Movies at a Glance & New DVDs



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ARMY OF THE DEAD (2hrs 28min)  *** This must be Netflix’ Blockbuster of the Summer which, although basically a zombie film, has also a heist storyline, a variety of interracial characters, a father/daughter reconciliation and a good dose of humour along with the gruesome gore, violence and mayhem. A heavily guarded convoy transporting a mysterious shipment from Area 51 collides with a car, unleashing a massive explosion and fireball and releasing an enhanced zombie which immediately kills some and infects others in the convoy. In Las Vegas, the entire population has been affected and the city quarantined. Former apocalyptic mercenary Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) was approached by billionaire Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his enforcer Martin (Garret Dilahunt) about stealing $200 million currently in his casino vault before the entire contaminated city is demolished by a tactical nuclear strike. Offered $50 million, Ward recruited a carefully chosen, crack mercenary team of oddballs, along with estranged daughter Kate (Ella Purnell). The team has to pass through a succession of zombie hoards, losing members along the way. You are never sure who is up to what and why. As it is, you never know who will survive or who will be joining the army of the dead. Was I entertained?  You betcha!  (Netflix) 
BLUE MIRACLE (1hr 35min) ***  Based on a true story of Casa Hogar, the cash-strapped Mexican orphanage boys home that entered the World’s biggest fishing tournament hoping to save their orphanage. The Mexican orphanage in Cabo San Lucas, for economically disadvantaged, orphaned, abused or homeless boys, was struggling to survive after devastating Hurricane Odile hit in 2014, flooding it completely. Owners ‘Papa’ Omar (Jimmy Gonzales) and wife Becca (Fernanda Urrejola) were having problems making ends meet following the destruction but were determined not to give up which would result in sending the kids back onto the streets. Wayne Bisbee (Bruce McGill), of the Bisbee Black-and-Blue Fishing Tournament’s 3 day event, came up with a suggestion.. He struck a deal with washed up, former champion and seasoned fisherman Wade Maloy (Dennis Quaid) that, although not a local, he could participate with his boat but only if he was accompanied by locals Omar and a few boys who had never fished before. The prize was #250,000 for catching the biggest blue marlin. There’s much to like in co-writer/director Julio Quintana’s inspirational film, and, although it won’t win any prizes, you will be more than satisfied with the results. (Netflix) 
BODY BROKERS (1hr 53min) *** Based on true events, here’s.the story about the drug rehabilitation industry in Los Angeles, a multi-million dollar fraud scheme where drug addicts are shuffled in and out of treatment facilities for insurance payments. Each patient could be worth thousands of dollars under the Affordable Care Act.  With the growing number of drug treatment facilities, many are participating in kickback schemes known as “body brokering.” In return for referring a patient to a drug treatment facility, the broker receives a compensation of $500 to $5,000. Young drug addicts Utah (Jack Kilmer) and Opal (Alice Englrert) are approached by charismatic Wood (Michael K. Williams) who makes suggestions about kicking the habit and in return making money. Costing him nothing, Utah signs on and is flown to a Los Angeles facility where he is welcomed by intake nurse May (Jessica Rothe) and supervising therapist Dr White (Melissa Leo) Wood trains him how to manipulate new additions, while making a fortune. The premise is intriguing and interesting enough but Kilmer is not. (EST, VOD (French and English): June 29: DVD, Blu-ray (French and English)
NEW: CENSOR (1hr 24 min) *** Set in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain in the mid 1980s, the film is centred on prim, quiet spinster Enid Baines (Niamh Algar) who is a dedicated part of a movies-rating board which view and edit, if necessary,countless low budget horror “video nasties” which were all the rage at that time. Their concern was the effect constant grizzly and cheap VHS screenings would have on a younger generation (“Eye-gouging must go” and “I only trimmed the tiniest bit off the end of the genitals”) and what would be suitable for release with an 18 rating. Violence is the inherent part of human nature. Enid’s creepy boss Fraser (Vincent Franklin) had a friendly relationship with predatory producer Doug (Michael Smiley) who makes sexual advances on Enid.  My personal reaction was what kind of a woman would want to spend their daily lives continuously screening an endless stream of depressing tasteless violent slashers. She, taking her work seriously, says “I do it to protect people.” Surely that would eventually take its toll.  Enid appears to be a placid, pleasant woman with middle class parents (Clare Holman & Andrew Havil) and they are still grieving the loss of younger daughter Nina who suddenly disappeared when a child.  After decades, the parents want her declared legally dead in order to move on, but not Enid. When she passes a film in which a lunatic murders a family and a journalist connects it to a gruesome real copy-cat murder, she is personally identified and vilified in the press, by the public and on the phone. When Enid screens exploitation film “Don’t Go in the Church” by slimy, mysterious director Frederick North (Adrian Schiller) whose producer/distributor is Doug, the woodland scenes, featuring two sisters in a familiar location, bring back horrifying memories of her childhood and a traumatic incident on the fatal day Nina disappeared. Enid is suspicious, determined to investigate more closely and then her mind start unraveling. She thinks red-haired actor Alice Lee (Sophia La Porta) in North and Smart’s movies is really her long lost sister, now grown up!  Paranoia takes hold and she’s headed for a total mental breakdown. And for us viewers, what’s real and what’s a fragment of her imagination becomes frustrating. First time British director Prano Bailey-Bond and Anthony Fletcher’s screenplay has its impressive moments and the effective efforts of the production team, including photography, lighting, score, sound, production design and costumes, are highly commendable.  Reviewers love this movie but will the audience?   (VOD)   
