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Long-delayed Trainspotting sequel and Stallone’s return as Rambo: The 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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Hey there folks. You may have seen my name gracing arts & entertainment stories on HalifaxToday for the last year.

I'm a report & film critic in the city, and I got lucky enough to partner with the publication for this new column.

I'll be appearing every weekend to recommend the newest and best films for you to binge.

Whether they're hidden gems, storied classics or modern blockbusters, there'll be something for everyone each week.

Check me out every Friday on HalifaxToday.ca.

Precious

From the acclaimed novel Sapphire comes this heartbreaking drama about an overweight, African-American high school girl struggling to push through life.

Set in Harlem in 1987, Precious battles an abusive mother, a haunting past and her own personal struggles as she starts a new school in hopes of a better future.

The film from director Lee Daniels – now known for FOX show Empire – is a magnetic, intense watch, and lead Gabourey Sidibe is a force.

The best picture & director-nominated film also garnered a nod for Sidibe, and an Oscar for best adapted screenplay.

But the true intensity of this bleak film comes from comedian Mo’Nique’s metamorphosis into abusive mother Mary. The Oscar-winning performance is her absolute best work ever, and one of the ugliest performances ever put to screen.

You won’t want to see Precious ever again, but you’ll be glad you did.

4/5 Stars

T2 Trainspotting

This sequel, made 20 years after the spellbinding, drug-fuelled original, may be the most unnecessary film made in years.

And yet, former junkie Mark Renton’s return to Scotland to meet up with the old gang and make amends is also exhilarating.

Catching up with these men is like spending years away from a bad influence pal, only to head out to the bars with him to catch up years later. It’s nostalgic, a terrible idea for our lead, and it’s a heck of a time.

Danny Boyle – who has since won a directing Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire – returns to the helm with the same vigour, flare and style that made the original, about heroin addicts in Scotland, a cult classic.

Everyone here – from Ewan McGregor & Ewen Bremner to Jonny Lee Miller – brings their best.

But as it was in 1994, it’s the rogue Robert Carlyle as Begbie that keeps things electric.

4/5 Stars

Rambo

In his first appearance as John Rambo since 1988, Sylvester Stallone really sinks his teeth into this blood-soaked reboot.

As director, writer & lead, Stallone goes full tilt in this film about Rambo joining mercenaries in Burma to bring back aid workers who have been kidnapped by local militia.

It’s a violent, savage affair, but Stallone’s star power and a breezy, interesting script bring this vision to life.

It’s one of the best straight-up actioners to come out of the 2000’s, and it signaled Stallone’s reemergence onto the mainstream circuit.

With Rambo V coming this year for a final instalment, it might be time to catch up and spend some time with John Rambo before the premiere.

4/5 Stars

U-571

In the little-used spy submarine film landscape, U-571 definitely ranks up there as the best.

This espionage thriller about Americans who secretly board a German ship to learn more about a cipher machine carries some exhilarating sequences and great action.

Starring a pre-McConaissance, pre-Oscar Matthew McConaughey, it was one of few films in the 2000’s where he really got to show his depth and range.

Along for the voyage are the late Bill Paxton, Harvey Keitel, and strangely enough, Jon Bon Jovi.

It’s not going to change your world, but it’s a diverting, entertaining two-hour affair.

3.75/5 Stars

The Catcher Was A Spy

This uncharacteristic Paul Rudd vehicle shows he's not just adept at slappin' the bass and doing bro comedy.

Rudd's portrayal of Moe Berg -- a major league baseball player working for the Office of Strategic Services on the side -- is like nothing you've ever seen from him before.

He's stunning here, and he carries this intricate independent film with zero hesitation.

It features key performances from supporting veterans Jeff Daniels & Paul Giamatti, who do the subject matter justice.

Written by Saving Private Ryan scribe Robert Rodat, this tense spy film is one of the unsung hits of 2018.

 

Weekly New Releases to March 26:

  • Amy Schumer: Growing
  • Smurfs 2: Lost Village
  • Carlo & Malik (Netflix Original series)
  • Charlie's Colorforms (Netflix Original series)
  • The Death of Stalin
  • The Dirt (Netflix Original film)
  • Kubo & the Two Strings

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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