BOOKING.COMwas an official signature sponsor of the TIME100 Summit and Gala at Lincoln Center in New York, which included stars like Toronto’s own Simu Liu! The site is one of the largest travel marketplaces for both established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes, enabling properties all over the world to reach a global audience and grow their businesses.
Booking.com aimed to further support getting important topics the increased attention they need and deserve while also providing travel inspiration for Summit & Gala attendees. The events brought together a cast of past and present TIME100 honorees and other influential figures from the worlds of art, culture, politics and entertainment with Booking.com polling the influential attendees on their summer travel plans via a survey at the brand’s dedicated activation space at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Key insights include:
-Sustainability efforts at accommodations play a strong role in TIME100 event attendee’s vacation decisions, with 50% of survey respondents saying they would select one property over another if it had Booking.com’s Travel Sustainable badge.
-TIME100 event respondents said they prefer to stay at vacation rentals over hotels (62%).
-Trips where travelers get to enjoy the outdoors was the preference for TIME100 attendees with 46% of respondents wanting to take a beach vacation this summer and 41% wanting to take any type of nature trip.
-Experiencing local culture is TIME100 event respondents main motivation to travel this summer (37%), with relaxation not far behind at 32%.
-When asked what destination was top of the list this summer, Greece, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Colorado and Puerto Rico were the most popular among TIME100 event attendee survey respondents.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment x Mr. Will want to give Readers a chance to win a mind-blowingly cool SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME Prize Pack!
The Prize Pack includes:
Aluminum Water Bottle
Pen with Magnet
Metal Key Ring
PVC Key Ring
For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighbourhood hero’s identity is revealed, bringing his Super Hero responsibilities into conflict with his normal life and putting those he cares about most at risk. When he enlists Doctor Strange’s help to restore his secret, the spell tears a hole in their world, releasing the most powerful villains who’ve ever fought a Spider-Man in any universe. Now, Peter will have to overcome his greatest challenge yet, which will not only forever alter his own future but the future of the Multiverse.
4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY™, AND DIGITAL
Bloopers & Gag Reel
Alternate Reality Easter Eggs
7 Behind the Scenes Featurettes
Action Choreography Across the Multiverse
A Multiverse of Miscreants
A Spectacular Spider-Journey with Tom Holland
Realities Collide, Spiders Unite
Weaving Jon Watt’s Web
2 Special Panels:
The Sinister Summit – Villains Panel: Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, and Jamie Foxx sit down for a roundtable discussion of their sinister characters.
A Meeting of the Spiders – Heroes Panel: The Heroic Spider heroes sit down for a roundtable discussion on Peter, Stunts, and skintight suits.
3 Stories From The Daily Bugle
Spider-Menace Strikes Again
Web of Lies
2 Stunt Scenes Previsualization
2 Behind the Scenes Featurettes
A Spectacular Spider-Journey with Tom Holland
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I was not supposed to see DUNE at TIFF ’21. I had my schedule planned and practically laminated going into Labour Day weekend. So when I received a message regarding seeing DUNE and potentially having the opportunity to interview Director Denis Villeneuve, I had to stop what I was doing and re-evaluate that meticulously planned schedule. It is not every day that you have the chance to interview the beloved Canadian Director and Oscar-nominee behind films such as Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, Sicario and Incendies after all.
When I finally caught my breath and arrived at an early screening of the Film a few days later, all I could think about was the years of anticipation and fan excitement that came along with it. I had never read the book and only had a passing knowledge of David Lynch’s film from 1984. I was unsure what to expect, but knew I was in the hands of a master Filmmaker whose exquisite attention to detail and epic scope made for one of the must-see films of the Fall. Villeneuve has not just made his knockout Science Fiction opus with DUNE so much as he has created a fascinating piece of art that will please die-hard fans and newbies to the story.
Villeneuve graciously took some time to take myself and other roundtable Journalists through his process over a Zoom call during the first weekend of TIFF. He discussed how French Comic Artists and childhood heroes Jean-Pierre Dionnet and Philippe Druillet, who brought him to tears when he met them at DUNE’s Premiere in Paris, inspired his visual sense and style. He also assured us that there was no Director’s Cut of the Film, but admitted that he is “a bit tired” planning the next parts of the DUNE series, which include potential follow-up films and a TV Show.
Here are a few other things we learned during our group chat:
What was your biggest challenge in creating DUNE and doing Frank Herbert’s Novel justice?
