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Movies at a Glance & New DVDs

 
 

  

                                                                     MOVIES AT A GLANCE.

For NEW DVDs click HERE                                                                           


THERE ARE 3 NEW REVIEWS THIS WEEK.
THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT, TURN UP CHARLIE, WOMAN AT WAR.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (2hrs 14min) *** The biopic of British rock group Queen earned unanimous praise for Rami Malek as lead singer Freddie Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara. Early in life living with his parents, Freddie was a luggage handler in Heathrow. He formed a close relationship with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) – they were engaged briefly - and they remained friends till his death. He was a fan of the group Smile: guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee), drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), bass player John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello), and became their lead singer, naming the group Queen. They sold their van to afford recording a successful album and Elton John's manager John Reid (Aiden Gillen) booked them on a US tour. In 1974 they attained international success with albums Sheer Heart Attack and A Night at the Opera featuring Bohemian Rhapsody. The band's popularity continued through the '90s but soured when Freddie's change of attitude caused a rift over years till their highly acclaimed reunion for 1985's Band Aid. The second half basically without music has long dull sequences and Freddie's homosexuality is played down. Good but not great ... though the music makes this worth seeing (Intl Village)
THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND (1hr 53min) *** ½ Nigerian English actor Chiwetel Ejoifor (12 Years a Slave) makes an impressive directorial debut and is co-writer of this inspirational British drama set in rural Malawi, based on the memoir by William Kamkwamba. In 2001, William (Maxwell Simba) lived with his impoverished family led by uneducated father Trywell (Ejoifor). The farming family struggled annually with scorching drought followed by torrential rain, thus causing famine. At 13, he had a fascination for electronics and scavenged parts from the scrap yard to repair radios for the villagers. With crop failure, his father (Ejoifor) couldn’t afford William’s school tuition although the boy snuck into science classes and read library books. He was adamant he could build a makeshift wind turbine using dad’s only form of transportation, his bicycle, and other odds and ends, bringing water into the parched community. It’s a compelling life or death survival story with a splendid breakthrough performance by Simba. (Netflix) 
THE FAVOURITE (2 hrs 1min) **** Recommended. The historical comedy-drama film is based on fact with the story told by Churchill and the Duchess of Marlborough in their biographies, It's a female lesbian-centric love triangle in the early 18th century between Queen Anne and her two favourites, imperious Sarah Churchill Duchess of Marlborough and her ambitious cousin Abigail Hill (eventually Baroness Masham). Anne was plagued by ill health and obesity, causing depression throughout her life while often requiring a wheelchair. Strong willed Sarah had a very personal rapport with the Queen as her confidante, influencing and advising in every aspect of her royal duties. But then scheming new arrival Abigail discreetly observed how Sarah manipulated the affection-hungry queen and, while Sarah was away from court, Abigail consolidated her attachment to the Queen and eventually ended up in the royal bed! The film won the Grand Jury Prize in Venice, Colman won Best Actress at the Oscars and Baftas, and at Gotham the Jury Ensemble Performance went to Colman, Weisz and Stone, and deservedly so. (Fifth Avenue)
GLORIA BELL (1hr 41min) ** Chilean director/screenwriter Sebastien Lelio won 2018’s Best Foreign Film at the Oscars for A Fantastic Woman but there’s no hope he’ll win any award for this disappointing reimaging of his 2013 Spanish-language film Gloria. It’s 10 years after her divorce from Dustin (Brad Garrett) and since her two children, Peter (Michael Cera) and Veronica (Alanna Ubach), are adults, Gloria (Moore) has decided she doesn’t want to be alone and visits regularly a singles disco where she meets and dates Arnold (John Tuturro), divorced a year ago and with two dependant daughters, constantly on his mobile phone. Gloria and Arnold start an affair and when at Peter’s birthday party after introducing Arnold she spends time reminiscing over old photos of her marriage, Arnold disappears. When celebrating reconciliation in Las Vegas, Arnold gets a message and leaves without an explanation. At a special dinner, Arnold again suddenly disappears without a word. Sorry, in spite of Moore’s tremendous performance, it’s my turn to disappear from this review. (Fifth Avenue).
GREEN BOOK. (2hrs 10min) **** Recommended. The Negro Motorist Green Book was a segregation guide to services and places relatively friendly to African-Americans during the period when open discrimination against non-whites was widespread, particularly in the Deep South. In 1962, famed, multi-lingual, wealthy Jamaican black classical pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) hired a New York temporarily unemployed nightclub bouncer, Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), as his chauffeur and security on an eight week private concert tour down the unfriendly south. The contrasting personalities make for a hugely entertaining drive although with expected altercations imvolving rednecks and belligerent racist cops. "Doc" is dignified, refined, elegantly dressed and his pianos must be Steinways while Tony is completely the opposite, sloppy, continually smoking, eating and talking, sometimes simultaneously. Balancing high comedy and serious drama, the marvelous chemistry between the mismatched traveling companions resulted in it winning the People's Choice Award in Toronto and Best Picture at the Oscars. Both performances are brilliant. (Fifth Avenue)
