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Honouring Ray Liotta and Christopher Plummer: 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.

Goodfellas

Film lovers the world over were left heartbroken at the recent news of Ray Liotta’s passing.

Through a storied career, Liotta’s most enigmatic performance has to be that of Henry Hill in Goodfellas.

Based on the true story of mob man Nicholas Pileggi, this film follows Henry Hill, who rises through the ranks of the mob to become an integral member of the Italian-American crime syndicate. But what goes up must come down.

Liotta gives a career-making performance, with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci (who won an Oscar here), Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino filling out an amazing ensemble.

This is Martin Scorsese’s best film, and one that was unfortunately denied a much-deserved Oscar upon release. It is a film classic, and a great testament to the talents of Liotta.

5/5 Stars

Joyful Noise

There are certain entertainers who are infinitely watchable, regardless of the vessel.

Queen Latifah is one such person for me, and I’ve been enamoured with her star power and screen presence for years.

Her film Joyful Noise may not be a triumph, but it’s made all-the-better by her casting.

It follows a rich woman who – following the death of her choir director husband – finds herself at odds with new director Vi Rose Hill.

They clash over the choir group’s future as they ready for national competition.

Co-writer and director Todd Graff infuses the film with great musical numbers, even if the script sometimes falters.

But Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer, Broadway star Jeremy Jordan, and Courtney B. Vance are all wonderful.

It’s not a perfect movie, but Joyful Noise will certainly make you rise up.

3.5/5 Stars

Marie Antoinette

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood films of the 2000s, I stayed away from this one for years due to some of the reviews.

What I realized once I’d watched it is how daring and absolutely delightful this film is.

With echoes of the exuberant Baz Luhrmann in a period-piece vibe, famed writer-director Sofia Coppola creates an unforgettable film.

An endlessly interesting re-telling of the rise and fall of the young Marie Antoinette, this is a hugely accessible film. It follows her marriage to Louis XVI at 14 and her life as queen, which ended during the fall of Versailles.

In a hugely misunderstood role, Kirsten Dunst flourishes. She makes the film, and is joined by Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Steve Coogan and Judy Davis.

Watch for turns from Tom Hardy, Molly Shannon and Jamie Dornan as well. The sets and costume design are incredible, and it’s a wonderful alternatively-told biopic.

4.5/5 Stars

I Am Michael

Based on the true story, this is one of the most heartbreaking films I’ve seen in a while.

Michael Glatze was once a gay activist with a long-term partner, but soon becomes a Christian pastor and begins identifying as heterosexual.

Based on the magazine article “My Ex-Gay Friend”, this look at all the lives that were affected by Michael’s renouncing of his life as a gay man is a difficult endeavour.

Starring James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts, and Charlie Carver, the cast is remarkable.

Director Justin Kelly – who also made the successful queer film King Kobra – creates a complex portrayal of love and loss here that can’t be ignored.

4/5 Stars

Remember

Christopher Plummer was celebrated for numerous films upon his passing last year.

It’s unfortunate, then, that so many people haven’t seen one of his best efforts in this amazing indie film.

A man with dementia goes to find the man he believes is responsible for the death of his family from Auschwitz. But not everything is as it seems, as elderly Zev’s plan to murder the man becomes more complicated.

Plummer is absolutely Oscar-worthy, and he’s joined by Martin Landau, Henry Czerny, and an incredible performance from Breaking Bad alum Dean Norris.

Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan makes his best film in 15 years with this one, and it’s one of those movies that will leave your jaw dropped.

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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