VILLENEUVE: “I think the biggest challenge was to make sure that someone who read the Book will recognize the world they saw in their mind as they were reading the Book, a bit like when I saw Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings for the first time. I was like how did [he do it]? I had the impression that he had brought a Documentary film crew into my mind, shooting the images I had seen as I was reading the Book. I was very impressed by The Lord of the Rings, and…the goal [in making DUNE] was to try to bring some of the description from Frank Herbert [to life and] be as close to the spirit of the Book. To feel that at least have one image that some hardcore fan will say ‘Oh, that looks close to what I had in mind!’ I feel like we made an act of humility, trying not to bring our vision but more bring Frank Herbert’s vision to the screen. That’s what the big challenge was [as well as wanting] to make sure that someone who had never read the Book will not feel lost and will feel that they are welcome in the Movie and that it will be understandable to a wide audience.”.
“To find that equilibrium between those two [groups] was not easy to do and that was one of the most difficult things to do for this adaptation. I will say the fact that we split the Movie in two parts makes it easier because it means [I was able to] keep elements for the [potential] second movie, but I had to make strong choices. One of them was that my adaptation would focus on Paul Atreides (played by Timothée Chalamet) and his mother, and that it would be at the very heart of the movie and will make other characters less present. I could not bring everything or the Movie would get crushed under the pressure of so much information.”
What themes and ideas inspired you to adapt the novel now?
VILLENEUVE: “Good Science Fiction means that it necessarily will be a criticism of reality, or at least a mirror of reality. There are several topics being explored by the Novel that I feel became more relevant as time passed by. I think the novel is more relevant to today’s world than it was when it was written [in 1965]. The impact of Colonialism is still totally relevant to today’s world, the overexploitation of natural resources, the danger of blending politics and religion together – it’s all subjects that are very relevant…and more importantly, the environmental crisis. It’s something that Frank Herbert foresaw in the ’60s. He was worried about the change in climate at that time. You can still find interviews of Herbert’s concern about the change and impact of humans on the environment.”
What was the process you and your team took to create the visuals of DUNE?
VILLENEUVE: “I asked my team to do an impossible task – to at least at first, dream about the Movie, to try to go back to the roots of what they saw when they read the Book. To try to be more within the relationship of the subconscious, the dream state, rather than to go and do research on the Internet or be influenced by other artists. Of course, in saying this, it is a bit impossible because we are the product of multiple influences and we are filled with images coming from the outside but I tried…to say to my close partners, ‘Let’s dream together. Let’s try not to find references. Let’s try as much as possible to go deep inside ourselves.’ At least, that’s what I did at the beginning in order to try and find something that will feel kind of new to the audience.”.
What are your thoughts on the current theatrical landscape and if we will get to see a Dune: Part II?
VILLENEUVE: “I am very optimistic about the future of Theatrical Cinema – we shouldn’t say Theatrical Cinema, we should just say Cinema. [The big screen is] part of the language. It’s not being nostalgic talking about the big screen, it’s at the very centre of what Cinema is which is to receive a visual story in the most immersive way [by] bringing a group of human beings together. I hope the first movie will be well-received and will trigger enough enthusiasm to convince Warner Bros. and Legendary to do the second part, but I’m no prophet…I think that in the long term we will [still] be watching [movies in] theatres. As long as Cinema is with us, there will be theatres to show it.”
We also had the opportunity to speak to the incredibly candid and lovely Rebecca Ferguson, who plays Chalamet’s mother Lady Jessica Atreides in the Film. She spoke highly of her Director, the behind-the-scenes team who designed the sets and costumes, and expressed to everyone in our roundtable just how much she “really, really wants to do” Dune: Part II.
What was it like acting alongside this incredible Cast that includes Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya?
FERGUSON: “Zendaya is huge and hopefully if we do a second one, she will appear more in it. But of the Cast list, I have to say I was in awe of Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac and I mean, David Dastmalchian and Stellan Skarsgård and there are many more to [add to] that list. [It was] an honour. An absolute honour. But I think also, doing a film with Denis without knowing the Cast – you know it’s going to be good. It was more a matter of unravelling little Christmas gifts. So Timmy [Chalamet] was the first who was cast. I think I was the second, and then gradually it was sort of a ‘And look who we have here! And look who we have here!’ It was just wonderful.”.
How would you describe the balance between masculinity and femininity in the film?