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD. (1hr 44min) *** ½  Animation. This is the third and final installment from writer-director Dean DeBlois in the computer animated action-fantasy trilogy. Young viewers will remember the likeable lead Vikings Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Astrid (America Ferrara) and their budding romance.  Hiccup’s beloved black Night Fury dragon Toothless has discovered and is attracted to a White Fury, not knowing Warlord Grimmel the Grisley (F Murray Abraham), notorious dragon destroyer, had been given prisoner Night Fury by warlords as a bait to lure Toothless for the warlords’ use as an alpha. Hiccup and Toothless have been rescuing captive dragons and bringing them back to Berk resulting in the first Viking-dragon utopia!  Hiccup was informed by dad Stoick (Gerard Butler) of the Hidden World, a safe place for dragons at the end of the World. Berk chieftain Hiccup must find the new home before Grimmel and his army attack them., Dreamworks’  beautifully crafted visuals are spectacular and the emotional moments endearing. (Intl Village, Metropolis)
NEW: THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT (1hr 51min)  ** ½  I expect that as far as the mainstream audience is concerned, the stock market is a dry subject at the best of times. Likewise the subject of building an absolutely straight cable line 4 inch wide and buried very deep between Kansas and New Jersey’s data bank, traversing 1000 miles of obstacles like towns and villages, mountains and rivers, private and public property, for the high-stakes game of High-Frequency Trading measured in milliseconds which potentially could make countless millions. And two ambitious Wall Street cousins plan to build a tunnel in order to run a fiber-optic cable across the eastern states which would allow their computers to react to the stock markets milliseconds faster than their competitors. Meaning they could make millions in a mere second.  It sounds and is very technical. If you’re intrigued by all this, then read on.  Set in 2011, fast-talking obsessive hustler Vincent (Jesse Eisenberg) and awkward, complex-problem solver Anton (Alexander Skarsgard, Tarzan disguised as stooped and middle aged with a bald crown and a potbelly!) are based in New York City’s high-frequency major conglomerate of controlling boss Eva Torres (Salma Hyek). Anton is married to the ever-patient Mascha (Sarah Goldberg) and they have kids. Oh yeah, he has a fear of flying as is demonstrated in an amusing scene. In the office, the Russian/Jewish Zaleskis work on different solutions to get the milliseconds transfer further down.  Vincent has the idea of the tunnel so why don’t they leave Torres, form their own small company and sell the idea to a billionaire financier (Frank Schorpion). It’s a massive complex project which will cost a fortune but then, within seconds, they will be making an estimated $500 million a year!!! Having stolen a bit of coding, they resigned, much to the fury of Torres who vows to destroy them, using spies and legal threats. Vincent hires a drilling expert MarkVega (Michael Mando) and a personal assistant Ray (Kwasi Songui) who accompanies him when he negotiates private land deals, as with an Amish farmer (Johan Heldenberg) who stubbornly refuses to sell or lease, in spite of the money offered and potential wealth. But Vincent develops some very serious health issues which come to a head near the anti climatic ending. Eisenberg and Skarsgaard make the uneven film by French Canadian director / writer Kim Nguyen watchable and often amusing. I found it mentally exhausting. (Scotiabank Theatre)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_JcTg5mrEY
POLAR (1hr 58min) * ½  Mads Mikkelsen plays it straight in this appallingly awful neo-noir gross-out action-comedy, badly scripted and over-acted by cartoonish characters.   Hired assassin Duncan Visla (Mikkelsen), aka The Black Kaiser, is due to retire in a couple of weeks on reaching 50 from the private security Damocles Corporation and he is due $8 million in pension. But the company’s head, Mr. Blut (Matt Lucas), is heavily in debt and in order to pay off his creditors he has commissioned a hit squad to kill off former agents before they reach the mandatory retirement age, thereby permitting him to accumulate the millions owed them. Blut’s assistant Vivian (Katheryn Winnick) is sent to persuade Duncan to complete just one more killing in Belarus of supposedly Green’s murderer. He refuses and, leaving a false trail, retreats to a small remote lakeside cabin. Duncan has reoccurring nightmares of his numerous victims, including a botched hit on a family of which one child was spared and to whom he has donated a fee of $200,000 in an annual trust fund.  Duncan befriends a young shy girl Camille (Vanessa Hudgens) living closeby. Duncan goes to Minsk for the contract killing, only to discover it’s a trap to kill him!  He decides to eliminate the entire gang but is betrayed, Camille is drugged and taken prisoner, and a changed up Duncan is tortured relentlessly. Is escape possible?  (Netflix)
ROMA (2hrs 15min) ** Definitely not designed for mainstream audiences, it’s for staunch film critics, festival and art house patrons who will rave about. Written, directed, shot and co-edited by Mexico’s Alfonso Cuaron, the bleak black and white semi-autobiographical screenplay is slow, set in 1970-71 and centred on the life of a beloved live-in house keeper, expressionless Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), caring for a middle class family in the neighbourhood of Colonia Roma on the outskirts of Mexico City. The family consisted of Sofia (Marina de Tavira) and forever absent husband Dr. Antonio (Fernando Grediaga) and their four boisterous young children, It becomes obvious that Antonio has a mistress and his “business” trip are excuses. When Cleo becomes pregnant, her boyfriend deserts her. Sofia takes the family and Cleo to a friend’s hacienda in Mexico City for New Year at a time when there was open hostility on the streets between landowners and workers, resulting in many deaths. Shots and scenes linger for far too long although the photography and production are sumptuous. It has won numerous Best Film Awards worldwide including Oscar's Best Foreign Lasnguage Film. (Netflix) 
