I’ve put together this list of new movies available to stream or rent. These are films that I can recommend that range from superheroes to World War II drama, a slice of the American Frontier, and a dark comedy that takes place in Chinatown. You can read full reviews on my Victoria Advocate blog at victoriaadvocate.com/users/profile/jfriar.

“THE OLD GUARD” (Netflix)

  • Starring: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Van Veronica Ngo, Matthias Schoenaerts, Chiwetel Ejiofor

It’s just not summer without a good superhero movie and the Charlize Theron-produced “The Old Guard” is just the ticket. Theron plays the leader of a group of centuries-old warriors who travel the world covertly as mercenaries for hire. Based on the 2017 graphic novel by Greg Rucka and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love and Basketball), the film features Matthias Schoenaerts and KiKi Layne (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) as members of Theron’s gang and Chiwetel Ejiofor as a former CIA agent who contacts the OG for a special mission. There is an underlying romantic tone to “The Old Guard,” fierce warriors but hopeless romantics, even when jaded.

“GREYHOUND” (Apple + TV)

  • Starring: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Rob Morgan, Elisabeth Shue

The World War II drama based on the Battle of the Atlantic is a passion project for actor Tom Hanks who also wrote the screenplay adapted from the C. S. Forester novel “The Good Shepherd.” The wartime drama downplays the complexity of the novel’s protagonist Captain Ernest Krause (Hanks) to focus on the fast-paced action. It’s 90-minutes of pure adrenaline from director Aaron Schneider who revisits WWII after making his debut with the 2003 short “Two Soldiers.” Make sure to watch the closing credits which are interspersed with archival footage of the real heroes of WWII.

“FIRST COW” (Google Play, Vudu, iTunes and Fandango Now)

  • Starring: John Magaro, Orion Lee, Ewen Bremner, Rene Auberjonois, Toby Jones

Director Kelly Reichardt who explored the American Frontier with 2011’s “Meek’s Cutoff” returns to Oregon for another tale set in the 19th Century. A cook (John Magaro) and a Chinese immigrant (Orion Lee) team up to sell a pastry they call “oily cakes” at the local market. It’s a hit with the locals including a wealthy Englishman (Toby Jones) who’s brought the first cow to the area. Little does he know that the secret ingredient in the duo’s delectable pastries is milk stolen from his bovine. A beautiful little film.

“LUCKY GRANDMA” (iTunes, kinomarquee.com)

  • Starring: Tsai Chin, Corey Ha, Michael Tow, Woody Fu, Wai Ching Ho, Clem Cheung

Written as a love letter to Chinatown and all the bad-a elderly women who inhabit it, writer-director Sasie Sealy’s black comedy features an 80-year-old, chain-smoking, widowed Grandma (an excellent Tsai Chin) who feels emancipated after the death of her husband. She visits a fortune teller who predicts exceptional luck one day so Grandma heads to the casino after withdrawing all her savings. Go big or go home. Things take a turn for the worse when gangsters get involved and the elderly woman finds herself in the middle of a Chinatown gang war.

Joe Friar is a member of the Critics Choice Association (Los Angeles) and the Houston Film Critics Society. A lifelong fan of cinema, he co-founded the Victoria Film Society, Frels Fright Fest, and is a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic.

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Joe Friar is a member of the Critics Choice Association (Los Angeles) and the Houston Film Critics Society. A lifelong fan of cinema, he co-founded the Victoria Film Society, Frels Fright Fest, and is a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic.

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