Where: In theatres What: Movie, 135 mins. When: Now Genre: Action Why you should watch: A genre-upending, action packed historical film that sees Black women kicking ass in a rare depiction of pre-colonized Africa. This movie has exploded out of the box office upon release and no wonder, a winning formula of feelgood action all in the name of a just cause with the bloody retribution delivered by brand new heroes.
Where: In theatres What: Movie, 108 mins. When: Thurs, Oct.15 Genre: Documentary Why you should watch: How many times can we fall in love with Brandi Carlisle, among other things an LGBTQ+ pioneer in country music? And then she got Joni Mitchell to play at Newport festival. Now Carlisle seeks to do for overlooked-country music legend Tanya Tucker what Rick Ross did for Johnny Cash with his American Recordings that helped a new generation discover the Man in Black. Once a teenaged star, then a star of tabloid scandal sheets, Carlisle seeks to remind people of Tucker’s importance as well as help her re-launch her career with a great new album, written and recorded with Carlisle’s help and coaxing. An intimate, engaging and honest look at the star who reluctantly accepts Carlisle’s faith in her. Seeing the two create together provides rare insight and watching Carlisle’s delight at the process is pure joy.
Where: Apple TV+ What: Movie, 126 mins. When: Fri., Sept. 30 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: So much more than what the title promises, Beer Run tells the incredible, true story of a New Jersey lug head who decides to bring cans of beer to local boys fighting for the US in the Vietnam War. A hawk when he heads to Nam, Chickee Donahue gains an appreciation for anti-war activists after visiting his buddies in the war zone. The film is NOT a jingoist celebration of the US but a thoughtful, nuanced exploration of the war that doesn’t demonize protagonists – unlike the us or them tactics of today. Zack Efron is impressive in the lead role.
Where: Prime Video What: Movie,113 mins. When: Thurs., Nov. 4 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: First, to answer the biggest question, yes Harry Styles can act. Very well. Styles sensitively and credibly plays a bisexual man who struggles to understand his sexuality at a time, the ‘50s, when homosexuality is a crime in Great Britain – and much of the world. The film flips from ‘50s flashbacks to present day as we follow three characters, played by different actors at each age, all of whom are trapped in a tragic and cruel cycle of fear and deceit. The film is a reminder that rights are fought for not given and the depiction of an institutionally homophobic society is both chilling and something that must never be allowed to return. Powerful performances by Styles and the rest of the cast help depict this recent history as credibly heartbreaking and unjust.
Where: In theatres What: Movie, 151 mins. When: Weds., Nov. 23 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: More than just a tribute to himself, The Fabelmans is based on director Stephen Spielberg’s childhood but is not as indulgent as one might fear; the film works as a study of a young artist exploring his muse and finding his voice. Michelle Williams as “Spielberg’s” troubled Mom will likely pick up an Oscar nom as might the film which is more than just a love letter to movies.
Where: In theatres What: Movie, 104 mins. When: Fri., Dec. 2 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: Our pick for best film at TIFF, expect huge Oscar interest in this film for Canadian writer and director Sarah Polley, many of the brilliant cast and for the film itself. Based on a Marion Toews novel about a colony of Mennonite women who are routinely raped by the men there and who get a chance to determine next steps when the perpetrators are arrested and briefly removed before posting bail. Riveting, inspiring and ultimately hopeful. Brilliant filmmaking that reminds us how unrepresented and overdue women’s voices are in the artform.
Where: In theatres, Netflix When: In theatres, November; Netflix, Fri., Dec. 23| Genre: Whodunit mystery Why you should watch: Like Peter Sellers in The Pink Panther films –later Steve Martin and Kenneth Branagh in the “Murder in” mysteries and now Daniel Craig in the Knives Out series, for some reason – and it works – having a sleuth with a slightly over the top accent helming the mystery seems to key to achieving a playfulness so essential to a winning whodunit formula. And the Knives Out gang have done that as Craig’s sightly overdone, southern sounding detective leads a character-rich mystery that’s as fun as the original film with an equally entertaining cast of suspicious characters.
Where: In theatres What: Movie When: 2023 Genre: Drama Why you should watch: An impressive debut from Canadian film critic turned writer-director Chandler Levack who is assisted in her first film by s stellar cast including leads Isaiah Lehtinen as the endearing, self-absorbed teenaged film freak and Krista Bridges as his undeclared mentor who runs the smalltown video store where he works. A beautiful coming of age story that’s also about obsession, dreams and the interim reality that exists before beginning to achieve some of these goals as the lead character wrestles with feeling lost in a smalltown not big enough for his dreams.