THE COURIER (1hr 51min) *** ½ Based on historical events, by 1960 the nuclear arms race had intensified. The U.S. and Soviets now possessed weapons capable of wiping out humanity. As Khrushchev and the Americans traded threats, many feared the world was on the verge of imminent destruction, their nuclear arsenal getting bigger daily. M16 had received a note from the American Embassy in Moscow that a high ranking Soviet military intelligence officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), code name Ironbark, had information about Russia’s nuclear program to pass on. Rather than recruiting a trained agent to be his contact, the CIA’s unconventional plan was to conscript a businessman so bland that no one would suspect him of being a spy and he could travel without raising any suspicion. They conscripted an ordinary English international salesman of industrial equipment, Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch), happily married to Sheila (Jessie Buckley) and with a young son Andrew (Keir Hills).Wynne would be in Moscow regularly to “open a door to the top manufacturers in the west.” Since Penkovsky’s official Soviet job was to steal Western technology secrets, the KGB would not suspect him of now doing the opposite. CIA realized its importance and agreed, but Wynne’s wife was never to know. If you don’t know what followed, you really need to see the compelling factual unexpected outcome. (VOD)   
THE DARE (1hr 37min) ** ½  A killer stalks an empty suburban street. In one lit house, it’s the Jackson kids bedtime, and workaholic dad Jay (Bart Edwards) promises his wife Jess (Devora Wilds) that, after an upcoming conference, he will devote more time to their daughters. Suddenly there are sounds indicating there is an intruder in the house. Jay recovers consciousness to find himself in a filthy basement room on a chain along with three others, Kat (Alexandra Evans), Adam (Richard Short) and moaning, dying Paul (Daniel Schutzmann) with his lips sewn together. The film cuts to a different story years earlier. A terrified young boy Dominic (Henry Jarvis) is subjected to cruel physical and mental abuse by a vicious psychopath Credence (Richard Brake) who murdered Dominic’s parents and took the child prisoner, forcing him to acknowledge him as father. Returning to the prisoners, their captor (Robert Masser) makes them inflict wounds on each other, throwing raw meat for them to eat, while watching every move from a camera set up high in a room overlooking his captives. Teenager Dominic (Mitchell Norman), desperate to make friends, finds himself the target of cruel kids his age. What connects the two stories? Although intriguing, it’s somewhat repetitious, (EST & VOD)  
DEATH OF A LADIES MAN (1hr 40min) *** ½  Inspired by Leonard Cohen’s words and music, Gabriel Byrne gives an outstanding performance in this hilarious quirky but serious drama, as a professor of poetry at McGill who has been drunk and a womanizer for 40 years. Samuel O’Shea (Byrne) has had two divorces and loves his neglected adult children, foul-mouthed Genevieve (Suzanne Clement) and gay Layton (Antoine Olivier Pilon). Sam has vivid hallucinations caused by “one of the largest (brain) tumors I’ve ever seen” described by his doctor (Pascale Bussieres), leading to death “in a couple of months or a year.” The realistic hallucinations include a waitress with a large tiger’s head, Frankenstein at the bar, and his father Ben (Brian Gleeson) who died middle aged when Samuel was a child, and therefore is younger than Samuel, now in his 60s.  Dad joins Samuel in an impromptu trip home to Ireland and they have lengthy conversations and Samuel inquires why mum left dad but he is never given a satisfactory answer. The line between fact and fiction is blurred.  He starts writing a novel which he has always wanted to do. At a corner store, Samuel meets Charlotte (Jessica Pare) which led to them being romantically involved. By now we really wonder what is real and what is not. Intriguing!  (VOD/VIFF connect)
DELIVER US FROM EVIL (1hr 48min) *** In Korean, Japanese, Thai and English.  This fast- paced stylish though predictable South Korean action-thriller was written and directed by Hong Won-Chan and stars Hwang Jung-min as Kim In-nam, Lee Jung-jae as Ray and Park Jung-min as Yoo-min  The film reminded me of Liam Neeson’s Taken, about a father tracking down his daughter after she had been kidnapped, Here, former National Intelligent Service’s agent now contract killer In-nam completed his final assignment in Thailand, killing Japanese yakuza boss Koreada and planned to retire. In Thailand, businesswoman Young-jao asked a babysitter to pick her up 9 year old daughter Yoo-min and take her home  but instead, the child was handed over to a stranger. Young-jao informed the police and asked a friend to advise In-nam who had been her lover in the past and learned Yoo-min was his daughter. Fanatically violent younger blood brother ‘Butcher’ Ray is killing anyone connected to Koreada’s death including In-nam.  In Thailand searching for Yoo-min, Ray is informed by transgender woman Yui of a child-trafficking ring involving child organ harvesting. Yoo-min is scheduled for heart transplant surgery and Ray is closing in on In-nam. Not for the squeamish. (DVD and Blu-ray, VOD / Digital (Prime Video, Google Play). 
