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:
Irresistible (2020) R
Gary (Steve Carell) is a Democratic strategist who was responsible for the Hillary Clinton campaign loss to Donald Trump. He discovers a retired veteran named Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) and persuades him to run for mayor in his small, conservative Midwest town. Things look good until Gary’s political rival, Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne), rolls into town, and democracy in this small town will never be the same. Irresistible Website
What to Watch For: The film is written and directed by former The Daily Show host Jon Stewart.
Word on the Street: The film was partially inspired by the 2017 special election for Georgia’s 6th congressional district, which due to the political parties battling it out, more than 55 million dollars was spent making it the most expensive House Congressional election is US history.
My Take: The outstanding supporting cast includes Will Sasso, Topher Grace, and Mackenzie Davis.
My Spy (2020) PG-13
A legendary CIA agent, JJ (Dave Bautista), has been demoted and is sent undercover to surveil a 9-year-old, Sophie (Chloe Coleman) and her family. Sophie is a tech genius, and she discovers where JJ’s operation is set up. She blackmails him into letting her hang out with him and learn what it means to be a spy. My Spy Website
What to Watch For: director Peter Segal is known for his films Tommy Boy (1995), Anger Management (2003), 50 First Dates (2004) and Grudge Match (2013).
Word on the Street: Chloe Coleman is best known for her role as Skye Carlson in the TV series Big Little Lies.
My Take: Dave Bautista has come a long way from his WWE wrestling days after starring in the Marvel Universe films as Drax.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) PG-13
Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) have been dreaming since they were kids to representing Iceland in the world’s biggest song competition, Eurovision. Their dream just might come true. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Website
What to Watch For: Eurovision is a real contest that has been going on for 65 years and is a huge ratings event in Europe.
Word on the Street: Will Ferrell, who co-wrote the script, is a big fan of the contest and followed the Swedish delegation from start to finish at the 2018 Eurovision contest.
My Take: I think Rachel McAdams has a great flair for comedy and can’t wait to see this film.
The Ghost of Peter Sellers (2018)
In 1973, Peter Sellers was the biggest comedy actors of his time, and he embarked on a comedy for Columbia Pictures. Sellers, notoriously temperamental and difficult to work with, lost confidence in the film and got the producers of the film fired. Sellers then turned on his friend, Peter Medak, who was directing the film, and the scars left from this production are still there after all these years. The Ghost of Peter Sellers Website
What to Watch For: The film won two awards, including the Special Jury Award at the 2019 Beverly Hills Film Festival.
Word on the Street: Peter Medak calls the never realized 1973 film Ghost in the Noonday Sun, his ’57 day nightmare.’
My Take: I loved Peter Sellers, the performer, but know he was incredibly difficult to deal with on the set on almost everything he appeared in.
Documentary that looks at Hollywood’s depiction of transgender people and the impact those stories had not just on the American culture but the lives of transgender people. Disclosure Website
What to Watch For: The film has extensive interviews with transgender actors Laverne Cox, Bianca Leigh, Jen Richards, and Alexandra Billings, along with filmmaker Lilly Wachowski. Please note there is full frontal nudity in the film.
Word on the Street: Laverne Cox, three-time Primetime Emmy nominated actress, is also the executive producer of the film.
My Take: Disclosure is at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.
One Small Step (2020)
A collection of family-friendly animated short films including the Academy Award-winning Bear Story, Oscar-nominated One Small Step, Gopher Broke, and Borrowed Times. One Small Step Website
What to Watch For: Brought to you by ShortsTV that for the past fifteen years has brought to your local theatres the annual Oscar Nominated Short Films series.
Word on the Street: The shorts collection, which can be rented on-line, will support independent theatres throughout the nation.
My Take: Bear Story is worth the price of admission by itself, but you also get other animated short films to see and discover.
Here are my reviews of movies just released on DVD/BluRay:
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) R
On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a young artist, Marianne (Noemie Meriant), is hired to paint a wedding portrait of a mysterious, silent woman, Heloise (Adele Haenel). A beautiful and magnificent look at the love between two women who know that no matter how deep their love is for each other, they are doomed to only experience their togetherness for a brief period of time. The film is a slow and steady look at a relationship where the two women gradually, almost too deliberately, explore their budding feelings for each other through short glances or slight touches of their hands. Writer/director Celine Sciamma shrewdly handles the relationship through the eyes of Marianne as she becomes enchanted by the young woman she has been hired to create a portrait of Heloise so that a nobleman can see her beauty and marry her. Marianne’s job is to finish a painting that a male artist wasn’t able to complete because Heloise would not sit for him. There is a secret that the family is Heloise is hiding from the nobleman, one that hangs over Heloise’s almost every move. The film is a movie, much like the painting, that takes time to complete but is worth seeing the finished product. My Rating; I Would Pay to See it Again
Burden (2018) R
When a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan opens in a small South Carolina town, the Reverend Kennedy (Forest Whitaker) tries to broker a peace all the while sheltering a former Klansman, Mike (Garrett Hedlund), much to the shock of his family and his church. While its heart is in the right place, Burden just doesn’t quite hit the mark, making the film feel a little too long and slightly flat in tone. I enjoyed Hedlund as Mike, a man who’s troubled past he must overcome with the help of the Reverend and Mike’s long-suffering girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough). I thought Hedlund went a little too far in his performance until I saw the real Mike talk in the closing credits, and I realized that Hedlund had captured the essence of the man. The film feels a little too much like a Lifetime movie, going for some of the easy emotional pulls, especially when Mike turns his back on the Klan. Whitaker is enjoyable as the Reverend, but this is a part that he probably could have played in his sleep, as the Reverend is portrayed as a one-trick pony, a man who never wavers in his beliefs that he can overcome evil with love and kindness. 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