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Movies at a Glance & New DVDs


 
 

  

                                                                     MOVIES AT A GLANCE.

For NEW DVDs click HERE                                                                          


THERE ARE 2 NEW REVIEWS THIS WEEK:  MARIANNE & LEONARD: WORDS OF LOVE; for Netflix: POINT BLANK


ALADDIN
(2hrs 8min) *** ½  Following the Disney animated feature Aladdin in 1992 comes this live action Guy Ritchie adaptation of the classic. The plot is well known. Pick-pocketting Aladdin (Mina Massoud) is a poor “street rat” who steals in order to survive. When a young woman (Naomi Scott) can’t pay for bread for starving children, he helps her escape, not realizing she is incognito Princess Jasmine, daughter of the Sultan (Navid Negahban), and she wants to succeed her father despite the efforts of evil rival, sorcerer Grand Vizier Jafar (miscast Marwan Kenzari). He wants to possess the magic lamp, capable of granting him any three wishes, but hidden in a cave blocked to all but one worthy person and that is Aladdin. Jafar promises to give him the riches of a prince to impress Jasmine if given the lamp but Aladdin rubs it and the wise-cracking blue skinned Genie (Will Smith) appears confirming he can have three wishes.  But what happens when Jafar steals the lamp and gets three wishes?  Adventures abound! Production and costume design are lavish, locations and special effects fabulous, it’s fun for the whole family! (Intl Village, Scotiabank Theatre, Metropolis)

ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE (1hr 42min) * ½ The only reason to see this clichéd, bland, predictable comedy is the cameo performance by Keanu Reeves spoofing his macho image.  Asian-American Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) live with their parents as next door neighbors in San Francisco. Sasha has ambitions of becoming a chef and Marcus works with dad in his air-conditioning business while in the evenings singing in a boy band. Sasha and Marcus have a serious falling out, following sex in his car’s backseat.  Sixteen years later, Sasha is a celebrity chef while Marcus’ ambitions and band are unchanged. In Los Angeles Sasha is engaged to older restaurateur (Daniel Dae Kim) with ambitions of expanding to New York. Sasha returns to SF to open a restaurant and is looking forward to opening a chic NY restaurant. Their affair is rekindled after she breaks up with her fiancé but she is insistent she must go to NY and he wants her to remain in SF. This is embarrassingly bad, the chemistry is nil, it’s  no Crazy Rich Asians, failing due to unconvincing stereotypes and a poor, unfunny script.  (Netflix)
BOOKSMART (1hr 45min) ***  Best friends since childhood, Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) are intelligent high school students on the eve of graduation.  Molly overheard students stating that school wasn’t everything and, while Amy and Molly studied, the others enjoyed their years slacking and partying and yet all managed to got accepted into major colleges. Molly persuaded reluctant Amy that, making up for lost times, they would go partying. Amy hadn’t come out although she had a crush on Ryan (Victoria Ruesga). Molly, determined to become the Supreme Court’s youngest justice ever, would give the graduation ceremony closing statement.  Amy wanted to leave but Molly wouldn’t let her and words exploded between the two.  Amy was tired of being bossed endlessly by Molly. When Amy stalled a police raid so others could escape, she landed in prison, and  Molly was horrified to learn of Amy’s arrest. Would the friends reconcile and would Amy make it to the valediction?  New director Olivia Wilde has created an amusing, raucous contemporary teen comedy. (Intl Village)
EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE (1hr 50min) *** Presiding judge Edwartd Cowart made those remarks at sociopath, serial killer, kidnapper and rapist Ted Bundy’s trial for multiple murders (he confessed to 30 between 1974 and '78) while sentencing him in 1980 to death by electrocution. In 1969 Seattle law student Ted Bundy (Zac Efron) met single mom "Liz" (Lily Collins) and she became his romantic and domestic partner throughout his years of crime. Based on her 1981 memoir: "The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy," the compelling story is told from Liz’ prospective and we are spared gruesome details of his victims' deaths. From January to July 1975 young women were attacked and brutally murdered by a serial killer. A drawing by one woman who escaped resembled Bundy but there was no proof. Over time Liz struggled with the accusations and co-incidences and she grew more distant. He was then involved with Carole Ann Boone (Kaya Scodelario), getting her pregnant. This builds up to the final 1979 Miami nationally televised courtroom scene where Ted fired his lawyer, married Carole Ann, and received the death sentence, Interesting! (Netflix)
THE HIGHWAYMEN (2hrs 12min) *** This has been in development by writer John Fusco since 2005 initially as a Paul Newman and Robert Redford project about a couple of retired Texas Rangers who were hired to apprehend notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde. Texas governor "Ma" Ferguson (Kathy Bates) disbanded the Texas Rangers to introduce a new younger generation of law enforcement officers and high on their wanted list was trigger happy, wild and young Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow whose crime spree started in 1931 ending in 1934, killing 9 lawmen during that time. Unable to apprehend them and stung by bad publicity, Ma called out of retirement and gave "highwaymen" status to former Ranger Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) and Manny Gault (Woody Harrelson) and the overly long film follows their exploits in tracking down and eventually killing the celebrated murderous wild and young couple. Much of the film relies on the officers' chemistry, including a lot of dry humour, and director John Lee Hancock made the perfect choice of old pros Costner and Harrelson. (Netflix)
HOMECOMING A film by Beyonce (2hrs 17min) *** ½ The universally acclaimed documentary written, directed and executive co-produced by R&B superstar Beyonce Knowles-Carter is a spectacular concert, playing tribute to black culture, taking place for two weekends at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival including archival footage and home videos clips (voiced by Beyonce). The extraordinary extravaganza on pyramid rafters has a continuously moving cast of 200 black dancers, a choir, a drumline and marching band. Superbly and exquisitely choreographed, costumed, rehearsed and directed, the lengthy production is exhausting but exhilarating to watch. A brief break follows pregnant Beyonce leading to her twins' births, followed by preparation with out of shape Beyonce in a countdown to Coachella. "I studied my history, I studied my past and I put every mistake and all my triumphs from my 22-year career into my two-hour homecoming performance." Although not a fan of Beyonce's hip-hop music, I am of her accomplishments in her remarkable masterpiece. (Netflix)
I AM MOTHER (1hr 55min) *** ½  Here’s a film with three female characters (actually two, as one uses a woman’s voice) confined to a vast automated underground repopulation facility in a post apocalyptic world following an extinction event. It was designed by humans to repopulate the earth in case of emergency. There are over 63,000 frozen embryos on the site although the current human occupation is zero. 13,867 days later, a life-size droid picks an embryo, pops it into a biomedical Instant Pot and, 24 hours later, baby is born.  Mother (voice of Rose Byrne) raises the girl as her Daughter (Clara Ruggard) and her upbringing is that of a regular child. Mother explains that a virus decimated humanity leaving just them and therefore it isn’t safe to leave the facility. What happens when a severely wounded Woman (Hillary Swank) knocks on the door begging to be let in and teenager Daughter is conflicted when told a contradictory story from Woman about the world outside. Intriguing!  (Netflix)
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM  (2hrs 11min) *** ½ “The brilliantly directed and incredibly choreographed extended fight sequences by stuntman /director Chad Stahelski reassembled characters from the two previous Wick neo-noir action thrillers. When John Wick (Keanu Reeves) killed an Italian crime lord in the “safe house for assassins” Continental Hotel, he knew manager Winston (Ian McShane) must list him as excommunicado, and the “High Table,” offered a contract of $14 million on his life. On his escape through rival NY territories, John is attacked by numerous hit squads. Each of these elaborate sequences is precise and perfect, thanks to the director, choreographer, editor, stunt team and actors, especially Reeves, working as one. High Table’s Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) warned John’s friends including Bowey King (Laurence Fishburne) that they must comply. John approached former mentor Director (Angelica Huston) for a safe passage to Casablanca to appeal to the High Table leader and he met up with former friend Sofia (Halle Berry) and her attack dogs. It’s wall-to-wall action packed excitement!  (Intl Village, Metropolis) 