FALLING  (1hr 52min) *** Viggo Mortensen’s commendable debut as director/co-writer of this devastating drama features an outstanding performance by veteran Lance Henricksen. It won Best Film at the San Sebastian Film Festival and tells the story of a father/son’s deteriorating relationship over time. At 5, John (Grady McKenzie) was close to father Willis (Sverrir Gudnason) and mother (Hannah Gross). Decades later, cantankerous, foul-mouthed, Willis (Henricksen), suffering from dementia, is abusive towards gay airline pilot John (Martensen) and his husband Eric (Terry Chen) who have an adopted daughter (Gabby Velis). John wants to move Willis from his isolated dilapidated farm in the north-east to a house in Los Angeles, closer to John and his sister Sarah (Laura Linney) and her son and daughter. Meanwhile John has to contend with Willis’ insulting homophobic dialogue which is repetitious and continuous (“Did they know you were a fag in the army?”) as well as to Sarah and her kids (“That ring in your nose looks like shit. Now you’ll have to marry a circus freak”). It’s a tough film to watch with the emphasis on Henricksen, but I wish there was more on Mortensen as a counter balance. (VOD)
FRENCH EXIT (1hr 50min) **  BC-born author Patrick DeWitt wrote the surreal novel on which the quirky film is based and he has now written its screenplay about a dysfunctional wealthy 65 year old Manhattan widow, Frances Price (Michelle Pfeiffer), and her bland adult son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) who are forced to relocate anywhere when she is informed by her lawyer after multiple warnings over a decade that she is totally insolvent. “My plan was to die before the money ran out.” Fortunately her sole friend Joan (Susan Coyne) offered her, Malcolm and their cat Small Frank the use of her unused apartment in Paris which she accepted. A fortune teller Madeleine the Medium (Danielle Macdonald) senses that Small Frank is inhabited by the spirit of her deceased husband Frank (voice of Tracy Letts)! The couple befriend lonely New Yorker
Madame Reynard (Valerie Mahaffey) and gradually gather a small group of eccentrics who inhabot the apartment.  Malcolm’s bedraggled but more emotionally mature fiancée Susan (Imogene Potts) shows up with another fiancé, macho Tom (Daniel Di Tomasso) and now Malcolm is forced to make a decision. Meanwhile Frances hires a private investigator (Isaach de Bankole) to look for missing Small Frank, Pfeifer fans might enjoy this farce but I expect most others will take a pass and not regret it. (All digital and on-demand platforms June 15)
THE GOOD TRAITOR (1hr 50min) *** Here’s a story “inspired by true events.”  On June 5th 1963 a man in a hospitalized bed has his throat slashed by a woman. Henrik Kauffmann (Ulrich Thomsen) is the Danish ambassador to Washington, whose American wife Charlotte (Denise Gouff) was the daughter of a Rear Admiral, In 1939 Franklin D. Roosevelt (Henry Goodman) was President and Europe was on the verge of war with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime. In Washington the Danish embassy wondered “what will happen if the Germans cross our borders.” Denmark decided to adopt a neutralist policy and the King and the Government agreed to negotiate with the Germans. The Danes started co-operating, resulting in the German navy and army now responsible for Denmark’s “safety!”  When World War II broke out, Kauffmann declared himself to be the only true representative of a “free Denmark” in opposition to the Nazis. Some years earlier Kauffmann had fallen for jealous Charlotte’s younger sister Zilla (Zoe Tapper), Kauffmann and his colleague Povl Bang-Jensen (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) decided they would no longer take orders from Denmark, and came up with an agreement authorizing the United States to defend the Danish colonies on Greenland from German aggression and that treaty was signed and approved by the Kauffmann’s friend Roosevelt on 7 June 1941. Kauffmann with charged with high treason and a warrant issued for his deportation and imprisonment. The story now heats up and is absolutely fascinating.  (VOD) 
NEW: THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD  (1hr 40min) ** If you’re looking for a kind of live action screwball cartoon comedy with non-stop violence resulting in ridiculously excessive body-counts and a blood bath, a trigger happy cast, goofy jokes, and the f word used in virtually every sentence, this one’s for you and therefore ignore all negative reviews.  Charismatic Ryan Reynolds heads the impressive cast including Samuel L Jackson, Salma Hyek, Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman, Frank Grillo, Gary Oldman and Tom Hopper. Reprising their roles in the 2017 original The Hitman’s Bodyguard, which grossed a phenomenal $156 million worldwide, are Reynolds, Jackson, Hyek, Oldman, and returning director Patrick Hughes, and this time the picturesque locations and photography courtesy cinematographer Terry Stacey are in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria and the U.K. Again the chemistry and banter between Reynolds and Jackson is the highlight of the sequel and doubtless those who enjoyed the original will return and especially if it is viewed on the big screens in theatres.  