Things are slowing down a bit this week, but two killer titles are available to keep you busy. First up is Queen & Slim. Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) are on a first date, just starting to get to know each other when on the way home they are pulled over by the police for a minor traffic violation. When the situation escalates and Slim shoots the officer in self-defence, the couple panic and go on the run. Labelled by the media as cop killers but adored by the public as unwitting outlaws, Queen & Slim become symbols of society’s trauma, terror and grief. But the longer they are on the run, the less chance they have of the truth being believed and their lives being salvaged.
Queen & Slim is a brilliant piece of filmmaking. First off, Turner-Smith and Kaluuya are just mesmerizing in their roles, and the progression of their relationship from two virtual strangers to two people who only have each other in the entire world is beautifully portrayed. Writer Lena Waithe and director Melina Matsoukas craft a wonderful movie that perfectly balances the traits of an art film with a road movie/on the run movie. The film mainly stays with Queen & Slim throughout the movie instead of balancing between them and some law official who is after them, and that choice makes Queen & Slim unique and very intimate. In addition to the fascinating character study, the film also takes a close look at the controversies of our current social climate of police brutality and racial profiling as well as general fear in society from the public as well as within law enforcement. Fans of mainstream thrillers and drama will love it, as will fans of independent films, Queen & Slim really does have something for everyone.
Also available this week is the new Mark Ruffalo drama Dark Waters. In 1998, Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) is a corporate defense attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio. Bilott’s grandmother sends one of her Parkersburg, West Virginia neighbors to Robert with a case claiming that the DuPont Corporation’s large local plant is covertly poisoning the water supply and has caused the death of his livestock as well as caused varied illnesses in the local residents. Bilott and his firm take on the case which balloons to a massive class action suit that reveals secrets about corporate irresponsibility’s and the enormous threat their carelessness has on the entire world’s population. But Bilott has his hands full trying to battle a corporation with seemingly endless means and connections, and it may not only cost his firm more than they can afford, but it may cost Bilott everything in his life.
Dark Waters is scarier than any horror movie I have ever seen. It is the story of how corrupt and irresponsible corporations are and the incredible lengths they will go to in order to put more money in the bank, even at the cost of tens of thousands of lives. I am a pretty realistic guy but finding out just how far these greedy companies go and how corrupt the governments that are supposed to regulate them are is just astounding and eye-opening. Dark Waters is finely crafted by director Todd Haynes with a steady and sometimes unrelenting pace anchored by a superb performance by Ruffalo who undoubtedly was fueled by his own personal interest in the world issues he stands up for. As a drama, Dark Waters is an exceptional film. As a wake up call, Dark Waters is staggeringly important to watch and should be part of school curriculums alongside films like Erin Brokovich and (even though it is theoretical) Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion.
Also of note this week is the new horror flicks The Furies and The Sonata as well as a new batch of Disney classic films hitting 4K for the first time including A Bug’s Life, both Monsters, Inc. films, Up and Wall-E.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday March 3, 2020
A Bug's Life 4K
All at Sea (1957)*
Bad Manners a.k.a. Growing Pains (1984)*
Before the Wrath
CMA Awards Live - Greatest Moments: 2008-2015
Elmo’s World: Playdate!
I Am Fear
Kansas City (1996)*
Monsters Inc. 4K
Monsters University 4K
PJ Masks: Power of Mystery Mountain
Playmobil: The Movie
Queen & Slim
Teen Titans Go! S5 Part 2
The Captain's Paradise (1953)*
Trolls: Happy Place Collection
When Calls the Heart: Finding Home
*Catalog Blu-ray debut