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Chris Evans political thriller scores and Denzel’s best role ever: The 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.

Logan Lucky

This little redneck robbery comedy is one of those gems you don’t see coming. But once you see it, it’s impossible to ever forget.

Logan Lucky centres on two unintelligent brothers who try to pull off a heist during a major NASCAR race in Carolina.

Channing Tatum and Adam Driver really flex their talents in this totally out-of-character, offbeat comedy. It’s smart, funny and a real showcase for the actors.

But perhaps the best thing about it is the robust supporting performance from a bleached-blonde Daniel Craig. 007 is so funny here, and he shows the audience a whole new side.

This is a fantastic film, and one of the most underrated to come out in the 2010s. It’s a Steven Soderbergh cult classic.

4.5/5 Stars

Training Day

In his storied career, Denzel Washington has played political figures, the everyman, and just about everything else under the sun.

Whether he’s an action hero or making you cry in an Oscar-bait drama, he’s one of those Hollywood sure bets who always entertained.

But if you haven’t seen it, nothing can prepare you for his turn as corrupt officer Alonzo Harris in Training Day.

The plot is simple – Harris brings rookie narcotics officer Jake Hoyt out on a ride-along for his first day on the job, to see if he’s a match for the investigative unit Harris presides over.

But the rookie isn’t ready for the misdeeds and bad behaviour his superior officer exhibits, putting the cop in a moral dilemma. Is it alright to be a little bad to catch the bad guys? Such is the central question of Training Day.

Washington won an Oscar, and inspired a whole generation to use one-liners from his layered performance here. It’s my favourite Washington movie of all time.

Ethan Hawke was launched from indie darling to super-stardom with his Oscar-nominated supporting role here. With everyone from Scott Glenn to Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg bringing eclectic performances, it’s one heck of a thrill ride.

Antoine Fuqua – who has made a career out of working with Hawke and Washington since – may be best known for his other Washington-starring hit The Equalizer, but he and writer David Ayer make magic here for these thespians to work with.

This right here is a perfect movie, and one I’d recommend to anyone, anywhere, anytime if they’re looking for intelligent adult entertainment.

5/5 Stars

Overlord

This bonkers 2018 movie about a group of soldiers during D-Day who drop into a small town in Paris and discover unprecedented evil is insane.

It’s the best video game adaptation ever made, and from the very first sequence, it goes full throttle, thrusting the viewer into immediate immersion.

Star Wyatt Russell – who has a successful AMC show Lodge 49 – is fantastic here, and this cast of familiar newcomer faces is all serviceable.

But it’s former Game of Thrones actor Pilou Asbaek who surprises as the big, bad with an off-kilter turn.

This is a gory, violent bloodbath of a film, but if you can handle it, it’s also an exercise in exactly what a thriller should be.

4/5 Stars

The Red Sea Diving Resort

This Netflix original is one of their best of the year, and it’s a searing political drama that’s arrived at just the right time.

The true story of agents attempting to rescue Ethiopean Jewish refugees in Sudan is filled with taut tension and intrigue.

Writer-director Gideon Raff, best known for Showtime’s Homeland – is right at home with this drama, and draws character we sympathize with and root for.

Chris Evans appears without his Avengers persona here, and proves to the world he can still bring it as a man on a mission to save the oppressed.

His performance is stunning and a grand reminder that he’s more than just an action star in spandex.

Joined by Haley Bennett, Ben Kingsley, Michael Kenneth Williams, Greg Kinnear and the ever-fantastic Alessandro Nivola, he’s in great company.

This is a really heartbreaking, important movie, and it’s boasted by a completely transformative performance by When They See Us star Chris Chalk as the colonel ordering these slaughters.

This is a streamer that proves Netflix’s original content is worth the investment.

4/5 Stars

Hot Summer Nights

Hot off his one-two punch in Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name, Timothee Chalamet became both a heartthrob and a sought-after commodity in film.

So while writer-director Elijah Bynum’s debut feature – Hot Summer Nights – was filmed before the aforementioned critical darlings, it attempted to capitalize on its star’s newfound fame.

Part of the reason this film was overlooked was because it was decidedly Not an Oscars darling.

This story – set in 1991 – is about a teenager coming of age in Cape Cod, getting into the local drug scene, partying, and getting in over his head.

It’s neither Chalamet’s best work or his worst. At the least, Hot Summer Nights gives Chalamet a break from his good-guy persona, and lets the audience see him in a new light.

The film is neither brilliant nor bad, and with supporting roles from actors like Emory Cohen, Thomas Jane and William Fichtner, I think this one merits a watch.

It won’t rock your world, but it won’t leave you disappointed either. At the very least, it’ll give Chalamet fans more fresh content while we await Dune.

3.5/5 Stars

New Releases To August 5:

  • Bad Teacher
  • Battle: Los Angeles
  • Catch and Release
  • Jungle
  • Kidnap
  • The Smurfs
  • Otherhood: Netflix Original Film
  • The LEGO Ninjago Movie

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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