The film opens with former triple-A rated bodyguard-for-hire Michael Bryce (Reynols), temporarily striped of his license and is in therapy in an emotional crisis, tired and desperate to take a sabbatical to relax and clear his mind by getting away to an exotic paradise. That’s short-lived while lazing on a Capri beach fiery loud and foul-mouthed, con artist, Latina Sonia Kincaid (Hyek) comes on the scene with guns blazing, beachgoers scattering and a gun battle leaves countless terrorists and innocents dead and a confused Bryce splattered with blood. Distraught Sonia needs his help in rescuing her notorious hitman husband Darius Kincade (Jackson) from mobsters and Bryce has no choice but to join her and we’re in for non-stop shouting and shooting till he is freed. A reluctant Bryce along with the Kincades is next recruited by Interpool agent Bobby ONeill (Grillo) to assist him in locating suave Greek tycoon and terrorist mastermind Aristotle Papadopoulos (Banderas), determined to destroy the European power grid and infrastructure with a super-strong diamond-tipped drill, meant to spread the virus since the EU is imposing new sanctions on Greece. But Sonia once was Aristotle’s lover and she still has a soft spot for him. Bryce takes the Kincaids to meet “the greatest bodyguard who ever lived,” his dad Michael Bryce Senior (Freeman) - assuming they are biologically connected - but that doesn’t stop Aristotle capturing the trio, and he even manages to turn Sonia against Darius!  Apart from everyone yelling at each other with profanities, the main problems are in the convoluted screenplay and juvenile humour with an over abundance of twists, turns and explosions, all diluting the main plot. This will be most enjoyed by fans of the original buddy action-comedy.  (Fifth Avenue, Scotiabank, Park Royal, Metropolis
THE KILLING OF TWO LOVERS (1hr 24min) ** In wintry rural Utah at dead of night David (Clayne Crawford, also producer) points a pistol at the sleeping bodies of his estranged wife Nikki (Sepideh Moafi) and her lover Derek (Chris Coy). Following the separation, David lives with his elderly widowed father (Bruce Graham) while still a loving and devoted father, sharing custody of their four children, including teenager Jess (Avery Pizzuto), anxious for them to fix their problems. The other three kids are lively young boys who enjoy dad playing regularly with them, The parents’ trial separation allows them time to figure out their feelings and to date other people which she does and he doesn’t, still hoping for a reunion. Nikki has developed a career, outside interests and friends, and is sympathetic to David, a good person on the verge of a breakdown. Is he falling to pieces?  What about that gun in his truck? There will be violence but not what the title suggests. (Across all digital and on demand platforms)  .
THE LAST VERMEER (1hr 57min) *** Based on the Jonathan Lopez 2008 book The Man Who Made Vermeers, this is the true story of Han van Meegeren (Guy Pearce), a flamboyant eccentric Dutch painter, who swindled millions of dollars from the Nazis by selling them forgeries of Johannes Vermeer paintings and to Nazi Reich Marshal Hermann Göring a very large painting of Christ and the Disciples at Emmaus. Actually he swapped the fake Vermeer in exchange for more than 100 Dutch paintings that Göring had confiscated. The unique WW11 story is considered to be one of the 20th century’s biggest and most dramatic spy adventures. Jewish Dutch officer Joseph Piller (Claes Bang) had the job of recovering lost and bought art for the Nazi regime and seeks to redistribute them back to previous owners. Dutch artist Vermeer had painted only 30 in his lifetime. The film builds to van Meegeren’s fascinating 1947 trial when he was brought out of prison and Piller was there to prove that the paintings were not real but forgeries, painted by van Meegeren himself! (DVD)
LITTLE FISH  (1hr 41min) *** ½ The pandemic science fiction love story is set within global epidemic: Neuroinflammatory Affliction, a sever and rapid Alzheimer's-like condition in which people's memories disappear. For veterinarian Emma (Olivia Cooke) and photographer Jude (Jack O’Connell) it was love at first sight and they were married when the epidemic had started. Their friends, musician Ben (Raul Castillo) and girlfriend Samantha (Soko), fell out when Ben forgot how to play music, claiming “I don’t know her. What’s she doing in my house?” Emma jotted down memories before they disappeared.  Dr.Dormer (Carmen Moore) offered a “significant risks” cure by doing an oral cranial puncture “removing the lateral through the roof of your mouth.”  When Jude started to show early symptoms, Emma desperately tried to keep his memory intact with brain teases of shared memories  There’s a natural chemistry between these two tremendous actors, aided by a compassionate, intelligent screenplay by Mattson Tomlin. When Jude finally insisted they should follow the home instructions remedy: “You take this long needle and find this nerve at the base of the brain,” I noted “Not for the squeamish,” but it’s well worth viewing. (On IFC Films Unlimited)  
THE MARKSMAN (1hr 47min) *** Although not as action packed as the majority of his films, always watchable action hero Liam Neeson never fails to make an unoriginal film that much better. Jim Hanson Neeson) is a crusty old retired former Marine sharpshooter, recent widower and Vietnam war veteran, living with his faithful dog Jackson on a small isolated cattle ranch on the borders of Arizona and Mexico. He patrols his border looking for illegal crossings which he reports to his step-daughter, Sarah (Katheryn Winnick), a Customs and Border Security officer.  A single mother Rosa (Teresa Ruiz) and her 11 year old son Miguel (Joe Perez) break through a fence while being chased by Mexican cartel assassins led by Mauricio (Juan Juan Raba), Hanson finds himself in a shootout, killing Mauricio’s brother. Rosa carries a bag of cartel money stolen by an uncle. Fatally shot, she give Hanson the address of her family in Chicago, pleading him to help her son. Hanson and Miguel start their dangerous journey with the Cartel in pursuit. As expected there are killings by the cartel along the way as they get closer to the unsuspecting couple who is just one step ahead of the determined 1As. For countless Neeson fans, this is a “must see.”  (DVD)
