Movie theatres are closed for the foreseeable future, so here are some movies you can watch at home:

The following are this week’s new releases available on digital platforms:

Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) PG-13

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Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Photo courtesy of Focus Features

After an unintended pregnancy, a pair of teenage girls (Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder) travel from rural Pennsylvania to New York City to seek out help for their situation. Never Rarely Sometimes Always Website

What to Watch For: The film won the Jury Grand Prix award at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival and the Special Jury Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Word on the Street: This is the 2nd feature for writer/director Eliza Hittman, whose first feature film was the award-winning 2013 film It Felt Like Love.

My Take: I can’t wait to see this film!

 

The Other Lamb (2019)

The Other Lamb

Photo courtesy of IFC Films

For her whole life, Selah (Raffey Cassidy) has only known the world of the cult, a cult in a remote forest commune presided over by a man called Shepherd (Michiel Huisman). When Selah begins getting a series of troubling visions, she begins to question her allegiance to the cult and Shepherd, something that could end her life. The Other Lamb Website

What to Watch For: The director of the film, Malgorzata Szumowska, is an award-winning director who has had three different movies (Twarz, Cialo, and W imie…) win at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Word on the Street: Lead actress Raffey Cassidy is best known for the role of Athena in the 2015 film Tomorrowland.

My Take: I first became aware of Raffey Cassidy when she was in the TV series Mr Selfridge as Beatrice Selfridge,

 

Uncorked (2020)

Uncorked

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Elijah (Mamoudou Athie) is torn between his life long passion to become a master sommelier and the pressure to carry on the family legacy of a Memphis Bar-B-Cue joint. Uncorked Website

What to Watch For: Cast includes Courtney B. Vance, Sasha Compere, Niecy Nash, Kelly Jenrette, and Bob Geabhart.

Word on the Street: This is from writer/director Prentice Penny, known for his work on TV shows Girlfriends, Scrubs, Happy Endings, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

My Take: I love wine, so this should be a lot of fun to watch.

Coffee & Kareem (2020)

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Coffee & Kareem

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Kareem (Terrence Little Gardenhigh) doesn’t like his mom’s (Taraji P. Henson) new boyfriend, Officer James Coffee (Ed Helms). Kareem tries to hire a criminal to scare Coffee, but his plan backfires, and now Coffee and Kareem are in trouble with Detroit’s most ruthless drug kingpin. Coffee & Kareem Website

What to Watch For: Director Michael Dowse also directed the 2019 comedy Stuber starring Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani.

Word on the Street: Betty Gilpin, hot off her starring role in The Hunt, is in this film.

My Take: One of my favorite comedians, David Allen Grier, is a part of this cast.

 

Here are my reviews of movies just released on DVD/BluRay:

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) PG-13

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm

The surviving Resistance faces the First Order in a showdown to close out the final chapter in the Skywalker saga, as both Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) struggle with the power of the Dark Side. I wanted to love this film as I did with The Force Awakens, but alas, I only liked it. The film feels somewhat incomplete and, at times, rushed, especially the ending sequence. I did thoroughly enjoy the fighting sequences that Rey is involved with, and it’s always a blast to watch Driver do anything on the screen. There are some significant plot holes in this film, and I felt terrible for Oscar Issac playing Poe, whose big scenes seem overshadowed by the other characters in the movie. Unfortunately, the film clumsily incorporates the scenes with the late Carrie Fisher (Leia), making them stand out for how badly they were patched together (Fisher died before she could film her part, so they used old footage of her). I am a big fan of the Star Wars saga, but I felt a little let down by this film. It just didn’t deliver everything I wanted in a conclusion to an epic series.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee

 

The Current War (2017) PG-13

The Current War: Director's Cut

Photo courtesy of 101 Studios

The story of the race between Thomas Edison (Benedict Cumberbatch), Nikola Tesla (Nichoas Hoult), and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) to determine whose electrical system will be adopted by the modern world. I would first like to mention the cinematography in this film, which is beautiful and amazing. The film does a great job of making it look like it is in the late 1800s. I love the fact that we see both sides of the story. The film goes back and forth, telling equally the stories of two gigantic figures of the time, Westinghouse, who knew his system was the correct one and Edison, who had the advantage over Westinghouse in the fact that he was already a household name, signing autographs right and left. My favorite character in the film was the eccentric Nikola Telsa, who worked at different times for both men. Hoult gives a multilayered performance of Telsa, a man who knew he was the smartest man in the room and would let you know it. The harnessing of electricity was one of the greatest achievements that man has ever had, and this film lives up to those lofty ideals.    My Rating: Full Price

Here are my reviews of films that studios are releasing on the VOD platform this week.

Bad Boys for Life (2020) R

Bad Boys for LIfe

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

The Bad Boys (Will Smith, Martin Lawrence) are back together for one last ride. The guys have to confront possible career changes and midlife crises, as they join a new task force named AMMO to take down a ruthless leader of a Miami drug cartel. If you are a fan of the first two films in the Bad Boys series, then you will have a good time watching this film. Is the plot stupid and the ending pretty unbelievable? Yes. Are there a lot of high-speed car chases and numerous things blowing up (sometimes for no reason)? Yes. Is the chemistry between Smith and Lawrence still there? Yes (but barely). I didn’t quite have as much fun as the audience I saw the film with, but if you know what you are getting into (watch the trailer), you will probably have a good time watching this ‘popcorn’ movie.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee

Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) PG

Sonic the Hedgehog

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

After discovering a blue, incredibly fast hedgehog named Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz), Tom (James Marsden), a small-town police officer, joins forces with the hedgehog to try to defeat an evil genius named Dr. Iva Robotnik (Jim Carrey). I think kids will enjoy this film as the main character is fun, colorful, and a little goofy. Parents, on the other hand, maybe bored when Jim Carey isn’t on the screen. Carey is hilarious as the evil Doctor. I guess that Carey probably ad-libbed about 90% of his lines, and he looks like he is having a great time playing the part. Is the film slightly stupid, sure but you probably already knew that. It’s worth the price of admission to see Carey have fun on the screen. Do stay through the first series of credits as there is a bonus scene that several of my audience actually applauded for. My Rating: Bargain Matinee

 

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My movie rating system from Best to Worst:  1). I Would Pay to See it Again  2). Full Price  3). Bargain Matinee  4). Cable  5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again