FERGUSON: “We need to break down what masculinity and femininity is in 2021…Women had no power [in older times] as they do now and yet we’re not even close to what it is to be equal. But they were seen as [being] much more powerful, right? We needed to create the balance and the structure [in DUNE]…it couldn’t be equal. I keep saying this as well, which is an odd thing to say, but the film wouldn’t work with an equal gender neutral position. It is about motherhood. It is about the men making the decisions. But overall, the women are the umbrella. Look at The War of the Roses. Look at the Medieval Times. The men were out in the battlefields, you know slashing and having their jolly old time. The women were plotting the household to create stronger alliances. And this is an on-going theme, isn’t it? What I think Denis did and what he wanted to do was defibrillate the fact that these human beings had powers because of necessity and reason. One of the things we talked about was the gender neutralness of the stillsuit and what it represents. I love that it serves purpose and that it doesn’t just look feminine [or] masculine – it is just a suit for survival.”
How did your acting process on DUNE differ from films like Mission: Impossible and Doctor Sleep?
FERGUSON: “I want different things all the time, otherwise I’d be bored…My process changes because I’m working with new directors. [They] ask of new energies. Tom [Cruise] has such an energy and rush about him that with Mission, it’s a huge film with huge sets, huge stunts and huge energy, and it is just go, go, go all the time. And character-driven as well. But there’s no stillness. You’re never really breathing, which is why they’re so amazing. Denis’ process is finding that complete stillness, finding the drama within character and just dropping them in a set that could eat them up. He finds the juxtapositions of scope and scale. So that just becomes a very different process. And on Doctor Sleep, I just ate kids you know?”
Stay tuned later this week for our full review of DUNE!
Warner Bros. Canada release DUNE in theatres on Friday, October 22, 2021.
*Please exercise caution observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre*
After years of anticipation and fan hype, Co-Writer/Director Denis Villeneuve’s take on DUNE has finally arrived. The tale of warring house factions and the native Fremen people over spice on the planet Arrakis is dense to say the least, but fans and novices like myself will equally find something to enjoy in this science fiction epic for the ages.
Long thought unfilmable (though there have been a few attempts to differing results), Villeneuve has taken everything he has learned as a Filmmaker over the past decade and has created something truly breathtaking. The world (or worlds in this case) are fully realized through incredible Production Design and Cinematography. The Visual Effects are spectacular, as are the Makeup Effects and Costuming. Hans Zimmer’s Score is legendary. I do not even have words to describe the sound design; it really is that great. Every single detail is precise, specific and may find you losing focus on the story just to take in everything Villeneuve has packed into the frame. This is not actors playing dress up in front of a green screen – this is next level filmmaking on a grand scale with everyone behind the scenes firing on all cylinders.
While I soaked in every single minute of Villeneuve’s take on DUNE, I found myself held back from truly adoring it because it is only half a story. People who have been following its development will not be surprised to see it called DUNE Part 1 in the opening reel, though some casual audience members may not be particularly pleased to see the Film end on a cliffhanger (nor the multiple false stopping points that make up the Film’s last half hour). I found myself increasingly annoyed by the prophetic visions lead character Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) because I knew I would need to wait until Part 2 in order to see them come to fruition. Moreover, being only half a story takes away from the magnificent performances given by the entire cast because they are not fully formed whatsoever. Zendaya is very clearly pivotal to this story, yet only hovers in the background as an enigmatic presence for the majority of the Film.
All of that may sound like a pan, but it is actually quite the opposite. I was so taken by the story of DUNE and what Villeneuve created that I really did not want to see it end. I wanted to see the next part of the story immediately and genuinely hope the film finds its audience in order to make Part 2 become a reality. Like every great artist, Villeneuve left me wanting more. So believe the hype. DUNE is everything you hoped it would be. Villeneuve is at the top of his game here and this just might be his finest hour.
A new Teaser’s arrived for December release SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME!
For the first time in the cinematic history of Spider-Man, our friendly neighborhood hero is unmasked and no longer able to separate his normal life from the high-stakes of being a Super Hero. When he asks for help from Doctor Strange the stakes become even more dangerous, forcing him to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
Sony Pictures Canada release SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME December 17, 2021.
We are thrilled to have attended an exclusive unveiling of the new Trailer for DUNE, coming to theatres this October. As part of the event, select Media got to preview approximately 20 minutes of this Fall’s most eagerly-awaited cinematic event.
We got a sense of the world that Canadian Director Denis Villeneuve had built for this Film and the central themes the Film explores. Our first impression is that the Film goes to even darker, more intense places than we might have thought initially. The Film explores life on the planet Dune, inhabited originally by the Arrakis. Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) acts as steward of the land, which is the source of the world’s most valuable substance called Spice, which can extend lives, provide great enlightenment and fast travel. Sandworms make the task rather challenging for them and with Leto‘s son and heir Paul (Timothée Chalamet) in line for succession, we see him doubting his ability to carry-on his father’s legacy as he becomes fixated seeing Chani (Zendaya), an Arraki native, in his dreams. Which side will Paul and his Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), his father’s concubine, take?
