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Del Toro's Pinocchio stuns and Noah Centineo headlines The Recruit: 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.

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

I don't think Guillermo Del Toro could make a film that didn't at the very least feel wholly, creatively his own.

The imagination and sheer wonderment on display in this remake of Pinocchio is enough to warrant a recommendation alone. But it's also a beautiful endeavour with a heart and soul that cannot be denied.

It’s a darker tale than Disney’s original classic, but this story of a father whose wish brings a wooden puppet to life as a reincarnation of his son is one of the most soulful films of the year.

Set in Italy, the story of Gepetto and Pinocchio is told in stop-motion and del Toro and co-director Mark Gustafson create something entirely fresh.

A recent nominee for a Golden Globe, the voice cast includes young Gregory Mann, David Bradley, Ewan MacGregor, Bum Gorman, Tilda Swinton, and a fabulous Christoph Waltz.

It’s definitely a departure, but I loved where this one went with a well-worn story.

4.5/5 Stars

Jungleland

Sometimes a well-acted character drama is exactly what you need, and if so, you can’t go wrong by wading through Jungleland.

It’s a messy, complicated story of two brothers trying to make a better life for themselves, by any means necessary. They try to leverage the younger one’s gift for boxing, and set off to a match across the country that could prove lucrative.

But the trip may soon become deadly as they find themselves in mortal danger.

The biggest reason to see this film is the portrait of love – albeit toxic – between the brothers, played wonderfully by Jack O’Connell and Charlie Hunnam. They both bring a huge amount of charisma to this one.

It’s an indie drama that will have you invested in these characters before you know it.

3.5/5 Stars

Harry & Meghan

The obsession with the Royal Family – especially Prince Harry and bride Meghan Markle – has always befuddled me a bit.

I never really understood the need to follow the royals’ every move, nor did I care. But it was the step back by these two from their royal duties that began to entice me.

It outraged Britain – for some reason I’ll never understand – and caused a media frenzy. But after years with no privacy and a want for their son Archie to have a somewhat normal life, it seemed to make sense.

The vitriol and racism spewed Markle’s way since joining the Royal Family has been nothing short of insanity, and the first three episodes of this docuseries allow the couple to tell their story for the first time.

I’m not entirely sure it’s must-watch TV, but they are by far the most likeable members of the Royal Family since Harry’s late mother. It’s absolutely worth checking out if you have even a passing curiosity.

3.5/5 Stars

Neighbors

Enjoyed by critics and met with a shrug by audiences, Neighbors was a raunchy comedy that tried to elevate from the sub-genre.

The results were mixed for most, but I genuinely adored this effort. It follows a couple with a newborn who unwittingly move in next door to a fraternity house.

They embark on a mission to take out the boys next door any way they can, but realize their own lives may not be as normal or stable as they thought.

Director Nicholas Stoller – who recently made Bros, one of my favourites of the year – guides this one with a sure hand, and he gets a hefty lift from his talented cast.

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are fabulous, but Zac Efron steals this one. At the time, though he’d starred in The Lucky One, The Paperboy, and rom-com That Awkward Moment, he really hadn’t cemented himself as a star.

Post-High School Musical, this was the first vehicle he really got to showcase his comedic timing, and he’s absolute gold. Throw in a winning supporting turn from Dave Franco, and there’s a lot of laughs to go around.

Neighbors is crass and crude, but it’s also got a big, beating heart. It’s more introspective than one might expect, and definitely holds up well eight years later.

4/5 Stars

The Recruit

Every year around Christmas, Netflix throws out a popcorn entertainment show that we can watch, enjoy, and not take too seriously.

From the creator of hit Nathan Fillion-starring The Rookie comes The Recruit. It follows a young CIA lawyer who ends up in a major international scandal and conspiracy.

Teen heartthrob turned action hero Noah Centineo has plenty of charisma, though it takes half a season for him to really come into the role here. He’s come a long way since To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and it’s nice to see him try something new.

Superstore’s Colton Dunn impresses here, as do Laura Haddock and Vondie Curtis-Hall. It’s not perfect, but this one definitely has some potential to grow into a really fun show.

3.5/5 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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