What we're watching this weekend. Plus: New titles hitting Netflix Canada, Crave and Amazon Prime Video Canada
Courtesy of Elevation Pictures
NOW critics pick what’s new to streaming and theatres for the weekend of September 18. Plus: Everything new to VOD and streaming platforms.
Writer/director Durkin finally follows up on the promise of his 2011 cult drama Martha Marcy May Marlene. The Nest is the story of an 80s family who move from the U.S. to the UK when dad (Jude Law) gets a business opportunity in London – only to find that living in a remote mansion in leafy Surrey isn’t quite as idyllic as it sounds.
The kids (Oona Roche, Charlie Shotwell) have trouble adjusting to their new schools, and mom (Carrie Coon) suffers a series of unpleasant setbacks. Durkin adopts the oppressive visual style of late 70s/early 80s horror like The Legacy or The Changeling, with an additional disconnect created by the fact that most of his very English film was shot in the GTA. But The Nest isn’t exactly a horror movie; rather, it’s another intense, unnerving look at true believers and the chaos they leave in their wake.
Law – who can be seen this week as another disintegrating family man in HBO’s The Third Day – adopts a corrosive charisma as a glad-handing yuppie, while Coon takes on all of the psychic stress of sifting through his never-ending bullshit. It’s a domestic nightmare, and one where all the monsters are painfully, recognizably human. 117 min. In theatres Friday (September 18). NNNN (Norman Wilner)
Courtesy of MK2 / Mile End
This bold biopic about scientist Marie Curie has lots of energy and features an awards-worthy performance by Rosamund Pike, but the film’s hobbled by a couple of choices that don’t work. Adapting Lauren Redniss’s graphic novel, director Satrapi (Persepolis) and writer Jack Thorne (Wonder) bring a vitality and spark to the first part of the narrative. The independent and socially awkward Marie (born Maria Skłodowska in Poland) is living in Paris attempting to carry on research in a field dominated by men. Soon she meets the gentle Pierre Curie (Sam Riley), who gradually convinces her they’d work well together – both professionally and, eventually, personally.
Their discoveries of radium and polonium win them fame and a Nobel Prize, although Marie continually struggles to be properly recognized. Satrapi’s use of animation to illustrate some of the science of radioactivity works effectively, but her decision to flash forward in history to show what the science leads to (Hiroshima, Chernobyl) takes us out of the story. And the final third lacks momentum, though it does depict single mom Marie’s persecution as an immigrant, something with obvious contemporary relevance. Throughout, Pike’s performance is tough, intelligent and full of complex emotional layers befitting one of history’s most accomplished figures. 103 min. Opens Friday (September 18) in theatres and available on VOD platforms. NNN (Glenn Sumi)
Courtesy of Netflix Canada
The Devil All The Time is rich with misery. Director Antonio Campos stays true to Donald Ray Pollock’s novel about the cycles of violence and trauma that plague a family from the Second World War. It really says a lot about the movie that its warmest moment involves a father giving his son a lesson in finding the right time to pummel a man’s face. Early on, we see a soldier skinned alive and crucified as flies gnaw away at him in the South Pacific. That sight haunts a young vet (Bill Skarsgård) and sets the motif for not only his life but also that of his son Arvin (Tom Holland). Arvin and his pious stepsister (Eliza Scanlen) are plagued by religious heretics who pile on the pain. Robert Pattinson plays one such figure, a sweaty, smarmy preacher with an appetite for Southern cooking and young flesh.
Campos does little to rein in Pollock’s unwieldy narrative or find redemptive moments in a story that has two notes: emotional torture and quiet moments that set up more punishment. But the telling is textured and novelistic, showcasing a superb ensemble cast that shine through the muck. 138 min. Now streaming on Netflix Canada. NNN (Radheyan Simonpillai)
Courtesy of Focus Features
For four years now, journalist and former White House photographer Pete Souza has been taunting Donald Trump on Instagram. He’s been posting images of Barack Obama – whom Souza shadowed for the entire eight years of his presidency – to draw a contrast between the 44th President and the current occupant of the White House. The Way I See It uses a similar approach, examining Souza’s career and the people for whom he’s worked to illustrate the failings of Donald J. Trump. Porter (John Lewis: Good Trouble) reminds us what simple human decency looked like in the Oval Office.
Souza captured the highs and lows of Obama’s terms in office: the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound, the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. But he also shot his subject as a husband, father and person. They don’t have much time for Trump; when he turns up, it’s usually because he’s sharing the frame with Obama. Mostly he’s there to signify how delicate the concept of democracy really is, and how his presidency has been just as transformative, in its way, as Obama’s was. More’s the pity. 112 min. In theatres Friday (September 18). NNN (Norman Wilner)
All In: The Fight For Democracy (Amazon Prime Video Canada)
American Barbecue Showdown (Netflix)
Arab Blues (Crave)
DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow (season 5) (Crave)
A Hidden Life (Crave)
I Can Do Bad All By Myself (Crave)
Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous (Netflix)
Military Wives (Crave)
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (Crave)
Room 104 (season 4, episode 9) (Crave)
Real Time With Bill Maher (season 18, episode 27) (Crave)
Sailor Moon (seasons 1-5) (Crave)
Spies In Disguise (Crave)
There’s Something About Mary (Crave)
Veronica Mars (Crave)
Castle (season 8) (Amazon Prime Video Canada)
Love Island (season 2, episodes 10-14) (Crave)
The Circus (season 5, episode 14) (Crave)
Desus & Mero (season 2, episode 48) (Crave)
Lovecraft Country (season 1, episode 6) (Crave)
Love Fraud (season 1, episode 4) (Crave)
Our Cartoon President (season 3, episode 11) (Crave)
Power Book II: Ghost (season 1, episode 3) (Crave)
The Vow (season 1, episode 5) (Crave)
Thomas Cocquerel, Camille Stopps, Angus Macfadyen; directed by Rob Grant
Janelle Monáe, Jena Malone, Jack Huston; directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz
Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska; directed by Roger Michell
Documentary directed by Arthur Jones
Miriam Margolyes, Daisy Axon, Alessandra Tognini; directed by John Sheedy
Jim Gaffigan, Macon Blair, Clare Titelman; directed by Steve Collins
Documentary directed by Paul Saltzman
Rosamund Pike, Sam Riley, Anya Taylor-Joy; directed by Marjane Satrapi
Pekka Strang, Krista Kosonen, Ilona Huhta; directed by J-P Valkeapää
Apple TV pre-order
Documentary directed by Greg Bassenian
Apple TV preorder
Azura Skye, Bryce Pinkham, Ashley Bell; directed by Dean Kapsalis
Ethan Hawke, Eve Hewson, Kyle MacLachlan; directed by Michael Almereyda
It seems impossible that Roman Holiday has never before been available on Blu-ray disc, but it’s true. Due to damaged negatives, William Wyler’s exuberant post-war romance – with Gregory Peck playing a reporter squiring Audrey Hepburn’s incognito princess around actual Italian locations – had to undergo exhaustive physical restoration and digital remastering before it could be released in an HD edition. But now there’s a 4K digital master, and it’s sumptuous, not just making the image look as good as it ever has but also restoring blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo’s screenplay credit.
Paramount’s disc adds a new supplement with Leonard Maltin discussing Wyler and the film to the existing DVD extras, but the film itself is the star. Hepburn’s sparkle in her first leading role remains an almost alchemical thing, and watching Peck’s mercenary hack slowly warm to her is a pleasure that stretches over the entire movie. Roman Holiday is a gem, pure and simple, and if you’ve been meaning to get around to it you now have the perfect excuse. (Norman Wilner)