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A battle with the NSA, and Netflix subscribers flock to pandemic classic: This week’s best and biggest on Netflix

Check out Jordan Parker's 'The week's best and biggest on Netflix' every Friday on HalifaxToday.ca
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Check out Jordan Parker's 'The week's best and biggest on Netflix' every Friday on HalifaxToday.ca.

Escape From Alcatraz

Before he was a crackerjack director, Clint Eastwood was a stoic, incredible actor with a penchant for being the litmus test for a good film.

If Eastwood was in it, it was worth the price of admission. Escape From Alcatraz – based on a real-life prison escape – is no different.

This slick, engrossing adventure film features Eastwood in a trademark tough guy role, as one of three men who attempts escape from the infamous Alcatraz.

Featuring a young Fred Ward, this movie has a committed ensemble cast and will keep you entirely entertained.

It’s an Eastwood classic and a great title to check out.

4/5 Stars

The Last Stand

When Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to make a comeback, some relished the idea. Others groaned. I was the latter.

The former California governor, 1980’s action star and king of one-liners took a break after the disappointing Terminator 3 in 2003. Seven years later, he decided to pop up in Sly Stallone comeback vehicle The Expendables.

But here – in The Last Stand – Schwarzenegger can’t rely on an ensemble. He is the star. But for all the misfires he’s had since 2010, this is one of his better efforts.

Completely underappreciated upon arrival, this story of a sheriff who must staff off a cartel kingpin at the Mexican border is a lot of fun.

Far below his classic titles, Arnie still manages to wrangle laughs and huge action along with Forest Whitaker and Johnny Knoxville.

It won’t change your life, but this is more than enough to give you a nostalgic kick.

3.5/5 Stars

United 93

This real-time film about the foiled terrorist plot aboard United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, is one of the most comprehensive, emotional films about the topic.

Written and directed by Bourne maestro Paul Greengrass, this is an evocative film that doesn’t lean on some celebrity cast to get performances.

To see the heroics of the passengers against certain death is a really beautiful thing, and this is one of those movies that will stay with you.

It’s a crowning achievement for Greengrass, and must-see viewing for all of you.

4/5 Stars

Contagion

I know I just featured this flick a few months back, but given COVID-19, the people have spoken.

This movie has catapulted back into Netflix’s Top 10 most-viewed films of the week, and while it’s timely, it’s also an incredible achievement.

The story of health professionals, government and citizens working through a deadly pandemic rings so true right now, and though the film wasn’t as appreciated on release, people are responding right now.

Steven Soderbergh’s direction is enviable, and he creates tension, suspense and terror like you’ve never seen.

With Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and more incredible actors on board, it’s a heck of an acting ensemble, but it’ll also make the germophobe in everyone wince at every sneeze for days.

4/5 Stars

Snowden

This film about agency employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden is one of the most provocative of the last 10 years.

The story of the man who leaked the NSA’s surveillance techniques to the public paints him in so many lights.

Snowden is considered two different things, depending on who you ask: traitor or patriot, hero or villain. The man has been in hiding from extradition for years, and it’s perfect this subject matter is handled by Oliver Stone.

It’s great directing, and one of the best films Stone – known for JFK and Natural Born Killers – has done in years. With Melissa Leo, Nicolas Cage, a disappointing Shailene Woodley and Zachary Quinto on board, it’s a heck of a cast.

But make no mistake, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the star here. His idiosyncrasies as Snowden are incredible, and this is one of the best performances of his career so far.

4/5 Stars

Jordan Parker's weekly film reviews can be found on his blog, Parker & The Picture Shows.


About the Author: Jordan Parker

Jordan Parker is a freelance journalist and runs entertainment firm Parker PR. He's been a movie nerd since he was old enough to walk.
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