An Oscar-winning HBO Max venture and a classic 90s crime flick: This week’s best and biggest on Netflix

By Jordan Parker

Check out Jordan Parker's 'The week's best and biggest on Netflix' every Friday on CityNews Halifax.

Judas And The Black Messiah

This effort came out right at the tail end of Oscar season last year, and managed to snag all kinds of attention.

A stunning portrait of the Black Panthers and their chairman Fred Hampton, it follows a man named William O’Neal, who takes a plea deal and infiltrates the group for the FBI.

It won two Oscars, for Best Achievement In Music and Best Supporting Actor for star Daniel Kaluuya. His co-star – the obvious lead – LaKeith Stanfield, also nabbed a nod for Best Supporting Actor.

Producers Shaka King (also the director), Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler (who made Black Panther) became the first all-black producing team to be nominated for Best Picture for this one also.

It also has amazing performances from Jesse Plemons and the incredible Dominique Fishback. This is an amazing one, and one of the best of 2021.

4/5 Stars


One of my top films of the 1990s, Sleepers never, ever got the full appreciation it deserved.

Everyone I’ve asked loves this one, but the only Oscar nomination it received was for Best Music.

It follows a group of teens who are sent to a detention centre for juveniles following a prank with brutal results.

They are subjected to physical and emotional abuse while they’re there, and 13 years later, are pulled back together when two of them murder a former guard.

Director Barry Levinson creates an incredible film – one of the best of his stories career, and adapts Lorenzo Carcaterra’s book with care.

Starring Brad Pitt, Jason Patric, Robert De Niro, Billy Crudup, Ron Eldard, Minnie Driver, Dustin Hoffman, Bruno Kirby, and young Jonathan Tucker and Brad Renfro, this is an incredible cast.

But the best performance comes from an absolutely devilish Kevin Bacon, in a role rivalled only by his turn in The Woodsman.

One of my favourite films of all time, it is a gem I re-watch every single year. It’s on my list for this weekend.

4.5/5 Stars

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

While I try to avoid recommending writer-director Woody Allen at all costs, this detestable human made a pretty essential film here.

Four-time Academy Award nominee Penelope Cruz received her only win for this one, and it’s well-earned.

The film follows two friends on a summer vacation in Spain who both fall in love with a hunky painter. But his ex-wife is about to swoop in and change all the dynamics.

Javier Bardem, Cruz, Rebecca Hall, and Scarlett Johansson all give spectacular turns here, but it truly is Cruz who stands out.

It’s sexy, it’s funny, and overall this one is just an absolutely fabulous time.

4/5 Stars

Home Again

Do you ever watch a movie that you know isn’t very good, but for some inexplicable reason, it sticks with you?

This little rom-com from 2017 is a movie I’ve always loved, though I completely understand why many don’t enjoy it.

It follows a single mom in L.A. who allows three young men to move in with her to help pay the bills. They all become incredibly bonded and end up like a little family themselves.

Written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer – daughter of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Nancy Meyers – it doesn’t measure up to the matriarch’s classic work. But I had a lot of fun with this one.

No one quite carries a film with as much charm as Reese Witherspoon, who does an admirable job here. She’s joined by Candice Bergen and Michael Sheen, who give lovely turns.

Young men Nat Wolff, Jon Rudnitsky, and Pico Alexander are all serviceable, if not fantastic.

At the end of the day, I smiled, I laughed, and my heart felt something. For a rainy Sunday afternoon, you can’t go wrong with coming Home Again.



By the time Split arrived, M. Night Shymalan had burned his career to the ground, and was slowly trying to turn things around.

While he found success with The Visit, his earlier films The Happening, The Last Airbender, and After Earth were all critical and box-office failures.

Then came Split, a daring and incredible effort that took all the elements that made Signs and The Sixth Sense hits and brought them back to light.

It follows three girls who are kidnapped by a man. He happens to have 23 personalities, all of which show themselves at different times.

As they fight to escape, they realize there may be one more personality ready to blow through as well.

Chief among the reasons this film works is a committed performance by James McAvoy, who inhabits all these different personalities.

With Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, and one heck of a twist, love it or hate it, you need to see Split.

4/5 Stars


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