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:

The High Note (2020) PG-13

The High Note

Photo courtesy of Focus Features

Grace Davis (Tracee Ellis Ross) is a superstar singer who is resting on the popularity of her past hits. Maggie (Dakota Johnson) is Grace’s overworked and under-appreciated assistant. When Grace’s push for a new album is shot down by her manager (Ice Cube), Maggie pushes Grace to record songs on her own, but is Maggie overstepping her bounds? The High Note Website

What to Watch For: Of course, we all know that Tracy Ellis Ross is the daughter of music superstar singer/icon Diana Ross.

Word on the Street: Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Luce, Monsters and Men) plays a singer that Dakota Johnson’s character discovers and wants to become his producer.

My Take: I love that Tracee Ellis Ross and Kelvin Harrison Jr. sing all their songs in the film.

The Vast of Night (2019) PG-13

The Vast of Night

Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios

Set in a small New Mexico town in the 1950s, a young switchboard operator (Sierra McCormick), and a local radio DJ (Jake Horowitz) discover a strange audio frequency that a caller claims has origins of a mysterious past. The Vast of Night Info

What to Watch For: The film won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival.

Word on the Street: The name of the town that the film takes place in is taken from the name Cayuga Productions, Rod Serling’s production company that produced TV classic, The Twilight Zone.

My Take: I remember actress Sierra McCormick from the CW show Supernatural on which she played Lilith/Zoey.

 

Funny Pains (2019)

Funny Pains

Photo courtesy of Passion River

Documentary featuring the life and times of comedian Wendi Starling, as she navigates the harsh world of a stand-up comic. Funny Pains Website

What to Watch For: Comics Nikki Glaser, Jim Norton, Bonnie McFarlane, Andrew Shultz, Yamaneika Saunders, and Krystyna Hutchinson are interviewed for the film.

Word on the Street: This is the feature-film debut for director Jorge Cruz.

My Take: We all could use some laughs at this time.

Olympic Dreams (2019) PG-13

Olympic Dreams

Photo courtesy of IFC Films

In the Olympic Athlete Village, a young cross-country skier (Alexi Pappas) meets a volunteer dentist (Nick Kroll), and these two lonely people strike up a friendship as the world gets together to compete in the Olympic games. Olympic Dreams Website

What to Watch For: The movie was shot on location in the actual Olympic Athlete Village during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Word on the Street: Real Olympic athletes, including Jamie Anderson and Gus Kenworthy, are in the film as themselves.  Alexi Pappas is a former Olympic 10K runner, setting the Greek record in 2016 Summer Games.

My Take: I can’t wait to see all the behind-the-scenes shots at one of the most famous athletic events.

 

Banana Split (2018) R

Banana Split

Photo courtesy of Vertical Entertainment

Over the summer, right before everyone is about to take off for college, April (Hannah Marks) and Clara (Liana Liberato) become best friends. One big problem; Clara is dating April’s ex (Dylan Sprouse). Banana Split Website

What to Watch For: Dylan Sprouse is the twin brother of Cole Sprouse, who plays Jughead Jones on the CW show Riverdale.

Word on the Street: Hannah Marks co-wrote the screenplay with Joey Power, who also co-wrote/co-directed the 2018 film After Everything with Marks.

My Take: I heard about this film when it won the Best Film at the 2019 Vail Film Festival.

 

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

The Invisible Man (2020) R

The Invisible Man

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) is in an abusive relationship with her husband (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), and with the help of her sister (Harriet Dyer), and their childhood friend (Aldis Hodge), she escapes and goes into hiding. When her husband takes his own life, Cecilia is the sole beneficiary of his will, leaving her millions of dollars. Cecilia was always told by her husband that he would hunt her down if she ever left him, even from the grave. Now Cecilia is convinced that her husband has figured out a way to become invisible, making her life a living hell. Over the past couple of months, I have seen some incredibly crappy films that have tried, very unsuccessfully, scare me. I am happy to tell you that finally, we have a suspense film (its not quite a horror film) that, through a smart and skillful script, creates scenes that are filled with tension and fear. In the age of ‘Me Too,’ it is refreshing that a film captures the real horror and panic of a woman being terrorized, and no one will believe her side of the story. What I love about this film is that while most of the characters, including some of Cecilia’s closest friends, feel that she is going nuts, we, the audience know that what Cecilia is experiencing isn’t a figment of her mind, but something that is really happening to her. The film deftly treats Cecilia as a strong woman who has legitimate fears of what her husband is capable of, even if it seems that he is attacking her from beyond his grave. Moss is perfect as the everywoman who is determined to solve what is happening to her, even if she has to do it by herself, powered on by only her wits and will power.   My Rating: Full Price

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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