THE MAURITANIAN (2hrs 9min) *** ½ The true story is based on the 2015 best selling memoir of Mohamedou Ould Slahi who the US held without charge for 14 years and 2 months.. He had been charged as the chief recruiter for the 9/11 terrorists, but without any proof.  In 2001, 2 months after 9/11, intelligence agents at a Mauritanian wedding arrested Slahi (Tahar Rahim). That was the last time he would see his mother alive. He found himself in Guantanamo Military Prison, Cuba where indefinite detention without trial and inhumane torture was considered a breach of human rights by Amnesty International. Keeping the identity of the detainees secret (Slahi was #241), Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized “enhanced interrogation techniques” for the ‘dangerous people’ When learning of his predicament, Human Rights lawyer Nancy Hollander (Golden Globes winner Jodie Foster), assisted by Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley), became his defense council. The military pushed for the death penalty, enlisting prosecutor Lt. Col. Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch). 70 uninterrupted days of horrendous torture followed, leaving nothing to the imagination.. His journals, which he sent regularly to Hollander, would become his book. (VOD)
THE MITCHELLS VS THE MACHINES (1hr 53min)  Animation.*** ½  Kids will love this computer-animated adventure science fiction comedy about a dysfunctional family which must save Earth from a robot apocalypse!. Young, argumentative, aspiring film maker Kate Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) has been accepted into a Los Angeles film college and, just before she leaves, her bumbling father Rick (Danny McBride) accidentally breaks her precious laptop. Apologetically he suggests the family, including mom Lin (Maya Rudolf), younger brother Aaron (Mike Rianda) and dog Monchi (Doug the Pug),will go on a final cross-country bonding road trip to her California destination. At a rundown dinosaur museum /café, a massive explosion is followed by an attack by humanoid robots, ordered to abduct all human beings into pods, and eventually take over the planet. Scientist Mark Bowman (Eric Andre), creator of PAL Labs, was planning to launch a brand new line of home robots to replace a highly intelligent but obsolete evil A.I. named PAL (Olivia Colman). At her direction her smarts robots go rogue and she takes Bowman prisoner. Two defective robots appear, informing the Mitchells to use a kill code to shut down PAL and the robots.  Can they save the world from PAL?  Be prepared for a deluge of sight gags, one liners and endless jokes. Fun for the whole family! (Netflix)
THE PEMBROKESHIRE MURDERS. TV mini series of 3 parts. (45 minutes each) **** Recommended. The British series, ITV’s adaptation of the true crime book The Pembrokeshire Murders written by Steve Wilkins and ITV news journalist Jonathan Hill, is based on the police investigation that took place in Pembrokeshire, Wales between 2003 and 2011.  In 1989, Peter and Gwenda Dixon were blasted to death and robbed by an unknown killer as they walked in a coastal park. No one was ever charged with the crime.  In 2006 Detective Superintendant Steve Wilkins (Luke Evans) decided to reopen the 20 year old Cold Case along with the double murder of siblings Richard and Helen Thomas and their farmhouse burned down, followed by an attack of 5 youngsters at gunpoint, a 16 year old girl raped and 15 year old sexually assaulted.  In 1998, John William Cooper (John Allen) was arrested and imprisoned for 14 years for robbery and burglary. When questioned about the murders, his petrified wife Pat (Caroline Berry) provided alibis, She was found dead of a heart attack beside a full bathtub. Was Cooper the serial killer, now being considered for parole. Wilkins hand-picked a small group led by Detective Inspector Ella Richards (Alexandria Riley) which was assisted by advances in the age-degraded DNA testing of microscopic blood clots and fibres.They discovered an eye-witness’ sketch of a man withdrawing money from a victim’s bank card. That sketch was identical to Cooper appearing on the TV darts’ game show, Bullseye, Just before the murders!. (Hollywood Suite on Demand) 
THE PEMBROKESHIRE MURDERS: CATCHING THE GAME SHOW KILLER  (1 hour) **** Recommended.  DOCUMENTARY.  Here’s a great real-life companion-piece to the mini-ITV series above.  Accompanying the three-part drama, this documentary chronicles the true story of serial killer John Cooper and the team that brought him down after 20 years of evading prosecution. It features the real key people in the remarkable cold case investigation including John Cooper, detectives of Operation Ottawa, Detective superintendant Steve Wilkins, Tom Dixon, Gerard Elias, Glynn Johnson, Gareth Reese and ITV journalist Jonathan Hill. Encouraged by the development of DNA and forensic science, the investigation, code-named the Operation Ottawa brought together in 2909 a small team to re-examine the murders of four innocent people:. For 20 years the mysteries of those death and the rape at gunpoint in 1996 of a young girl and sexual assault on another teenager, in addition to vicious attacks and 30 burglaries by a masked man, wearing a balaclava, black gloves and carrying a sawn-off shotgun, went undiscovered.  In 1998, John Cooper, serving 14 years for the robberies, was due for parole shortly. In a race against time, would he kill again?  The killer’s appearance as a contestant earlier on a 1989 game show just weeks before the murder, provided real evidence which in May 2011 landed arrogant psychopath Cooper in prison for life for the crimes.  (Hollywood Suite on Demand)
RIDERS OF JUSTICE (1hr 56 min) **** Recommended.  Danish w English subtitles.  Mads Mikkelsen’s Another Round won Best International Film at this year’s Academy Awards and his latest will be a strong contender for next year’s Awards. Anders Thomas Jensen’s crowd pleasing film is perfect in every category: direction, screenplay and choice of lead performers. Following active duty in Afghanistan, Markus (Mads Mikkelsen),suffering from war related PTSD, returns home to be with his grieving teenager daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeburg), following his wife’s death in a terrible train accident. Earlier, Mathilde and her mother Emma (Anne Brigitte Lind) took the train to town to enjoy each other’s company. On board, data analyst Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) offered his seat to Emma just before an explosion which took her life as well as several others, but not Otto’s.. He believed the accident was deliberate and along with eccentric partner Lennart (Lars Byrgmann) and obese oddball tech-expert Emmenthaler (Nicolas Bro), they attempted to prove the explosion was caused by the Danish biker gang Riders of Justice, determined to kill a traitor and his lawyer on the train. Mathilde was led to believe that Otto’s three new friends were therapists, here to help Marcus deal with his grief. Their actual plan was to dispose of the murderous criminal bikers. And yes, the bodies do pile up as does the humour which is really black. This is a thoroughly fascinating and entertaining film which should please everybody. (VOD) 
THE SECRETS WE KEEP (1hr 37min) ** ½  In the late ‘50s, former Romanian Maya (Noomi Rapace), physician Lewis (Chris Messina) and son Patrick (Jackson Dean Vincent) live happily in the suburbs. One day Maya was startled to see a familiar face from 15 years ago, and she followed the stranger to identify him, eventually to the Refinery where he, Thomas (Joel Kinnarman), worked. She persuaded him to stop and look at her broken down car and bashed him unconscious, bundling him into the trunk of her car,  She identified him as sadistic SS Nazi officer Karl who caught up with Roma gypsies fleeing a concentration camp, raping them. And murdering Maya’s sister, while Maya was raped by Karl, now her unconscious prisoner. Maya asked shocked Lewis to help move the bound and gagged man to their basement to interrogate him. He insisted he was Thomas (Joel Kennerman) from Switzerland and had a wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and two young children. Maya befriends Rachel, questioning their past. She promised to free Thomas if he admitted to being Karl, and if not, she will shoot him. (DVD)
THE SEVENTH DAY (1hr 27min) * ½  Anyone expecting the calibre of The Exorcist  or The Exorcism of Emily Rose will be disappointed with this slow paced, predictable thriller from writer/director Justin P. Lange. On October 8th 1995, the Pope visited Baltimore, Maryland.  Simultaneously in New Orleans, unconventional renowned exorcist Father Peter Costello (Guy Pearce) assisted his mentor Father Louis (Keith David) in an exorcism during which a flying crucifix fatally stabbed Louis in the neck while Peter’s young boy victim burst into flames and died. The Vatican had long adopted a negative attitude towards the practice of exorcism.  Based in present day, new recruit Father Daniel Garcia (Vadhir Derbez) is introduced by the local archbishop (Stephen Lang) to veteran Peter, an old hand at exorcisms having done it for 25 years. A boy named Charlie (Brady Jenness) murdered his entire family with an axe while under the influence of sinister demons. Peter encourages Daniel to take over the case and they visit the house where the gruesome violence took place. Daniel is convinced Satan took possession of Charlie, now imprisoned. There is a surprise twist during the climatic exorcism which is obvious before it is exposed.  (VOD, DVD & Blu Ray. On June 24 Netflix)
SON OF THE SOUTH (1hr 45min) * ½  Based on Bob Zellner’s 2008 autobiography “The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement,”  Bob (Lucas Till), son of a Methodist minister (Byron Herlong), was raised in a white conservative town.. Bob enrolled in Methodist Huntingdon College in 1957 at first to "research" a term paper on race relations. He observed and then joined the Civil Rights Movement. His grandfather (Brian Dennehy) was an Alabama Ku Klux Klansman. In 1960s Montgomery, Alabama, Bob graduated to eventually go to the Ivy League school of his choice which pleased girlfriend Carol Anne (Lucy Hale), although not his politics, He interviewed Reverend Ralph Abernathy (Cedric the Entertainer) and Rosa Parks (Sharonne Lanier) for a class paper but after the meeting he and four friends were “asked to leave school.”  Watching the news of black people being beaten by police, assaulted for sitting at diner counters, and marching, he missed the bus home to participate in a Freedom Ride, volunteering as the first white field secretary of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a major group in the Freedom Rides during the 1960s Civil Rights movement, where he started a friendship with black Joanne (Lex Scott Davis). There’s nothing here to attract Canadian audiences. Performances are adequate and the dull story is uninvolving. (EST,VOD / DVD, Blu-ray)
