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The Sweeney Todd big-screen adaptation and a Tony Scott 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.

Straight Up

This wonderful little romantic comedy features a star-making tour de force from young James Sweeney.

Sweeney – who writes, directs and stars here – is wonderful at Todd, a highly anxious, OCD young gay man who tries to date a woman.

He feels it’s better to find a soul mate without sex than to be alone. He meets Rory, and the two hit it off. They finish each other’s sentences, live together and love each other deeply.

But can their relationship last without sexual intimacy? That’s the major question posed in a poignant, thoughtful film about love, sexual fluidity and what it is to find the one.

The two leads, Katie Findlay and Sweeney play off each other perfectly, and their on-screen bond is by far the best part of this intellectual, truly splendid little feature.

4/5 Stars

Sweeney Todd

Though he’s had troubles of late, it takes but one look deep in his filmography to remember what an eclectic, hugely talented actor Johnny Depp is.

He re-teams with the wonderful, quirky Tim Burton here for this musical about Sweeney Todd, an undead barber who kills those who caused his death in the first place.

It’s dark. It’s gritty. It’s absolutely stunning. It’s also one of my favourite films of the 2000s.

Johnny Depp gives a career-defining performance, with stalwart turns by Helena Bonham Carter and the late, great Alan Rickman.

The tense – but artfully playful – drama is a gem time seems to have forgotten. Make sure you don’t sleep on it.

4.5/5 Stars

Italian Job

In general, I’m not a huge fan of sequels and remakes. But there was enough fun and chemistry in the 2003 iteration of The Italian Job to make it worthwhile.

While Mark Wahlberg is no Michael Caine, he does a serviceable job in this crime thriller about a man left for dead who plans an elaborate heist to get back at his former friend.

Directed by F. Gary Gray – the man behind incredible films like Set It Off, The Negotiator and Straight Outta Compton – this is a sleek, slick action movie that will get your heart beating.

The cast is wonderful, and includes Donald Sutherland, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Seth Green, Jason Statham and Mos Def.

They all work wonderfully together and this is a film that breezes by quickly, with a huge re-watch value.

4/5 Stars

True Romance

This movie is pure gold. One of the best films of the 1990s, it teams a crackerjack Quentin Tarantino script with the visual sensibilities of the late, great Tony Scott.

With the artful bits on screen and truly memorable dialogue, this is one of the best crime movies in years.

It follows pop culture junkie Clarence, who falls in love with and marries call girl Alabama. They have to flee after they steal her pimp’s cocaine, and attempt to off-load it in Hollywood as they’re chased by all types of people.

Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette are so good together, and the supporting stars include Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, an insanely young Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken, Michael Rapaport, and Samuel L. Jackson.

This is an incredibly violent film, and it’s for adults only, but it’s also a movie that’s a heck of a lot of fun for the right crowd.

This is an off-the-wall, must-see feature. In what other film could you get Gary Oldman as a pimp named Drexl? I rest my case.

4/5 Stars

Zodiac

One of director David Fincher’s more muted, subtle pieces, it’s also one of his absolute best.

While I count Fight Club as my favourite film, and Se7en as a hugely influential thriller, it’s movies like Zodiac that show Fincher can do just about anything he wants.

Set in the late 1960s, the story about journalists tracking the Zodiac Killer through the years is a far-spanning, intense and moody thriller.

It gets wonderful performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo, and was huge in proving Robert Downey Jr. still had the spark following rehab.

Zodiac is deliberate, philosophical and meditative, but it’s also intense and endlessly interesting. It’s a wonderful change of pace for the director, and a crowning achievement in a time where so many movies rush, to their own detriment.

One of the best crime films in two decades, Zodiac will grab you tight, and keep you awake at night.

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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