In 1950s London, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) creates dresses for high society women. He is talented, self-centered, controlling, and oftentimes abusive. His sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) runs his empire and does his dirty work (dismissing his latest muse). After Reynolds meets waitress Alma (Vicky Krieps), she becomes his assistant, muse, and lover. What he doesn’t count on is that she has an iron will, and will do anything to get her own way. Alma makes a plan to gain the upper hand in their relationship. To make him more vulnerable and needy, Alma laces his tea with poisonous mushrooms. She makes him reliant on her, nursing him back to health. Phantom Thread won an Academy Award for costume design. The film was nominated in five other categories, including best picture.
Featuring a cast of mostly amateur actors, and a powerful performance from Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project tells an affectingly real and heartbreaking story. Taking its title from the original name for Walt Disney World, the film focuses on a six-year-old girl named Moonee and her mother Halley, who live just outside the confines of the amusement park. Willem Dafoe plays Bobby, the manager of the run-down motel that Moonee and her mother call home (a role that earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards). While there are moments of levity and humor throughout The Florida Project, the film is, at times, an uncomfortable watch. Not because of any poor directing, acting, or writing; in fact, it is uncomfortable for the exact opposite reasons. The Florida Project presents an unfiltered and amazingly true-to-life look into the effect poverty and dysfunctional family situations can have on young children. Audiences looking for realism, heart, and drama need look no further than The Florida Project, one of the best films of 2017.
Coco is Disney/Pixar’s newest movie out on DVD/Blu-Ray and it is spectacular! The animation is crisp and immediately grounds the story in modern-day Mexico before whisking viewers away to the Land of the Dead. The colors and details in the Land of the Dead were vibrant and truly captured the celebratory spirit of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos. And this wouldn’t be a true Pixar movie without its heart — family and love and dreams. And bonus — soaring music! Seriously, check out the CD (or Hoopla). If you’re looking for a family movie, add Coco to your list. [Fair warning to those who get teary during movies, this was definitely a two-tissue movie for me!]
The PBS series Craft in America presents artists currently working in the U.S.: furniture makers, blacksmiths, weavers, jewelry makers, glass blowers, and more. Often times, artists have learned their craft from parents and grandparents, and it’s inspiring to see that these traditions can be kept alive from generation to generation—the way other skills such as cooking or gardening can be passed down. If you want an inside look at how a craft object is created—from the materials used, and the design process, to the workshop where it all comes together—you’ll want to check out Craft in America!
Noah (Adam Devine) has been in love with Avery (Alexandra Daddarrio) for three years, but unfortunately, she’s getting married to Ethan (Robbie Amell), the perfect, polite gentleman she met exactly one day after she met Noah. In the middle of a drunken pity party, Noah finds himself in the photo booth he shared with Avery on the night they met and with a quarter and some wishing, he wakes up three years earlier. He repeats this multiple times, a la Groundhog Day, each time changing an aspect about their first date and things go about as well as you’d expect. The only thing that seems to stay the same in each timeline is his friendship with Avery’s best friend, Carrie (Shelley Henning). Fans of rom-coms already know how this story is going to end, but that doesn’t make the journey any less enjoyable. Filled with lots of laughs, tender moments, regrettable hairstyle choices (frosted tips in 2017?), and photo strips, When We First Met is a great way to spend an evening. The movie is currently only available on Netflix, but you can watch it now without an account by checking out one of our Rokus from Tech Takeout, giving you access to Netflix, Hulu, and hundreds of movies for 7 days.
Imagine an extremely dark, adult world where Harry Potter meets Narnia, and you’ll pretty much have The Magicians. Based on Lev Grossman‘s book series of the same name, follow a handful of young adults at a magical graduate school of sorts hidden in upstate New York. Their story is not for the faint of heart! In between classes, homework, and bizarre magical field trips, Quentin and his friends learn the fantasy world of a childhood book series is real, along with a bloodthirsty beast who has it in for not only them, but also the rest of humanity. Watch Season 1 of The Magicians on DVD or borrow a Roku to stream it via Netflix.
When Jamie McAllan, a WWII fighter pilot, returns home to his family’s Mississippi Delta farm, he cannot leave the horrors of war behind. Ronsel Jackson also returns to the Mississippi delta to resume sharecropping with his family on the McAllan farm. A decorated war hero, Ronsel struggles as he must readjust to life in the Jim Crow South. Ronsel and Jamie become friends, and it is this friendship that lends an uneasy tension to the film. Jamie drinks too much, and Ronsel chafes at the rules that make him a second-class citizen. Superb acting and cinematography make Mudbound a challenging and enriching film to view. Based on novel Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. Watch on Netflix by checking out one of our rokus.