Movies at a Glance & New DVDs

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                                                                     MOVIES AT A GLANCE.


AMERICAN MADE (1hr 55min) *** ½  When TWA  pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise) was observed illegally importing Cuban cigars on his flights, CIA agent Monty Shafer (Domhnall Gleason) offered him an undercover job with the Agency taking photos of Central American drug territories, flying low and fast in a small plane to avoid being shot down. Seal kept it a secret from his family and with increased flights and payments, he could afford to leave TWA. Then Columbian drug lords Jorge Ochoa (Alejandro Edda) and Pablo Escobar (Mauicio Mejia) of the Medellin cartel offered him millions if on his flights back to the states he would transport cocaine, literally dropping it off in Louisiana. Then Shafer asked him to be a courier between the CIA and Panamanian informant Manuel Noriega secretly transporting weapons for the US backed counter-insurgency rebels. The DEA were suspicious and came looking for him, but Shafer moved Seal and family to rural Arkansas which included an airstrip for him to increase his flights! Cruise makes this biography under Doug Limon's sharp direction an entertaining ride! (Intl Village) 
BATTLE OF THE SEXES (2hrs 1min) *** Remember the nationally televised 1973 tennis match in Houston between 29 year old Billie Jean King and 55 year old Bobby Riggs? It drew an audience of 90 million! Billie Jean (Emma Stone) was the ladies tennis world champion, happily married to supportive manager Larry (Austin Stowell) at a time when men dominated all sports. Chauvinistic Jack Kramer’s (Bill Pullman) US Lawn Tennis Association’s new prize fund paid men 8 times more than women players, citing they attracted bigger crowds. In retaliation Billie Jean formed her own women’s circuit, mounting their own tours and tournaments. Former Wimbledon champ in the 1950s egotistical Billy Riggs, a compulsive gambler and hustler clown, calling himself a chauvinistic pig, challenged Billie Jean, insecurely battling her sexuality with her hairdresser Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough), to an exhibition match for $100,000 to prove the inferiority of women’s tennis. The back stories make this a compelling true story. (Intl Village)
BLADE RUNNER 2049 (2hrs 44min) *** ½ It’s 35 years since director Ridley Scott and star Harrison Ford captivated audiences with their neo-noir science fiction classic."Blade Runner.” Now its sequel has Scott as producer, Ford returning as Rick Deckard, and with two hot additions, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve and Canadian superstar Ryan Gosling. The year is now 2049 and LA blade runner police officer K (Gosling) has the job to “retire” any remaining Nexus 8 replicants (bioengineered humans) which have been replaced by more docile Nexus 9. He discovers a buried box with a secret – the bones of a female replicant who required a caesarean section, but replicants couldn’t have a pregnancy!! Birth records confirm twins with identical DNA were born that day. K must find Deckard somewhere in the ruins of Vegas to determine who is human? Villeneuve’s direction is spot-on while the photography capturing the bleak mood is stunning by Roger Deakins (Fifth Avenue, Dunbar, Scotiabank Theatre, Metropolis)
NEW: THE FLORIDA PROJECT (1hr 55min) ** ½  Running about 30 minutes long, The Florida Project is centred on the occupants of a three-storied, low income, lavender-painted motel, the Magic Castle ($35 a night), one in a row of cheap motels, home for impoverished itinerant single parent families, on the outskirts of DisneyWorld in Orlando. The manager, Bobby (Willem Dafoe) is also the law enforcer, handyman, office supervisor and compassionate, understanding friend who keeps tabs on the renters, and the focus of the film is on their exuberant, excitable children who are off school for the summer. The bane of Bobby’s life is unemployed 22 year old white trash Halley (Bria Vinaite), a confrontational, foul mouthed, heavily tattooed, volatile trollop who’ll do anything to scrounge her rent money, but she does love her sassy 6 year old daughter Moonee (remarkable newcomer Brooklynn Prince). Her mischievous friends are Jancey (Valerie Cotto) and tentatively Scotty (Christopher Rivera) and Dickey (Aiden Makik) before they move off. The kids run around with no supervision, completely oblivious of the strife among the adults around them. They scam for money from tourists at an ice cream parlour and  inadvertently set fire to an abandoned house. Bobby is especially protective of the kids and chases off a suspicious old man when he approaches them in the playground. A compassionate resident, waitress Ashley (Mela Murder), hands out bags of food from her diner’s backdoor to the kids. Following an incident, Ashley forbids son Scotty to play with Moonee and tells Halley that she can’t continue giving them food. In retaliation, berserk Halley brutally beats her which  ends with her being taken into long over-due custody and Moonee on the verge of being placed by Child Protection in a foster home. In a final fantasy scene, Moonee and Jancey run off into the crowds and towards the bright lights of Disneyworld. The uneven film works best as a character study and the performances are amazingly natural, considering many are non-professional. I have my doubts whether mainstream audiences will react as positively as the critics who have almost universally raved, rightly for the strong performances by Dafoe and newcomers Prince and Vinaite. However, Art House audiences will love this. (Fifth Avenue) 