LATE NIGHT (1hr 42min) ** The only woman hosting a long running Late Night Show on American television is advised to hire a woman in her all-male all-white group of dim witted writers in order to improve her sagging ratings. Laughs are few and far between in this mildly amusing comedy/drama starring Emma Thompson as the dry, sarcastic TV legend Katherine Newbury.  When Newbury hears that the network’s head Caroline Morton (Amy Ryan) is planning to replace her with a crass internet comedian Daniel Tenant (Ike Barinholtz), she is told that her problem is she is adverse to social media and is “a woman who hates women.;” hence no women writers. Executive producer Brad (Denis O’Hare) is told to hire a female writer to make her “funny and relevant again.”  Enter Mindy Kaling as Molly Patel who worked in management in a Connecticut chemical plant but was a fan though critic of the show. Sadly predictable, there’s no biting satire here and more’s the pity. (Intl Village)
NEW: MARIANNE & LEONARD: WORDS OF LOVE (1hr 37min) *** ½  Canadian Jewish poet and novelist Leonard Cohen was a failed writer when he decided to travel to the idyllic Greek island of Hydra in 1960, and it was here he met Marianne Ihlen, the abandoned wife of author Axel Jenson and mother of their son Axel.  Director Nick Broomfield was also a writer on Hydra and he had a brief affair with Marianne and they continued being friends for life.  Life on the sundrenched island in the 60s was a perfect haven for misfits as it incorporated free love, sex and drugs on a daily basis. Leonard and Marianne were like two refugees running away from life mesmerized by the island’s beauty and they fell in love, she becoming his muse. But Leonard needed to spend part of his life in his hometown of Montreal. When folk singer Judy Collins learned that Cohen was the writer of the song Suzanne, she insisted he join her on stage for a duet of the song to rapturous applause from the audience and so started his amazingly successful musical career. The biography includes the original duet and a fascinating treasure trove of archival film, photos and audio tapes of Cohen throughout his life. In addition, the story is told by Marianne, Cohen, his guitarist Ron Cornelius, director Broomfield and numerous other participants throughout his life. As a child, Cohen was encouraged by his aristocratic Russian mother to sing. Well documented, he had a passion for women and speed. He suffered depression and would disappear for weeks. His love for Marianne continued even while he was dating other women and over the years he saw less and less of Marianne. In Montreal he had another partner Suzanne and they had children. He toured the world extensively and recorded 14 albums. Later in life he spent six years in a monastery and when he came out he found his manager and close friend Kelley Lynch had embezzled him of over $5 million including retirement money and from his trust fund, leaving him broke. He returned to concerts in North America, Europe and Australasia which lasted until late 2013. When he was informed that Marianne was dying in 2016, he wrote to her: “Dearest Marianne, I’ve never forgotten your love and your beauty but you know I don’t have to say more. Safe travels, old friend. See you down the road. Endless love and gratitude, Your Leonard.” He died three months and 9 days later. The song So Long Marianne was written to and about her. (Fifth Avenue)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXC5y2RslwM  
MIDSOMMAR (2 hrs 20 min) *** Although filmed last summer in Hungary, the theme of this ambitious, absorbing, unsettling although excessively long, horror story, from writer/dierector Ari Aster, is set in Sweden where a group of young Americans receive an invitation to attend a 9 day secretive pagan folk ritual which occurs every 90 years in the midsummer Swedish solstice. Dani (Florence Pugh) joins her uncaring boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and friends Josh (William Jackson Harper), Mark (Will Poulter) and Swedish friend Pele (Vilhelm Blomgren), to witness the ancient European midsummer rites in a remote pastoral paradise. On arrival they are fed hallucinogons by the all white creepy cult community dressed in white. A series of rituals occurs starting with an elderly couple scaling a cliff, and watched by smiling faces, performs ritual suicide by deliberately falling to their deaths, then having their heads bashed in with wooden mallets before being incinerated. Naturally the guests start disappearing. (Fifth Avenue, Scotiabank Theatre)
MURDER MYSTERY (1hr 37min) ** Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston are together again in a comedy mystery. Pity the film isn’t near the standard of the gorgeous European locations. Police officer Nick Spitz (Sandler) and wife Audrey (Aniston) fly to Europe for their long delayed honeymoon’s 15th anniversary. On the flight she meets billionaire viscount Charles Cavendish (Luke Evans) and he invites them to join a party on the family super yacht in Monte Carlo, which includes Cavendish’s ex-fiancee Suzi (Shiori Kutsuna), his cousin Toby (David Walliams), actress Grace Ballard (Gemma Arterton), Colonel Ulenga (John Kari), bodyguard Sergei (Olafur Darri Olafsson), Maharajah Vikram (Adeel Akhtar) and Grand Prix driver Juan Carlos (Luis Gerard Mendez). Their host, billionaire Malcolm Quince (Terence Stamp), announces he has a new will eliminating all of them, and then the murders start. Sorry, this is tedious, boring and dull. (Netflix)
NEW: POINT BLANK (1hr 21min) ** ½  Back in 2011, there was an ingenuous French action thriller of the same title with a breakneck speed running time of less than 90 minutes, slightly confusing with plot complications but action packed, that got English speaking reviewers raving but subtitles kept English speaking audiences at bay. The stars, Gilles LeBouche and Roschdy Zem, were completely unknown in North America which didn't help attract crowds. Well now Netflix is presenting an English language version with Anthony Mackie as hospital emergency room nurse Paul and Frank Grillo as career criminal Abe, admittedly not superstars but solid performers. In a dark opening sequence shots are heard in the D.A's mansion and Abe is seen running out and down the road, clutching a flash drive, which will prove to gangster Big D (Markiss More) the presence of crooked cops in Cincinnatt, when he is chased and first shot and then hit by a car which speeds off. His brother Mateo (Christian Cooke) was there to pick up Abe but was forced to drive off. Paul is at home tending to his very pregnant wife Taryn (Teyonah Parris). He is the nurse on duty in the hospital and is called in to attend to unconscious wounded Abe. In the hospital Mateo attacks Abe, steals his keys and runs off, showing up at Abe's home, He phones Paul to say he is holding Taryn as hostage till he releases his brother from police custody and they make the exchange. Terrified Paul loads Abe on pain meds and they narrowly escape from the building, just as Detective Regina (Marcie Gay Hardin) and her assistant (Boris McGiver) come looking for the wounded man. She sets off an alarm and the cops are after them, with Abe implicated in the D.A's murder, just one in a string of high profile murders. Meanwhile Mateo is very aware Taryn's situation is getting desperate. The action is present at all times although it is not unique (no, this is not a buddy film) but there is virtually no character development and so we have no personal interest in any of the participants. Another 20 minutes or so would have solved that problem. (Netflix). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMJ0_S-x40 .     

