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Jake Gyllenhaal gets spiteful while Wahlberg and Byrne create a beautiful family film: 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.

Instant Family

In one of the biggest surprises last year, Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne turned what could have been a by-the-book family film into one of my favourites.

Instant Family is the type of film that tugs at your heartstrings without ever making you feel manipulated. It’s full of pure, honest emotion and filmmaking that doesn’t take shortcuts.

When house-flipping couple Pete and Ellie adopt three children – to keep them from being separated – they find themselves in over their heads and must overcome challenges for the good of the children.

It’s an adorable film with some hilarious moments, and great performances from the child actors, who often outshine their A-list adult co-stars.

You’ll be incredibly surprised at just how much you love this instant family.

4/5 Stars

Nocturnal Animals

This tale about just how much misery loves company, and the simple art of haunting revenge was one of my top films of 2016.

It’s arresting, sly and infinitely artful in telling the tale of an art gallery owner who is given her ex-husband’s book, which their own relationship clearly inspired. As she sinks deeper into the violent, cynical depths of the pages – and his mind – she becomes enthralled.

Though it was Michael Shannon playing a cop who received the lone Oscar nomination here, it’s Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and an incredible turn from former Kick Ass star Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a sleazy criminal the really resonate.

Writer-director Tom Ford creates a gripping, two-world story here, just as beautiful and tortured as his film A Single Man, but completely different in tone.

4.5/5 Stars

The Girl With All The Gifts

This incredible zombie thriller closed FIN – the Atlantic International Film Festival – a few years back, and the come-out-of-nowhere flick ended the fest on a high note for me.

The movie is about a teacher, scientist and young, infected girl named Melanie who all travel from a compound through the dystopian world to survive.

A BAFTA nominee for outstanding debut feature by a Brit, this film is more than your average flesh-eating terror flick.

Glenn Close gives a resolutely bad-ass, mercenary performance, and Prince of Persia’s Gemma Arterton shows her worth. But it’s Sennia Nanua as Melanie who gives the film some substance.

4/5 Stars

Detour

This showcase for young talent is a white-knuckle thriller that takes more turns than you’d ever expect.

Writer-Director Christopher Smith makes his most polished movie yet here, and brings on young talent to sell it.

Tye Sheridan has been a favourite of mine since Nicolas Cage cult classic Joe, and he doesn’t disappoint here. But it’s really Emory Cohen as bad-boy gangster Johnny Ray who steps out of his romantic role from Oscar darling Brooklyn into a whole new exterior.

He’s terrifying here, and he and Sheridan are both made for great things. This is a nifty little thriller you can mention at the water cooler. Guaranteed your co-workers will thank you.

4/5 Stars

Tales Of The City

This mini-series, based on the 1980s show of the same name, brings everyone up to speed on the lives and times of those living at the apartment complex at 28 Barbary Lane.

The housing unit, owned by trans woman Anna Madrigal, isn’t only host to people who are like family, but there’s tons of drama with it.

When former tenant, Mary Ann (Laura Linney, in incredible fashion) comes back to visit, she stirs the pot and things get incredible difficult and awkward for everyone.

This LGBTQ+ friendly show features a lovely cast, including Linney, Ellen Page, Paul Gross, Looking’s Murray Bartlett, and Olympia Dukasis, among many others. It’s a true treat to behold.

4/5 Stars

New Releases To August 26:

  • American Factory: Netflix Original
  • Hyperdrive: Netflix Original
  • How To Get Away With Murder: Season Five
  • Blade Runner 2049

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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