THE FOREIGNER (1hr 54min) *** Former US Special Forces trained Nguyen (Jackie Chan) owns a takeaway in London’s Chinatown and lives in an apartment with his only surviving family, 18 year old daughter Fan (Katie Leung). When a massive bomb kills her and wounds him, taking responsibility was a rogue cell known as “the new IRA,” Northern Irish radicals out to damage the fragile peace treaty formed by the Brits and Irish. The meek grieving man requested politely and regularly the names of those responsible but was given the run around, including from former-IRA deputy minister turned politician, Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan). In frustration and to get attention, Nguyen planted a succession of bombs designed to destroy but not to kill, and that got immediate reaction, forcing him to use his skills in lethal martial arts to stay alive, and eventually corner those responsible. This is not the usual Jackie Chan comedy role but a convoluted, serious and entertaining revenge thriller. (Scotiabank Theatre, Metropolis)
NEW: GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (1hr 45min) *** ½  For anyone who grew up reading A.A. Milne’s books and poems on Christopher Robin (named after his son), this is a must see. So it was for me, and I also remember the songs “Christopher Robin is saying his prayers” and “They’re changing guards at Buckingham Palace, Christopher Robin went down with Alice.” This is for those with memories of Winnie-the-Pooh,Tigger, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit and Piglet. It’s a nostalgic tear-jerker, but with a surprising dark side. Author Milne (Domhnall Gleeson), a Punch magazine contributor, and Daphne (Margot Robbie) were married a year before WW1 (the war to end all wars) broke out and he was conscripted, fought, wounded and invalided home, suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Living a a social life in vibrant Chelsea which Daphne adored, Milne constantly was reminded of the horrors of war, and insisted the family, now with 5 year old child, Christopher Robin (Will Tilston), should move to a quiet countryside home on the edge of Ashdowne Forest, East Sussex, along with their nanny, Olive (Kelly Macdonald). Milne was a caring father but strict, rarely connecting with his inquisitive son. When Daphne left, promising to return when he recovered from writer’s block, and Olive was called away to attend to her ailing mother, Milne was forced to cater to his young son and invented names for his stuffed animals, such as thr teddy bear which originally was called Edward till they visited a zoo and saw a Winnipeg black bear, and the stuffed bear became Winnie. Milne started writing stories about his son and his friend E.H. Shepard illustrated them. A published poem instantly sold out (Daphne returned to an enthusiastic  husband) and Milne followed up with a book which became a world best-seller, requiring them to travel and, wherever they went, Christopher Robin was all everyone wanted. As he grew up, the teenager (Alex Lawther) was razed terribly at school, and then when WW11 broke out, he insisted, against his family’s wishes, on joining the army. He was bitter about the use of his name, "It seemed to me almost that my father had got where he was by climbing on my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and left me nothing but empty fame." The army declared him missing and the family went into depression. Intrigued? Watch these links and then see the film. (Fifth Avenue) m
 IT  2017  (2hrs 15min) *** Following the 1990’s mini TV series with Tim Currey, the new IT is the first chapter in a duology, to be followed in chapter 2 by the same characters 27 years later with new experiences and with repeat Argentine director Andrés Muschietti complimented by author Stephen King for “getting the book right.” When his younger brother Georgie mysteriously disappeared and was presumed murdered by s sadistic, wisecracking, deranged clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), also held responsible for the disappearance of kids every 3 decades from their home town of Derry, Maine, brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberther) and his 6 outcast high school friends known as The Losers Club by the Bowers Gang bullies, spent the summer vacation searching for the shape-shifting clown who persecuted them by feeding effectively on the tormented kids’ fears and phobias before disappearing. To defeat him, they must present a united, fear-free front. It’s a must-see for horror movie fans. (Scotiabank Theatre, Metropolis)
KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (2hrs 21min) *** At the end of 2014’s  "Kingsman: The Secret Service,” in the church massacre by Harry Hart (Colin Firth), he was shot by internet billionaire Valentine who in turn was killed. Eggsy Unwin (Taron Eggerton), replaceing Hart as Kingsman’s top spy, code-named Galahad, is now engaged to Crown Princess Tilde of Sweden (Hanna Alstrom). The sequel opens in London with a wild car chase between Eggsy and rejected Kingsman trainee Charlie (Edward Holcroft) with a cybernetic arm which hacks into Eggsy’s car's computer system through Kingsman's servers, and 50’s-obsessed, megalomaniac Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), World's  drug cartel leader, destroys the Kingsman offices in England. Survivors Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) head to America where they join up with their counterpart Spy Organization, Statesman: “Champ” (Jeff Bridges), Tequila (Channing Tatum), Ginger Ale (Halle Berry) and Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), and resuscitated Harry Hart appears with an eye patch and amnesia! Madness and bloody mayhem take over, but it’s overlong by 20 minutes and the middle act drags. (Scotiabank Theatre, Metropolis)
NEW: LEATHERFACE (1hr 30min)  *** This is the eighth film in 1974’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise and is a prequel, explaining how young mentally sane Jedidiah Sawyer endured trauma to became the mentally disabled serial killer, masked with human skin and using a chainsaw and mallet as his weapons.  At a 5th birthday party for youngest son, Jed (Boris Kabakchief), the deranged Sawyer family’s demonic mother Verna (Lili Taylor) distributes the cake in handfuls, forcing a fistful into the mouth of a bound prisoner at the table, accusing of stealing one of their pigs. He denies it and Jed is handed a chainsaw and told to kill the old man. When he refuses and flees, Verna urges the grandfather to kill the man with a mallet. Years later in 1955, a young couple in a truck hit something in the road and stop to check, finding it to be a kid with a pig mask. The kid runs off through the woods into a disused barn and she follows and is killed by the family. The police under Texas Ranger Hartman (Stephen Dorff) arrive to find her dead and, against the objections of the family and as revenge, take Jed "under protection" and places him in Gorman House mental asylum for juveniles. (“You take one of mine and I’ll take all of yours, Verna”). A new naïve nurse Lizzy (Vanessa Grasse) tries to befriend the mentally unstable patients, including hulking Bud (Sam Coleman) and Jackson (Sam Strike) and minor skirmishes break out. A remarried Verna arrives with a lawyer with an injunction to visit now 17 year old Jackson (Sam Strike), but is denied. She manages to break in and causes a massive bloody riot during which several patients and staff are killed. Bud brutally kills the facility’s director. Jackson saves Lizzy and the two are taken hostage by dangerous psycho Ike (James Bloor) and Clarice (Jessica Madsen), with Bud joining them in their escape. At a remote busy BBQ diner, Ike and Clarice shoot up everyone indiscriminately and they take off with Jackson, Lizzy and a wounded Bud.  Hartman arrives too late and deduces that one of the escapees is Jed!  And now the bodies and the gore really pile up. Credit is due to French directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury who filmed this bloody carnage in Bulgaria on a shoestring and the suspenseful plot builds to its bloodbath climax, and is horrific, gripping and yet engrossing. This should do well at the box office for horror fans. (Park Theatre)
NEW: LUCKY (1hr 28min) ** ½  Character actor/musician Harry Dean Stanton died aged 91 on September 15, ending with the role of a 90 year old loner Lucky, his first starring part in a career that spanned 6 decades. His latest will appeal largely to Art House audiences which will consider his performance worthy of an Oscar nomination. Here, looking older than his real years, Stanton plays morose Lucky (we never know his real name), a craggy, thin as a rake bachelor (“I’m alone but not lonely”) with sunken haunted eyes and long unkempt stringy hair. His modest home was in an unnamed small town on the fringes of the desert in the American Southwest where he lived a routine life.  First thing every morning he did his 5 yoga exercises and drank a mug of milk, his fridge containing nothing but three milk cartons which, as he finishes one, he replenished at the corner grocery store where he was a regular visitor. Everyone knew Lucky and in his routine each morning he stopped at the coffee shop/diner to gab with the staff and whoever was present. He was deeply involved in the newspaper’s daily crossword puzzles and in watching TV quiz games.  