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Movies at a Glance & New DVDs


 

  


                                                                     MOVIES AT A GLANCE.

For NEW DVDs click HERE                                                                           

THERE ARE 5 NEW REVIEWS THIS WEEK: BLACKkKLANSMAN, THE DARKEST MINDS, DOG DAYS, McQUEEN (documentary), PUZZLE.

NEW: BLACKKKLANSMAN (2 hrs 15min) *** ½  The most intriguing, revealing and hard-hitting film in months, director/co-writer Spike Lee has a winner in this autobiographical story Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth, the first African-American police officer and detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department who infiltrated the ranks of the Louisiana KKK and received the endorsement of David Duke, white supremacist Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Lee’s brilliant film won the prestigious Grand Prix at Cannes. From the time he started as a police officer (complete with Afro), Stallworth (John David Washington, son of Denzel) wanted to be an undercover officer. He got the chance when he was asked by his chief to observe the speech by civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael (Corey Hawkins) of the Black Panthers to his followers in Colorado Springs. In 1979 the Ku Klux Klan were seeking new members for its Colorado Springs chapter. Stallworth followed up by calling the phone number listed, altering his accent while posing as a white racist who vehemently hated blacks, Jews, Mexicans and Chinese. He said he wanted to join because he was a pure Aryan white man who was tired of the abuse of the white race by blacks and other minorities.  He was told he was the exact type of person the Klan was looking for. From the police station, Stallworth chose white undercover Jewish Detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) to double for him when he had to present himself in person, and he rehearsed Flip sufficiently so their voices were roughly similar. A meeting was arranged at a local bar, Zimmerman was wired up for sound and that’s the way the investigation went for the next few months, Stallworth on the phone and his double at meetings. The chapter was under the auspices of David Duke (Topher Grace) in New Orleans, so Stallworth mailed in his application and followed up with a phone call and Duke answered the phone! Duke thumbed through his paperwork and said he would personally see that Stallworth’s was processed and sent back to him. When asked if he wasn’t afraid of a black man on the phone pretending to be white, Duke said he could always tell when talking to a “nigger.” Ironically, when Duke came to town, Stallworth was assigned as his bodyguard because of death threats! It’s serious and tense but interlaced with humour. Sadly, Duke and Trump aren’t that far apart!  (Fifth Avenue)   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFc6I0rgmgY
BLINDSPOTTING
(1hr 35 min) *** ½ One of the sleeper hits of this year will be Mexican-American Carlos Lopez Estrada's ambitious Blindspotting, the semi-autobiographical unconventional buddy movie on the contemporary race relations of its real life charismatic hip hop stars, white Rafael Casal and black Daveed Diggs), childhood friends who are also co-writers and producers living in gentrifying West Oakland, California. Convicted felon Collin (Diggs) is in the last three nerve-wracking days of his year-long parole, but the problem is his hot headed, short tempered partner at work Miles (Casal) and their gun totting friends. Late at night Collins witnesses a white officer (Ethan Embry) shoot a fleeing black man in the back and it is inevitable the two will meet someday. Collin realizes Miles' recklessness could lead to violence and trouble, and the tension will erupt, building to the thrilling climax. Profane comedy veers off suddenly to heavy drama, and result is exuberant and mesmerizing. (Intl Village)
CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (1hr 45min)  *** The teddy bear Winnie the Pooh and characters Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo and Owl come from the imaginative mind of British author A.A.Milne. Winnie and friends are throwing a farewell party for 9 year old Christopher Robin (Orton O’Brien) leaving for boarding school. In the subsequent years Christopher matures fast, his father dies, Christopher (Ewan McGregor) joins the Army for WW11, marries architect Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and starts a family. 9 years later, daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael).is scheduled for boarding school. Christopher, serious, impatient and over-worked, works as an efficiency expert for Winslow Luggages and, disappointingly, cannot join his family in their country home for a last weekend. Co-incidentally Winnie has lost his friends and decides to visit Christop\her in London to help him search. The pace picks up considerably from then on as Christopher joins Winnie and even Evelyn and Madeline in the hilarious antics leading to a happy climax. (Intl Village, Metropolis)
