Movies at a Glance & New DVDs



                                                                     MOVIES AT A GLANCE.

For NEW DVDs click HERE                                                                           


BlacKKKlansman (2 hrs 15min) *** ½  The most intriguing, engrossing and hard-hitting film in months, director/co-writer Spike Lee has a winner in this factual autobiographical story by Ron Stallworth, the first African-American police officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department who infiltrated the Louisiana KKK and received the endorsement of David Duke, white supremacist leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Stallworth (John David Washington) always wanted to be an undercover officer. He was given the  chance to observe the speech by civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael (Corey Hawkins). In 1979 the Ku Klux Klan were seeking new members for its local chapter. Stallworth convinced them he wanted to join because he was a pure Aryan white man, tired of the abuse of white race by blacks and other minorities. When accepted by phone, Stallworth chose white undercover Jewish Detective Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), wired for sound, to double for him when he reported in person and that’s the way the investigation went for the next few months. It’s serious and tense but interlaced with humour. (Fifth Avenue, Intl Village)
NEW: THE CHILDREN ACT (1hr 45min) *** ½  When the Academy Award nominees are being considered, Emma Thompson’s name should be included for her tour-de-force performance in this totally engrossing adult drama from the novel by Ian McEwan (Atonement, On Chesil Beach) who earned the nickname Ian Macabre for his early Gothic short stories. “The Children Act 1989” allocates duties to local authorities, courts, parents, and other agencies in the United Kingdom, to ensure children are safeguarded and their welfare is promoted.  Fiona Maye or officially the Right Honorable Mrs. Justice Maye (Emma Thompson) and her husband Jack (Stanley Tucci) are estranged, not having had sex for 9 years and, although he confesses he loves her, she is overworked and solely dedicated to her career. In frustration he asks her if he could embark on a sexual affair with a 28 year old but she is horrified and rejects the idea. She is a judge in the High Court of Justice in England and has just heard a particularly difficult case in which she ruled that conjoined twins should be separated despite the fact that one would automatically die due to her ruling. Does that make her a murderer? While she and Jack are arguing, she receives a call about a teenager just two months short of 18 with leukemia who refuses a blood transfusion as his parents (Ben Chaplin, Eileen Walsh) are members of Jehovah’s Witnesses and receiving blood is against the scriptures, and without blood he would die. Jack leaves home while she is on the phone. The next day she goes to the hospital to see for herself, with parents watching, if he is capable of denying treatment or not. Adam (Fionn Whitehead) is a sensitive, intelligent boy and they spar verbally. He persuades her to stay while he reads his poetry to her and plays a song on the guitar to which she sings and he warms to her. In court she allows the court to give him a transfusion as he is not yet 18 and permitted to make his own decision. Back home, Jack has not returned and it is 2 days before he does and admits to having had sex. Time goes by and one day she meets Adam on the street, He is grateful to her for saving his life, disillusioned with religion and wants to meet more often which she rejects, but he is desrerate and persistent.  What does he want?  Will Jack return home? Can Fiona change her ways to include others?  If this doesn’t move you to tears, nothing will. (Fifth Ave)
CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (1hr 45min)  *** ½ The name is automatically associated with the teddy bear Winnie the Pooh and characters Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo and Owl, and you know they came from the fertile mind of British author and playwright A.A.Milne in the mid-1920s. Here, Winnie and friends are throwing a party for 9 year old Christopher Robin leaving for boarding school. Fast forward through WW11 when Christopher (Ewan McGregor) joined the army and saw violent action, returned and married architect Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and they have a daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) now 9 years old. Christopher is employed as an efficiency expert by Winslow Luggages and is so overworked that he has no time for his family. Winnie has lost contact with his animal friends and goes through Christopher’s magic portal to find him in London and get help in his search. A shocked Christopher is determined to return Winnie home and in doing so and on finding the gang, he re-learns what is important in life. But he has an important deadline at work and with the help of Madeleine, Evelyn, Winnie, Tigger and friends, we have an absolutely hilarious climax!  Kudos to director Marc Foster and especially McGregor, this is magical!  (Intl Village, Metropolis) 
(2hrs) *** ½ The coloured film is based on a popular satirical novel by Singaporean-American author Kevin Kwan whose intent was to introduce a contemporary Asia to a North American audience while the story was loosely based on his own upbringing in Singapore, whose most eligible bachelor Colin Khoo (Chris Panf) and fashion icon Arimenta Lee (Sonoya Mizuno) are being married in the Wedding of the Century. Nick Young (Henry Golding) is Colin’s best man and he has invited girlfriend NYU economics professor Rachael Chu (Constance Wu),l to the wedding and to meet his family, although she doesn’t know it is one of Singapore’s richest. Nick’s protective, highly critical dragon-lady mom Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) is convinced Rachael is a gold-digger and she’s rallied supporters to break up the relationship. Supporting Rachael is former NYC friend Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina), daughter of weird nouveau riche parents (Ken Jeong, Koh Chieng). One gigantic luxurious party follows another and, in between, are subplots involving scheming, feuding, story twists and revelations of secrets. (Fifth Avenue, Intl Village, Scotiabank Theatre, Metropolis) 
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. (Park Theatre)
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. (Intl Village)
JULIET, NAKED (1hr 45min) *** ½  Here’s a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining romcom made even better by perfect performances from a terrific ensemble cast. The simple story is centred on film professor Duncan Thomson (Chris O’Dowd) and his long-time obsession with early1900’s alt singer/songwriter Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke) while living for 15 years with long-suffering girlfriend Annie (Rose Byrne). A whole room is dedicated to him in her house! When he receives an acoustic demo of Tucker’s popular album, Juliet, Naked, a masterpiece according to Duncan, frustrated Annie writes a scathing critique of his fan website, Duncan is furious but Annie gets a response from reclusive Tucker, although she doesn’t tell Duncan, totally agreeing with her comments! He suggests they meet in London and they find they have much in common and an affair begins without Duncan knowing, untill they meet!  See this hugely appealing and endearing British gem, and stay for the amusing closing credits! (Intl Village)  