He routinely visited the local bar, with the same few propping it up, like eccentric Howard (David Lynch), absolutely devastated that his pet tortoise named President Roosevelt had escaped, but convinced it would return. When Lucky collapsed in his kitchen, he was told by doctor Christian Needler (Ed Begley jr) that he was in exceptionally good health for a man of his age, in spite of smoking a pack a day. The diner’s friendly waitress Loretta (Yvonne Huff) dropped by to check on him and to smoke weed while watching Liberace on TV. On the plus side, screenwriters Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja have given all the supporting actors meaty roles: Ron Livingstone as an insurance agent, Hugo Armstrong as the bartender, Bertila Damas as the grocery store owner, Barry Shabaka Henley as the diner’s owner; James Darren as a regular at the bar who’s hooked up with Beth Grant, playing the bar’s brassy owner.  Lucky swaps intimate stories in the coffee shop with a former WW11 marine (Tom Skerritt) of life on the front line. He was a lifelong atheist, believing there is nothingness at the inevitable end of life which is fast approaching. The leisurely paced plotless drama is impeccably acted.  (Intl Village)
MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE (1hr 43 min) ** ½  Who was Deep Throat?  Mark Felt was an FBI special agent in the position of Associate Director under FBI director J Edgar Hoover. On the latter’s death, President Richard Nixon surprisingly appointed loyal outsider Patrick Gray (Martin Csokas) as Acting FBI director.  Felt, Associate director from 1972 to 1973, hid 12 of Hoover’s Official/Confidential files which contained secrets which would help in the Watergate break-in scandal and we learned how high up in the Government it led. Felt discovered that the burglars were all former FBI and .CIA operatives, including members of the Committee to re-elect the President. Felt knew that the Nixon White House had been up to dirty tricks for years and he was determined to investigate, passing on secret information to Time magazine reporter Sandy Smith (Bruce Greenwood) and Washington Post’s Bob Woodward (Julian Morris). Fascinating but not up to the standard of All the President’s Men. (Intl Village)
THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US (1hr 40 min) *** Filmed mostly in BC, at the airport photojournalist Alex (Kate Winslet) and Dr. Ben Blass (Idris Elba) need to get to their separate destinations urgently but all flights have been cancelled due to an oncoming storm.  They decide to share costs and charter a prop plane.  But high over the Rockies, the independent pilot (Beau Bridges) suffers a stroke just as they head into the storm, the plane breaks up and they crash land in sub zero temperatures. Alex has a fractured leg which Ben, with a side wound, attends to, the pilot is dead but his dog survived.  Incidentally, the rugged wintry scenery and photography by Mandy Walker are absolutely spectacular. With a few nibbles but plentiful water, they decide to head down and we go from problem to problem while the couple alternately bicker then bond while falling in love. Performances are strong. (Intl Village)
PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN (1hr 42min) ** Based on a true story, William Marston was an American psychologist and visionary inventor of the comic book character Wonder Woman which was influenced by two women in his life, brilliantly minded psychologist wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and smart student Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), both embodied the feminism of the day. In the 1920s, Marston was also the inventor of an early prototype of the lie detector. At Harvard Radcliffe College, Marston was attracted to student Olive who in turn was attracted to Elizabeth but the detector proved that the attraction of all three was mutual and Olive moved in with them.  The experimentations continued while Marston worked on his composite comic drawings of a superwoman Amazonian Diana. If you’re interested in how Wonder Woman came to be, you’ll be captivated. Others will find it pretentious, uneven and dull. (Intl Village)
VICTORIA & ABDUL (1hr 46min) *** At her Golden Jubilee in 1887, little did staid, bored Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) know that one of the two Muslim Indians she ordered to wait at her table would catch her eye. Tall and handsome Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) intrigued the Queen sufficiently for her to request she taught him Urdu and write in Hindi and she called him her “Munshi” (teacher). Her discussions with him were wide ranging and as she grew fonder (he was replacing Scots favourite John Brown who died in 1861) she made him her personal clerk. Three years later in her birthday Honours, Abdul was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire. His rise in influence and popularity created jealousy and discontent among the members of the Royal Household, including her son and heir Bertie, Prince of Wales (Eddie Izzard), later Edward V11. Knighting him would be the last straw. Dench is perfection. (Fifth Ave)