NEW: THE DARKEST MINDS (1hr 45min) ** 20th Century Fox is obviously hoping to tap into the young adult market for commercial success like The Hunger Games, Twilight and Maze Runner but it won’t be with this convoluted and clichéd science-fiction effort. Add to that there isn’t a charismatic rising star as Jennifer Lawrence in its cast of generally unknowns belabored with a clunky script, although based on the first novel in a series of nine by Alexandra Brachen but here with a planned trilogy. Here’s the gist of the story. When Ruby Daly (Amandla Stenberg) awoke on her 10th birthday, something frightening had happened to make her loving caring parents no longer recognize her lock her up and call the police. Apparently a mysterious disease had killed off 90% of earth’s children under 18 and the children that remained with strange abilities they could not control were bussed off to a strict government rehabilitation camp Thurmond in West Virginia where they were colour graded: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, and Blue according to their abilities. Green with super human intelligence was passable but orange and reds were not, indicating Orange Ruby could control others and should therefore be eliminated.  The US president (Bradley Whitford) claimed his son Clancy (Patrick Gibson) was cured of the disease and was therefore freed.  After 6 years in confinement, a concerned doctor Cate (Mandy Moore) smuggles her out of jail but has a mysterious agenda of her own while working with safe haven Children’s League. Ruby is suspicious, sneaks away and meets a diversified trio of renegade X-Men type super-powered teenagers of mixed race and genders: a white Blue telekinetic Liam (Harris Dickinson), a smart African American Green who harnesses electricity Chuba (Skylan Brooks), and the youngest mute Yellow Zu (Miya Cech) who can harness electricity. Bounty hunters called Tracers are everywhere and the young rebels learn of a camp called EDO where youngsters fend for themselves and their leader is the Orange (same as Ruby) Slip Kid but on arrival the group finds out that even here there is a dark side and they want to use Ruby’s power in their fight against the government. There is no climax at the end and since we’ve seen all this before, where’s the need for a sequel?  (Intl Village)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqUSPQY4oKo     
NEW: DOG DAYS (1hr 52min) * Quite probably the worst film of 2018 so far, Dog Days is the dog’s dinner of a romcom movie.  Still, dog lovers and undemanding audiences will find it endearing and yes, human’s best friends are cute, but the ridiculously cheesy bland schmaltzy script and equally repugnant human performances make this cringe-worthy disaster painful to sit through. Who let the dogs out?  It should have gone straight to DVD but instead it’s landed in the August dog days of summer dumping ground.  The story follows the intertwining lives of dogs and their owners around Los Angeles. Heartbroken on finding her boyfriend (Ryan Hansen) cheated on her, TV morning Wake Up LA show host Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev) turns her attention on her off-hand new co-host, former NFL star Jimmy (Tone Bell), but their dogs get along.  Barista Tara (Vanessa Hudgens) is attracted to hunky self-centred veterinarian, Dr. Mike (Michael Cassidy) while her nerdy flustered friend Garrett (Jon Bass), owner of a dog rescue agency, pines for her. Nursing newborns, parents Ruth (Jessica St. Clair) and Greg (Thomas Lennon) leave their unruly pet to Ruth’s irresponsible stoner musician brother Dax (Adam Pally) to look after. When married couple Grace (Eva Longoria) and Kurt (Rob Corddry) adopt a young girl Amelia (Elizabeth Caro), she remains silent until they return home with a stray pug, and meanwhile its lonely widower Walter (Ron Cephas) is anxiously looking for his pet Mabel and is assisted by the fatherless pizza delivery boy Tyler (Finn Wolfhard) and we know what he’s looking for. And of course each group has dogs, most seen in extreme close-ups. Add to the misery, a vet tech (John Gemberling) belts out “Amazing Grace!” Weird!  (Intl Village) 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eMXSgaGwLk 
EIGHTH GRADE (1hr 34min) *** ½ I started by hating this youthful angst film but perceptive director/writer Bo Burnham and potential star newcomer Elsie Fisher had me hooked. The dialogue is so natural that it seems Kayla (Fisher) is making it up as she speaks, complete with "ums," "errs," "like," and of course everything is "cool" and "awesome." Social media obsessed 13 year old pimply faced Kayla makes motivational You Tube videos into her laptop camera but we doubt anyone is watching. This is her last week of middle school and she, lacking confidence, is anxiously preparing herself to tackle new friends and dating in high school. Her caring, long suffering single dad (Josh Hamilton) aggravates her by trying to give support. The new kids are initially partnered with a senior student to show them the ropes and uncomfortable Kayla has to fend off her first overly amorous admirer. The captivating screenplay and performances totally won me over. (Fifth Avenue, Intl Village)
