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An underrated thriller from Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise’s best performance: This week’s best and biggest on Netflix

Catch Jordan Parker’s The Week’s Best and Largest on Netflix every Friday on CityNews Halifax.

The last shift

A slow-burning comedy, this Sundance pick has more subtlety than your typical blockbuster.

Her lessons and ideals about the film are well deserved, and things are not clarified. That’s what I liked best about this one.

Stan is a lifelong, passionate fast food worker who finally takes what little he has saved and retires. He wants to move away to take care of his elderly mother.

His successor, Jevon, has to work to meet the terms of his parole, and the fish shack where he meets Stan is his final choice of employment.

But despite their differences, the two form an unlikely bond. Everyone learns from each other in this bittersweet film.

Richard Jenkins carries this effortlessly, even when the script falters. Writer-director Andrew Cohn makes a competent – if not stunning – debut.

Young Shane Paul McGhie provides a promising twist, and hilarious supporting acts from Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Ed O’Neill help keep this one afloat.

It’s not an incredible effort, but I found myself reasonably entertained. The actors involved alone are worth the 90-minute gamble.

3.5/5 stars

love in the mansion

What can I say? I’m a fan of beautiful locations and a rom-com.

Love In The Villa gave me everything I could ask for and more. It’s cuter than your average genre film and has a winning cast.

Writer-director Mark Steven Johnson – whose resume includes Daredevil, Simon Birch and the wonderful Love, Guaranteed – makes a capable film, and his actors bring real charisma to it.

Vampire Diaries alum Kat Graham teams up with Umbrella Academy star Tom Hopper, and they have wonderful, breezy chemistry.

It follows two broken people who end up in a double-booked villa in Italy. They soon realize that their inconvenience could only be fate. It’s a funny, thoroughly entertaining film that delivers exactly what is expected of it.

I really enjoyed it and it made me smile and giggle more than a few times. If you like cheesy love stories, you’ll really enjoy this Netflix original.

4/5 stars

The little things

The fact that this lovely little crime noir was savaged by critics actually bothers me over a year later.

Initially touted as perfect Oscar bait, many left The Little Things disappointed. I, on the other hand, loved it.

Writer-director John Lee Hancock – best known for The Highwaymen and The Blind Side – makes a smart, competent, and entertaining serial killer film that didn’t get its due.

The performances are great, from Denzel Washington’s subdued role as a tortured detective to Rami Malek’s interesting take on a high-profile cop.

Jared Leto — nominated here for a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award — is downright creepy as suspect Albert Sparma.

Criticized for not being inventive enough in his plot, I have to wonder what films these days don’t evoke something else.

What speaks to this one is an unsettling film noir sensibility, reinforced by a decision not to go all out like many of its kind these days.

It’s the little things that make this one fly, and I really hope you agree with me here.

4/5 stars

The tailor

This is a scathing little movie that I saw years ago during FIN. I have never forgotten its effect on me.

Based on the novel by Rosalie Ham, this is a snappy comedy made even better by exceptional cast.

Kate Winslet stars as Tilly, who returns to her rural town in Australia after years in gorgeous attire. She introduces her style to the people of town while plotting her revenge on those who wronged her years ago.

Winslet is truly fabulous, and she is accompanied by suitably wonderful twists from Judy Davis and career best Liam Hemsworth. Hugo Weaving is also really amazing here, which made me love him even more.

Director Jocelyn Moorhouse has perfectly navigated the line between comedy, drama and scathing satire, and this is one you simply have to seek out.




When you watch as many movies as I do, sometimes you have to wade through some pretty awful content.

It’s important to have a list of movies that, after seeing some awful flicks, can renew your faith in great cinema.

Collateral is an engaging crime thriller that has been my constant comeback for more than 15 years.

It follows taxi driver Max, a man who dreams of a different, more meaningful life. He picks up Vincent, who offers him a large sum of cash to be his personal driver for the night.

Max accepts, but regrets his decision when he realizes he’s become a hitman’s getaway driver.

Director Michael Mann is making a film that’s better than anything he’s ever touched other than the classic bank robbery film Heat.

Jamie Foxx snagged an Oscar nomination for the role of taxi driver Max, and Tom Cruise gives his best-ever performance as cold-blooded Vincent. The two have undeniable chemistry together.

They are joined by a wonderful ensemble cast that includes Jada Pinkett Smith, Javier Bardem, Bruce McGill, Mark Ruffalo and Peter Berg.

I love absolutely everything about this film and come back to it religiously at least twice a year.

4.5/5 stars

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