Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas
From the Big Screen:
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
In “Adopt a Highway” (2019), starring Ethan Hawke, Elaine Hendrix, Diane Gaeta, Mo McRae, Chris Sullivan and Betty Gabriel, Russ Millings has just been released from prison after serving 21 years for a 3rd strike conviction for possessing an ounce of marijuana. As he tries to adapt to a world he doesn’t recognize — including trying to learn how to use the Internet — he finds an abandoned baby in a dumpster behind the fast food restaurant where he works as a dishwasher. Unsure of what to do, and caught between impulses of kindness and panic, Russ soon realizes this could be his chance at redemption. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … “The Gallows Act II” (2019), starring Ema Horvath, Chris Milligan and Brittany Falardeau, is the sequel to 2015’s “The Gallows.” When teenage vlogger and aspiring actress Auna Rue logs onto a sinister website, she’s trapped in the malevolent world of a cursed stage play, “The Gallows.” After performing a passage from the play for her tiny online fan base, Auna instantly achieves the stardom she seeks — as well as a twisted challenge from a deadly spirit (The Hangman) in this nightmarish supernatural thriller. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … “The Kill Team” (2019), starring Alexander Skarsgård, Nat Wolff, Adam Long, Jonathan Whitesell and Rob Morrow, is based on a true story and follows Andrew Briggman (Wolff), a young soldier in the US invasion of Afghanistan who witnesses other recruits killing innocent civilians under the direction of a sadistic leader, Sergeant Deeks (Skarsgård). Andrew considers reporting them to higher-ups, but the heavily armed, increasingly violent platoon becomes suspicious that someone in their ranks has turned on them — and Andrew begins to fear that he’ll be the next target. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate.
In writer-director Laura Luchetti’s strikingly photographed second feature, “Twin Flower” (2018 — Italy), starring Anastasiya Bogach and Kallil Kone, two teenage runaways forge a relationship haunted by their respective pasts. Anna is eluding a human trafficker for whom her father worked, and Basim is a refugee from the Ivory Coast in search of gainful employment. Together they embark on a dangerous trip across the tough but breathtaking terrain of Sardinia in the hopes of overcoming their personal demons. The remarkable chemistry between Bogach and Kone — both nonprofessional actors — carries Luchetti’s powerful film about coming of age in the throes of the refugee crisis. From Film Movement.
“Jim Allison: Breakthrough” (2019) is the astounding, true story of one warm-hearted, stubborn man’s visionary quest to find a cure for cancer. Narrated by Woody Harrelson, the film traces Allison’s remarkable life from his school-boy days in Friday Night Lights, Creationist Texas all the way to Stockholm, Sweden where, in December of 2018, he accepted the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Today, Allison is a name to be reckoned with throughout the scientific world — he won the Nobel Prize for discovering the immune system’s role in defeating cancer. But for decades he waged a lonely struggle against the skepticism of the medical establishment and the resistance of Big Pharma. Using intimate interviews with Allison and a set of scientific leaders, paired with the use of graphics and archival material, the documentary takes us into the inspiring and dramatic world of cutting-edge medicine, and into the heart of a true American pioneer, in a film that is both emotionally compelling and deeply entertaining. From Giant Pictures.