The central themes of right to land and resources eerily is coming to the forefront at an opportune time, as we reflect on and confront some uncomfortable truths right here in Canada.
Celebrated Composer Hans Zimmer has the important role of crafting the world this Film takes place in with Villeneuve through music and sound. He notes that a primary focus of the Film was to draw strength to the powerfulness and richness of the female characters. “We spent months defining sounds, creating new sounds and pushing the envelope, doing crazy experiments with crazy instruments”, says Zimmer. “Denis and I are trying to invite the audience to come experience something and have their own personal experience. That was for us the reason to make this Film.”.
Warner Bros. Canada release DUNE October 22, 2021.
We are thrilled to give our Readers a chance to win a SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY Prize Pack, which includes a pass to see the Movie!
Welcome to the Jam! Basketball champion and global icon LeBron James goes on an epic adventure alongside timeless Tune Bugs Bunny with the animated/live-action event “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” from director Malcolm D. Lee and an innovative filmmaking team including Ryan Coogler and Maverick Carter. This transformational journey is a manic mashup of two worlds that reveals just how far some parents will go to connect with their kids. When LeBron and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of profes-sional basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before. It’s Tunes versus Goons in the high-est-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron’s bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself. The ready-for-action Tunes destroy convention, supercharge their unique talents and surprise even “King” James by playing the game their own way.
James stars alongside Oscar nominee Don Cheadle (the “Avengers” films, “Hotel Rwanda”), Khris Davis (“Judas and the Black Messiah,” TV’s “Atlanta”), Sonequa Martin-Green (TV’s “The Walking Dead,” “Star Trek: Discovery”), newcomer Cedric Joe, Jeff Bergman (“Looney Tunes Cartoons”), Eric Bauza (“Looney Tunes Cartoons”), and Zendaya (upcoming “Dune,” “Malcolm & Marie”).
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John David Washington and Zendaya star in MALCOLM & MARIE, from Director Sam Levinson (Euphoria).
When filmmaker Malcolm (John David Washington) and his girlfriend Marie (Zendaya), return home from a movie premiere and await his film’s critical response, the evening takes a turn as revelations about their relationship surface, testing the couple’s love.
See the Trailer:
MALCOLM & MARIE arrives on Netflix Friday, February 5, 2021.
With both the Holidays and Awards Season approaching, December can be a joyous time indeed for us with a big slate of new releases to surface. Here’s some of our recommendations across various screening platforms, including some theatrical releases!
HAPPIEST SEASON (EONE FILMS/AMAZON PRIME VIDEO)
Clea Duvall co-writes and directs this Holiday Rom-Com with a fresh take on expanding the idea the type of relationships the genre includes. Kristen Stewart stars as Abby, who is ready to propose to her live-in girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) as they get ready to spend the Holidays at the latter’s home for the first time. There is one hitch, Harper still hasn’t officially come out to them yet despite telling Abby she did, and that it went well. The daughter of a politician, image is everything for her family and this keeps holding her back from being her true self and matters get confused as former flames resurface in the visit which make the couple question their commitment to one another.
While ultimately meant to be heartwarming, tonally Duvall goes to heavier places as the couple gets pulled apart and its message is something the world needs a bit more of, hence its release is timely. Stewart has a knack for bringing her characters a ton of history and her Abby feels truly lived-in, while Davis spends much of the Film embattled in Harper‘s fears and in the shadow of her rival sister Sloane (Alison Brie). Canada’s Dan Levy delivers some much-needed comedic relief as Abby‘s confidante John and we wish the Film had even more of that. That being said, this is a Holiday story which many will identify with and feel seen by. And who knows, Stewart just might win over even more new fans here!
eOne Films release HAPPIEST SEASON Digitally and On-Demand Friday, November 26, 2020. It arrives on Amazon Prime VideoThursday, December 10, 2020.
We knew very little until only recently about this latest effort from Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones’s Baby) and now we can’t imagine life before it. Right in time for the Holidays comes this whimsical and fantastical Comedy which centers on Eleanor (Jillian Bell) who is out to prove to the world that Fairy Godmothers are needed. She finds a letter written by Mackenzie (Isla Fisher) when she was 10-years-old, only to realize now that she has grown into a widowed, 40-year-old single mother of two, stuck in a job at a newsroom with a miserable boss. Needless to say, she’s given-up a little on the “happily ever after” she dreamed of as a girl. Eleanor, whether Mackenzie wants it or not, is here to grant her wish but we wonder if Eleanor ever be more than just a Tooth Fairy with this challenging task ahead!
