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A horror classic and 2019’s best foreign film: The biggest and best 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.

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

In a career defined by astounding, intense performances, this dialed-back Denzel Washington drama stands out for doing something different.

This Oscar-nominated performance is, bar none, the best thing about this courtroom movie about an idealistic, awkward attorney who is pulled from background research to front-and-centre arguing when his law partner dies.

As he finds himself dealing with moral dilemmas that lead him to the brink, Washington’s Roman J. Israel becomes a nervous wreck, in a role not quite like anything he’s ever done before.

Though it serves up nothing new, Roman J. Israel boasts a great Denzel performance, and a supporting turn from Colin Farrell that are worth remembering.

3.5/5 Stars

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

This horrifying classic redefined the horror genre in 1974, as it told the story, based on real events, of a group of siblings and friends who are terrorized by cannibals during a road trip in Texas.

In Tobe Hooper’s insane, electrifying film, we’re given Leatherface, the mask-wearing, chainsaw-totting villain who is one of the most formidable villains of all time.

It’s stomach-curdling, and at times intensely gory, and the terror is incredibly jarring. It’s a flick that will stay with you the rest of your life.

It has spawned countless sequels, remakes and reboots, but this original film is a masterclass in terror.

4/5 Stars

Mapplethorpe

I’m betting this pick will split the audience into two camps, due to the graphic and erotic nature of the film.

But if anything, that’s what famed queer photographer Robert Mapplethorpe would have wanted out of a biopic about him. It follows his life in the 1970s as he goes from struggling artist to sensationalist photographer.

It then follows his downturn and death in 1989 in the midst of the AIDS crisis.

While you can dance and step to every beat here, it’s the journey that’s pretty instrumental. Matt Smith – of Dr. Who fame – is a triumph, and makes the entire endeavour worth the watch.

3.5/5 Stars

Dogman

I was fortunate enough to catch this movie in September 2018 at FIN: Atlantic International Film Festival, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

Now gaining prominence on the world stage, this story of a dog groomer trying to mind his business and make a living for his son runs into trouble with gangs when his drug-dealing side-hustle comes under fire.

The meek, mild-mannered man must deal with an unstable companion as he tries to keep above the fray and provide a life for himself and his child. But things don’t always go well for those who deserve a break.

Dogman is literally one of the most visceral film experiences of all time, and main actor Marcello Fonte won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018.

This is the best foreign film I’ve seen this decade, and it’s a dark meditation on what happens when you drive someone to the brink.

5/5 Stars

The Laundromat

While this film gained lukewarm reviews from critics out of the Toronto International Film Festival this year, Meryl Streep’s subdued, off-kilter performance is more than enough to warrant a recommendation.

Reminiscent of Oscar film The Big Short, this drama has an incredible vibe as it tackles the financial crisis and the Mossack Fonseca scandal with rigour and a raw sense of humour.

Director Steven Soderbergh can be hit-or-miss, and The Laundromat isn’t for everyone. But this film about a woman who seeks answers from fraudulent insurance companies after a boat crash claims her husband’s life is an entertaining affair.

With uncharacteristic performances from Gary Oldman and Antonia Banderas as fraudsters, the cast is top-notch, even if the script sometimes falters.

3.5/5 Stars

New Releases To October 28:

  • Jenny Slate: Stage Fright
  • Daybreak
  • Revenge of Pontianak
  • Workin’ Moms: Season 3
  • The Kominsky Method: Season 2
  • Brotherhood

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




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About the Author: Jordan Parker

Jordan Parker is a freelance journalist & public relations student. He's been a movie nerd since he was old enough to walk, and the first movie he saw in theatres was Beauty & the Beast.
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