LITTLE ITALY (1hr 42min) * ½  In Toronto’s Little Italy, there are two Pizzerias, one owned by Sal (Adam Ferrara) and Dora Angioli (Alyssa Milano), the other by Vince (Gary Basaraba) and Amelia (Linda Kash). Their kids grew up as best friends till Sal’s daughter Nikki (Emma Roberts) left for a culinary course in London, eventually being offered a chef job in a new swanky restaurant and returning to Canada to await her work permit. Vince’s son Leo (Hayden Christensen) works part time in Luigi’s bar, Luigi being Asian (Andrew Phung) while dreaming of opening an artisanal pizza place. Their parents’ success is due to their grandparents’ specialties: a perfect crust from Carlo (Danny Aiello) and a secret red sauce from Franca (Andrea Martin). Over time and competitions the two owners feuded and that affected the budding romance between Nikki and Leo. The story is predictable, annoying dialogue is badly written, double entendres awful and it’s clichéd with painfully unfunny stereotypes. (Intl Village)
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! (Intl Village)
NEW: MANDY (2hrs) ** ½ Here’s yet another revenge horror film, this one from 44 year old director/co-writer Panos Cosmatos, born in Rome and whose family moved to Victoria B.C. in the 1980s. But this one is the most bizarre, weird, incoherent and confusing films of this year, yet it is stylish, psychedelic, bizarre yet exhilarating to watch. Yes, this will become a cult midnight classic for those into this type of over-the-top bloody lunacy, and it has Nicolas Cage going berserk as he’s never done before. I’ll keep the review simple as not many of our readers will be planning to see this. In a remote section of the forested Shadow Mountains in 1983, a middle aged loving couple logger Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) and his partner artist Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough) live in a comfortable hippie cabin beside Crystal Lake.  On a walk alone one day, a vehicle of religious LSD weirdos slowly pass Mandy, and her gaze is noticed by the cult leader of the Children of the New Dawn, Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache, son of William Roache, best known as Ken Barlow in Coronation Street), whose ardent groveling unhinged followers, Brother Swan (Ned Dennehy), Mother Marlene (Olwen Foiure), Sister Lucy (Line Pillett) , Brother Hanker (Alexis Julemont) and Brother Lewis (Stephen Fraser), are there to do his biding. “Get that girl I saw” is his order to them and summoned demonic disfigured black-clad biker “beings” to assist. They swoop down on Red and Mandy, gagging and binding Red in barbed wire and abducting Mandy to be presented to Jeremiah. He goes bonkers when she laughs at him and is trussed up and taken to her home where he takes his revenge in front of Red who is left to die and the cult takes off. But naturally he manages to free himself and gathering a vast array of weapons including a hand-forged silver axe, a Reaper crossbow and a chainsaw, he plots his gory vengeance which takes place over the majority of the film. It’s grief-stricken ferocious Cage’s tour-de-force maniacal psychotic performance which sees him getting crazier and bloodier every minute. Icelandic composer Johann Johansson’s bombastic synth-heavy original score (now deceased, he was favoured by Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, and won a Golden Globe for The Theory of Everything) plays an important role in the film.  The trippy visuals are stunning and so kudos to imaginative DP Benjamin Loeb and production designer Hubert Pouille. Visionary Cosmatos and Cage make a great team, and the former is the name to watch, but this is an unpleasant film. (Park Theatre)
PAPILLON (2hrs 15min) ** ½  Does anyone remember the 1973 original starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman?  It was based on the 1969 autobiography by French convict Henri Charriere.  In Paris 1931 Charriere (Charlie Hunnam) worked as a petty thief for the mob but he simultaneously lined his own pockets with diamonds. One morning he was arrested,, accused of the murder of a pimp to which he protested his innocence. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in the remote inhumane penitentiary in French Guiana, South America.  On the sea journey, he met counterfeiter and embezzler Louis Dega (Rami Malek) and offered him protection from violence if he would fund his eventual escape. When he attacked a guard from hitting Dega, he was given an additional two years in solitary where he was beaten and starved. He collapsed and was taken to hospital where he met Dega again, working for the officials, and they planned a daring escape. (Intl Village) 
PEPPERMINT (1hr 42min) ** ½  French director Pierre Morel (Taken) is back with another action packed thriller which primarily should attract Asian markets appreciating wall-to-wall bloodbaths. Riley North (Jennifer Garner) and her husband Chris (Jeff Hepner) are celebrating daughter Carly’s (Cailey Fleming) 10th birthday at the carnival when dad and daughter are killed in a drive-by Mafia shooting with Riley seriously wounded and hospitalized. When she identifies the killers and goes to court, crooked Judge Stevens (Jeff Harlan) dismissed the case (“the evidence is insufficient”) and the murderers went free. 5 years later she has prepared herself physically and mentally to take revenge on all those who destroyed her life. On the anniversary of the slaughter, Carly begins her carnage on Mafia’s ruthless kingpin Diego Garcia’s (Juan Pablo Raba) gang while being seen on every TV set and pursued by the mob, the LAPD and the FBI. (Scotiabank Theatre, Metropolis)
NEW: A SIMPLE FAVOR (1hr 56min) ** Even talented Anna Kendrick can’t save this convoluted psychological comedy/thriller from being one of this year’s most disappointing movies. Wholesome naive single mother Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is a widow and stay-at-home lonely mommy blogger living in suburban Connecticut. In her daily routine she picks up her young son Miles (Joshua Satine) to take him home. She meets Miles’ best friend Nicky (Ian Ho) and his mother, the sophisticated, wealthy and confident Manhattan PR executive Emily Nelson (Blake Lively) who invites Stephanie home for cocktails in the Nelson family’s lavish home. Following conversation and cocktails the two women supposedly become best friends (actually they have great chemistry together). Stephanie meets Emily’s amorous British author husband Sean (a wooden Henry Golding, currently star of Crazy Rich Asians).  Over further copious gin martinis, the women trade “secrets” and Stephanie admits to having had sex with her half-brother (Rupert Friend) who was killed in a car accident along with her husband (Andrew Rannells). When Stephanie takes a photo of Emily, she snaps at her and demands she destroys it. “You do not want to be friends with me, trust me.” Emily phones Stephanie and asks a simple favor to pick up Nicky along with Miles as she has been delayed at work. But the hours turn into days and still Emily has not appeared and has stopped responding to messages.  Stephanie and Sean phone the police and meanwhile the couple grows closer with Stephanie enjoying the luxuries of stylish Emily’s home.. When a body is found drowned, it is identified as Emily’s, especially as she is wearing Sean’s gift of a ring to her. Stephanie decides to snoop and she discovers that Emily had a twin sister – could that be the dead body?  The police inform her that Sean took out an extra $4 million life insurance policy before she disappeared.  Then the film becomes a silly complicated mess, going completely out of control while it is exhaustingly over-loaded with unnecessary and unconvincing revelations and twists, often predictable. None of this is compelling and it quickly backfires and torpedoes everything that has gone on previously. Director Paul Feig has done so much better in the past with the likes of Bridesmaids and Spy. (Fifth Avenue, 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. (Intl Village)


NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday September 18
BILLIONAIRES BOYS CLUB Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Taron Egerton, Emma Roberts, Rosanna Arquette
DAMSEL Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Robert Forster, Russell Mael
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM  Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, James Cromwell, Toby Jones
SIBERIA  Keanu Reeves, Ana Ularu, Pasha D. Lynchnikoff, James Gracie, Eugene Lipinski,  Molly Ringwald

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday September 25
HOT SUMMER NIGHTS  Timothée Chalamet, Maika Monroe, Alex Roe, Maia Mitchell, Thomas Jane
THE SEAGULL Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan, Brian Dennehy, Mare Winningham, Billy Howle, Elisabeth Moss
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY  Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany
UNCLE DREW.  Kyrie Irving, Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, Lisa Leslie, Nick Kroll

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday October 2
THE CATCHER WAS A SPY. Paul Rudd, Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce, Paul Giamatti, Jeff Daniels, Tom Wilkinson
LEAVE NO TRACE. Ben Foster, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Jeffrey Rifflard, Peter Simpson, Michael Draper
SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO  Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS.  Documentary. In 1980 the true story of why identical triplets were separated,

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday October 9
EIGHTH GRADE  Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Daniel Zoghadri, Fred M Hechinger, Jake Ryan
HOTEL ARTEMIS  Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION. Animation Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg,  Kevin James
SKYSCRAPER. Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Noah Taylor, Roland Møller, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday October 16
UNFRIENDED WEB. Colin Woodell, Betty Gabriel, Stephanie Nogueras, Billy Drago, Andrew Bryniarski
WHITNEY. Documentary. Intimate unflinching portrait of Whitney Houston that probes beyond  tabloid headlines

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday October 23.
MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN. Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Cher
PATIENT ZERO. Matt Smith, Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci, Clive Standen, Agyness Deynn, John Bradley

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday October 30
OUR HOUSE. Thomas Mann, Nicola Peltz, Percy Hynes White, Kate Moyer, John Ralston, Xavier de Guzman
THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME. Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Sam Heughan,  Gillian Anderson