While most movie theatres are closed for the foreseeable future, and there aren’t any new releases in the theatres that are open, here are some movies you can watch at home:
The following are this week’s new releases available on digital platforms:
Becoming (2020) PG
After serving as First Lady for eight years, Michelle Obama goes on a book tour in 2019 for her book ‘Becoming.’ The documentary offers a rare and up-close look at her life, taking viewers behind the scenes of her 34 city book tour. Becoming Website
What to Watch For: Filmmaker Nadia Hallgren is known for her award-winning documentary series She’s the Ticket, which profiled Stacey Abrams run for the Georgia governorship.
Word on the Street: One of the events profiled in the film took place at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA.
My Take: Nadia Hallgren worked on a favorite documentary of mine, the 2008 Academy Award Nominee Trouble the Water.
How to Build a Girl (2019)
Johanna ( Beanie Feldstein) is a sixteen-year-old girl who desperately wants to escape her humdrum life in Wolverhampton. She decides to reinvent herself as Dolly Wilde, a music critic that takes the rock world of the 90s by storm. How to Build a Girl Website
What To Watch For: The film stars Beanie Feldstein, who has won awards for her roles in the films Lady Bird (2017) and Booksmart (2019).
Word on the Street: The film is coming off a big win at the Toronto International Film Festival.
My Take: The film has a great supporting cast including Chris O’Dowd and two-time Academy Award winner Emma Thompson.
After a breakup, a devastated Karen (Otmara Marrero) breaks into her ex’s lake house, where she meets and starts a complicated relationship with a younger woman named Lana (Sydney Sweeney). Clementine Website
What to Watch For: The film was a big hit on the film festival circuit, including wins at the 2019 Sidewalk Film Festival and the 2019 BendFilm Film Festival.
Word on the Street: Lead actress Otmara Marrero is known for her role as Izzy Morales in the TV series StartUp.
My Take: This is the first feature film for writer/director Lara Gallagher.
Spaceship Earth (2020)
Documentary on a science experiment that captivated the world where a group of people spent two years quarantined inside a self-engineered replica of Earth’s ecosystem called Biosphere 2. Spaceship Earth Website
What to Watch For: The film explores why the experiment was started and if it indeed was based on science or was it nothing more than a cult looking for publicity and fame.
Word on the Street: The film is from Matt Wolf, who also gave us the excellent documentary Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (2019).
My Take: I can’t wait to see this film as I remember the whole Biosphere 2 event in the early 90s.
Here are my reviews of movies just released on DVD/BluRay:
I Still Believe (2020) PG
Jeremy (K.J. Apa) goes off to college, where he meets and falls in love with Melissa (Britt Robertson). As Jeremy’s singing/songwriting career starts to take off, the young couple learns that Melissa has cancer. Their beliefs in God and each other will be challenged in this troubling time. If you don’t like faith-based films, then this film isn’t for you. Based on the real love story between Christian superstar singer Jeremy Camp and his wife, I Still Believe works due to the chemistry of K.J. Apa as Jeremy and Britt Robertson as Melissa. The film is greatly helped by the singing of Apa, who, as TV’s Riverdale fans will attest, can belt out a tune and has the charisma of Camp when he is on the stage performing. Unlike a lot of faith-based films that seemingly fill out their casts with players from the local Baptist church community theatre, I Still Believe is helped by Gary Sinise, who plays Camp’s father. I will warn you that you will need to bring a few tissues along when you see this film. My Rating: Bargain Matinee
Greed (2019) R
Sir Richard McCreadie (Steve Coogan), a billionaire fashion mogul, is determined to celebrate his 60th birthday in the grandest scale on the Greek island Mykonos, even if it kills him. This satire badly misses the mark, making the film feel shallow and way too long. Coogan gamely gives the part of the very unlikeable Sir Richard, but he can’t overcome a script that feels like it wanted to be a harder hit on the super-rich and their life of excess but never quite has power or message to hit its mark. The ending of the film feels very unsatisfying and rushed, with a setup that takes way to long to come to its climax. My Rating: Cable
Ordinary Love (2019) R
Joan and Tom (Liam Neeson, Lesley Manville) have been a happily married couple for years. Their relationship and their marriage are threatened when Joan is unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer. Ordinary Love is one of those small, intimate films that handles the relationship between two people with compassion and exploring how a severe illness can break down even the most robust and most secure couple. Neeson and Manville give us honest and sometimes brutal performances as two people trying to help each other deal with a horrible situation, where the cure (chemotherapy and extensive surgery) are as bad as the disease itself. Underneath the trials and tribulations that they are going through, the couple has already suffered a serious blow in the past. A serious blow which rears up in their relationship to compound the potential tragedy they are presently going through. This isn’t a big, splashy film but one that lets two masterful performers give us something extraordinary. My Rating: I Would Pay to See This Film Again
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