Bell is an absolute joy, hitting what is a sweet spot in her career after last year’s acclaimed Brittany Runs a Marathon. She brings a Will Ferrell-Elf-esque enthusiasm and curiosity to the world which is infectious. Fisher also is a pleasure to watch as she channels Mackenzie‘s cynicism in a way many of us see the world right now. Maguire manages to craft a magical experience which lifts the spirits, yet balancing what it means to expand our definition of what happily ever after means and who it involves in our lives and we’re here for this.
GODMOTHERED arrives on Disney+ Friday, December 4, 2020.
Prior to his passing, Screenwriter and father of David, Jack Fincher, had completed a Script for MANK, based the life of Herman J. Mankiewicz, also a Screenwriter.After many years in incubation as a passion project, the Film finally got made by the younger Fincher. The Film recounts its titular character’s well-documented fight to get credit for co-writing what would go on to be one of the greatest films ever made, CITIZEN KANE.Mank (Gary Oldman), who prior had been brought aboard to help as a Script Doctor on The Wizard of Oz – without credit – isn’t particularly a likable type. He’s an alcoholic, a gambling addict and in fact, others call his wife “Poor Sarah” (Tuppence Middleton). Mank’s outspoken in his political beliefs and his support of Democrat Upton Sinclair, who is viewed by powerful Hollywood types as a Socialist. This puts him at odds with the powers that be. He’s tasked with helping co-write CITIZEN KANE, which Orson Welles (Tom Burke) produced, starred, directed and co-wrote. From here, we see a heated battle between Welles and the unpopular Mank as the latter fights to secure himself a credit on the eventual masterpiece. More so, we see how the battles within his own life found their place in CITIZEN KANE – his alcoholism, going against the machine and career sabotage. Mank had nothing to left to lose, refusing to go down without a fight. And we’re here for it.
While the Film might not be for everyone, it is a must-watch for true Cinephiles and those obsessed with the history of Cinema. Fincher‘s direction and some of the performances are meticulously-faithful to the period. Carrying almost all of the weight is Oldman who transforms completely and he mesmerizes in the manner of passersby staring at a car crash on a highway. We are concerned for and empathetic of the driver in the wreckage. Amanda Seyfried plays actress Marion Davies, whom Mank befriends. She is the mistress of William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance), a media mogul and backer of MGM who inspires the character Susan Alexander, albeit an untalented entertainer and second wife of the titular character in CITIZEN KANE. Seyfried is so committed, poised and sweet that what Mank does feels like a huge betrayal.
This certainly is a Film which Awards Season was made for and just may replicate the Oscars success which CITIZEN KANE achieved. MANK arrives on Netflix Friday, December 4, 2020.
SHAWN MENDES: IN WONDER (NETFLIX)
Fan of Pickering’s Shawn Mendes will revel in delight at this Documentary by veteran Music Video Director Grant Singer. The Singer-Songwriter rapidly has shot to stardom and makes his first foray into the world of Film with recent collaborations with TIFF and now this companion to his upcoming fourth Disc, WONDER coming early December. The Film gives us an intimate (literally we go right into the shower with him) look at his daily life, which really presents him as someone who is level-headed and taking his fame into stride. In one scene he is driving around downtown and a man asks him roll-down his window to give his daughter a video shoutout. We learn about Mendes‘ creative process writing material for the new Album and he goes back to older, soulful influences this time around and one thing I found particularly interesting is to protect his voice from the rigours of touring, he takes vocal rests finding alternate ways to communicate on rest days. While nothing earth-shattering is revealed here really, it is an essential watch for fans or those who appreciate his Music and believe me, there are many! SHAWN MENDES: IN WONDER arrives on Netflix Tuesday, November 24, 2020.
SOUND OF METAL (PACIFIC NORTHWEST PICTURES/AMAZON PRIME)
Riz Ahmed delivers a career-best performance in Darius Marder‘s SOUND OF METAL,which after a run on the Festival circuit, including TIFF ’19 gets its debut at long last. Ahmed plays Drummer Ruben Stone whose hearing rapidly is deteriorating and after battling heroine addiction for years, he now is sober. While resisting help from the Deaf Community, the Film centers itself on his humbling journey accepting help, with the urging of his bandmate girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke). Ruben is his own enemy in many regards and at the core of SOUND OF METAL which while being set in the chaotic world of screamy Death Growls, is something heartfelt and a meaningful coming-of-age.