INCREDIBLES 2  (1hr 46min) *** Animation. Following 14 years since the brilliant ‘not based on anything’ original, writer/director Brad Bird’s sequel takes place immediately after the last narrative left off and introduces us again to the Parr/Incredibles family consisting of Bob Parr/Mr Incredible (Craig T Nelson), wife Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), daughter Violet (Sarah Vowell), son Hash (Huck Milner) and wildly funny baby Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile). Although the “Super Relocation” program is dead and the Incredibles jobless, super-hero fan & telecommunications CEO Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and his ambitious inventor sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener) plan to restore support of the Supers, using Elastigirl and her powers as their crime-busting star, leaving Bob looking after the kids. The problem is a new cyber villain, Screenslaver, with computer screens and goggles turning innocent people and Supers into obedient hypnotized drones. Next victims will be world leaders. Although visually stunning, the long and over-stuffed epic may be a bit heavy for younger fans. (Scotiabank Theatre, Metropolis) 
MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN (1hr 54min) ** ½ It's 10 years since the original's release which grossed $615.7 million! Based on the stage musical Mamma Mia!, it featured the infectious music of Swedish supergroup ABBA. The story told of how free-spirited Donna (Meryl Streep) came to be on the Greek island of Kalokairi and was determined to find out who was the father of her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried). Was it Irish-American architect Sam (Pierce Brosnan), Swedish travel writer Bill (Stellan Skarsgard) or British banker Harry (Colin Firth)? Now Donna is deceased and Sophie, married to Sky (Dominic Cooper) and pregnant, is re-opening her newly renovated Bella Donna hotel with a gigantic party, and reminisces with old friends Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski) about young Donna (Lily James) and her sexual relationships within a month with Sam (Jeremy Irvine), Bill (Josh Dylan) and Harry (Hugh Skinner). Cher makes an appearance as her grandmother. Strictly for the fans! (Fifth Avenue, Intl Village, Metropolis)
NEW: McQUEEN (1hr 51min)  *** ½  Documentary. The engrossing Ian Bonhote and Peter Etedgui documentary on Scottish fashion designer and couturier Lee Alexander McQueen is guaranteed to attract especially audiences interested in the garment industry. From the very start, you'll notice the photography which is stunningly elegant and beautiful, and Bonhote has assembled a diverse and interesting feast of archival clips, rare runway shows, home movies, audio tapes, talking heads ranging from family members to his friends, colleagues and lovers, to the heads of luxury fashion houses around the world, which cover the humble beginnings of a chubby likeable lad with little or no means but a passionate desire to succeed in a hugely competitive cut-throat industry. Backed by a supportive mother, when Alex, born in  East London in 1969, decided what he wanted to do in life, she encouraged him to apprentice in Savile Row in Mayfair, central London, renowned for tailoring, and a course at Central Saint Martin’s art college which really launched him, later as head designer at both Givenchy and Gucci, and eventually to founding his own label and fashion house in 1992 with numerous achievement awards for British Designer of the Year and International Designer of the Year. In early days, amusingly he listened continually to Irish singer Sinead O’Connor (her #1 hit was Nothing Compares 2 U). A gay man, years later he admitted to being abused as a child by his brother-in-law. While friends called him Lee, his influential mentor and supporter, fashion stylist and former Vogue editor Isabelle Blow suggested he should use Alexander for his fashion career – it sounded posher! We are witness to his creative process and his fascination in macabre design which, when displayed on the catwalks with provocative explosive themes including Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims, The Highland Rape and Plato’s Atlantis, resulted in controversial critiques like The King of Yob Couture, McQueen’s Perverse View of Women, Ugly Scenes of Sex and Violence, A Sick Joke and Alexander McQueen Gives Fashion a Bad Name. But the exhibitions of his avante garde designs broke records!  The deaths of his beloved mother and Isabelle Blow devastated him and, together with inner demons and a deteriorating state of mind, possibly were in part responsible in 2010 for his own suicide by hanging in his Mayfair apartment aged 40, the day before his mom’s funeral.  His bad boy popularity lives on with museum shows such as Savage Beauty. (Vancity Theatre) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO0Gx3E3KJA
