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Edward Norton as a neo-nazi and the latest Planet of the Apes: 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.

Someone Great

Sometimes, you just need to laugh. After a busy work week, I sat down on a Friday night and tried out this Gina Rodriguez comedy.

It did the trick. This flick about Jenny, an independent music writer who gets a job at Rolling Stone, examines how she handles a break-up with her long-term boyfriend on the eve of her move.

Her last night in NYC includes mega debauchery, tons of dancing, a music festival and a whole lot of introspection with her two best friends.

It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but by God, Rodriguez is one of the most charming in the business. Joined by Pitch Perfect’s Brittany Snow and scene-stealing DeWanda Wise, she creates a heavily entertaining film.

It’s also wonderful to see Get Out’s breakout supporting star Lakeith Stanfield here, as the boyfriend, in a more substantial, thought-provoking role that provides two sides to how the break-up transpired.

This is a very funny film, but an adult one. Do us all a favour, and don’t watch with any young ones.

4/5 Stars

Always Be My Maybe

Ali Wong – who co-leads and writes this wonderful romantic comedy – is on fire, and this might be her best work to date.

Continuing in a post-#MeToo landscape where diversity is key, we get a romantic film with two Asian-American leads in Wong and the criminally under-utilized Randall Park.

With this film about two best friends from high school who find themselves falling for each other as they grow up – despite their differences – harkens back to some of the real romantic greats.

With two intensely likeable leads, a wicked smart script by Wong, a hilarious celebrity cameo and a feel-good demeanour, this movie is a great time all-round.

4/5 Stars

American History X

This is the one and only vehicle that earned famed actor Edward Norton an Oscar nomination, and it’s the best performance of his storied career.

He transforms here into reformed neo-nazi skinhead Derek Vinyard, who comes out of prison after brutally assaulting two black men outside his home.

With head shaved and an unsettling smirk, Norton is a compelling anti-hero, and to see the transformation of his character pre-and-post prison is engrossing.

He tries to pull his younger brother (Edward Furlong) out of the life before it’s too late. Told in flashback sequences that reveal how Norton’s character got that way, it’s a pretty brutal film.

But it is one of the top five of the 1990’s, and Norton’s performance is a must-watch.

4.5/5 Stars

War for the Planet of the Apes

The rebooted films seemed like high-art when the first one hit in 2011.

Tim Burton’s remake a decade earlier of the Charlton Heston classic had tarnished the brand. But with some work, and a heck of a great CGI performance from Andy Serkis, this series was revived.

Here, War finishes off a pretty incredible trilogy as the apes have taken over the world, and humans are in cages. But when one man and his army track down ape leader Caesar (Serkis) and his tribe, things begin to unravel.

Cloverfield director Matt Reeves helms this stylish film with incredible special effects, and the whole thing is capped off by a go-for-broke performance from Woody Harrelson.

This may just be the best in the franchise since the original.

4/5 Stars

Glee

This entire FOX show dropped on Netflix a few weeks ago, much to my applause.

Glee is a wonderful high school comedy-drama built on fantastic musical numbers thrown in. It’s the rare network TV show that defied convention, and for much of its run, it was must-watch TV for me.

It follows a glee club teacher who tries to help his students – many of them loners or outsiders by their own rights – succeed and navigate both high school and life.

With standout performances from Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison, it also made the careers of actors like Darren Criss, Lea Michele, Amber Riley and Chris Colfer. These are characters you won’t be able to help but love.

It would be disingenuous for me to tell you the entire series is gold – it isn’t. But for a great amount of six seasons, Glee is a delight.

3.5/5 Stars

New Releases To July 14:

  • Point Blank (Netflix Original Film)
  • Hall Pass
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season One

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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