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A strange romantic odyssey and Mr. And Mrs. Smith: 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.

One Week

This soulful meditation on life, love and the paths we'd choose if we had a finite amount of time left is one of the best Canadian films out there.

When young man Ben Tyler – about to be married and living a peaceful existence – realizes he has Stage 4 cancer, his entire life is upended.

He impulsively buys a motorcycle and goes on a country-wide trip from Toronto to Tofino, B.C., all the while contemplating his life and the decisions he's made.

Joshua Jackson – of Dawson's Creek fame – gives a triumphant dramatic performance in a role that really showcases his abilities.

The other actors are lovely, but this truly is Jackson's show, and he makes the most of it.

Writer-director Michael McGowan – an experienced dramatic helmer – makes the best film of his career here.

It's a beautiful story and will affect you, no doubt in my mind.

4/5 Stars

Divergent

The first film of a pretty lacklustre trilogy, this one actually showed promise of great things to come. It's unfortunate the rest of the series is so poorly done.

Based on the popular young adult Veronica Roth novels, Divergent follows a universe that's divided into factions.

Young Tris learns she's divergent, and her virtues are different than others. Upon realizing there's a plan to destroy divergents, she springs into action.

Directed by Neil Burger – responsible for great films like The Illusionist – makes a really fun sci-fi adaptation here.

Shailene Woodley and Theo James make an interesting main pair. But the ensemble really pulls through.

Miles Teller, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Tony Goldwyn, Mekhi Phifer and Maggie Q are all fantastic here.

It's a well-done film and a decent action entry the whole family will enjoy.

4/5 Stars

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

A film made more famous by the scandal between co-stars than for its action sequences, it still remains a pretty fun actioner.

It sparked the divorce of darlings Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, and his eventual union with his co-star here, Angelina Jolie.

Jolie and Pitt have electrifying chemistry here, and it's a sexy, sleek film.

They play a married couple – entirely bored with their lives – who each moonlight as assassins. But they're each contracted to kill each other, and things go off the rails quickly.

They're joined by Adam Brody, the hilarious Vince Vaughn, Kerry Washington and Keith David.

From Doug Liman – director of The Bourne Identity – this is an action-romance worth the price of admission.

3.5/5 Stars

Two Lovers and a Bear

This incredible film is about the bond formed between two broken people, and the lengths they go to in order to find solace in each other.

Set in a small North Pole town, desolate and dreary, Roman and Lucy have made an unconventional home for themselves.

As they attempt to reckon with their own pasts and find peace, outside influences threaten their best intentions.

Co-writer and director Kim Nguyen's film is beautiful and breathtaking, and I was left stunned after the final frame.

Dane DeHaan and the incredible Tatiana Maslany also keep a fire burning through the run-time, and turn in searing performances.

It really has to be seen to be truly comprehended, and the trailer doesn't do it justice at all.

4.5/5 Stars

Long Weekend

This quirky romantic film is an absolute trip, and I had no idea what I was getting into when I sat down.

It follows struggling writer Bart, who meets Vienna and falls in love. She changes his perspective and the two embark on a beautiful love story.

But there are incredibly interesting ideas and almost sci-fi elements to this film that you won't see coming, and it's so emotionally-resonant.

Finn Wittrock and Zoe Chao are magnetic, and they're joined by Damon Wayans Jr., Wendi McLendon-Covey, Casey Wilson and Jim Rash.

Writer-director Steve Basilone does one thing many filmmakers these days don't bother trying – He dares to be original. It pays off in spades.

4/5 Stars

 



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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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