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By Anne Brodie

June Squibb, the Oscar-nominated (Nebraska) 95-year-old finally gets her first lead, after 70 years! And she’s solid gold. What a woman! Squibb plays Thelma; she’s fiercely independent and lives alone in the home she shared with her late husband.  Her daughter (Parker Posey) tends to boss her but nephew Danny (the charismatic Fred Hechinger) loves her and spends time with her laughing, teaching her computing and being themselves. One day while alone, she receives an hysterical call from someone pretending to be Danny begging for money to get out of jail. She gladly pays $10K online but when he tells her it’s a scam, well, look out.  Inspired by Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, she sets out to retrieve the money and give the thieves a good scolding. First stop, a visit to her pal Ben (Richard Roundtree) in his nursing home who joins her in her mission on his scooter. The family is frantic; she’s disappeared. She and Ben scoot across Los Angeles at night, find the scoundrel (Malcolm McDowall) and launch a gentle action quasi-thriller as she asks herself “What would Tom do”? Hilariously funny at times, writer-director Josh Margolin creates a positive portrayal of ageing and agency in an extraordinary moment for film, inspired by the true story of his own grandmother. It’s groundbreaking and shines with love between family and the possibility of making change and appreciating one another.  A radical and warm hug of a film.  In theatres.

Dark, dangerous, creepy, and yet compelling, What Remains starring Gustaf Skarsgård, his father Stellan Skarsgård, and Andrea Riseborough, is admittedly a tough slog. Ran Huang’s feature debut in theaters & TVOD on June 21st is based on true events around 90s Swedish serial killer Thomas Quick. Skarsgård the younger plays Mads Lake, undergoing electric shock therapy in a psychiatric hospital, a lifeless, haunted figure who confesses to a string of murders, and is convicted. The thing is, he doesn’t remember committing them. Police Detective Soren Rank (elder Skarsgård) must discover the truth quickly and if he is reliable. Is there someone else out there endangering lives? Enter Lake’s therapist Anna (Riseborough) with her overriding interest in Lake’s case; we believe she’s in mortal danger spending alone with him for hours at a stretch. Their increasing intimacy is disturbing. One day Lake casually mentions to a nurse that he killed a long-missing boy. Then he kills the nurse.  Lake claims his horrific childhood made him this way, but then, he’s a liar.  So, these three are locked in an obsessive triangle that may never recover. What Remains is hard to watch, but sufficiently interesting to continue to the end and its stunning updates. 

Want a new series that’s wholesome, historically accurate, and won’t upset your apple cart? Well, My Lady Jane starring a luminous Emily Bader, on Prime Video ain’t it. It’s an outrageous, delightfully bawdy, over-the-top, femme-centric, history rewrite and romp! And if you ask me, the six-parter is essential viewing for women who have been victims of misogyny. It’s 1553 in Tudor England and there’s a battle brewing. Lady Jane Grey, the great-granddaughter of King Henry VIII, the 16-year-old executed in the Tower of London to allow Mary to become Queen. Jane’s cousin Edward VI named Jane ruler on is deathbed, offending his sisters and solidifying Edward’s Church of England. He was within his rights.  Well, in this series Lady Jane puts things right – she’s not executed! Her intuition, physical courage, and intelligence are her tickets to a fair outcome. And while she works towards that, she’s married off to the handsome Guildford Dudley against her will. But they team up for action.  Her mother played as a fabulous bitch goddess by the amazing Anna Chancellor is tough as nails. Her half-sisters, well, what do you think?  It’s a fairy tale not a delineation of RL tragedy, fast, furious, funny, and lots of He-ing and She-ing and variations if you get my drift, right on the screen. Just stupendous viewing that will grab you hook line and sinker. OK, they play fast and loose with history but what a result. Warning: rude, audacious, even dirty, according to Chancellor! 😊June 27

Eva Longoria’s English and Spanish dramedy series Land of Women is a hoot! Longoria’s upbeat optimism and charm in the face of deadly odds is downright adorable.  She’s Gala, who owns a wine business in Manhattan. Her daughter Kate (Victoria Bazua) is off at boarding school and her mother Julia (Spanish TV star Carmen Maura) is ensconced in a luxury retirement home, all expensive responsibilities Gala and her husband can afford. Until they can’t. Her husband packs his bags and rushes away; he won’t say where he’s going but tells her to get her mother and daughter and leave New York NOW.  He owes gangsters a head-spinning $50M. They have no money or assets left.  Gala gets cracking without telling mom or daughter why she’s flying them to Spain on the next available flight. There they find a different kind of trouble arrives in Amat, a handsome farmer who lives in her mother’s ancestral family home. Julia owns half of it but her aunt sold it without a by your leave. So bad blood and no wonder. Julia fled the town as a pregnant teen for the States and said she’d never return. In her absence, her sister turned the town against her. So no one likes Julia, she’s broke, homeless, a pariah, and hungry.  Well, she has some money, taped to her body, and proceeds from selling the fake jewelry her husband gave her. It nearly washes away at one point and then Amat takes it to pay for the damage she did to his car.  Despite all, it’s lighthearted, with LGBTQ2 positivity, family relationships and dynamics in a pinch, the can-do spirit, and the possibility of love and redemption.  Longoria makes everything fun and light and relatable, quite the feat given the scope of Gala’s significant challenges and that little thing of being on the run from gangsters.  On Apple TV+ June 26.

This weekend, CBC TV and CBC Gem celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day with a wealth of features and documentaries.   

7 p.m. (7:30 NT) on CBC TV and CBC TONIGHT


Twelve outstanding Indigenous achievers from a diverse list of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities will be celebrated during the broadcast of the 2024 INDSPIRE AWARDS, which recognize outstanding achievements from Indigenous peoples across the country in a variety of fields, including: the arts; business and commerce; culture, heritage and spirituality; education; health; language; law and justice; public service; and lifetime achievement. Three Youth Award winners are also honoured for their accomplishments, serving as role models to other First Nations, Inuit, and Métis youth across Turtle Island. Learn more about this year’s recipients here.

Saturday, June 22

Beginning at 9 a.m. ET Saturday on CBC Gem, and at 9 p.m. local (9:30 NT) on CBC TV, BONES OF CROWS (127min., Drama, written and directed by Marie Clements). Removed from their family home and forced into Canada’s residential school system, Cree musical prodigy Aline (played throughout her life by Summer Testawich; Grace Dove, Monkey Beach; and Carla Rae, Rutherford Falls) and her siblings are plunged into a struggle for survival. A feature film version of the series commissioned by CBC/Radio-Canada in association with APTN, BONES OF CROWS is Aline’s journey from child to matriarch, a moving multi-generational epic of resilience, survival and the pursuit of justice.

Sunday, June 23

2 p.m. CBC Radio and CBC Listen, UNRESERVED 10th Anniversary Special, a live taping celebrates a decade of learning and unlearning with host Rosanna Deerchild. Laughter is our medicine and we’ve had plenty of it over the last 10 years. Humour has helped us celebrate the good stuff and get through the hard stuff together. As we explore the art of a good laugh, some of our favourite storytellers will drop in, sit on our talk show couch and share how they elevate and celebrate Indigenous communities and our stories. The show includes comedy by Sherry McKay, music by Douzie and the return of UNRESERVED’s Aunties Circle featuring Vida Lamour, Sonya Ballantyne and Shelagh Rogers.



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