Cars 3 is here! Turn up the volume! The racers are back in their awesome rides, spinnin’ wheels and soaring through the air! Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) feels his driving wizardry is being eclipsed by newer, faster teched-out cars when a sleek black one whizzes past him to the finish line! Not good. The “R” word comes up – retirement! So he determines to get up to speed to prove to the youngsters and to himself that he still has it. He turns to Sterling for inspiration, guidance and hard truths and young driver Cruz, a real up and comer. Writer director Brian Free reunites the original cars, voiced by Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy and Bonnie Hunt and introduces new ones, including Cristela Alonzo as Cruz Ramirez, Armie Hammer as Jackson Storm and Canada’s own Nathan Fillion as Sterling. Oh, and listen for Kerry Washington Pixar fave John Ratzenberger and … Paul Newman, a lifelong racer. Hats off to Pixar for counting to do what it does – elevating animation with heart, soul and skill.
The “true story” of life and death of rapper Tupac Shakur is the focus of All Eyez on Me. A young rebel poet from East Harlem, born to Black Panthers, becomes an internationally renowned rapper with sales of 75M albums. As his success grew his activism did as well, as the voice of young black urban men. Tragically he was also involved in the East West rap wars and was murdered at age 25 along with his friend Biggie Smalls in Las Vegas 1996, Suge Knight was imprisoned. Tupac has been positioned as a hero, icon and black revolutionary in death. He was a riddle wrapped in an enigma, born to former Black Panthers, a singer, actor and ballet dancer and served time on a sexual assault beef. Demetrius Shipp Jr. plays Tupac with Jamal Woolard as Smalls and Dominic L. Santana as Knight. Tupac was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.
Whether you grew up in the Peace and Love era or not, Monterey Pop, in its newly restored in 4K version is a rock solid must see. Documentary filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker captured some of the biggest moments in rock history, Janis Joplin singing Ball and Chain to a transfixed crowd, Pete Townshend smashing his guitar, Jimi Hendrix making love to and then burning his. Also on the bill for that legendary 1967 outdoor concert and loving capture don film are Jefferson Airplane, Simon and Garfunkel, Mamas and the Papas, Eric Burdon and The Animals, Otis Redding, the Who, the Byrds, Hugh Masekela, and the jaw dropping Ravi Shankar. It will give you two hours of goosebumps and gratitude that this film captured the spirit of the sixties.
Potty-mouthed cast led by Scarlett Johansson with Zoë Kravitz, Kate McKinnon, Demi Moore and Ty Burrell makes Rough Nights a red band experience. Five college friends get together for a girls’ weekend in Miami and let loose, inadvertently killing a male stripper.
Colin Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry based on Gregg Hurwitz’ bestselling novel tells the story of young brothers attempting to save the young girl who lives next door from a troubling situation. Things don’t go well. Naomi Watts, Jaeden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Sarah Silverman, Lee Pace, Maddie Ziegler, and Dean Norris star.
Beatriz at Dinner Director from Miguel Arteta stars Salma Hayek, John Lithgow, Connie Britton and Chloe Sevigny. Hayek plays a holistic medicine practitioner stranded outside a client’s home when her car breaks down. She is invited to stay for a dinner party and is seated next to a Trumpian billionaire businessman who dislikes immigrants and good manners. The needling begins and emotional chaos ensues.
The Putin Interviews is now on Showtime as Russian President Vlad Putin is interviewed by a seemingly besotted Oliver Stone. Stone, a bit of a heavy in his own right interviewed Putin a dozen times over two years and has what he thinks is the real deal on election interference, Russian hackers, warfare, politics and human rights problems. Apparently Stone’s is the longest and most far ranging interview ever granted by Putin to a Westerner with no limitations set on what they’d discuss. An interesting claim made by Putin is that the Rosenbergs who were executed in New York in 1953 for passing American nuclear secrets to the Russians were acting on the behest of American nuclear scientists to “balance” the world at a time when only the US had nuclear capabilities. Stone compares his series to The Nixon Interviews 40 years ago and trust me that this will be as much about Stone as Putin.
Loch Ness the latest Acorn TV Original Series, is insanely great! A fine example of Scottish noir, set on the famous lake where the spectre of the monster lurks under dark waters, but a real monster is on the loose killing folks. It’s complex and weighty, poetically written with great complex characters. It’s chilling what with human hearts showing up, a mystery man chained to the bottom of the lake and more bodies showing up in this legendary setting. Stunning cinematography captures the beauty of the ocean and the Highlands and the natural world where people seem to be reverting to their baser instincts. Loch Ness begins streaming at www.acorn.tv on June 19 starring Laura Fraser as the besieged local police officer on her first murder and Downton Abbey baddie Siobhan Finneran as her well-meaning boss.
Atul Malhotra’s British comedy Amar Akbar & Tony sounds like a joke. A Sikh, a Muslim and an Irish Catholic walk into a bar. They’re in Hounslow outside London to plot the next move when the Irish fellow fails to seduce his lifelong crush the local Pakistani beauty. The Sikh is sent to prison and returns home to find his fiancée has married his uncle. The Muslim’s a big success in work and love, but things escalate when various truths comes out. The complexity of romantic entanglements, pitfalls and triumphs are a clear homage to Bollywood and the film marks the first time a turbaned Sikh plays the lead in a western feature. The film’s full of energy and lighthearted wisecracks but warning – there are some non PC moments! Yikes! It’s on Netflix June 20.
Grantchester on PBS, Season 3 returns Sunday night with the devilishly handsome Anglican minister Rev. Sidney Chambers whom we left in a bit of a romantic cliffhanger last season. He’s hopelessly in love with Amanda who is not only married but pregnant by her husband. Inspector Geordie Keating joins him in seven new episodes following the improbable crime-fighting duo, first case this season? Its Christmas and there is a serial killer afoot. Later in the series, dead crows arrive before bodies show up and the Rev is suspected of murder!!!
An all indigenous film is in production in Toronto this week, based on the novella Angelique Abandoned by James R. Stevens. Angelique’s Isle tells the true story of Angelique Mott, an Anishinaabe woman married to Charlie Mott, a French Canadian Canoe Man forced to abandon their cultures and live in a rigidly controlled European world in the 19th century copper mining industry. Angelique takes the viewer on a journey of ancient knowledge versus what she sees as religious sanctimony. It’s co-directed by Canadian filmmakers Michelle Derosier of Anishinaabe descent and Marie-Helene Cousineau with the lead role played by Julia Jones of Choctaw and Chickasaw descent. Shooting completed in Thunder Bay and continues in Toronto to complete filming on a classic schooner.