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What to stream this weekend? ‘Code 8,’ ‘Hunt’ worth a look, but don’t miss ‘Onward’

What to stream this weekend? ‘Code 8,’ ‘Hunt’ worth a look, but don’t miss ‘Onward’

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What to stream this weekend? ‘Code 8,’ ‘Hunt’ worth a look, but don’t miss ‘Onward’In this day of closed theaters, Netflix has an unending amount of new movies to debut on its streaming service.

One of the many options is the sci-fi thriller “Code 8.” Based on his 2016 short, director Jeff Chen brought back brothers Robbie and Stephen Amell – fresh off their stints in the CW’s Arrowverse superhero shows. Sharing the big screen together for the first time, they retain the “super” but ditch the “hero.”

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Robbie plays Conner Reed, a “level 5 electric” down on his luck, looking for day labor jobs. His mom (Kari Matchett) is sick and losing control of her freeze powers.

Needing money, Conner decides to take the unscrupulous route by allying himself with Garrett and his crew of powered individuals. Stephen plays Garrett with a twinge of goodness, but mostly he’s after bigger scores. Conner is torn between staying the course of what qualifies for a normal life and earning enough money to save his mom.

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At 97 minutes, the movie has little time to address the plight of those with powers. Most of it is done through news broadcasts, cheapening their struggles.

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If the script removed all powers and the robotic police, it would just be a generic crime thriller. Adding the marginalized-people-with-powers angle elevates it enough to recommend. B-

Going along for ‘The Hunt’

“The Hunt” seems like it was destined to never be shown. It was supposed to open last year, until the president went on a tirade about it and the studio delayed the opening. It finally opened this past March, then the shutdown closed the theaters.

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At the recently reopened Solano Drive-in, we waited 45 minutes in a car line to see a double feature. I do not know how much money “The Hunt” made in its streaming release, but plenty of people still wanted to see it at the drive-in.

Starring plenty of recognizable actors, the film goes by very fast as many of them do not last long. None of the characters are inherently likeable. That’s a credit to the writers; they created awful people who actually talk like awful human beings do.

It is tough to choose whom to root for: the ultra-PC group, or the extremist right-wingers the former kidnaps and hunts for sport. The audience need not pick a side. Just wish for fun chase scenes and gruesome deaths. C+

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Time to move ‘Onward’

With its non-sequels, Pixar has been hitting it out of the park lately. “Inside Out,” “Coco” and now “Onward” all lean on the crux of what our emotions and memories mean to us.

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The writers masterfully get their main characters and audience to follow a certain path. When the characters reach their point of enlightenment, the audience experiences it in a way that no other films can match.

“Onward” exists in a world where magic has long faded away; it is now only evident in card games and kids’ menus. Two brothers learn their long-dead father has left them a magic spell to bring him back for 24 hours.

They initially only bring back their father’s legs, so the brothers and half of their father go on a quest to bring the rest of him back before the day is up. Pixar strikes gold again. A

Streaming TV recommendations

“Ozark.” Silly, but intense fun on Netflix starring the always-great Jason Bateman.

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“The Handmaid’s Tale.” The first few episodes of Hulu’s flagship are brutal. Elizabeth Moss is incredible as the central character.

“Dexter.” Four seasons of greatness, then three of slipping quality. I’m curious about the thoughts of a viewer who is willing to stop after season 4.

Jeff Mellinger is a screen writer and film buff. He holds a BA in Film Studies and an MFA in film production. He lives in Concord. Email comments to editor@pioneerpublishers.com

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