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Rating History

Lion
Lion (2016)
3 days ago via Flixster
½

One of those life affirming gems of a film that usually tend to get released around Xmas time for boatloads of Oscar considering which it will most likely be one of the top 3 contenders for along with La La Land and Moonlight, focusing on a five year old Indian boy who on the way to help his brother earn some money for his family only to be separated overnight at a train station through accident and caught on a train that moves him over 1600 miles from his hometown, and gradually flips him from one troubled situation to the next until finally landing at an orphanage that adopts him to a well to do family in Australia. Fast Forward to adulthood and him just coming into his own until the ghosts of his past, namely his sense of abanonment and desire for a reunion with his heritage at home threatens everything he has fought for. Great acting from the leads in Dev Patel and Rooney Mara as the adult Saroo and his supportive gf, along with sumptuous cinematography will make this a darling for the remainder of the awards season and will be interesting to see if it steals away any of the momentum from front runner La La Land. A life affirming tear jerker for sure and must see.

Hidden Figures
3 days ago via Flixster

One of the latecomers for the Oscar race in 2016, Hidden Figures hits the race right in the sweet spot focusing on a hardly hear story of a group of African American woman number crunchers for NASA in the early days that are instrumental for the rapid progression of the organization to overtake Russia to send the first man into space followed by the landmark moon landing several years after. Modeled in egual parts after Thirteen Days structurally and obviously The Help for the social impact, both Octavia Spencer and Taraji Henson will more than likely receive Oscar nominations for their solid work here and the actually geekiness for the procedural work without being demeaning is really awesome to see. Now that it is about to break the $100 million mark it i shard to call it a hidden gem but defintely the breakout hit for awards season this year that is not called La La Land. Solid.

The Last Gladiators
5 days ago via Flixster
½

Alex Gibney, who is on quite the role with some great docs of late most notably the Going Clear Scientology doc that was released two years ago, follows the track here back in 2011 of the always controversial role of the enforcers within the NHL, primarily through the eyes of Chris Nilan who has been out of the game for the better part of two decades, but was one of the prototypical strong guys in the era of the Broad Street bullies and looking up to Bobby Orr as the penultimate tough guys of his era. They do touch on what he was able to achieve fighting for the marquee franchise of the Montreal Canadians as well as a brief stint with the Boston Bruins, but the points of note here is the devastating after affects of his famed career ranging from the physical toll, countless surgeries, unable to secure coaching work with the league to sustain ties with the sport he loves and the psychological effects of the countless fights he suffered through which brought on mental health issues which has become a hot topic issues within the sport causing the role he used to serve take a drastic plunge of importance league wide. A very important doc since obviously concussions are a very serious health issues now dominating the headlines particularly within the NHL and NFL, but would have been cool to acquire a bigger or more current out of the NHL enforcer to help bring things to the forefront to makes things even more urgent (Theo Fleury I believe came out with a competing doc several years later covering similar themes. But otherwise very intriguing.

The Conjuring 2
6 days ago via Flixster

In the area of remakes and retreads, and hitting horror franchises into the ground once they have gone through the roof with the original like James Wan's original series Saw did in the early Aughts, he is back to maintain control and direction for this second installment of the Conjuring series that is riffing off of the Amityville hauntings back in the far away times of the seventies. Following up a year later with Patrick Wilson's and Vera Farmiga's team of exorcism ghostbusters as it were, Vera receives a premonition that Patrick may be killed on a future case involving the Nun spectre that they encountered on their last assignment and maybe they should hide low for a while from investigating or at least taking on any new cases. And of course they do receive one from across the pond in London that seems to portray similar characteristics from the Amityville spectres of a year ago. The tone of course circles around the same feel and characteristics of the original with the jump scares and atmosphere from that era of filmmaking which I usually prefer when it comes to horror films, and they again perfectly capture the look as well. And the spectre design seems to be harkening a bit to the Grudge spectres of the early aughts and look decent enough, but the only real addition to the proceedings is location and the potential threat against one of the two leads from the jump and that appears to be it. Overall in terms of quality against its contemporary genre films it is far from bad, but it doesnt add anything particularly new to the formula as well while avoiding simple excess as well. Outside of Furious 7 which Wan handled perfectly, it will be great to see him do some more films outside of his comfort zone of horror which might be the upcoming Aquaman provided the WB doesn't interefere too much. Standard if unoriginal.

The Little Prince
7 days ago via Flixster

An animated tale from the creators of the Kung Fu Panda series that plays like a film from Laika or even Europe in places due to the varying animation styles in play including stop motion, classic and computer, focuses on a young girl and her single mother doing their best trying to get into their dream school through rigid routine and structure. When moving into the neighbourhood that cements admittance, the Little Girl meets her absent minded neighbour the Aviator who begins to befriend her with stories of his adventures and the fictional characters he invented using the likeness of varying people in his life. The sense of creativity and also friendship help the little girl see the world in a new light and challenges her relationship with her mother as to what is best. Almost out on the shelve due to a late pull out of distribution by Paramount, Netflix came to the rescue in the US a few months later, and eOne still handled the release in Canada. Cruely only did limited business but hopefully will make up for that in streaming and its a long shot but maybe will receive some awards recognition. A nice little gem not from one of the big studios.