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The Locke family returns and Tom Ford's masterpiece: 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

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

Country Strong

For a decade, I avoided this movie entirely. Something about broken down, tired country stars writing depressing music didn't appeal.

And yet, now I kick myself for not seeing this absolute gem sooner.

It follows a country music songwriter who begins working with a problematic country star who has her fair share of problems.

Writer-director Shana Feste infuses the film with emotional stakes, and the stars here give career-best turns in some cases.

Gwyneth Paltrow, who I'm not the biggest fan of, gives a performance that blew me away. Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester make a truly fantastic team and have incredible chemistry.

Finally, Tim McGraw proves he has the chops to keep up with Oscar-winner Paltrow. He's truly fabulous.

With Oscar-nominated original music and a strong script, this a movie that will truly surprise you.

4/5 Stars

Nocturnal Animals

Largely dismissed upon its release, this is a thriller that has absolutely haunted me for years.

Writer-director Tom Ford – who made the beautiful A Single Man – followed it up with this incredible work.

It follows an art gallery owner who receives her ex-husband's novel, which has disturbing symmetry to their lives.

The performances are stunning across the board – Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal are fantastic together.

Michael Shannon was nominated for an Oscar for his role here, but it's Aaron Taylor-Johnson's unhinged turn that really pushes this one forward.

I absolutely love this off-kilter, strange film, and it's too-often overlooked.

4/5 Stars

We Were Soldiers

This war movie is told in a way that I haven't often seen, and the authenticity of emotions really sold this one.

It follows the Americans fighting in Vietnam, but also features important insight into the wives and mothers anxiously awaiting news day-in and day-out about their loved ones.

Director Randall Wallace – known primarily for writing Braveheart and Pearl Harbor – makes a truly great genre film here.

Mel Gibson is fantastic in the lead, but is evenly matched away from the combat action by Madeleine Stowe. Greg Kinnear, Keri Russell, Sam Elliott, Barry Pepper, a young Jon Hamm and Chris Klein star.

It's a movie I can always sit down with and be thoroughly entertained, even if it's not particularly surprising.

4/5 Stars

The Italian Job

This remake of the 1969 classic proves blockbuster filmmaking can also be intelligent cinema.

When thief Charlie and his team are left for dead and betrayed by his former partner-in-crime, they plan a heist to get back at the villainous Steve.

This is a smart, well-scripted, and thoroughly enjoyable actioner with a truly infectious jovial spirit.

Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Edward Norton, Seth Green and Yaslin Bey (formerly Mos Def) and Jason Statham star.

It's a fabulous cast and a rollicking good time from start-to-finish.

4/5 Stars

Locke & Key

This fabulous sci-fi/horror series just saw the release of its final season, to the bittersweet joy of its fans.

Filmed in Lunenburg, locals will have a fantastic time spotting local haunts while they get a fright from this one.

After the shooting death of their father, the Locke siblings and their mother moving to Keyhouse, the childhood home of the patriarch.

But as they settle into their new surrounding, they find magical keys that could be connected to strange events around them.

Darby Stanchfield (Scandal), Connor Jessup (from the fantastic Canadian film Closet Monster), Emilia Jones, and young Jackson Robert Scott star.

With great supporting turns from Aaron Ashmore, Griffin Gluck, Hallea Jones and Petrie Jones, it's a stacked cast.

It's an intriguing show you'll no doubt be enthralled in within the first few episodes.

4/5 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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