TRIPLE FRONTIER (2hrs 5min) ** That’s the frontier between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil, and director/writer J.C.Chandor’s concept is simple: five former Special Forces operatives plan a heist of millions in cash belonging to a drug lord, hiding in the multi-border jungle of South America, and they intend to share the loot among themselves. The first boring hour is spent with the guys reuniting. There’s Tom (Ben Affleck), Santiago (Oscar Isaac), Bill (Charlie Hunnam), Ben (Garrett Hedlund) and Francisco (Pedro Pascal), unfortunately with minimal character development. As a private military advisor combating Colombia drug crime, Santiago learns cartel king-pin Lorea (Reynaldo Gallegos) doesn’t trust banks and uses home as his bank. When he is at mass leaving minimal house security, the team attacks and finds $250 million within the walls which they take. The problem is in flying that huge overweight over the Andes in a helicopter and that starts the second hour with Lorea’s gang waiting for them all along the way. Even then, the pacing is lethargic, although the visuals are impressive throughout. (Netflix)
NEW: TURN UP CHARLIE  (Eight ½ hour shows Season 1) ** Just the name Idris Elba attached to this new UK half hour series automatically will turn audiences on.  I became a fan with his hard-hitting BBC multi award-winning crime drama series Luther and for others it could be the HBO series The Wire.  Elba has starred in numerous feature films like Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the Avengers and Thor. He’s been nominated and won several awards and, surprisingly, is also a producer, rapper, DJ and musician. He has been voted Sexiest Man Alive and has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to Drama. So now he has co-created and stars in a British comedy web TV series as struggling bachelor disc jockey Charlie Ayo, a former 90s pop star, who reluctantly becomes the nanny (or manny) for 11 year old problem child Gabrielle (Frankie Hervey), precocious, annoying, spoiled daughter of famous married close friends, world-renowned deejay Sara (Piper Perabo) and movie star David (JJ Field). I'm betting Elba will not include this embarrassing series in future biographies. Is it a sitcom, a soap drama or kids’ show?  Turn up is a turn off.  David has given up his glamorous life in LA to return home to his wife and daughter.  Gabrielle is not a cute kid, but rather a conniving, deceitful, rude, pouting, rebellious, pampered brat whose parents will go to any length and spend any amount of money to appease her. Later in the series she is joined by an equally annoying and unpleasant, rich, sarcastic, know-it-all boy. Charlie and the parents spend half the time chasing after elusive Gabby, none of it funny.  However, “funny” is Charlie living in a cramped apartment with his forever chatty Aunt Lydia (scene stealer Jocelyn Jee Eisen) and layabout friend Del (Guz Khan) and they provide much needed real humour to the otherwise bland corny scripts. By skype Charlie keeps trying to impress his parents in Nigeria that he leads a highly successful life, but even that falls flat eventually. He is hoping that with Sarah’s help in her home recording studio he can put his music career back on track. We’re hoping after this disaster Elba can put his own career back on track – he’s just not funny – and return to his cool, menacing and brooding self which is what worldwide audience love about his dramatic characters. (Netflix)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOsU1RoI6CM
.NEW: WOMAN AT WAR (1hr 41min) ** ½ What an off beat, quirky and odd film this is from Iceland. The premise is simple. A single forty-something mild-mannered woman Halla (Halldora Geirharosdottor) leads a double life as a popular adult choir conductor and a secret guerilla eco-activist, campaigning against foreign energy corporations such as the Rio Tinto aluminium plant taking advantage of Iceland. She blows up power lines thereby temporarily closing down aluminium factories. There's a terrific opening. Armed with a crossbow and arrow to shoot cables over the power lines and cordless circular saws to cut through girders, she attacks the massive pylons in the countryside, causing power outages and blackouts. She is branded by the government and the press ‘Mountain Woman,’ an unknown terrorist wrecking the country’s economy and infrastructure. Meanwhile a young foreign tourist is accused but released. Now the Chinese are reconsidering their investment in Iceland. The only one who knows her identity is Baldvin (Jörundur Ragnarsson), a chorus member and official in the ministry. She successfully hides against surveillance helicopters searching the countryside and gets support from a compassionate sheep farmer (Johann Siguroarson) a possible distant cousin from whom she borrows a car. Throughout the film, director Benedikt Erlingsson places in Halla's scenes, unbeknownst to her, either a surreal musical trio playing an accordian, drums and a sousaphone or an Ukrainian costumed vocal trio, which initially is amusing but eventually becomes overused and annoying. Halla has an identical twin sister Asa (also played by Geirharosdottor) who teaches yoga and has applied to join the Maharishi Ashram in India. It’s four years since Halla applied to adopt a War orphan child from Ukraine, with Asa as her backup custodian, but, long forgotten, she receives by mail confirmation that the child now available is Nika. Climbing rooftops above the town, Halla drops leaflets declaring her environmental motivations while the government activates a spin war to win public opinion, increasing road blocks and car searches and extending the manhunt by drone which on one occasion she brings down with her bow and crushes with a rock. Halla plans one final assault on the pylons but accidentally cuts her hand, leaving DNA for the police to check. The search intensifies after Halla succeeds and the pylon collapses. At the airport for her flight to the Ukraine to pick up Nika, the police are closing in. What will she do?  It should have special appeal for Art house audiences. (Intl Village)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2v3_jHrvBQ

