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THE BEST IN STREAMING February 16: Our critic picks the top shows you can't miss this week

Check out our critics' can't-miss streaming picks: five sure-fire hits on Amazon Prime, Netflix, Crave, and more this weekend!
Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, and Kumail Nanjiani in The Big Sick (2017)

Looking for your next binge-worthy series or film to add to your streaming queue? Check back with Village Life every Friday for Jordan Parker's comprehensive insights on the week's most buzz-worthy programs from top streaming services like Netflix, Crave, Amazon Prime, and beyond. 

On Netflix – The Big Sick

One of the absolute best romantic-comedies of the last 15 or so years, The Big Sick is full of heart and laugh-out-loud moments.

It follows comedian Kumail Nanjiani, a Pakistan-born man who meets and falls for grad student Emily. The two have undeniable chemistry, but their cultural differences clash mightily.

But when Emily becomes sick with a mystery ailment, Kumail finds himself caring for her along with her parents – who have big personalities all their own. He must come to terms with his feelings for Emily and his faith.

This is a well-acted, absolutely superb genre movie. Nanjiani, playing himself, is amazing. Zoe Kazan matches him perfectly with a sharp wit, and Holly Hunter and standout Ray Romano give beautiful turns. I feel Romano should have received an Oscar nomination, but it didn’t come to pass.

Nevertheless, this is an amazing feature you should seek out immediately, as it will fully blow you away.

On Amazon Prime Video – Destroyer

One of the more difficult, intense films of the last decade, Destroyer is a gritty Canadian film with a performance you can’t miss.

Nicole Kidman is almost unrecognizable as Erin, a police detective with a frosty disposition and a willingness to fight for her beliefs. We’ve seen 1,000 male cop anti-heroes, but Kidman turns the cliché on its head.

Her genius performance leads a film about the detective, who ends up back with people from an undercover assignment gone bad in the past, and she tries to make peace with the things she’s done.

Director Karyn Kusama is best known for films like Jennifer’s Body, Girlfight, The Invitation, and more. With Destroyer, she makes the darkest one of her career.

Make no mistake, it’s a challenging film that divided critics. But Kidman’s transformative performance is not to be missed.

On Crave – Akilla’s Escape

A fantastic piece of Canadian cinema, this represents director Charles Officer’s final film before his 2023 passing.

It follows former child soldier Akilla, who is now a marijuana dealer. He decides to retire from a life of crime following federal legalization of the drug, but he’s pulled right back in when he rescues a young boy during an armed robbery.

Seen to the young boy as a kidnapping, Akilla tries to persuade the child out of a life of crime, much to the Jamaican teenager’s dismay.

In a film about the cycle of violence and crime, Akilla’s role in it, and confronting his own past through the boy, there’s a whole lot going on.

A lauded selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, it’s a great swan song for Charles Officer, and a wonderful starring role for Saul Williams.

It’s a gem many haven’t seen, but it packs a narrative punch.

On Disney+ -- Next Goal Wins

This little Fox Searchlight gem is a feel-good soccer story inspired by a true story, and there are plenty of characters to root for. Oddly enough, it centres around the least likeable one – Coach Thomas Rongen.

The film follows gruff, rude and self-serving Rongen, who is expelled to coach the American Samoa soccer team, best-known for a 2001 FIFA game they lost 31-0. Needless to say, the coach’s win-at-all-costs attitude doesn’t mesh with laid-back local culture.

I generally found Rongen – and his redemption arc – laughable, but full credit to Michael Fassbender for his engaging performance. The real star here, though, is Kaimana, the non-binary actor who plays transgender Jaiya, a team crackerjack who takes absolutely zero guff from the new coach.

I found director Taika Waititi’s feel-good movie to be slightly problematic in the original portrayal of Rongen’s attitude toward trans people – though given it’s based in 2014, it makes some sense. 

The performances are uniformly great, and it’s definitely a lot of fun. It’s worth a look, but I’d say the fact Jaiyah Saelua is the first transgender player ever to compete in a World Cup qualifier game would have much a much more important film.

On Paramount+ -- The Neon Demon

An intense, challenging film, I’ll be the first to say The Neon Demon is not a film for everyone. But for those who like their flicks cerebral and outlandishly violent, this one will resonate.

It follows young aspiring model Jesse, who moves to Los Angeles and quickly makes a splash in the industry. The object of desire by most and jealousy by the rest, she finds her newfound fame comes at a cost.

The fashion industry is fickle, and if Jesse isn’t careful, she’ll be swallowed up by an unforgiving crowd.

A magnet for controversy, Nicolas Winding Refn (Valhalla Rising, Only God Forgives, Drive) makes his most difficult film, and one that’s far from mainstream tastes.

Elle Fanning’s lead performance keeps things mostly grounded until the wild third act, which you’ll love or want to screen your eyes at. Joined by Jena Malone, Christina Hendricks, Karl Glusman, and a sinister Keanu Reeves, it’s a great ensemble.

The mileage on this one will vary. Be warned, it is creepy and gory. But if you like weird flicks, this might be your speed.

About The Author:


Jordan Parker is a freelance journalist and runs entertainment firm Parker PR. A huge lover and supporter of the local arts scene, he’s an avid filmgoer and lover of all genres.

A 2SLGBTQIA+ professional, he also works doing Events & Fundraising for the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia and has a passion for giving a platform to queer events and artists.

His writing often skews toward local businesses, productions, events, and covering arts & entertainment. He’s also an avid sports fan and spends every May getting let down by the Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs.

Jordan believes in an open-door policy and welcomes story pitches and questions from readers.

Email[email protected]