In “Life will be the Death of Me”, comedian Chelsea Handler embarks on a self-improvement campaign, while ‘Save Me the Plums” continues Ruth Reichl’s ongoing food memoir. In the fall of 2016, Handler decided some changes were in order. She embarked on a ‘Year of Self-Sufficiency’ (like, learning how to work the remote), enters into therapy, and becomes politically active. All told with Handler’s trademark self-depreciating style. Meanwhile in Plums, Reichl chronicles her groundbreaking tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet. Its the story of how a former hippie transformed a stately journal into a cutting-edge publication.
“Lost Roses” is a WWI drama about the fate of a White Russian family by Martha Hall Kelly, the author of Lilac Girls. In “Metropolis” Philip Kerr ends his Bernie Gunther series by going back to Gunther’s first weeks on Berlin’s Murder Squad. In “Neon Prey” by John Sandford, Lucas Davenport tracks a prolific serial killer. “Redemption” by Dave Baldacci continues the Memory Man series. “Someone Knows” by Lisa Scottoline, a teenage prank that went tragically wrong haunts a grown woman.
“Of Fathers and Sons” follows the daily lives of an extremist family. Filmmaker Talal Derki posed as a sympathetic photojournalist to enter a village controlled by the al-Nusra Front in the Syrian Civil War and stayed with the Osama family for two years. The father works as a sniper and as a mine remover. He removes his children from school due to coeducation and latter sends them to a terrorist training camp. The older son embraces the cause; the younger wishes to return to school. Derki’s “admirably audacious feat” took home an Oscar and the Sundance prize for best documentary.
Good times here, free of angst and ultra-violence. Maybe even swears! (no promises about the last one). In “Welcome to Marwen”, Steve Carell plays a man who recovers from a trauma by creating a miniature world where he’s a war hero. In “Second Act”, a box store worker (Jennifer Lopez) fakes a resume and gets hired to handle a major business deal. “Mary Poppins Returns” finds the flying nanny (Emily Blunt) returning to help the grown-up Banks children with their new families. “Instant Family” has Mark Wahlberg trying his hand at comedy as a parent who takes on a trio of foster kids. ‘Agatha Raisin” brings M.C Beaton’s humorous mystery series to the screen.
In “Aquaman”, another Marvel character comes to life. The reluctant heir of Atlantis, Arthur Curry, is recalled to the underwater kingdom when its reigning king declares war on the surface world. “Creed II” extends the “Rocky” franchise as Adonis Johnson turns again to Rocky Balboa for help, this time to prepare for a fight against the son of a former Russian rival. “King of Thieves” is a Brit caper about an aging gang of rogues who plot a diamond heist. Michael Caine plays the leader of the band. In “Serenity”, a fisherman’s ex tells him that she wants her abusive new husband to sleep with the fishes.
“The Mule“ features Clint Eastwood as Earl Stone, real-life eighty-year old who takes a job as a courier for a drug cartel. Says the LA Times, “this DVD has an unexpected emotional kick”. “Stan and Ollie” picks up the comedy duo at the end of their career as they embark on a tour of post-war Britain. It features “extraordinary performances by Steve Coogan as Stan and John C. Reilly as Ollie” (Christian Science Monitor). “On the Basis of Sex” features Felicity Jones as a young Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who takes a groundbreaking discrimination case to the Supreme Court. In “Vice”, Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) weaves a blackly comic tale about Dick Cheney’s rise to power in the Bush White House. “Front runner” is the true story of a sex scandal that undid a presidential campaign.