ROCKETMAN (2hrs 1min) *** ½  Rocketman is the bio pic on singer, songwriter, composer Elton John but unfortunately there are over 20 portions of his hit songs used to dramatize stages of his life, and not one full song among them. Director Dexter Fletcher has created a hugely inventive “musical fantasy” with a sensational performance by Taron Egerton (and he sings) as Elton. Born Reginald Dwight, his childhood with disinterested parents was unhappy. The story starts and returns to Elton in group therapy, having attempted suicide following overdoses. The recurring theme is of Elton desperately looking for true love. From childhood he took an interest in playing piano and when he met lyricist Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) at their manager’s, they became close friends, but not as close as gay Reggie would have liked. With name change, his debut at the Troubadour, Los Angeles was sensational and set the two on their path to world fame. Elton was seduced by his manager John Reid (Richard Madden) who turned abusive, and lonely Elton oded on drugs and booze. Surefire hit for the next Academy Awards! (Fifth Avenue, Scotiabank Theatre)
TOY STORY 4 (1hr 30min) *** ½  The spectacularly successful Pixar animated series started in 1995 continues with Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and their toy friends finding new appreciation after being given by college-bound Andy (Jack McGraw) to preschooler Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw). Bo Peep (Annie Potts) was sold to a mysterious man and has assured her friends that’s normal for toys. A new toy is introduced. Forky (Tony Hale) is a plastic spork (combination spoon and fork) retrieved by Woody from a trashcan who considers himself trash. A delighted Bonnie made him into a toy-spork with pipe cleaner limbs and pasting on eye decals and he became her favourite. Bonnie, her parents and her toys set off on a road trip adventure to an RV park where Woody and Spork encounter creepy Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) in an antique store. Woody’s girlfriend Bo Peep and a variety of lost toys cruise the carnival playgrounds, serving as temporary playthings. Fun for all, animation and production values are again perfect. (Scotiabank Theatre, Intl Village, Metropolis) 
YESTERDAY (1hr 52min) *** ½  With the combination of the Beatles music, direction by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), writer Richard Curtis (Notting Hill), a talk show with James Corden (TV’s Late Late Show) and Ed Sheeran, that’s enough incentive to see this musical fantasy film. Jack Malek (Himish Patel) is a struggling British singer/songwriter who, despite the support of childhood friend/manager Ellie (Lily James), is giving up his career when he is hit by a bus in a freak accident that at the same time blacked out the world for 12 seconds. When with friends he starts singing the Beatles’ Yesterday, his friends wondered when he wrote the song. It seems they and the world (he checked out Google) knew nothing about the Beatles or their music. As he performs more Beatles songs, so his reputation and popularity grew worldwide. He was considered the writer of  these great songs. Ed Sheeran offered him the opening act slot on his tour and Ed’s outspoken US manager (Debra McKinnon) took over his career, much to Ellie’s disappointment. This is a delightful, amusing, nostalgic crowd-pleaser well worth seeing. (Intl Village, Fifth Avenue, Metropolis) 
WILD ROSE (1hr 41min) *** ½  Note this sensational break-out performance by 29 year old Irish Jessie Buckley as Rose-Lynn Harlam, the ambitious feisty Glaswegian working class single mom who is determined to become a country (not country and western) music star in Nashville. Out of prison and tagged, single mom Rose is restricted after 7pm to perform at Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry Club. Her long suffering mother Marion (fantastic Julie Walters) has taken care of the kids, a boy aged  8 and a girl aged 5. With their fractured relationship, Marion hoped that the internment would have made immature Rose less selfish and more responsible to her kids. She gets a cleaning job at the home of wealthy Susannah (terrific Sophie Okonedo) who hears her sing and offers to throw a fund-raising party, with Rose performing, to raise money for her to go to Nashville, but can she do it?  Tom Harper’s impressive direction and Nicole Taylor’s obligations of family versus personal ambitions screenplay result in a guaranteed crowd pleaser.(Intl Village)

