Even though the lockdown is lifting, most of us are still holed-up in our caves. A few theaters are testing the waters (one seat for every city block, popcorn with butter-flavored hand sanitizer). But most are waiting till Hollywood begins rolling out its long-delayed blockbusters. Meanwhile, the pipeline is drying up. Therefore, here are a few gems you may have missed (you’re welcome ;>).
Just Mercy – Hands-down the most significant title on this list: 1) Because it’s a powerful, moving and beautifully-acted movie (Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson et al); 2) Because it’s a true story of racism and injustice that is incredibly relevant to our time. Watch it! (And while you’re at it, catch 2018’s The Hate U Give.)
Invisible Man – An entirely new story about a woman (Elizabeth Moss) stalked by a brilliant, technologically invisible psychopath. It was critically-acclaimed and on its way to blockbuster status when theaters everywhere shut down, forcing the studio to scramble to release it–almost invisibly–via other formats. It’s one of the best psychological thrillers in years and, like its protagonist, deserves to survive. Find it and see it!
The Way Back – It’s easy to forget that Ben Affleck can act, but he can, especially when he’s directed by Gavin O’Conner (The Accountant). This surprisingly rich drama features him as an alcoholic ex-high school sports hero. The Way Back manages to revive a scorched-over plot–turning a failing high school basketball team into winners–by making it a metaphor for something far more important than school pride. It’s raw (R for language) and yet tender.
You – Season 2 of this Netflix series was completed just before the pandemic hit. Few stories succeed in making us care for a stalker, much less one who may have done unspeakable things in his past; this one does. We don’t trust him, but we sort of get him, and we’re intrigued to see where this dubious love story will lead (Note: “adult themes” and language).
Songland – This NBC summer series (also streaming on Hulu), now in its second season, features three savvy, uber-successful songwriters and a different major music star each week, in search of their next hit. Four wannabe tunesmiths audition their could-this-be-the-one? song. Three are selected to go through the process (coached by one of the three hitmaking songwriters) of reworking their tune into “the one.” It’s fascinating to see the collaborative song-crafting in action, and to hear the final revised tunes.
Healing River – I could be a smidge biased (I wrote and directed it). But this remarkably timed (thanks, God!) feature film about healing and forgiveness is now playing to rather rapturous reviews at Amazon Prime (you don’t have to be a Prime member, but it’s free if you are). If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch or order it by clicking here (bring tissues). Once you’ve seen it, do please add your own brief review there, and rate it at IMDb. “Blessings ’til it hurts!” ~Mitch