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A Secret Love and a foot-tapping indie sensation: 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.

A Secret Love

From producers Ryan Murphy (Hollywood) and Jason Blum (basically any horror movie of the last five years) comes this tender, thought-provoking documentary.

A Secret Love follows the 65-year relationship of two Canadian lesbians who kept their relationship a secret for most of that time.

Terry and Pat – loved by their family and moving into old age – have spent their lives defying odds and overcome adversity. Terry was actually a pro baseball player, and the two have lived together since college.

But their fears have kept them from loving openly or marrying, as they didn't want people to reject them.

They're getting older and more frail – causing them to discuss selling their home – which may lead to them living openly in a retirement community. This causes feelings of distress and strain in the enduring couple.

To say this doc hit me is an understatement. I bawled for the final 25 minutes, and it was one of the most beautiful things I've seen put to screen.

This is a triumph of a documentary and will stir you inside completely.

5/5 Stars

Bugsy

Director Barry Levinson's Oscar-winning accounting of gangster Ben “Bugsy” Siegel's takeover of Las Vegas is stirring.

With glitz and glamour to spare, it may never be considered with movies like Casino or Scarface, but Warren Beatty is fantastic here as the titular character.

The way his charm and good grace can switch to violent rage on a dime is a masterclass, and Annette Bening in an early role matches him shot-for-shot.

It's perhaps the best performance of Harvey Keitel's storied career, earning him – as well as co-star Ben Kingsley – deserved Oscar nominations.

The writing is near-perfect and it's shot so well. The only thing it lacks is the guts to go for something special.

Still, it's a formidable, if formulaic, entry in a beloved and well-worn gangster movie genre.

4/5 Stars

Hearts Beat Loud

Calling up memories of beloved classics like Empire Records and my personal favourite High Fidelity, this film is an absolute modern gem that deserves a wider audience.

Released in 2018, Nick Offerman stars in this music-laden comedy in his post-Parks & Recreation career. He is fabulous as a quirky, upbeat record store owner on the brink of bankruptcy.

Once a promising musician, he is now a purveyor of incredible music knowledge for his customers, but when he and his daughter write a hit song the summer before she heads to college, he's torn.

Fighting between what's best for his daughter and the go-for-broke attitude a musician has to take to their craft, the two tangle between college and a possible major label signing.

Offerman is pitch-perfect here, and Kiersey Clemons is quite literally the soul of this film as his daughter. With Toni Collette on-board as friend and landlord to Offerman, this has a ton of talent.

With a hip soundtrack and assured stylings, director Brett Haley has created a modern masterpiece, and a new personal favourite of mine.

5/5 Stars

Sweet Virginia

I truly, for the life of me, have no idea how I missed this gem of a film.

A motel owner and former rodeo champ befriends a young customer who has sinister intentions, and an entire small town's peaceful existence is upended by the man's presence.

In his second feature, director James M. Dagg goes for the slow-burn approach, leaving dangling questions from the get-go, and slowly lets his audience in on the full picture.

It's frustrating, but with a cast including The Punisher's Jon Bernthal, Imogen Poots, Catch-22's Christopher Abbott and the consistently-wonderful Rosemarie DeWitt, one can't help but be fully sucked in.

This crime-drama, while at times a bit cliched, will absolutely hit the spot if you have a hankering for a well-told, gritty tale.

4/5 Stars

Dead To Me

Last summer's Netflix breakout hit series is back with a vengeance.

Dead To Me's second season marks a huge evolution from the first, with just as many surprises and twists as the landmark first.

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini are still fantastic as friends-and-foes (depending on the circumstance) who find themselves tethered together by crime and tragedy.

This is the perfect binge-watch for your COVID-19 blues, and this dark comedy remains a force in the streaming landscape.

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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