SUPERNOVA (1hr 48min)  **** Recommended. This a gem of a movie features nuanced, sensitive performances by Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci, superbly written and directed by Harry MacQueen. Sam (Firth) is a pianist and Tusker (Tucci) a novelist and they’ve been together for 20 years. They are off to the Lake District in northwest England where Sam is to give a recital. Tusker is suffering from early dementia, forgetting words and wandering off if not watched.. They stop at the house where Sam grew up, now occupied by Sam’s sister Lilly (Pippa Hayward) and husband Clive (Peter MacQueen) The following night there is a surprise party with a gathering of old friends, Back home, Sam finds Tusker’s hidden pills and a suicide note. When confronted, Tusker responds “I told you that whatever happens, I didn’t want to lose control of my life. I’m losing control now. I want to be remembered for who I was and not for who I’m about to become. Very soon I’m going to look at your face and I won’t know who’s looking back at me.” Close ups are plentiful and sometimes just that and silence speak volumes. Absolutely superb! (VOD/VIFF connect)
WILLY’S WONDERLAND (1hr 28min) * ½  Silent Nicolas Cage battles bloodthirsty demonic animatronics in an abandoned family entertainment centre.  He has no name and the credits label him “the Janitor.”  While driving through the Nevada countryside, his Camaro hit a deliberate spike strip and the cost of overnight repairs is $1000 in cash which he doesn’t have. The mechanic takes him to a closed, abandoned building where the owner Tex (Rick Reitz) needs a janitor to clean up the building overnight and in return offers to payoff the repair cost. On agreement Tex leaves, padlocking the doors. A group of 5 dumb teens plan to burn Willy’s Wonderland once owned by a serial killer and his psychotic partners who would murder unsuspecting families. The police made a satanic pact to transfer their souls into the animatronic characters which killed both at the location and in town. The town’s sheriff (Beth Grant) persuaded the robots to remain in the building and she would keep taking unsuspecting visitors in to be murdered. No one survived a night there. How about the janitor?  (VOD / DVD/Blu-ray) 
THE WORLD TO COME (1hr 38min) *** The first thing you’ll notice is the consistently stunningly exquisite photography by Andre Chemetoff, initially of the rural landscape from the first frame (actually filed in Romania) but then throughout the production, including the interiors. The sensitive lesbian period romance with screenplay by Ron Hansen and Jim Shepherd from his short story will have immense appeal for the LGBTQ community and, interestingly, it is well directed by straight filmmaker Mona Fastvold. In January 1856 heavy snow blankets the landscape which contains a few secluded farms. “Ice in our bedroom this morning for the first time all winter” writes dutiful Abigail (Katherine Waterston) in her daily diary about their bland lives. She lives with her broody farmer husband Dyer (Casey Affleck) and 5 year old daughter who tragically dies of diphtheria. A new couple, vivacious Tallie (Vanessa Kirby) and her abusive hog farmer husband, Finney (Christopher Abbott), have rented a neighbouring farm,. A distant glance between the two women speaks volumes. There are marital issues in both bedrooms. Brief visits by Tallie to Abigail while Dyer is away are extended but the obvious attraction takes an eternity before their first kiss. The cast is first rate, the dialogue is austere and sparse, and there are too few moments of passion till the end’s flashback montage. (VOD/DIGITAL)          
WRATH OF MAN (1hr 59min) *** 23 years ago, rookie director Guy Ritchie and debuting actor Jason Statham started their partnership in the classic Cockney crime comedy Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels followed by Snatch and Revolver, all centred on crime and professional criminals. Here, brooding, stone faced, mysterious Patrick Hill (Statham), nicknamed H, joined for ulterior motives Los Angeles-based Fortico Security, a fortified armoured car delivery service that specializes in transporting vast security valuables around L.A. for reputable clients  Two months ago a daylight heist ended in a gun battle in which Fortico guards were killed. When his partner Bullet (Holt McCannely) is kidnapped, the robbers demand the $2 million in their cash truck, but H suddenly appeared and killed all six crooks. The film jumps backwards and forwards, and an important sequence is repeated three times at different angles showing different characters. H is determined to find the cold-blooded killer who shot an innocent unarmed bystander lying on the ground. The robbers were dressed as construction workers, and included Jan (Scott Eastwood) and Jackson (Jeffrey Donovan), and the plan was to rob all Fortico’s trucks on Black Friday. A must-see for all Ritchie/Statham fans! (Fifth Avenue,  PVOD).