NEW: PUZZLE (1hr 43min) *** Originally a 2010 Argentine drama film nominated for Berlin’s Golden Bear Award, the story is centred on a middle-aged taken for granted New Jersey wife and mother who finds she has a gift for assembling jigsaw puzzles and secretly starts planning for a competitive Tournament and that opens up an entire new world for her. Waiting hand and foot on her family, docile Agnes (Kelly Macdonald), the wife of adoring complacent mechanic Louis (David Denman) and mother of caring young adult sons Ziggy (Bubba Weller) and Gabe (Austin Abrams), is celebrating her 40th birthday. She meticulously has cleaned house, grocery shopped, put up decorations and baked the chocolate birthday cake before serving the guests on their arrival. Her life never changes. Following her party and alone, she opens her presents including a new iphone and discovers a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of a world map. She starts assembling it and has it completed twice before Louis gets home!  Introverted Agnes, now totally captivated, decides to venture out and travel into New York to buy more puzzles. But she tells the family she is visiting an elderly relative. She notices an ad saying Desperately Seeking Partner for a National Jigsaw Puzzle Competition with an address and number which hesitatingly she texts “I think I may be good at this.” She presents herself at wealthy inventor Robert’s (Bollywood superstar Irrfan Khan) apartment and learns his partner/wife has left him and he is anxious to win the top prize of a trip to Europe. Robert soon realizes Agnes may be even better at puzzles than him and is charmed by her introverted gently amusing personality. Agnes keeps making excuses to the family for the visits to Manhattan as she needs to practice with Robert weekly and she basks in his open admiration of her. When Agnes forgets to buy Louis’ favourite cheese and arrives home late to find the family waiting for their dinner, Louis explodes, demanding where she has been and a changed Agnes admits she is having an affair with her puzzle partner. “When you complete a puzzle you know you’ve made all the right moves.” But that sudden physical attraction seems forced and unreal. This is the character study of a humble housewife suddenly emerging from a cloistered world and Macdonald’s slow-burn performance nails it perfectly. Though lightweight, the film should connect with older audiences and in particular women. (Intl Village) 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX-TxPEXmJI
THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME (1hr 56min) ** Director/co-writer Susanna Fogel’s latest is billed as a spy action comedy which is unoriginal, heavy on silly slapstick and equally over the top heavy on bloody violence, torture and killings which just doesn’t mix.  Audrey (Mila Kunis) and unemployed actress Morgan (Kate McKinnon) have been best friends forever. Audrey’s boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) has dumped her by text and then suddenly shows up, admitting to being an operative agent working for the CIA and being hunted by Eastern bloc assassins determined to kill him. A gun battle ensues and Drew is killed, but not before giving Audrey a fantasy football trophy containing a vital flash drive which must be delivered to Vienna the next day. Running from Vienna to Prague to Paris and Berlin they meet supposed British agents Sebastian (Sam Heughan) and Duffer (Hasan Minhaj) and now we’re in for double and triple crosses while dead bodies pile up and they discover Drew is not dead! However, this comedy/thriller is! (Scotiabank Theatre, Metropolis).
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS (1hr 36min) *** ½ Documentary. This is the compelling true story of rare identical triplets separated at birth and adopted by three different families in a secret scientific experiment. Bobby Shafran, Edward Galland and David Kellman were born on July 12th 1961 to a teenage mother and were adopted from Louise Wise Services, a NY City-based adoption agency placing Jewish children with Jewish families but in different environments. The triplets and their adoptive parents knew nothing about their other siblings, and foster parents were told that the frequent tests their child was required to undergo were part of a routine scientific study concerning "nature versus nurture," "We felt like lab rats." The triplets eventually met and started up a business together but that failed and one committed suicide. The remaining two were determined to get details of their initial separation and regular tests. (Fifth Avenue)
WHITNEY (2hrs) **** Documentary. Recommended Director Kevin Macdonald has created a superb biography in this intimate portrait of vocalist Whitney Houston and . interviews with family, friends and colleagues, unseen film of Whitney from childhood throughout her life, intimate photos, rare concert and backstage footage. She started young in a junior gospel choir, strongly supported by mother Cissy and family. In the 80s she was a model and a singer. In 1983 Arista Records' Clive Davis signed her to a contract. From 1985 till '87, she had 7 consecutive #1 singles, helped by MTV. She became a superstar in 1992 with I Will Always Love You from the Kevin Costner movie The Bodyguard. She married R&B singer Bobby Brown and they had a daughter. But while her career flourished, his didn't and he took to booze and dugs and eventually the pressure and stress on her took its toll "due to family matters." (Park)