                                                            
                                                              NEW DVDs.

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday July 16
BREAKTHROUGH  Chrissy Metz, Josh Lucas, Topher Grace, Mike Colter, Sam Trammell, Dennis Haysbert
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52bORzIODec
FAST COLOR. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Strathairn, Lorraine Toussaint, Saniyya Sidney, Christopher Denham
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se9n853lBNo
SHAZAM! Djimon Hounsou, Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Grace Fulton
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s98AgxZw1Ek
TEEN SPIRIT Elle Fanning, Rebecca Hall, Zlatko Buric, Clara Rugaard, Ruairi O'Conno, Millie Brady
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRPUrnXzqZY

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday July 23
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Jackie Earle Haley
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cislZ9S0ocA
HELLBOY David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Penelope Mitchell, Brian Gleeson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsBO4b3tyZg
MISSING LINK  Animation Hugh Jackman, Zoe Saldana, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Thompson, Matt Lucas,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UalKq-DSXI

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday July 30
THE INTRUDER  Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Dennis Quaid, Joseph Sikora, Alvina Evans, Kurt Evans
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTT-uXrN_Ys
LONG SHOT Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, Andy Serkis, Bob Odenkirk, Alexander Skarsgård
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WChi69mk2CQ
UGLYDOLLS Animation Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Pitbull , Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton, Bebe Rexha
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzbxSpBOJ6E

NEW DVDS ... starting Tuesday August 6
AMAZING GRACE  Biography of Aretha Franklin recording her award winning gospel album in 1972.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPcrD-wD_LY
THE CURSE OF LA LLORENA  Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez, Marisol Ramirez
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOV-xMYQ7sk
DONNYBROOK Jamie Bell, Frank Grillo, Chris Browning, Adam Bartley, Margaret Quailey,Michael Agee
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAbXjyYDWrg
LEGO DC BATMAN: FAMILY MATTERS Animation Troy Baker, Scott Menville, Alyson Stoner, Tara Strong,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZ1Y3Y24z50
POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Ken Watanabe, Bill Nighy, Rita Ora
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bILE5BEyhdo
POMS  Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Celia Weston, Alisha Boe, Charlie Tahan, Rhea Perlman, Pam Grier, 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_V8skh6gtU
PROJECT ITHACA.  James Gallanders, Deragh Campbell, Daniel Fathers, Caroline Raynaud, Alex Woods
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pohK_J7GZ78
THE SOUVENIR. Honor Swinton Byrne, Tom Burke, Tilda Swinton, Richard Ayoade, Jack Mc Mullen
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9Al2nC0vzY
TOLKIEN  Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Colm Meaney, Anthony Boyle, Patrick Gibson, Derek Jacobi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqOfrcgWDLo

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday August 13
ALL IS TRUE  Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Lydia Wilson, Kathryn Wilder, Jimmy Yuill
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I5cKmiONDI
AVENGERS: ENDGAME Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee1172yeqyE
UNPLANNED.  Ashley Bratcher, Brooks Ryan, Robia Scott, Jared Lotz, Emma Elle Robert, Robia Scott
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VctHVTri8ko

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday August 20
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM. Documentary. John Chester & Molly Chester create a unique diverse farm.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7bBfnw42tk
BRIGHTBURN  Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Dunn, Matt Jones, Meredith Hagner
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6eB0JT1DI4
A DOG'S JOURNEY  Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin, Henry Lau, Kathryn Prescott, Dennis Quaid, Josh Gad
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJoACWYH5Es
THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR   Yara Shahidi, Charles Melton, John Leguizamo, Gbenga Akinnagbe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbPVzKPTHLc