Before you turn on your television, iPad, or laptop this weekend and drown in options, The Globe and Mail presents three best bets that are worth your coveted downtime – no commute to the movie theatre required.
Dolemite Is My Name, Netflix
At one point in Netflix’s new movie Dolemite Is My Name, a movie-theatre owner convinces our hero, 1970s comedian and wannabe movie star Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy) that the best way to get people to see his self-funded film is to “four-wall” a venue. That is, rent the space out and hope to fill it on his own. It’s a curious moment for a Netflix production, given that the streaming giant has resorted to just that strategy in its fight against the big movie houses, which would rather not make room for films that will be available for home viewing at nearly the same time. But beyond that bit of inventive meta-business narrative, Dolemite Is My Name feels less forward-thinking and more shaggily comfortable, running through the let’s-put-on-a-show formula with a whole lot of spirit. Essential to the film’s success is Murphy, clearly having his best time in a long time as Moore, who adopted a flashy pimp-esque persona that would eventually take the blaxploitation landscape by storm.
A Colony, Crave
The typical complaint about Canada’s French-language cinema is that it never escapes Quebec. This is certainly true when it comes to theatrical exposure, but the best of Québécois cinema is out there, available for home viewing, if you just know where to look. Take Crave, for instance, which has seemingly made a concerted effort to expand the footprint of Canadian independent cinema, and is now hosting Geneviève Dulude-De Celles’s delicate coming-of-age drama Une Colonie (A Colony), which won the best picture honour at this past spring’s Canadian Screen Awards. The quiet but measured film follows the high-school travails of Mylia (the wonderful Emilie Bierre), who tries to blend into a new high school all while her parents’ marriage disintegrates.
Considering the flood of barely suitable genre trash that receive token releases in Toronto theatres, it’s surprising that Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell’s Prospect never made it for even a blip of a screening. The low-budget thriller takes a neat-if-familiar premise – a father and daughter head to an abandoned alien moon for work, only to encounter chaos – and twists it into a satisfying meditation on human nature. Catch it now on the relatively under-the-radar streaming service Kanopy if you want bragging rights for discovering the strength of a Pedro Pascal lead performance before the actor blows up when he stars in Disney+’s The Mandalorian series later this month.
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