                                                       NEW DVDs....


NEW DVDs .. starting Tuesday June 22
CHAOS WALKING  Daisy Ridley, Tom Holland, Mads Mikkelsen, Demián Bichir, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Jonas
GEORGETOWN Annette Bening, Vanessa Redgrave, Christoph Waltz, Corey Hawkins, Dan Lett,  Amin Bhatia
HUNTER HUNTER Camille Sullivan, Devon Sawa, Nick Stahl, Jade Michael, Summer H. Howel, Lauren Cochranel
NIGHT OF THE SICARIO  Costas Mandylor, Natasha Henstridge, Manny Perez, Roberto Sanchez, Addison Kendall
NOBODY Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, RZA, Christopher Lloyd, Helena Mattsson,Beth Riesgraf, Gage Munroe
THE PAPER TIGERS Alain Uy, Ron Yuan, Mykel Shannon Jenkins, Jae Suh Park, Matthew Page,  Phillip Dang
THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY Elliot Page, Mary J. Blige, Colm Feore, Cameron Britton, Tom Hopper,, Kate Walsh
THE UNHOLY. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Katie Aselton, William Sadler, Cricket Brown, Cary Elwes, Jordana Brewster

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday June 29

BODY BROKERS Frank Grillo, Melissa Leo, Jack Kilmer, Michael K Williams, Jessica Rothe, Alice Englert
HERE ARE THE YOUNG MEN  Dean-Charles Chapman, Finn Cole, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo
WILDCAT Mido Hamada, Luke Benward, Georgina Campbell, Ibrahim Renno, Ali Olomi, Janna Bossier

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday July 6
DEFENDING JACOB Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Jaeden Martell, Cherry Jones, J.K. Simmons, Pablo Schreiber
SPACE DOGS: TROPICAL ADVENTURE. Animation. Maria Monge, Mauriett Chayeb-Mendez, Paula Barros,

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday July 13
A CINDERELLA STORY: STARSTRUCK  Bailee Madison, Michael Evans Behling, April Telek, Richard Harmo
EQUAL STANDARD Ice-T , Tobias Truvillion, Syleena Johnson, Robert Clohessy, Anthony 'Treach' Criss
HELD Bart Johnson, Jill Awbrey, Rez Kempton, Zack Gold, Jener Dasilva, Tessa Munro, Porchea Carroll
MORTAL KOMBAT Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson, Tadanobu Asano, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin
NO MAN'S LAND Jake Allyn, Frank Grillo, Jorge A. Jimenez, Andie MacDowell, George Lopez, Alex MacNicoll
SEPARATION Rupert Friend, Brian Cox, Mamie Gummer, Madeline Brewer, Violet McGraw, Simon Quarterman

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday July 20
DREAM HORSE Toni Collette, Damian Lewis, Joanna Page, Raj Paul, Peter Davison, Darren Evans
DIE IN A GUN FIGHT Adrian Politowski, Allyson Seeger, Jason Ross Jallet, Jonathan Bronfman, Mark Gordon
EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE Casey Affleck, Sam Claflin, Veronica Ferres, India Eisley, Michelle Monaghan
JACOB'S WIFE Sarah Lind, Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Mark Kelly, Nyisha Bell, Jay Johnson

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday July 27
THE ICE ROAD Liam Neeson, Laurence Fishburne, Holt McCallany, Amber Midthunder, Matt McCoy, Ben Walker.
A QUIET PLACE Part 2. Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy, Djimon Hounsou, John Krasinski

NEW DVDs ... starting Tuesday August 17

THE WATER MAN   David Oyelowo, Rosario Dawson, Lonnie Chavis, Amiah Miller, Alfred Molina, Maria Bello.