Ahmed and Cooke disappear completely into Ruben and Lou and their transformations are sympathetic and affecting. A bit of a slow-burn but a rewarding watch.
Pacific Northwest Pictures release SOUND OF METAL in theatres Friday, November 20, 2020 and it arrives on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. and it is available digitally and on-demand in Canada Friday, December 4, 2020.
Anna Sewell’s BLACK BEAUTY is a love story that captures the bond between human and animal so beautifully that it should come as no surprise that it still stands the test of time some 143 years after it was written. Ashley Avis, formerly a competitive Equestrian, takes the reins on Disney+‘s adaptation of the story for a new audience. Along with this heartfelt timeless tale, we get updated messaging and more inclusion in casting.
This version centers on Jo Green (Mackenzie Foy), who is sent to live with her Uncle John (Iain Glen). While she is reluctant to warm-up to him, she does strike a bond with his filly (narrated by Kate Winslet) a wild Mustang who is acquired to be broken-in and sold. The horse changes Jo‘s life forever, helping her find herself but circumstances separate the two and we wonder if they ever will reunite again as she is treated like a commodity, changing hands multiple times.
Foy as always is great and she is fascinating to see develop into a dramatic actress and while we appreciate how the Film treats animal rights with the right delicateness and sympathy it deserves, ultimately it is paced in a way where things happen a couple beats too quickly, without fleshing-out key characters and their involvement with the Plot. And at times, the dialogue feels perhaps too simplistic even though we appreciate that the Film caters to a young audience. That being said, Winslet’s narration tugs on all the right heartstrings and you do feel something for her and her beloved friend, Jo.
BLACK BEAUTY arrives on Disney+ Friday, November 27, 2020.
THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES: PART TWO (NETFLIX)
If there’s anyone who knows the spirit of nostalgia, it’s Director Chris Columbus who has brought us classics like Adventures in Babysitting, Home Alone (1 and 2), Mrs. Doubtfire and a litany of others. He directs and co-writes the sequel to 2018’s popular The Christmas Chronicles and while the first Film was very enjoyable, this installment has a wondrous, fantastical element to it that truly captures the joy of the Holidays.
Back again are Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy (Judah Lewis) as they find themselves spending Christmas on a resort with their mom Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), her new boyfriend Bob (Tyrese) and his son Jack (Jahzir Bruno).Kate is faced with the fear of her deceased father being forgotten and wishes to escape and together with Jack, they find themselves transported off to the North Pole with Santa (Kurt Russell) and Mrs. Claus (Goldie Hawn), where the elves have gone out of control. One elf gone rogue, Belsnickel (Julian Dennison) threatens to ruin Christmas forever with the potential of a world without a Santa Claus. It is up to Kate and Jack to help save Christmas and also, will Kate get her long-awaited wish of finally getting to see her father?
THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES: PART TWO is none short of the boisterous, sparkly fun we’re totally here for. The Film belongs entirely to Camp and Russell who both are fantastic and Hawn is a welcome addition to the Franchise, a perfect warm and nurturing Mrs. Claus. Hijinx aside, the Film hits all the right notes emotionally, feeling exactly like a Holiday film should! We wouldn’t be surprised if this got several viewings this Holiday season. Streaming now on Netflix.
SMALL AXE (AMAZON PRIME VIDEO)
It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Academy Award-winning Director Steven McQueen (12 Years a Slave, Shame, Widows), but he’s back with an innovating new Mini-Series of five Films centering on the West Indian-immigrant experience in London in the ’60s and ’70s. While the subject matter is timely, with #BlackLivesMatter being at the forefront of discussion this past year, McQueen’s storytelling is timeless as we are transported right into the era.
The first Film in the Series, Mangrove, is about nine black activists arrest for inciting a riot after police had targeted a restaurant of the same name in Notting Hill. In a fight for their rights and the rights of the future generation, the group choose to represent themselves in court. What plays out is an intense court battle featuring some truly compelling performances from Shaun Parkes (Doctor Who), Malachi Kirby (Black Mirror) and Letitia Wright (Black Panther). McQueen masterfully examines racial hatred from both sides of the argument and this is a fantastic start to the Series.
The second Film, Lovers Rock is a sensual Romance set within a party where we meet Martha (Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn) who sneaks out of her bedroom at night, and Franklyn (Michael Ward). The lighting is gorgeous and we are swept away into their looming love affair. McQueen has a masterful way of transporting us into the moment through music and the scenes just breathe beautifully as the songs play. While most of the story is set within the party itself, he paints a picture of the world these characters are living in at the time when we get brief glimpses of how unsafe things can get just stepping away from that safety net.