                                                       NEW DVDs

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday October 17
FIRST KILL Hayden Christensen, Bruce Willis, Gethin Anthony, Megan Leonard, Tyler Jon Olson, Shea Buckner
GIRLS TRIP Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Larenz Tate, Kate Walsh, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah
LADY MACBETH Florence Pugh, Christopher Fairbank, Cosmo Jarvis, Bill Fellows, Paul Hilton
SPIDER-MAN: HOME COMING Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday October 24
AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER. Al Gore's sequel documentary on climate change.
ANNABELLE: CREATION Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Philippa Anne Coulthard, Grace Fulton
BAG OF MARBLES. Dorian Le Clech, Batyste Fleurial Palmieri, Patrick Bruel, Elsa Zylberstein, Bernard Campan
BUSHWICK Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Angelic Zambrana, Jeremie Harris, Alex Breaux, Arturo Castro
THE EMOJI MOVIE Animation T.J. Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Christina Aguilera, Patrick Stewart
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, Toby Kebbell

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday October 31
KIDNAP Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Lew Temple, Chris McGinn, Dana Gourrier, Malea Rose, Christopher Berry
THE DARK TOWER  Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Abbey Lee, Jackie Earle Haley

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday November 7
CARS 3 (animation) Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Larry the Cable Guy, Armie Hammer
THE GLASS CASTLE Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Max Greenfield, Ella Anderson, Josh Caras
INGRID GOES WEST Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, Billy Magnussen, Wyatt Russell
WESTWORLD (HBO) Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins
YOUR NAME  Japanese animation

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday November 14
BRIGSBY BEAR Kyle Mooney, Mark Hamill, Jane Adams, Claire Danes, Greg Kinnear, Andy Samberg
WIND RIVER Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Jon Bernthal, Kelsey Asbile, Gil Birmingham, Julia Jones

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday November 21
BIRTH OF THE DRAGON  Billy Magnussen, Xia Yu, Philip Wan-Lung Ng, Simon Yin
CHURCHILL Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery, Ella Purnell, James Purefoy, Danny Webb
GOOD TIME Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barkhad Abdi, Benny Safdie, Buddy Duress
THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek
VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS Dane DeHaan, Clive Owen, Rihanna. Ethan Hawke

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday November 28
I DO ... UNTIL I DON'T Lake Bell, Ed Helms, Mary Steenburgen, Paul Reiser, Amber Heard, Wyatt Cenac
LOGAN LUCKY Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, Katie Holmes,Daniel Craig, Hilary Swank
TULIP FEVER  Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Zach Galifianakis, Judi Dench, Christoph Waltz

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday December 5
DESPICABLE ME 3 (animation) Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Steve Coogan, Jenny Slate