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The flood of movies being released directly to video on-demand continues, while Hot Docs at Home offers documentaries to stream in place of the cancelled festival. For the literary-minded there are several new shows based on books, including Little Fires Everywhere on Amazon Prime Video, Normal People on CBC Gem and I Know This Much is True from HBO. Read on to find out what’s worth your screen time.


Streaming television

Amazon Prime Video

Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon as Mia and Elena in Little Fires Everywhere.

Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

  • Little Fires Everywhere offers incendiary angst in the suburbs (8 episodes)
  • The Great amounts to fun and frolics with the story of Catherine the Great (10 episodes)
  • Upload: What if heaven is as hellish as the near future? (10 episodes)

CBC Gem

Based on Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel, Normal People follows the relationship of Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal).

Courtesy of CBC Gem

  • Normal People is beautifully made and achingly powerful (12 episodes)

Crave

Mark Ruffalo plays twins Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in HBO's I Know This Much is True.

HBO / Crave

  • HBO’s I Know This Much is True is searing, soulful family heartache (6 episodes)
  • Love Life, a gift of smart romantic storytelling, is exactly what the world needs right now (10 episodes)

Netflix

Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill is a breezy, angst-free delight.

Netflix

  • Documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich gives voice to victims, but can’t tell the whole story (4 episodes)
  • Comedy special Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill is a tonic for terrible times (1 hour)
  • First there was Netflix reality show Too Hot to Handle. Now we have The Big Flower Fight on competitive flower arranging (8 episodes)
  • If documentary Trial by Media aims to indict “the media” it fails, instead indicting human nature and human frailty (6 episodes)
  • Valeria, a new Netflix original from Spain (with English subtitles), is utterly escapist but clever fun (8 episodes)

Streaming films

Amazon Prime Video

Set in 1950s New Mexico, The Vast of Night tells the story of switchboard operator Fay (Sierra McCormick) and radio DJ Everett (Jake Horowitz).

Amazon Prime Video

  • The Vast of Night is low-fi sci-fi at its very B-movie best (3.5 stars; PG; 89 minutes)

Netflix

I’m No Longer Here follows the plight of Ulises (Juan Daniel Garcia Trevino), a teenager in the Mexican mountain town of Monterrey.

Courtesy of Netflix

  • I’m No Longer Here is a beautiful and intoxicating trip into a Mexican subculture (3 stars; 105 minutes)
  • The Lovebirds doesn’t quite portend the death of the big-screen comedy, though it doesn’t help, either (2.5 stars; R; 86 minutes)
  • Michelle Obama documentary Becoming is nothing more than a commercial for the former first family (2 stars; PG; 89 minutes)
  • The Wrong Missy proves that just as Adam Sandler can giveth, he can taketh away (1 star; 89 minutes)

On-demand

Castle in the Ground is a delicate coming-of-age movie about living in pain.

Courtesy of Game Theory Films

  • Canadian opioid-crisis drama Castle in the Ground will haunt long after the credits roll (3.5 stars; 14A; 105 minutes – read more on filmmaker Joey Klein)
  • Biosphere 2 doc Spaceship Earth is an endlessly curious, wildly fascinating film for our sealed-inside era (3.5 stars; PG; 113 minutes)
  • The Painter and the Thief is the best documentary of the year, if you could fairly call it a documentary (3.5 stars; PG; 102 minutes)
  • Documentary Beyond Moving chronicles a real-life, and Canadian-made, Billy Elliot story of hope (3 stars; 90 minutes; available on D.O.C./Blue Ice Docs and Hot Docs at Home)
  • Canadian micro-budget drama Easy Land proves that misery might actually be the best company (3 stars; PG; 90 minutes; available on Apple TV)
  • Dan Sallitt’s drama Fourteen grasps for something profound, aiding ailing indie cinemas along the way (3 stars; 94 minutes; available on VIFF at Home)
  • The High Note is the smooth, charming, and chart-topping rom-com that we need right now (3 stars; PG; 113 minutes) – read our interview with director Nisha Ganatra
  • Journalism documentary This Is Not a Movie plays like Robert Fisk’s greatest hits and misses (3 stars; PG; 106 minutes – available on Hot Docs at Home)
  • Capone features Tom Hardy’s whackadoo take on Al Capone – untouchable, but not in a good way (2.5 stars; R; 103 minutes)
  • With his strangely dark drama Dreamland, Bruce McDonald wakes up the weirdos (2.5 stars; 14A; 92 minutes)
  • The Trip to Greece wasn’t designed to feel like a cruel joke, but it’s deeply depressing all the same (2.5 stars; PG; 110 minutes)
  • Military Wives is the definition of ‘crowd-pleaser,’ but also a few other, less kind words (2 stars; PG; 112 minutes)
  • Canadian rom-com Red Rover resurrects the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, with unbearably quirky results (2 stars; PG; 95 minutes)
  • Scoob! would have gotten away with being an interesting reboot, too, if it weren’t for you meddling studio executives (2 stars; PG; 90 minutes)
  • Javier Bardem drama The Roads Not Taken should have heeded its own title advice, and never been made (1.5 stars; R; 85 minutes)

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