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George Clooney in dystopia and Jon Favreau cooks up a delightful flick: 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.

The Vow

This romantic drama about a hapless man trying to make his wife — who suffered major memory loss — fall in love with him again following a car accident is actually one of the most heartfelt films of the last decade.

You wouldn’t expect it, but Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams make a great pair as Paige and Leo, and the journey to making Paige fall in love again will melt your heart.

With Jessica Lange and Sam Neill as supporting performers, along with Canadian Tatiana Maslany, it doesn’t get much better.

It’s sappy and sweet, but a dose of sentimentality couldn’t hurt this holiday season.

4/5 Stars

The Midnight Sky

George Clooney’s directorial effort for Netflix is an interesting, moody sci-fi adventure that might provide some perfect escapism.

In a dystopian world, the dying Augustine (Clooney), a scientist, watches everyone else leave the base for survival while he plans to pass away alone, and as peacefully as possible.

But when he realizes a small girl was left behind, he does everything he can to try to find her refuge, knowing time is ticking for him.

Simultaneously, he tries to warn a crew of astronauts who’ve been gone for years that they won’t be returning to the home they knew.

Clooney is effective and solid and co-stars Felicity Jones, Kyle Chandler and David Oyelowo are fantastic.

I don’t predict any Oscars, but this highly visual, affecting film might just keep you thoroughly entertained for two hours.

3.5/5 Stars

Babyteeth

It won’t be a film you enjoy, but the incredible Australian flick Babyteeth is one of the most moving, difficult portraits of the year.

Milla — a young girl with cancer — falls for 20-something homeless drug dealer Moses and the two form a bond they just can’t seem to break.

To the chagrin of her parents, who have all kinds of issues of their own, they try to support their daughter while also knowing this isn’t best for her.

But she loves Moses, and despite his tattooed, rat-tailed exterior, there’s something in Moses everyone can’t seem to shake.

Director Shannon Murphy brings a perfect tone to the feature and the performances from principals Eliza Scanlen and Toby Wallace are award-worthy.

As the parents, Michelle Lotters and Ben Mendelsohn, long a favourite of mine, are also enigmatic.

This is one you’ll have trouble watching, but a movie you shouldn’t miss.

4.5/5 Stars

The Holiday

Perhaps one of the cutest holiday-themed rom-coms in recent memory is The Holiday, a film that still provides me warmth and comfort after nearly 15 years.

Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet — two of the best in the business — star as two women who couldn’t be more opposite. Both recently jilted, they switch homes for the holidays and each find something worth remembering.

The cozy, wintry cottage Diaz’s character Amanda walks into is the opposite of the glamour the film industry type is used to, but when she meets Graham, wonderfully played by handsome Jude Law, she can’t help but be enamoured. He’s sister to Winslet’s Iris.

Iris, in turn, meets the wondrous, musical Miles (Jack Black in one of his best performances) and old-school film icon Arthur who's aging and full of life.

This is a fantastic ensemble, adorable all the way around, and you’ll absolutely love it.

4/5 Stars

Chef

At one point, Jon Favreau was one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood. Elf and Iron Man launched him, and then with Iron Man 2, there came a shift.

Three years later and Favreau comes out with a deeply personal film about a chef in a high-class restaurant whose autonomy and creativity are stifled. He quits — in a massive, uploaded-to-YouTube fashion — and begins to pick the pieces back up.

While Favreau — now famous for his work on The Mandalorian — never had the YouTube moment, the idea of stepping back from Iron Man 3 and going to a smaller-scale indie with creative freedom mirrors Favreau’s own life.

It pays off, as Chef shows Favreau — writer, director, star — fulfilling a dream, opening a food truck and selling what he wants with ingredients he loves.

And his famous friends — do they ever show up. Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale and Sofia Vergara might get you to click ‘play’.

But I promise you, Favreau’s return to his indie roots is exactly what will make you recommend this to others.

4.5/5 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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