February continues to turn out Oscar hopefuls as the deadline approaches.
The big movie this weekend is obviously Nomadland. Featuring Frances McDormand, the film is already red hot with Oscar buzz. While that film is dominating the headlines, several other worthy films are making their way to home releases. While the pace has cooled down after last week’s surge, there’s still a ton of good cinema to be found as February rolls on.
Abandoned – Angelique’s Isle
During the copper rush of 1845, Angelique, a young Anishinaabe woman, and her voyageur husband Charlie are abandoned on Lake Superior’s Isle Royale by a corrupt copper hunter. The newlywed couple have been left with few provisions and as the winter sets in they begin to starve. With Charlie beginning to demonstrate strange behaviour, Angelique – a devout Christian – struggles with her faith and must rely on the teachings she received from her grandmother in order to survive the harsh winter.
A spiritualist medium holds a seance for a writer suffering from writer’s block but accidentally summons the spirit of his deceased first wife, which leads to an increasingly complex love triangle with his current wife of five years.
Staff Pick: This absurd story looks like a lot of fun, and Dan Stevens has rarely failed to deliver. In fact, the odder the role the better he becomes. Oh, and the great Judi Dench looks to be having a ball as a dodgy spiritualist.
Days of Bagnold Summer (Also on VOD)
A teenager spends his summer listening to heavy metal music and trying to get along with his librarian mom.
Nomadland (Also on Hulu)
After losing everything in the Great Recession, a woman embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (Alamo on Demand)
Take a trip and break out of your shell with Barb and Star. Lifelong friends Barb and Star embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time…ever. Romance, friendship and a villain’s evil plot…
Breaking News in Yuba County (Alamo on Demand)
A woman catches her husband in bed with another woman, causing him to die of a heart attack. She buries his body and takes advantage of the growing celebrity status that comes from having a missing husband. However, she soon finds herself in over her head, dodging cops and criminals, all while trying to hide the truth.
1994. Frank Paterno (Sergio Castellitto), a Montreal mafia boss, hopes to legitimize his criminal operations by investing $180 million in an ambitious bridge project. First, however, he has to recover the necessary funds. Frank entrusts this mission to his protégé Vincent (Marc-André Grondin). But after Vincent executes a ruthless plan to smuggle millions in drugs out of Venezuela, his tactics ignite a war between the two families.
Test Pattern (Kino Marquee)
Test Pattern follows an interracial couple whose relationship is put to the test after a Black woman is sexually assaulted and her white boyfriend drives her from hospital to hospital in search of a rape kit. Their story reveals the systemic injustices and social conditioning women face when navigating sex and consent within the American patriarchy.
Staff Pick: This drama could wind up being on the dry side, but it has a ton of accolades to its name and a riveting premise.
Video on Demand
The Boarding School – Las Cumbres (Amazon Prime)
The Boarding School: Las Cumbres is set in the fictional boarding school Las Cumbres, an impenetrable fortress. Its students dream of fleeing far from there. But the surrounding forest is even more dangerous because a satanic medieval lodge spreads terror in the area.
Staff Pick: I still have a good feeling about this project. Being included with Prime is a nice bonus.
Utah and Opal are junkies living on the streets of rural Ohio until a seemingly chance encounter with the enigmatic Wood brings them to Los Angeles for drug treatment. Utah appears to find sobriety with the help of treatment center shrink, Dr. White, and tech turned love interest, May. They soon learn that drug treatment is but a cover for a predatory business, enlisting addicts to recruit other addicts.
Young, idealistic, and driven to succeed, Ross Ulbricht (Nick Robinson) creates the internet’s first unregulated marketplace: Silk Road. But when it becomes a multimillion-dollar pipeline for illicit drugs, Ross is set on a collision course with Rick Bowden (Jason Clarke), a disreputable and dangerously unpredictable DEA agent, who will use any means necessary to take him down.
Florence, early XVI century. Although widely considered a genius by his contemporaries, Michelangelo Buonarroti (Alberto Testone) is reduced to poverty and depleted by his struggle to finish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When his commissioner and head of the Della Rovere nobility Pope Julius II dies, Michelangelo becomes obsessed with sourcing the finest marble to complete his tomb. The artist’s loyalty is tested when Leo X, of the rival Medici family, ascends to the papacy and charges him with a lucrative new commission – the façade of the San Lorenzo basilica. Forced to lie to maintain favor with both families, Michelangelo is progressively tormented by suspicion and hallucinations, leading him to ruthlessly examine his own moral and artistic failings.
TWILIGHT’S KISS (SUK SUK) presents the story of two closeted married men in their twilight years. One day PAK, 70, a taxi driver who refuses to retire, meets HOI, 65, a retired single father, in a park. Despite years of societal and personal pressure, they are proud of the families they have created through hard work and determination. Yet in that brief initial encounter, something is unleashed in them which had been suppressed for so many years. As both men recount and recall their personal histories, they also contemplate a possible future together.
The Violent Heart
Fifteen years after the murder of his older sister, taciturn Daniel finds himself falling for Cassie, a vivacious high school senior in this southern gothic-inspired Romeo & Juliet story set in the American heartland.