                                                      
                                                  
   NEW DVDs

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday August 14
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwievZ1Tx-8
BAD SAMARITAN  David Tennant, Robert Sheehan, Carlito Olivero, Kerry Condon, Jacqueline Byers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef4bYRfwgQ0
HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES  Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, Ruth Wilson, Matt Lucas, Nicole Kidman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnDyjAcofio
SPINNING MAN Guy Pearce, Pierce Brosnan, Minnie Driver, Jamie Kennedy, Clark Gregg, Odeya Rush
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89Ta47AsT4g
THE YELLOW BIRDS. Tye Sheridan, Alden Ehrenreich, Toni Collette, Jason Patric, Jack Huston, Jennifer Aniston
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpFYK3pkhKA

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday August 21
ACTION POINT Johnny Knoxville, Chris Pontius, Dan Bakkedahl, Matt Schulze, Johnny Pemberton
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoVar5nFoeg
BLEEDING STEEL Jackie Chan, Show Lo, Nana Ouyang, Erica Xia-Hou, Callan Mulvey, Tess Haubrich
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhZNuEZDswM
DEADPOOL 2. Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b84_mR1-v28
THE FIRST REFORMED  Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill, Michael Gaston
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ6xeRGCcLs
GOD'S NOT DEAD: A LIGHT IN DARKNESS  David A.R. White, John Corbett, Shane Harper, Tatum O'Neal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxJ2CIe-7I4
PABLO ESCOBAR   Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, Peter Sarsgaard, Julieth Restrepo, David Valencia, David Ojalvo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7elNhHwgBU
SHOW DOGS  Will Arnett, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Shaquille O'Neal, Omar Chaparro, Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcJjUSzgxCE

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday August 28
AMERICAN ANIMALS  Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Jared Abrahamson, Blake Jenner, Ann Dowd
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuTuKLE3tZ0
BOOK CLUB Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDnOubrC_gU
MARY SHELLY Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, Maisie Williams, Stephen Dillane, Tom Sturridge, Joanne Froggatt
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EQEDha0GgY
RBG documentary.The unique journey of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, pop culture icon.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biIRlcQqmOc
TAG  Ed Helms, Jake Johnson,  Rashida Jones, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Lil Rel Howery
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PVq9WGsS0E
UPGRADE  Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson, Richard Anastasios, Rosco Campbell
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hTLGlgZ4Z8
WOMAN WALKS AHEAD  Jessica Chastain, Ciarán Hinds, Sam Rockwell, Michael Nouri, Michael Greyeyes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFFwknK6iUI

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday September 4
ADRIFT  Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin, Elizabeth Hawthorne, Jeffrey Palmer, Grace Palmer, Neil Andrea
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXHh_1E_Zwo&vl=en
BEAST Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Geraldine James, Olwen Fouéré, Tim Woodwar, Charlie Palmer Rothwell
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFJWtg057U8
HEREDITARY Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Gabriel Byrne, Mallory Bechtel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcYbv3_UVmI
WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? (documentary) An intimate look at US favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhwktRDG_aQ

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday September 11
OCEAN'S 8. Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5LoVcVsiSQ
SUPERFLY. Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Michael Kenneth Williams, Lex Scott Davis, Jennifer Morrison
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5LoVcVsiSQ
On Thursday September 14:
HEARTS BEAT LOUD. Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Toni Collette, Blythe Danner, Sasha Lane
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6HJtEDBHIU