STORY WRITTEN BY AMU LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
When we first glimpse fast food billionaire Ray Kroc (magnificent Michael Keaton) in the “The Founder,” he’s a struggling salesman who, by chance, encounters Mac (John Carroll Lynch) and Dick (Nick Offerman) McDonald and instantly realizes that their speedy system for making food has franchise potential. But the McDonalds aren’t greedy men and urge quality first.
“The Founder,” essentially, details how Kroc was able to rip McDonald’s away from the McDonalds. It’s a fascinating, astonishingly timely tale which doubles as an allegory about cutthroat American capitalism. Don’t miss this one. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Also New To VOD and Streaming
Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing: Called “very human, very moving…gripping and involving” by the Los Angeles Times, this documentary from HBO recounts the events of the Boston Marathon bombing through the emotional experiences of three families, including five people who were gravely injured by the blast, as they strive to reclaim their lives and communities. Emmy nominees Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg direct the film. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Sleepless : Unreeling almost entirely inside a Vegas casino, this actioner gets off to a good start as Jamie Foxx’s crooked cop finds himself caught in a web of murderous gangsters and internal affairs officers. After his teenaged son is kidnapped by a mobster (Dermot Mulroney), Foxx has to turn over stolen drugs or watch his child die. The problem is that a fellow cop (Michelle Monaghan) has stolen back the stash, leaving Foxx with no negotiating power. As it goes along, “Sleepless” gets more and more contrived but it does feature a few decent chases and a scene-stealing turn by Scoot McNairy as a dead-eyed gangster. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story: You only have to hear a single buttery sax solo by Charlie Parker protégé Frank Morgan to realize that he deserves a place in the jazz pantheon. So, why is he all but forgotten these days? At a young age, Morgan followed Parker into heroin addiction and soon was committing robberies to feed his habit. Morgan wasn’t much of a thief and wound up spending nearly 30 years in and out of prison. But, as this fine documentary chronicles, Morgan enjoyed a comeback before his death which helped restore his reputation as a be-bop great. While there’s too much footage of a San Quentin tribute concert, “Sound of Redemption” does a great job showcasing the healing powers of music. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Just A Sigh : Set in real time and unfolding against the backdrop of lovely Parisian locations, this charming romance resembles a mash-up of “Before Sunrise” and “Brief Encounter.” Emmanuelle Devos stars as a stage actress who, between performances, makes a quick return to Paris. On the train, she strikes sparks with a mysterious British stranger (Gabriel Byrne) and something profound happens between them. There’s romance, regret, comedy and hard-won wisdom in this small, intimate love story which does a beautiful job of keeping it real. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Sand Castle: The latest Netflix original movie is being billed as “ an honest and candid depiction “ of the Iraq War. The action unfolds through the eyes of a group of American soldiers tasked with repairing the water system in a remote and very hostile village. Nicholas Hoult , Henry Cavill and Logan Marshall-Green star in the flick, which is based on an autobiographical script by Chris Roessner who was once stationed in the Gulf. On Netflix
For The Kids
Bill Nye Saves The World: Season 1: Bill Nye, who’s best known for his Emmy-winning PBS series “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” returns with a new series exploring a handful of scientific issues including global warming. Nye brings experts and famous guests to his lab to not only chat about his theories but to test them out. Expect Grammy nominee Steve Aoki and Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom to make appearances. On Netflix.
Arctic Adventure On Frozen Pond: Who doesn’t want to see brave frogs saving the world? This feature-length adventure from “SMOSH” creators Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox features the fearless amphibians jumping to preserve a sacred artifact that holds the key to rescuing their bouncy green kingdom. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.
In The Doghouse: If your kids are dog-lovers, they should get a big kick out of this comedy about two children who enlist the family pooch in a scheme to sabotage their divorced mom’s return to dating. They have a lot of luck until her high school sweetheart shows up. Can the kids and their trusty canine steer their mom away from her new squeeze and back into the arms of their father? On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu.
Monster Trucks: Something of a blend between an “E.T.”-ish creature feature and a “Transformers” movie, this amiable adventure gives new meaning to the term “gas guzzler.” The likeable Lucas Till stars as a teenager who spends his time putting trucks together from spare parts. But he gets the shock of a lifetime after he discovers that an oil-drinking animal he dubs Creech has taken up residence under the hood of his latest junker. “Monster Trucks” is built out of its own spare parts but it provides enough thrills and spills to keep the kiddies happy. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract: As if playing Zelda Fitzgerald in “Z: The Beginning of Everything” and Lizzie Borden in “The Lizzie Borden Chronicles” wasn’t enough to keep Christina Ricci busy, she found time to lend her tonsil power to this feature-length cartoon based on the popular D.C. comic book. With familiar foe Deathstroke (Miguel Ferrer) and ancient evil Brother Blood (Gregg Henry) rising, the tireless crime-fighters pull out all of the stops to dispose of the malicious forces. On Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu