinnitus that Michael Bay has been giving to you for over a decade. As a long-suffering Transformers fan, I am delighted by this news and totally willing to give into my daughter’s demands to see the movie.

Second Act – A movie where we have to take Jennifer Lopez as a downtrodden department store employee, this is the story of a woman who looks for more out of her career then is thrust into the world of big business after a massively embellished resume catapults her to financial stardom. Yeah, this movie is not one I personally would be running out to see but there still exists a large niche that made Maid In Manhattan a hit so I believe there is still room for Jennifer Lopez box office. It is pretty cool to see her real-life best friend Leah Remini starring in this one as, you guessed it, her bestie.

Welcome To Marwen – When I first saw the trailer for this movie I was totally intrigued by this story of a photographer who was brutally assaulted by a group of skinheads and new tells his storys through realistic dolls and created sets that come to life through the magic of the Robert Zemeckis computer animation company Imagemovers. The use of the Foo Fighters song Learning To Fly I thought was a miss play and, through no fault of the song, made me lose interest a bit. Steve Carell, I think, is up to the task of moving past bad marketing and the rest of the cast, including Leslie Mann and Janelle Monae, has enough allure to make me hope for a great film. Plus that CG looks amazing as always.

Ben Is Back – Whoever is managing actor Lucas Hedges career is seriously as gifted as this young star is because he is making all the right moves in Hollywood. Look at his resume and you’ll see. This time around he plays a young man returning home from rehab to his loving mother played by Julia Roberts. His addiction and actions before going away caused a deep rift between mother and son but, wanting to make up for his past, he ends up falling back down the path which almost destroyed him to get final closure. I’m not usually a big Julia Roberts fan but the story of this film has me very interested as well as the always stellar work Hedges brings to his performances.

The Favourite – Director Yorgos Lanthimos returns to astound after The Killing Of A Sacred Deer and The Lobster, this time directing a film that he had no hand in writing at all. The movie has The Crown actress Olivia Colman playing Queen Anne, frail and descending into madness during the 18th century. Her closest friend, played by Rachel Weisz, dotes on her constantly and handles the business portion of her rule but things are put to the test when a new servant arrives in the form of Oscar winner Emma Stone and a jealous battle ensues. This film is absolutely amazing, like a dark comedy version of Stanley Kubrick’s Bary Lyndon, and deserves all the accolades it is getting. All three women are incredible, Colman hopefully will break through to the A-list after the clout from this one. This is my new number one for 2018.

Shoplifters – Acclaimed Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda returns with another slice of life in Japa but this time from a very different part of the societal ladder. The film follows a group of criminals stealing and grifting to put minimal food in their bellies and, although they’re not really related, together they form a family of sorts. Koreeda once again crafts an incredible mosaic of characters, this time on a path that will never turn out well for any of them. The focus of the film, young Shota, a boy who was discovered as a baby in an abandoned car, moves from childhood innocence to the harsh realities of the world quicker than he should and the result is heartbreaking. The emotional depths this story plums is beautiful and it’s an incredible send-off for actress Kirin Kiki who passed away a few months ago.

Mirai Of The Future – Let’s get this bit of information about me out of the way; aside from a few select films, I am not really an anime fan. I won’t go out of my way to watch them but if it has the awards clout that this one does I will definitely sit down and give it a go. Nominated for a Golden Globe, this film follows four-year-old Kun, a little boy whose world is shaken up when his parents bring home his newborn sister Mirai, causing him to act out in anger especially when he’s feeling the lack of usual focus from mom and dad. Whenever Kun ventures out into the garden he is exposed to a magical world where anything could happen, including his grown-up sister Mirai coming to him and guiding his decisions to shape their family’s path. This movie is impressive with its message, a perfect film to show any child that is about to experience a new addition to their family. At the same time, for me, the film still has many of the things that pull me out of the film, most dealing with the grandioseness in emotions, something indicative of the genre. Even still, I could see around these issues and I think this is one of the 2018 notable movies.

Blu-Ray:

The Predator – This movie makes me incredibly sad because it once again pits the filmmakers again the producers and studio and we all know who comes out on top in that battle. Director and writer Shane Black teams with long missed Monster Squad guy Fred Dekker for a Predator film that feels full of action, gore and references to the original film but is devoid of a real soul, has huge pieces that feel disconnected and obvious blanks in creating a bigger picture. This one screams foul about a vision that was taken away.

The House With A Clock In Its Walls – The one thing that kept throwing me off about this family genre horror film was the simple fact that it came from torture porn guy Eli Roth but, through the producer guidance of Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment, we get a fun gothic style haunted mansion movie with Jack Black being his kooky self and Cate Blanchett chewing the scenery in a delightful performance. This movie totally surprised me and I found myself really liking it almost immediately. Adding Kyle Maclachlan as the villain just makes it all infinitely more awesome.

A Simple Favor – Paul Feig’s follow up to the mulch fanboy maligned Ghostbusters remake, the ad campaign on this film is what really caused the total intrigue as we really had no idea what it was all about. The movie has Anna Kendrick playing a single mom who strikes up a friendship with a socialite mom who has kids at the same school, Blake Lively touching on a bit of that Gossip Girl experience. A little while into their friendship Lively goes missing, throwing Kendrick into a mysterious web of secrets. This has to be one of those sleeper films because when it came out the reviews were good and audiences really took to it. All of this is enough to get me, plus it has Henry Golding who was really great in Crazy Rich Asians.

Assassination Nation – This movie is an insane and hyper-real satire on our social media obsessed world, as a hacker preys on a small town by fabricating rumors, exposing secrets and destroying lives in the small town of Salem. When all the exposure gets to a fever pitch, the town falls into a chaos of violence pitting the four main characters in a battle for their lives. This movie is driven by the performances from these young ladies, Odessa Young, Abra, Suki Waterhouse and Hari Neff, and the quick cut and harsh filters of filmmaker Sam Levinson, son of Academy Award winner Barry, to go with his unflinching and brutal script. This one will only really appeal to a certain niche but it will hit them like a bullet. I loved this one.

Life Itself – Guaranteed to be going for your emotions, This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman moves to the big screen with this new drama starring Oscar Isaac. Continuing with what looks like his trademark style, Fogelman crafts a story of a young couple’s journey to a family as they fall in love, get married and have their first child. Obviously, there is far more to it than that and, while the Tomatometer is dismally low for this movie, the audience rating is very favorable. This means that if you want something to tide you over until the next episode of This Is Us then you have just found it.

Fahrenheit 11/9 – It upsets me that this movie didn’t get as much attention as it should have because it really is Michael Moore at his angriest. The documentary filmmaker looks at the Trump era we are currently living in and gives us a timeline of how the hell we even got here in the first place and everything in between. He covers Parkland, the pushing aside of Bernie Sanders for Hilary Clinton and, for a large portion of the film, goes home to Flint, Michigan where they have been living without clean water for over five years. This documentary will educate, infuriate and push you to look at what you can do and how you can add your voice. This is an important one.

Little Women – No, this isn’t the Greta Gerwig remake of this classic story that I’m waiting for with bated breath but a modern telling of the film starring Lea Thompson in the matriarch role. With this wholesome and pretty well-known story as the basis, you would expect nothing less but a well fleshed out film, especially since we haven’t seen a feature-length telling of this story since the early nineties. Unfortunately, the film falls into the category of underdeveloped direction, one dimensional Hallmark movie level characterizations and a totally weak continuity altogether. Forget this one ever existed folks and wait for the real thing in 2019.

The Jerk – One of the greatest Steve Martin films of all time is forty this year and gets the whole anniversary edition treatment from Shout Factory. For those who don’t know, the movie has Martin playing a bumbling idiot who stumbles from adventure to adventure in St. Louis almost by mistake every time. I adored this film since the moment I saw it and to get this new edition is such a treat. The new update includes a brand new 2K transfer of the film, a conversation with Steve Martin and director Carl Reiner and more. Any fan is going to want this one immediately.

Our Cartoon President: Season 1 – Coming from Stephen Colbert and the writing staff of The Late Show, this animated series brings you into the insanity of the White House at least from a lampooning point of view and, as far as the caricatures of each member of the Trump family and administration goes, is absolutely spot on. The issue comes with the relentlessness of the writing sometimes and the one trick pony nature of digging at one point fruitlessly. With so many little nuggets to dig at within this circus I really expected more from Colbert and company. I have a feeling that Comedy Central’s own version, The President Show, may have the edge plus it was developed and released first.

Howard Lovecraft And The Kingdom Of Madness – This one is a film I’m totally excited to receive for a purely personal reason as one of my best friends is part of the voice cast. The third movie in the trilogy of young Howard Lovecraft, the Necronomicon and all the creatures hidden within with the voices of Christopher Plummer, Mark Hamill, Re-Animator’s Jeffrey Combs and Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard.

Elizabeth Harvest – This one comes from Shout Factory, a movie I had previously never heard of. The plot has Mad Max: Fury Road’s Abby Lee playing a woman newly wed to her scientist husband. Once she moves into his lavish mansion she begins to find out he harbours some well-guarded secrets. Directed by Sebastian Gutierrez, this one leaves me with a bit of trepidation as I’ve never connected with his previous work like Women In Trouble.

In Harm’s Way – Emile Hirsh stars in this film that look’s to be a loose remake of an old John Wayne movie, at least in the basic story. It follows a pilot named Jack Turner who crashes near the Chinese province of Zhejiang during the U.S. retaliation for Pearl Harbor in the 1940s. There, he falls in love with a Chinese widow who risks her life to hide him from government officials. I have to say that I’m really appreciating Hirsh as he matures into a seasoned actor and pairing with two time Palme d’Or winning director Bille August is a great move. Those who are into the sweeping romance drama will take to this one.

Netflix:

Bird Box – This movie looks absolutely fascinating and is getting a massive push from Netflix right now. Starring Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich, this is a post-apocalyptic film reminiscent of A Quiet Place but instead, the main drive of the creature element is through vision making the characters blindfold themselves for survival. This film comes from Suzanne Bier, the director of The Night Manager, and was written by the guy behind Arrival and looks incredibly intense from the trailer. I’m looking forward to digging into this one over the holiday weekend.

3Below: Tales of Arcadia: Season 1 – Master visionary Guillermo del Toro doubles down on his Netflix kids shows by following up Trollhunters with this sci-fi adventures about three aliens trying to assimilate into human life to study and research it. That sounds a lot like the plot of 3rd Rock From The Sun, doesn’t it? I’m really liking the voice cast for this one which includes Netflix mainstay Uzo Aduba, Glenn Close, Nick Frost, Hayley Atwell, Kelsey Grammer and many many more. If Del Toro’s precedence says anything, I expect this one to get picked up for a second season pretty quickly.

Derry Girls: Season 1 – A brand new series out of the United Kingdom centring on four teen girls attending Catholic school in the nineties. Yes, I was sold on this show just from the mere description. The trailer has me wanting to check it out more with the dedication to the time period with great music and the girls getting into issues way over their head. I may be totally biased when it comes to British programming but I also may have stumbled onto a real sleeper hit.

Diablero: Season 1 – Ready for more international television from Netflix? Well, this one comes from Mexico and has a feel that will make Supernatural fans feel right at home. The series follows a demon hunter, a priest and a woman who has the ability to be a vessel for demons as they band together to save the world from invading dark and destructive forces. The show looks incredibly stylish and with Netflix, you know the rules are thrown out the windows. This one could be a lot of fun.

Perfume: Season 1 – This new French series has to be connected to the 2006 Tom Twyker film Perfume: Story Of A Murderer as this is a mystery series about a serial killer who is killing women and distilling them into a perfume. The film takes place in 18th century France, while this series is set in the present day as if the killer was inspired by the murderer all those years ago. I really loved that film so any connection to it really intrigues me and the trailer looks really solid, even if it is lacking that gorgeous style Twyker brought to his feature version.