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Home Movies

by Karen Martin | December 31, 2021 at 1:31 a.m.

"Azor" (not rated, 1 hour, 40 minutes, Mubi) A quietly simmering intrigue into the realm of big money and political violence in late 1970s-Argentina follows private banker Ivan (Fabrizio Rongione), newly arrived from Geneva with his wife, Ines (Stephanie Cleau), to replace a colleague who has mysteriously disappeared in military-ruled Buenos Aires, where he becomes enmeshed in colonialism, high finance and a nation's dirty war. Directed by Andreas Fontana. Subtitled.

"Edward Scissorhands" (PG-13, 1 hour, 45 minutes, Amazon Prime Video) Tim Burton's weird and wonderful fantasy concerns an artificial man (Johnny Depp) who was poorly constructed with scissors for hands and leads a solitary existence until a suburban matron -- and Avon lady -- introduces him to her world. With Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Alan Arkin, Kathy Baker, Conchata Ferrell, Anthony Michael Hall, Vincent Price.

"Emily in Paris: Season 2" (TV-MA, 24- to 34-minute episodes, Netflix) The second season of this charmingly lightweight comedy series is out; it stars Lily Collins as a Chicago native who moves to Paris to work for a French fashion marketing firm, although she can't speak French, where she introduces her new co-workers to the intricacies of social media. With Ashley Park, Lucas Bravo, Camille Razat, Kate Walsh; created by Darren Star.

"The Forever Prisoner" (not rated, 1 hour, 59 minutes, HBO Max) Another no-nonsense documentary from Alex Gibney concerns how America's torture policy of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques began with CIA captive Abu Zubaydah, considered a high-value prisoner, who remains imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"India Sweets and Spices" (PG-13, 1 hour, 41 minutes, On Demand) This family-centric journey, humorous and spiky if a bit too predictable, to illustrate how Alia Kapur (Sophia Ali) returns to her family's upper-class suburban New Jersey home after a year away at UCLA and upends their orderly lives with her newly discovered feminist independence, which includes befriending Varun (Rish Shah), son of the new owners of the local Indian grocery. With Manisha Koirala, Adil Hussain; written and directed by Geeta Malik.

"Jim Gaffigan: Comedy Monster" (TV-14, 1 hour, 10 minutes, Netflix) The multi-Grammy-winning comedian known for his lack of vulgarity and reality-based material takes on the wretched year of 2021 in this Netflix special, with a concentration on how we all thought the pandemic was about to end.

"Mr. Birthday" (not rated, 1 hour, 33 minutes, iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Comcast, Spectrum, Cox) A family comedy in which Barry, who handles maintenance at an upscale hotel, meets Mr. Jay, who introduces Barry to the International Birthday Network that helps children across the globe suffering from miserable birthdays. With Jason London, Eric Roberts, Fred Sullivan, Anna Marie Dobbins; directed by Dan Hunter.

"The Only One" (not rated, 1 hour 44 minutes, On Demand) A 30-year-old woman dedicated to an exciting life of wanderlust decides to visit to the south of France to see David, the only man she has ever considered settling down with. Is it time for her to commit to a conventional life? With Joshua Grothe, Caitlin Stasey, Jon Beavers, Niseema Theillaud; directed by Noah Gilbert.

"The Second" (not rated, 1 hour, 34 minutes, On Demand) Dark, seductive, and spooky, this coldly realistic thriller concerns a situation in which the public image of a well-known author is challenged when her best friend reveals an unsavory secret about the author's first novel. With Rachael Blake, Susie Porter, Vince Colosimo, Martin Sacks; directed by Mairi Cameron.

"Sleepless in Seattle" (PG, 1 hour, 45 minutes, Amazon Prime Video) Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks star in a now-legendary, if somewhat syrupy, 1993 romantic comedy (directed and co-written by Nora Ephron) that cheerfully forces its audience to forget what's happening in their lives and concentrate on a widower who moves to Seattle with his son who will stop at nothing in his search to find a new love for his dad. That's where Meg Ryan enters the picture. With Bill Pullman, Rita Wilson, Rosie O'Donnell, Rob Reiner.

"The Velvet Underground" (R, 2 hours, 1 minutes, Apple TV+) This fascinating documentary by Todd Haynes shows how the rock band achieved its avant-garde reputation through interviews, never-before-seen performances and recordings, Warhol films, and other experimental art that creates an immersive experience. With John Waters, Mary Woronov, Jackson Browne, John Cale, Jonathan Richman.

"The Novice" (R, 1 hour, 34 minutes, On Demand) A fierce debut effort from writer/director Lauren Hadaway reveals how obsession affects Alex Dall, a college freshman who joins her university's rowing team and undertakes an extreme physical and psychological journey to make it to the top varsity boat, no matter the cost. With Isabelle Fuhrman, Dilone, Amy Forsyth, Jonathan Cherry, Kate Drummond, Charlotte Ubben.

"Ocean Souls" (not rated, 58 minutes, On Demand) An emotive documentary that focuses on the latest science on cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), revealing their family lives, social structures, and an intense emotional intelligence beneath the waves that closely mirrors our own. Directed by underwater photographer, filmmaker, and ocean conservationist Philip Hamilton.

"Off the Rails" (R, 1 hour, 34 minutes, On Demand) This mediocre gal-pal concerns three college friends, now in their 50s, who re-create their post-graduation trip across Europe to honor the loss and memory of their friend Anna. Joining Kate (Jenny Seagrove), Liz (Sally Phillips) and Cassie (Kelly Preston, her final film before her death in July 2020) is Anna's 18-year-old daughter Maddie (Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips), fulfilling her mother's last wish to have them take this trip with her. Complications ensue. With Judi Dench, Ben Miller, Franco Nero; directed by Jules Williamson.

"On These Grounds" aka "Spring Valley" (not rated, 1 hour, 48 minutes, Starz) Intense and detailed, this documentary explores the situation in which an explosive video that shows a white school resource officer in South Carolina pull a Black teenager from her desk and throw her across the floor, which provokes an outraged nation into dividing over who is at fault and what role race played in the incident. Directed by Garrett Zevgetis.

"Stealing Chaplin" (R, 1 hour, 45 minutes, iTunes, Sky Store, Amazon Prime) Inspired by real events, this entertaining if forgettable dark comedy, set in Las Vegas, follows two conniving brothers who dig up and steal the corpse of comedian Charlie Chaplin in order to ransom it. With Simon Phillips, Doug Phillips, Peter Woodward, Wayne Newton; directed by Paul Tanter.

"Swan Song" (R, 1 hour, 52 minutes, Apple TV+) A moral struggle is at the heart of this futuristic story involving Cameron (Mahershala Ali) who, when diagnosed with a terminal illness while awaiting the birth of his second child with wife, Poppy (Naomie Harris), is offered a radical alternative by his doctor (Glenn Close) to shield his family from grief. Written and directed by Benjamin Cleary.

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