                                                     
                                                              NEW DVDs

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday March 26  &  29
AQUAMAN. Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Nicole Kidman, Ludi Lin
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mQDS7Q7pys
CAPERNAUM Zain Al Rafeea, Yordanos Shifera, Treasure Bankole, Fadi Yousef, Nadine Labaki, Kawthar Al Haddad
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULUo0048xZE
SECOND ACT  Jennifer Lopez, Milo Ventimiglia, Vanessa Hudgens, Leah Remini, Treat Williams. Annaleigh Ashford
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsVo5necW6Q
STAN & OLLIE (Laurel & Hardy) Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly, Shirley Henderson, Danny Huston, Nina Arianda
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2zdFwgUYBg
March 29: AT ETERNITY'S GATE Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Mads Mikkelsen, Mathieu Amalric, Oscar Isaac
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T77PDm3e1iE

NEW DVDs .... starting Tuesday April 2
BUMBLE BEE  Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, Stephen Schneide
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAIX12F6958
THE MULE  Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Dianne Wiest, Andy Garcia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ie8V1gNZU_A
VICE. Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Tyler Perry, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe, Eddie Marsan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwqvplvAyUM&vl=en

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday April 9
A DOG'S WAY HOME Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Edward James Olmos, Bryce Dallas Howard
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNqTdGt-3bU
HOLMES AND WATSON   Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Rebecca Hall, Rob Brydon, Kelly Macdonald, Ralph Fiennes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=159RjZv4eq4
ON THE BASIS OF SEX. Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Justin Theroux, Kathy Bates, Sam Waterston
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6jhXgRaYtI
WE DIE YOUNG.Jean-Claude Van Damne, David Castaneda, Elijah Rodriguez, Nicholas Sean Johnny
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK7WmhG2jwU
WELCOME TO MARWEN  Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Merritt Wever, Janelle Monáe, Eiza González
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBiyoc4E3mM

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday April 16
GLASS.James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Samuel L. Jackson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vpfy4oKcBo
REPLICAS. Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emily Alyn Lind, Emjay Anthony
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9shQKStwJfs
THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Tom Taylor, Rebecca Ferguson, Patrick Stewart,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg-h8TwQCgs

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday April 23
DESTROYER. Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Scoot McNairy, Bradley Whitford, Sebastian Stan
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqHaLUoiWZU
ESCAPE ROOM  Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Yorick Van Wageningen
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dSKUoV0SNI

NEW DVDs.... starting Tuesday April 30
ARCTIC.  Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Thelma Smáradóttir.  Directed & written by Brazilian Joe Penna.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5aD9ppoQIo
MISS BALA  Gina Rodriguez, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Anthony Mackie, Aislinn Derbez, Matt Lauria, Damián Alcázar
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ehmj8sF-N0