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A controversial Marilyn Monroe biopic and Allison Janney carries Lou: This week's best and biggest on Netflix

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

Blade

Before Marvel was a huge film universe, there were only a smattering of properties getting the big-screen treatment.

Blade was one of the ones that worked, and it’s an incredible, hard-R rated vampire bloodbath.

It follows the half-vampire, half-human man as he hunts the night creatures to protect civilization.

Written by David S. Goyer – the man behind The Dark Knight’s screenplay – it’s an arresting, entertaining adult feature that I’ve loved for years.

Wesley Snipes is iconic as the titular character, and Stephen Dorff is a terrifying villain. Chris Kristofferson, Udo Kier, Donal Logue, Sanaa Lathan and N’Bushe Wright also star.

The visuals are stunning and it’s the type of brooding comic book film that almost never gets made. It’s something different, and it pays off here.

4/5 Stars

Rogue (2020)

I have to first remark that I’m aware this isn’t an objectively good film.

It’s cheesy, corny and has some pretty low-cost special effects. But what it does have is a sense of humour and a B-movie self-awareness that made me enjoy it.

Mercenary O’Hara is leading her squad on a recovery mission to bring home a kidnapped woman, but they become trapped by a lion in an African town.

With local rebels on their tail, they’re left to their own devices as they fight the lethal creature as well. They must survive the night to get back-up and get out.

Megan Fox headlines this one and does an admirable job, and if you don’t take it too seriously, Rogue actually has a little bit for everyone.

It’s a creature feature and action film rolled together, and it’s a whole lot of fun if you just give in for 90 minutes.

3.5/5 Stars

A Jazzman’s Blues

I don’t even remotely like writer-director Tyler Perry’s films.

I find his Madea character grating and the titan’s other works melodramatic. Yet when I saw this passion project of his, I could feel the care and attention he paid here.

When an unsolved murder decades earlier is finally unearthed and investigated, it recalls pain, racism and tragedy in the lives of those involved.

It’s the story of Bayou and his love for his childhood sweetheart. They’re torn apart, and Bayou attempts to rise above his standing as a musician and win her affection, against all odds.

The performances are uniformly fabulous, with Joshua Boone and Solea Pfeiffer giving charismatic, intense turns.

Amirah Vann, Ryan Eggold and Austin Scott are all fabulous, and this is Perry’s only movie that kept me fully engrossed.

Kudos to Tyler Perry, who shows just how capable he is with the right material. If this is a sign of things to come, I’m more than ready to see what’s next for him.

4/5 Stars

Lou

Sometimes all a thriller needs is perfect timing and some key performances to help it succeed.

As Hurricane Fiona ripped through the Maritimes, this film set during an intense storm released on Netflix. It follows the kidnapping of a young girl during the raging weather, and the mother who teams up with her mysterious neighbour to find her daughter.

But there’s more to neighbour Lou than meets the eye, and secrets begin to unravel as they fight rough terrain and bad weather to find the girl.

Allison Janney – an Oscar winner – makes this one worthwhile, and she’s perfectly cast as Lou. Genre vet Logan Marshall-Green and Jurnee Smollett are both also fantastic here.

Even when things get a bit weird and the plot takes some unexpected – only occasionally unsettling – turns, Janney’s performance keeps this one arresting until the end.

3.5/5

Blonde

Much has been made of this loose biopic of the life of Marilyn Monroe, and I can see why.

Based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates, many liberties and leaps are taken with the brilliant, beautiful bombshell’s story.

But to say Blonde isn’t a difficult, harrowing and evocative endeavour nonetheless would be a flat-out lie. Despite difficulties removing fact from fiction, there’s a clear sympathy with its subject, even if it doesn’t give Monroe the glamorous, rose-coloured biopic treatment.

Writer-director Andrew Dominik is no stranger to brilliant filmmaking, as he helmed The Assassination of Jesse James, but this one will consume you in a totally different way than his previous work.

Too polarizing to garner any further Oscar attention, Blonde’s best chance at glory may be the absolutely fabulous performance from Ana de Armas, who inhabits Monroe entirely.

Other stars Julianne Nicholson, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale and Xavier Samuel are great, but this is Armas’s film.

At the end of the day, it’s best to take this as a fictional film with some truths about Monroe blended it. Regardless, the film that’s left is one that’s bound to get people talking, for better or worse.

I adored it, but it’s a challenge through-and-through, and one you’ll need to make up your own mind about for sure.

4.5/5 Stars




About the Author: Jordan Parker

Jordan Parker is a freelance journalist and runs entertainment firm Parker PR. He's been a movie nerd since he was old enough to walk.
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