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:
Spelling the Dream (2020)
An Indian-American has won the Scripps National Spelling Bee for the past 12 years. This documentary explores this trend, which is one of the longest in sports history, highlighting four students as they compete to win the tournament. Spelling the Dream Website
What to Watch For: Director Sam Rega’s last project was League of Millions, a documentary on the rock stars of the gaming world, Team Liquid, who have a fan base of millions.
What to Watch For: The film interviews past winners of the contest as well as comedian Hari Kondabolu and CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
My Take: I can’t wait to see this film as I am a big fan of the National Spelling Bee, even though I am a horrible speller.
An American, Tommaso (Willem Dafoe), living in Rome with his young European wife, Nikki (Cristina Chiriac) and their daughter, is preparing for his next film. Tommaso is haunted by his past mistakes, so much so that he begins to question his life and his sanity. Tommaso Website
What to Watch For: The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival.
Word on the Street: Writer/director Abel Ferrara is best known for his films Bad Lieutenant (1992), The Addiction (1995), and The Projectionist (2019).
My Take: I am a massive fan of four-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe.
Shirley (2020) R
Shirley (Elisabeth Moss) is a world-famous horror writer who is as well known for her writing as for her gloom and doom nature. Her writing of a new project is disturbed by the arrival of newlyweds Fred (Logan Lerman) and Rose (Odessa Young). This is a visit that the young couple will never forget. Shirley Website
What to Watch For: Director Josephine Decker won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Word on the Street: Shirley is based on the novel Shirley by Susan Scarf Merrell and is not to be confused with the 1849 novel of the same name by Charlotte Bronte.
My Take: Elisabeth Moss is quickly becoming one of our best actors out there.
And We Go Green (2019)
Documentary on the International Formula E circuit, the world’s fastest-growing Motorsport. The film follows the professional drivers on the circuit as they race for victory across ten major cities. These aren’t your ordinary electric cars! And We Go Green Website
What to Watch For: The film is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, who is a big fan of the sport and co-directed by actor Fisher Stevens. Stevens won the 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature as producer of The Cove (2009).
Word on the Street: The film uses racing footage interwoven with interviews with current drivers Jean-Eric Vergne, Sam Bird, and former Formula E driver Nelson Piquet, Jr.
My Take: I heard about this film from a couple of film critics that saw it at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.
Here are my reviews of movies just released on DVD/BluRay:
Extra Ordinary (2019) R
Rose (Maeve Higgins) looks like an ordinary driving instructor, but this sweet, lonely Irish woman has supernatural talents. Rose is determined to use her powers to save Martin’s (Barry Ward) daughter from the clutches of a washed-up rock star (Will Forte) that has made a pact with the devil to return to his glory days. This is one of those movies that if you saw it at a midnight showing at a film festival, you would have had a great time. It’s a film full of interesting characters that are put in some humorous situations but doesn’t always hit the funny bone the way you want it to. Barry Ward, playing the widower whose dead wife is a ghost that is still trying to run his life from the afterworld, has some sweet comedic moments in the film and shows a knack for physical comedy. Maeve Higgins, as the driving instructor who reluctantly helps Barry with his wife/ghost, is mildly funny but has a hard time keeping up with the antics in the plot. I got tired of Will Forte as the one-hit-wonder who is willing to do anything to get back into the limelight. Forte lays the act of the pompous rock star a little too thick, and it drags the film down a bit. It has a plot that isn’t quite funny enough to be a hit other than with that late-night crowd. My Rating: Bargain Matinee
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