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:

Military Wives (2019) PG-13

Military Wives

Photo courtesy of Bleeker Street Media

With their partners away serving in Afghanistan, two headstrong women (Kristin Scott Thomas, Sharon Horgan) form a choir on a military base. The women in the choir form a bond that transforms their lives and gives them a way to deal with the reality of the everyday fear that their loved ones won’t return from the war. Military Wives Website

What to Watch For: Director Peter Cattaneo has been nominated for two Academy Awards, including the 1997 film The Full Monty.

Word on the Street: The film won the Truly Moving Picture Award at the 2020 Heartland Film Festival.

My Take: I love that this film is based on a true story, and the real-life choir has been an inspiration for other ‘military wives’ singing groups around the world.

 

The Trip to Greece (2020)

The Trip to Greece

Photo courtesy of IFC Films

Actors Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan travel from Troy to Ithaca, eating their way across Greece following in the footsteps of the Odysseus. The Trip to Greece Website

What to Watch For: This is the fourth and possibly last of the ‘trip’ films that Brydon and Coogan have made.

Word on the Street: BAFTA award-winning director Michael Winterbottom has directed all four of the ‘trip’ films.

My Take: I can’t wait to see the sights the guys get to visit and the trouble they get into.

 

Body Cam (2020) R

Body Cam

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

When a routine traffic stop results in the death of her colleague, a cop (Mary J. Blige) realizes the bodycam footage of the incident will only play for her eyes. Now she is on the path to discovering that sinister forces are in play, and she may be the only one that can stop the killing. Body Cam Info

What to Watch For: Mary J. Blige is not only known for her music but also her Oscar nomination in a supporting role for her work in the 2017 film Mudbound.

Word on the Street: Director Malik Vitthal is best known for his award-winning first feature film Imperial Dreams (2014).

My Take: I loved Imperial Dreams, starring a young John Boyega, so I am looking forward to this film.

The Painter and the Thief (2020)

The Painter and the Thief

Photo courtesy of Elevation Pictures

Documentary about an artist who befriends the thief who stole two of her most valuable paintings from a gallery in Oslo. When the thief is severely hurt in a car crash, the artist becomes his supporter. The Painter and the Thief Facebook Page

What to Watch For: The film won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

What to Watch For: Director Benjamin Ree, directed the award-winning 2016 documentary Magnus about a Norwegian chess prodigy who became a grandmaster at age 13.

My Take: I can’t wait to see this film as I have heard great things about it from other film critics.

 

Lucky Grandma (2019)

Lucky Grandma

Photo courtesy of Good Deed Entertainment

Set in the heart of New York City’s Chinatown, a recently widowed 80-year-old grandma (Tsai Chin) is told by a fortune teller that her luck is about to change and she decides to go gamble at a casino. She suddenly finds herself on the wrong side of a local gang and employs the services of a rival gang member as her bodyguard. Grandma is about to be caught up in the middle of a Chinatown gang war. Lucky Grandma Website

What to Watch For: The film won the Jury Award at the 2019 Napa Valley Film Festival.

Word on the Street: This is the first feature film for director/co-writer Sasie Sealy.

My Take: The trailer is a blast to watch, so I am looking forward to this film.

 

The Lovebirds (2020) R

The Lovebirds

Photo courtesy of Netflix

A couple (Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani) are accused of murder and now have to clear their name. Will they and their relationship survive the night? The Lovebirds Website

What to Watch For: This film was going to be a theatrical release until Covid-19 changed everything and now it is an online release.

Word on the Street: The director of the film, Michael Showalter, also directed Kumail Nanjiani in the 2017 Oscar-nominated film The Big Sick.

My Take: I loved The Big Sick, so I can’t wait to see this film.

 

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

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

 

Onward (2020) PG

Onward

Photo courtesy of Pixar

Two brothers (voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) go on a magical quest to try and revive their dead father for one day, a father the two barely remember. While not quite the gold standard that past Pixar movies (Toy Story franchise is the model) have brought us, Onward is still a fun and at times, moving tale that is perfect for young children to learn about the importance of family and how we have to believe in ourselves in order to succeed in life. The film has quite a few funny moments and takes a couple of twists and turns to keep the storyline moving at a quick and smart pace. Pratt, as the older, almost bumbling brother and Holland as the younger and less adventurous younger brother, make a great pair and play off each other with ease. While not a home run, Onward is still an enjoyable film that lets us tag along on a journey of two brothers who would do anything to bring their father back, even if it’s for a brief instant.    My Rating: Full Price

The Way Back (2020) R

The Way Back

Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers

A former high school basketball star, Jack (Ben Affleck), is struggling to overcome his alcoholism and is offered a job to coach at his alma mater. When his team starts on a winning stream, his old demons resurface to try to stop his road to redemption. While technically a ‘sports’ film, the movie focuses more on the struggles of Jack, who is dealing with demons from his past through alcohol, and the relationships he develops with the members of the team he takes over. Affleck gives one of his best performances as a man who reluctantly takes over a team that barely has enough players to fill out a team. Jack deals with coming back to the place of his glory days and tries to inspire his team to play for each other and believe in themselves. The beauty of this film is the emphasis on the people in the story and not the outcome of the games themselves. My guess is that this might get Ben Affleck the two-time Oscar winner the Academy Award nomination for acting that he has long deserved.   My Rating; I Would Pay to See it 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

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