The remainder of the films arrive December 4, 2020 on Amazon Prime Video.
SELENA: THE SERIES (NETFLIX)
Throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s, Selena became the queen of Tejano music. Managed by her father and supported by her siblings in her band, this tight-knit family went from performing at weddings, while living on the road to Selena becoming one of the most successful Latin artists of all time. That is, before she was murdered in 1995 at the age of 23, by the manager of her boutiques. This happened tragically, just as she was set to launch internationally with her debut English album.
The detail-obsessed Series is crafted heavily with the input of the Quintanilla family so what we get here are ten quick-moving episodes that recount the family’s struggles from having very little, but were ignited by an undying commitment and belief in themselves. Rather than being entirely focused on Selena, we get the story from all sides of the family and we truly feel the tension between them in how tightly-knit they were. Fantastic performances from our lead Christian Serratos (The Walking Dead) and Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives). Even at the end of the ten episodes the complete story isn’t told, cleverly leaving room for a second season. A must-watch for fans and intriguing enough to win over new fans who aren’t familiar with Selena‘s legacy.
SELENA: THE SERIES streams Friday, December 4, 2020 on Netflix.
ALL MY LIFE (UNIVERSAL PICTURES CANADA)
Based on a true story that happened right here in Toronto, ALL MY LIFE recounts the tale of a young couple, Solomon (Harry Shum Jr.) and Jennifer (Jessica Rothe). The couple whom after receiving tragic news, still forge ahead with plans to have a fairy tale wedding with the help of their friends who help them raise the funds to make it happen.
Marc Meyers (My Friend Dahmer) directs this tale which at times tugs on the heartstrings, but in moving along rapidly, misses the opportunity to delve deep into the couple’s love and their struggles during Solomon’s health battles which could’ve made this a bit more impactful, giving us more to root for. A solid performance from Rothe (Happy Death Day) in the lead role, though we wish a bit more room was given for the talented Supporting Cast which includes Jay Pharaoh (Saturday Night Live), Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman) and Mario Cantone (Sex and the City). There is definitely an audience for a Film like this.
ALL MY LIFE opens in theatres Friday, December 4, 2020. Please ensure you observe COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in theatres.
MARIAH CAREY’S MAGICAL CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (APPLE TV+)
Based on the premise that 2020 has been… not so great, the Queen of Christmas, Mariah Carey is here to help save Christmas. Joining her on this 45-minute adventure is an understandably starstruck Billy Eichner as Santa‘s Assistant, with a story narrated by Tiffany Haddish. Several famous friends join Carey including Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson on a new rendition of Oh Santa!, which stands a chance at being a successor to modern classic All I Want for Christmas is You! The Peanuts Gang also make an appearance as do the likes of Snoop Dogg and long-time collaborator Jermaine Dupri. While festive and well-being including a touching rendition of Silent Night, the Special’s emotional high note is its Encore, where Carey delivers an extra festive Aspen-set performance of her biggest Holiday smash and her twins Moroccan and Monroe even come on out to support their Mom! We live for this and even if another Carey Holiday Special doesn’t come for a while, this one will do on-rotation! Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special streams now on Apple TV+.
EUPHORIA: TROUBLE DON’T LAST ALWAYS (HBO/CRAVE)
While it’ll be a while till we see Season Two of HBO‘s Euphoria, two special Holiday episodes of the acclaimed Series are amidst us, to tie us over. Director/Writer Sam Levinson goes deep as we ponder the Holidays with Rue (a recent Emmy-winning Zendaya) and her friend Ali (Colman Domingo) where they question their existence and what it means to cope with addiction, sobriety and some of the destructive things they had done in their lives to the ones who love them. Rue is coping with Jules (Hunter Schafer) leaving her, which leads her on a downward spiral again. Phenomenal, intimate performances in what feels like it could’ve been a stage production. A reminder that the Holidays aren’t a happy time for everyone. The first special episode is available to stream now on Crave with the HBO add-on, with the second arriving January 2021.
SUGAR RUSH CHRISTMAS SEASON 2 (NETFLIX)
You know how much we love our baking shows and we’re so delighted SUGAR RUSH is back for a second season with its Christmas edition. Lots of exciting and exhilarating baking challenges here in this second season where contestants are challenged with tasks like making creations inspired by Christmas Carols, the North Pole, Advent Calendars, Peanuts and more. The finished products as always look to-die-for and we wish we could taste everything too! Celebrity guests include Chris Bosh, Abigail Breslin, Jordin Sparks, among others! Adore this. Season 2 is streaming now.
FABULOUS LIVES OF BOLLYWOOD WIVES (NETFLIX)
We’re told Bollywood is different from Hollywood in that Bollywood stars maintain much more mystique than many of those stars those in Hollywood who have embraced oversharing on Social Media. This new Series comprised of eight episodes, takes us right inside the worlds of Neelam Kothari Soni, Maheep Kapoor, Seema Khan and Bhavana Pandey, whom are longtime best friends and among Bollywood’s elite. With a Kardashians-like view, we get a glimpse into their glamorous, although they consider it mundane, lives. All isn’t always rosy as passions too flare at times as these friends too have unresolved issues that get brought to the table. Don’t know much about the world of Bollywood? Don’t worry, they explain these relationships well and drama knows no cultural boundaries. Maheep is the loud, assertive one. Neelam is a former Actress pondering relaunching her career. Seema is all about protecting her family even though we understand her husband isn’t always around. Bhavna plays Devil’s Advocate which can be problematic when a friend wants her support. Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Lives is streaming now on Netflix.
THE UNDOING (HBO/CRAVE)
This six-part Mini-Series directed by Susanne Bier and and written by David E. Kelley, is adapted from the Novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz.The Undoing centers on a privileged family, Jonathan (Hugh Grant), Grace (Nicole Kidman) and their son Henry (Noah Jupe) who are impacted in the aftermath of a woman’s death. With Jonathan standing accused of murder, Grace is left to put together the pieces how her husband could have been done this. The story masterfully twists and turns as we no longer know what to believe and who is reliable right up to the gripping conclusion.
Phenomenal work as expected from Kidman who is forced to dig deep and find the truth, leaning on her father Franklin (a strong performance by Donald Sutherland) for guidance. Jupe is coming into his own as a fine Actor with a goodheartedness that makes it all the more unbelievable that such a grounded family could be dealing with something so awful. Grant is the biggest surprise here and while we’re used to seeing him in Holiday movies around this time of year. Looking back, it all makes perfect sense.
THE UNDOING streams now on Crave with the HBO add-on.
STYLISH WITH JENNA LYONS (HBO MAX/CRAVE)
Better known as “The Woman Who Dressed America” at the height of J.Crew‘s popularity, the retailer’s former President Jenna Lyons is a fashion icon in her own right. Since her time with J.Crew had ended, she’s been a bit more on the quiet side, but she’s back as she makes her foray into Home Design and Beauty. She’s looking to add to her Team and goes on a search for the next Associate as fresh new talent have a chance to prove they have what it takes to work with her on this eight-episode Series. What is interesting is that the finalists must work against unconventional conditions as the competition is halted amidst the Pandemic and picks-up again, forcing Lyons to alter her course. We love the assured way in which she speaks and mentors, which comes with a gentle grace and assuredness. The Series gets intimate as was also learn about her life and her own challenges. STYLISH WITH JENNA LYONS is available to stream now on Crave with the HBO add-on.
THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT (HBO MAX/CRAVE)
Cassie (Kaley Cuoco) is a flight attendant coping with Alcoholism, living her life recklessly between stop-offs. On a flight to Bangkok, she meets a handsome stranger in Alex (Michiel Huisman) and after an enchanting, alcohol-fueled night out, she wakes-up to find him dead in the bed beside her. As she runs away from the situation, trying to stay under the radar, she must confront her past, her addiction and relationships, and gets to know Alex better as he surfaces as an apparition to her. The Series has a chaotic energy to it which keeps things fun and lively, and Cuoco is a perfect casting choice. Also Girls’ Zosia Mamet surfaces as Cassie‘s delightfully-funny lawyer/best friend Annie. THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT streams on Crave with HBO add-on, new episodes weekly.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment x Mr. Will want to give Readers a chance to win SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME on Blu-ray.
Determined to enjoy himself and leave his responsibilities behind, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) decides to leave his Spider-Man suit behind when he goes on a school trip with his friends and classmates, including MJ (Zendaya), Ned (Jacob Batalon), Betty (Angourie Rice) and Flash (Tony Revolori).
However, when giant creatures called Elementals begin attacking European cities, Peter is approached by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who wants Spider-Man to take on this threat to protect his friends and save the world. Provided with a new suit, Spider-Man joins forces with Quentin Beck, also known as Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a superhero from an alternate Earth determined to stop the Elementals.
To enter to win a Blu-ray copy and also items from this amazing Prize Pack below, click “like” on this Post at MR. WILL ON FACEBOOK. Canadian Readers only, please. Re-Tweet this Contest Tweet from @mrwillw for an extra chance.